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The Seventeen-Tone Piano Project began with tuning two acoustic pianos in seventeen equal tones per octave and then playing music on them. The project was created with the intention of encouraging (and at the very least not discouraging) the writing of music in the 17-tet system. There are no restrictions on eligibility; all sentient creatures are invited. We will try to have as many concerts as interest in the project can sustain.

Most recent phase

Phase Four began with a call for MICROTONAL SONGS, vocal music in all kinds of non-12 tunings, culminating in a sing-along session on April 30 and a concert on May 1, 2008.

Past phases

Phase One of the project centered around pieces and improvisations by Rice composers, some of which were featured on a concert on April 29, 2006. The recording is of a subsequent recording session.

Phase Two of the project had a deadline of Sunday August 27 2006, in preparation for a concert which happened on Tuesday September 26, at 8 PM in Hirsch Orchestra Rehearsal Hall. Fourteen compositions in 17-EDO were premiered and recorded.

Phase Three happened on Monday, May 7th, 2007. It featured some new 17-EDO chamber music which included the pianos, acoustic and electronic instruments. Music is falling into place by mid-April.


Current contact info for 17tpp:

<eptadecaphonic at gmail dot com>

17 tone piano project

c/o Dan Sedgwick

1618 Bonnie Brae

Houston, TX 77006


Remnants of a 17-tone piano and electronics project about 16 years ago, and recordings of phase one of this project.

There are a few pieces available on the internet in 17: some 6 MIDI files by Mats Öljare (search for "17tet"), Herman Miller's "Transformation", and three improvisations by Andrew Heathwaite (search for "17tet"). And one by XJ Scott.

Music theory through the eyes of the 17 Tone Piano Project

Piano tuning and performable scores.

Following the circle-of-fifths naming system for 17, the white keys of both pianos are tuned identically, to the (notated) C major scale. The piano called "flat" has black keys tuned to Db Eb Gb Ab Bb; the one called "sharp" has C# D# F# G# A#. This way we get the 7+5+5 = 17 notes. Remember, C# is HIGHER than Db!

In scores with separate staves for each piano, it is not necessary to spell chords with these distinctions; notating intervals in their most common appearance is recommended for quick readability, e.g. Eb-C in the sharp piano part, rather than D#-C.

The pianos (baby grands, did I mention playing inside the piano is OK?) will be set up at a right angle, with flats on the left, sharps on the right, close enough that one person could play on both keyboards.