We are happy to offer an edition of Udderbot Marching Choir as part of the Channing-Murray Foundation’s first-ever Summer School in Radical Arts! Here’s the low-down on our course:
Udderbot Marching Choir—Instructors: Jacob Barton and Eva Martone
The udderbot is a do-it-yourself musical instrument made of a glass bottle, a rubber glove, and water. In this course, we will make and decorate our own udderbots, and then we will form a new kind of ensemble with all-original music and movement. We will learn to play everything from harmonious sounds to a cacophonous chaos. We will work together to make pieces that are both entertaining and provoking, for us and our audience alike. We welcome people with all levels of musical experience, including no experience at all!
Thursdays 4pm for 4 weeks (June 7,14,21,28)
What are you waiting for? Register at http://cmf-school.com/
Not sure? Insecure? The first week of classes is a free trial week, so you can go to Art and Interdependence at 2pm stay for the udderbot party, and THEN decide what’s right for you! (Maybe both, maybe everything!)
The CMF is at 1203 W. Oregon St. (on the Urbana side of UofI campus).
In the month of February, odd one Andrew Heathwaite produced a xenharmonic album during the wee hours while his wee one slept in a sling. There are traces here of experiments in tuning, time and form in an electronic-pop medium; we hope you find something of interest.
EFFLUVE ANA MOONTENSE—Music for retuned pianos and voice; a gateway into a sound world of unknown unknowns.
The global organization of music is almost complete. When it is complete, music itself will offer no new potentials (except when propped up by the potentials of other, less organized systems such as children).
The pursuit of Xenharmonic Music reverses this decay, recognizing the legitimacy of possibilities which were prematurely discarded and systematically hidden from musicians for the past few centuries.
Which old patterns must be resisted for truly new systems to emerge?
New technologies are slowly breaching the classic vicious cycle—”We need good music to justify building new instruments, but we need new instruments in order to compose good music”—but the significance of xenharmonics is still invisible.
Only acts of composition—meetings of whimsy and rigor—can make the invisible visible.
Oddmusic is trying to raise $5000 in the next two months! We are using a ChipIn page because it makes a nice thermometer, which we unfortunately can’t embed here. Please consider making donations, which are tax-deductible.
Oddmusic—What’s It All About? O D D M U S I C – U C is a working group of the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center focused on doing awesome things with music, people, and “odd”. We host the creation of media and performances, with ears cocked toward society-transforming conversation. We aim to continually reinvent our role within a vibrant, healthy system of parallel institutions offering new and needed alternatives to status-quo ways of thinking. Here is a quick tour:
Musical Instrument Library-Laboratory—We house over one hundred musical instruments—small to big; common to one-of-a-kind; locally-built to globally-acquired. We make these instruments available to people as tools for education, improvisation, composition, inspiration. Our collection also includes oddmusical CDs, books especially on instrument building, and scores by local composers.
Odd Event Organizing—A community articulates itself via events. At Oddmusic-UC we design and execute new kinds of events, which aim to break apart crusty old associations, ever bringing a new group of people together around a new kind of thing. Tried designs include:
- Grand Opening—make a loud entrance!
- Garden Concert—instrument design meets ecological design
- Junkmusic Workshops—make instruments out of trash!
- World’s First Udderbot Recital—new music for a new instrument
- Udderbot Marching Choir—reinventing “ensemble” as game…
- Unconference—a convergence of passions, organized on-the-fly
- IMC-OMNIA—a 24-hour flash media festival
Potential future projects include
- Sagittal Singalong—release party for the Sagittal Songbook (see below)
- Food Orchestra—a shared meal with instruments made out of food!
- Odd Karaoke—why limit karaoke to pervasive pop musics?
- Math and Music—using each to explain the other: an art exhibit
- Instrument Marathon for Non-Musicians—try 50 instruments you’ve never tried before!
- Your Idea Here!
Xenharmonic Education—We use the term “xenharmonic music” to talk about an orientation to music which involves radically rethinking pitch—highness, lowness, out-of-tune, in-tune, in-between. Oddmusic-UC collects resources for re-learning music with this new orientation.
Oddmusic Radio Shower was a weekly radio show on WRFU 104.5 from January 2010 to May 2011, focusing on xenharmonic education and experiments in listening.
Xenharmonic Praxis Summer Camp is a summer camp for the composition and performance of microtonal music. In 2011 the pilot program attracted 17 musicians from across the continent to West Virginia for ten days, where we formed ensembles and produced over 90 minutes of new performances (watch them on the Internet!) The second incarnation of the camp is being planned now. We need money for scholarships.
The Sagittal Songbook is a forthcoming collection of microtonal songs, composed by friends of Oddmusic in the past five years and notated in an elegant system of arrow-shaped accidentals.
