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Septimus tunes the pipes : Tasmanian sonata 5 (trios including organ)

by Ron Nagorcka (2016)

Work Overview

I have been experimenting for some time with ways to write music which explores harmonies based on the 7th harmonic (using the so-called septimal intervals.) There are no septimal intervals on a normal (equally tempered) keyboard so this piece (as well as Tasmanian Sonatas 6 & 7) requires the retuning of 4 octaves of one 8 ft. rank of organ pipes. This peculiar tuning means that the composer's options are limited to certain harmonies, but these are fascinating enough to have inspired several compositions. As this piece does not use the organ pedal board, it could also be played on a correctly tuned electronic keyboard.

The Tasmanian Sonatas are in response to a request by David Scott Hamnes to provide music for him to record on various fine old pipe organs in Northern Tasmania.

Work Details

Year: 2016

Instrumentation: Pipe organ (one 8 ft rank tuned in just intonation as specified) and two bass instruments (or one MIDI keyboard controlling audio software in which case stereo amplification is required).

Duration: 3 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Bass instruments required to play just intonation using unfamiliar notation. 7/4 time.

Written for: David Scott Hamnes

The composer notes:
This microtonal music uses an ingenious notation for just intonation developed in California by Marc Sabat and Wolfgang von Schweinitz. There are several pieces on my CD Song of the Central Tree which explore similar themes.


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