Five Quarter-Tone Etudes
Orff xylophone and computer
Five Quarter-Tone Etudes (2015) explores various ways of expanding the sonic possibilities of the diatonic Orff xylophone though the addition of quarter-tones. Throughout the piece, the xylophone and computer engage in an intricate call-and-response as the computer continuously “listens” for certain pitch patterns from the xylophone and outputs specific quarter-tone notes based what it hears. I consider the five pieces to be etudes for a number of reasons. For the performer, each piece is a study in the performance of intricate, interactive computer music and provides a number of unique challenges. They are also compositional etudes as they provided me with the opportunity to hone my computer programming skills using Max 7 software, to study new ways to incorporate electronics into live instrumental performance, and to explore various methods for incorporating quarter-tone melodies and harmonies into my musical language.
The etudes may be performed separately and in any order.
• Computer running Max software
• Custom Max patch and quarter-tone audio samples available from the composer
• Two microphones with stands (preferably a matching pair of condenser microphones with a cardioid polar pattern)
• Audio interface
• Two speakers
• Headphones (optional)
Five Quarter-Tone Etudes, IV. Lament. Recording by the composer.
Acquire the Score and Performance Materials
Contact the composer at firstname.lastname@example.org to request the performance materials including the score, Max patch, and audio samples.