Works: microtonality

What is microtonality?
Microtonal music (to over-simplify) makes use of tones in-between those which Western instruments have traditionally been tuned to (since the early 1900s). This can be heard in many musical traditions and is one of the most striking features (to Western ears) of music from Asian cultures in particular.

Scales created with these “additional” tones fall into 2 groups: just-intonation (based on various naturally occurring mathematical relationships between musical tones) and tempered (altered versions of just-intonations that make it easier to play relatively in-tune in more keys).

In 12-tone equal temperament (the dominant tuning in Western music), all 12 tones in an octave (A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab) are altered to have the same spacing between their neighboring tones. Therefore most of the music we listen to is slightly “out of tune”. Some people believe using just-intonation is therefore prettier, purer, and has a more peaceful affect on the human psyche. There is a lot of math behind this and tuning can get incredibly complex.

How Jacob Feinberg uses it:
I’m not particularly interested in the mathematical extremes and ambiguities of micro-tonality or with making the world a better place through tuning differently. Really, I just like the weird dissonances more than hearing the “purer” intervals. To date, more of my microtonal music is tempered than just. Most of my microtonal music uses various equal-temperaments, sometimes simultaneously and not necessarily with 12 notes. That means EXTRA dissonance. So much for “prettier” and having a more peaceful affect on the human psyche!

Also, I sometimes experiment with sets or bands of frequencies instead of using scales (one example is “band a/exhale (sweet dreamer)” from Everything Will Make Sense Given Time).

If you are interested in:
– playing my pieces
– commissioning me, or
– licensing my music,
please email me at info at resourcesfornewmusic dot com.