String Quartet No. 1 (π Quartet)

from by Ben Harper

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Each instrument in this string quartet obtains its material from a different string of decimal places of Π. Each digit is compared to the mean of the preceding digits, with the difference expressed as a (microtonal) pitch change. Instruments exchange digit strings to obtain note durations, from 0 (grace note) to 9 beats. About halfway into the piece, rests replace notes for the most extreme deviations from the mean, and the range allowed for pitch changes reduces until by the end all deviations from the mean are expressed as silence. The score is notated in a scale of 36 tones to the octave, both to keep in the 2-octave range common to the instruments in a quartet, and to avoid excessive ‘leaping’. It is not expected that performers could perform the microtones accurately, but would drift away from a sense of shared tuning as they drifted from the central g.


from Aimless, released March 24, 2015



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