Yer: a Sagittal study

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cmloegcmluin
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Re: Yer: a Sagittal study

Post by cmloegcmluin »

yahya.abdal-aziz wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:49 am There's every chance that something based on 4 high primes will be better represented by Sagittal than by any competing notation, but if not, roll your own.
I'm sure I could come up with my own notation for Yer that would suit it better than Sagittal; Yer is certainly an outlier tuning, where Sagittal was optimized for the more common wants. But I want to believe it is worth the compromise for Yer (and other weird tunings of mine) to be able to use a single notation system across all of my music. That way, if I ever do find these adventurous performers I need, I'll only need to ask them to commit to learning one notation system.

And indeed I think if there's one notation system that could get some traction and momentum across the entire alternative tuning community (I think it has started to happen over the past 15 years already), and maybe even ease the barrier of entry into it for newcomers, it'd be Sagittal.

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Dave Keenan
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Re: Yer: a Sagittal study

Post by Dave Keenan »

yahya.abdal-aziz wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:49 am You want your performers to make your music, they should be able to think about it - i.e. grasp and use the concepts - exactly as you do. If that means learning 3 new scales with, say, 13 new accidental symbols necessary to them, then so be it! Let your performers understand your scales, and practice their scales too, until they're fluent in them, just like any beginner (we're all, always, making new beginnings if we're still learning, and if we're no longer learning to do new things, are we even alive?); only then would you turn them loose on your new music in those scales.
I'd like to counter that "Composer's manifesto" ;) with this quote from a performer (a violinist):
The demands of recording Ben Johnston's string quartets are astounding. We've been doing this for six years, and we still find it to be overwhelming... In essence, Ben's stuff is unperformable. He wrote for instruments and humans that don't exist yet ... a hybrid of acoustic strings with real-time electronic/digital feedback of some sort and people with brains the size of HumVees... In rehearsal, we use microtuners and contact mics to let us know where on the dial we're playing -- X number of cents above or below tempered 'in tune'. (This is after we have laboriously translated Ben's notation into tempered-speak values -- his scores and parts as offered by his publisher are only half ready to be of any use because they're not written in a language anybody understands.) But in performance, darting the eye down to the tuner and back up to the page isn't going to work.
In other words: Even after 6 years of playing music from the same composer, if cents from standard tuning are not given, they have to figure them out themselves, and initially find the notes using tuning meters.

The full reference is linked from this post: viewtopic.php?p=103#p103

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cmloegcmluin
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Re: Yer: a Sagittal study

Post by cmloegcmluin »

That's an amazing quote, Dave.

As a looney composer, I will admit that it feels most right to me to refuse to compromise, to create works of art which are utterly unrecognizable and adventurous, which demand a severe commitment from those who would engage with it, whether audience or performer. I suppose it would be as if Tolkien had decided to write The Lord of the Rings in Sindarin (or worse, Quenya). I suppose he could have, but it would been a shame if he hadn't also provided the more accessible version of his vision in English for the rest of us.

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