Wrapping up Music On The Edge‘s 20th anniversary season this Saturday night is Newband and the Harry Partch Instruments. What or who is a Harry Partch, you’re probably asking yourself. Mr. Partch was a composer and instrument maker working in the microtonal scale. His amazing otherworldly instruments can viewed and actually be played (virtually) on this website. Newband will be playing instruments invented by Partch, as well as others from Newband co-founder Dean Drummond.
Newband’s concert in Pittsburgh will feature the Harry Partch works Castor and Pollux and two studies on Ancient Greek scales, Dean Drummond’s Before the Last Laugh, Pitt faculty composer Mathew Rosenblum’s Yonah’s Dream, Gregg Rossetti’s Mutating Aeon and Thelonius Monk’s Round Midnight. All the compositions will utilize just tunings-tunings that replicate intervals as they occur naturally in the overtone series. From Bach’s time to present, Western instruments have been designed around a division of the octave into 12 equal steps, making all the intervals somewhat out of tune, so that they will sound mostly in tune regardless of the music’s key. Deeply dissatisfied with the sound of equal-tempered intervals, Harry Partch designed his instruments around his own 43 tone-per-octave tuning, allowing for more subtle melodic motion, as well as intervals that are more in tune and stable.
Widely regarded as the world’s preeminent microtonal music ensemble, Newbnad was founded in 1977 by composer Dean Drummond and flutist Stefani Starin who continue as Artistic Directors. With Drummond’s invention of the 31-tone zoomoozophone in 1978, Newband began to explore music using microtonality and alternative tuning systems in an innovative and eclectic repertoire influenced by classical, jazz and world music. In 1990, Newband received custodianship of the original Harry Partch Instrument Collection. The typical Newband concert involves a stage filled with some of the world’s most amazing musical instruments performed upon by an ensemble of virtuosos who move from instrument to instrument with incredible ease.
Advance tickets from ProArtsTickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for non-Pitt students and seniors. Call 412-394-3353 or visit www.proartstickets.org. At the door, general admission is $20, students and seniors $15 and Pitt students free with ID.