La homa kanto : for harmonically tuned synthesizer quartet
by Andrián Pertout (2005)
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La Homa Kanto or The Human Song in Esperanto is a dedication to the late American composer Lou Harrison (1917-2003), and its pitch material has been derived directly from Harrison's five-tone scales, presented in Lou Harrison's Music Primer: Various Items About Music to 1970. Included are the first five in the series, with the first - the diatonic or major pentatonic scale - acknowledged by Harrison as the "prime pentatonic", and "practically the Human Song." According to Harrison, "These first five are the most widespread, the core, the principal modes of 'Human Music'. They also constitute the bone-work, the firmest compositional basis for seven-tone music." The work also features ten distinct tuning modulations: three-limit, five-limit, seven-limit, eleven-limit, thirteen-limit, seventeen-limit, nineteen-limit, twenty-three-limit, twenty-nine-limit, and thirty-one-limit just intonation systems, based on the third, fifth, seventh, eleventh, thirteenth, seventeenth, nineteenth, twenty-third, twenty-ninth, and thirty-first partials of the harmonic series - each system adding its own microtonal nuances to the recurring melodic material, which is further transformed via the introduction of alternative scalar material, as well as via harmonic development pertinent to each individual just intonation system.
Instrumentation: Harmonically tuned synthesizer quartet. Akai S3000XL Midi Stereo Digital Sampler, and four 61-key Midi Keyboards required.
Duration: 12 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Professional.
Dedication note: Hommage à Lou Harrison (1917-2003).
First performance: by Aron Kallay, Rafael Liebich, Vatche Mankerian, Dzovig Markarian — 8 May 11. Lyman Hall, MicroFest 2011 (The 2011 Festival of Microtonal Music), Pomona College, Claremont, CA, USA
Performances of this work
27 Apr 07: St. Neighborhood Unaitarian Church, Pasadena, California, USA
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