Who has benefited? At least 50 people have checked out instruments from our library since we opened in May 2009. At least 139 people have participated in our workshops, and another 380 have attended our events. Our blog has had over 5000 hits. We curate the Xenharmonic Alliance Facebook group with 300 members and growing. We have collaborated with such organizations the CU Folk & Roots Festival, American Visionary Art Museum, IndyMedia Arts Lab, School for Designing a Society, and U. of Illinois’ Women’s Resources Center, Saturday Art School, and Office of Sustainability.
What does money go towards? Our most regular expense is the space sharing fee for our library space at the Independent Media Center ($125/mo). Our most expensive program is Xenharmonic Praxis Summer Camp, for which donations will lower the cost of the camp for participants.
There were two concerts during the Xenharmonic Praxis Summer Camp at the Gesundheit! Institute in Hillsboro, West Virgina . This is the second of the two and happened August 4th 2011. All of the compositions excepting the piece by Vicentino were written at the camp and all of the camp participant’s music and performances are copyright by the authors and performers, all rights reserved.
If you want to download the video for posterity – go to this link: http://micro.soonlabel.com/0-praxis/video/August_2011/
Below is a reproduction of the concert program
I hope you enjoy the show,
A XENHARMONIC CONCERT ~ August 4, 2011
Madonna, il poco dolce (31-tone extended meantone)
Nicola Vicentino (1511-1572)
Prayer of Thanks (11-limit just intonation spiral)
Andrew Heathwaite (music), Carey Smith (lyrics)
Thereminnards (14 equal divisions of the octave)
Michael A. Garman
Idana Konya (traditional tuning)
Microscopic Germs (quartertones)
Dan Sedgwick (music), Ryan Stickney (lyrics)
One for All (7-limit just intonation)
Sagittal Daze (Eighth Octave Overtone)
Immortality (wholetones and semitones)
Prelude Sonido 13 and Etude No. 1 (quartertones)
Tribute to Van Halen (quartertones)
Ruckus from the Quiet Zone (7-limit just intonation)
Five in 5 (7-limit just intonation)
The World Ignites (11-limit just intonation)
Andrew Heathwaite (music), Carey Smith (lyrics)
Land Urchin (11-limit just intonation)
Jacob A. Barton
Participants of Xenharmonic Praxis Summer Camp 2011:
Jacob A. Barton
Joey Di Nardo
Michael A. Garman
Xenharmonic Praxis Summer Camp is presented by Oddmusic International and UnTwelve.
Special thanks to Roxanne Sawhill, the Gesundheit! Institute and School for Designing a Society.
There were two concerts during the Xenharmonic Praxis Summer Camp at the Gesundheit! Institute in Hillsboro, West Virgina . This is the first of the two and happened July 28th 2011. Some of the pieces were performed at both concerts and those will appear in the 2nd video because, more or less, the repeat performances were a bit more polished. All of the compositions were written at the camp and all of the music and performances are copyright by the authors and performers, all rights reserved.
If you want to download the video for posterity – and see the pieces not included in the “official” video – go to this link: http://micro.soonlabel.com/0-praxis/video/July_2011/
I hope you enjoy the show,
The attempt in JI Praxis Choir is to create a more rapid alternation between theory and practice, between action and reflection, as we learn just intonation. This may be simply misunderstood as “experiential learning”, but I think it is more dialectic. This is not the ages-old dichotomy between “thinking” and “doing”—yuck! One premise might be “If you can’t sing it, you don’t really know it.”
Xenharmonic composer, software designer, and advocate X. J. Scott is in Urbana this week to participate in Oddmusic’s and the School for Designing a Society‘s Microtonal Design UnConference. He brings with him enthusiasm, expertise, and an interest in working on anything with anyone. Highlights of his visit so far include:
- An impromptu jam* in 88-cent equal temperament, a tuning system which proudly lacks octaves, featuring Jeff’s (X. J.’s) midi guitar, Jacob’s keyboard (retuned by Jeff’s indispensable software Li’l Miss’ Scale Oven), and my own retrofretted steel-string guitar.
- Two meetings (so far) of an 88cET choir, which has provided an opportunity for us to rewire our brains to an alternatively-logicked tuning system in good company. (This group will perform at a Performatorium this evening at 7:30 at the IMC as a continuation of the Instant Ensemble Project which took on 11edo earlier this semester.)
- Lots of discussions of alternative tuning paradigms — what they might look like and what they imply (to be continued today in the Microtonal Design Language Lab at 3:30 pm).
- A stellar broadcast of the Oddmusic Radio Shower, featuring wonderfully-tuned music recommended by Jeff — which you can listen to online here.
- And more to come!**
*Jeff writes on the nonoctave forum:
The jam session with two 88cET guitars and a keyboard was the greatest xenharmonic music I have heard and a most exciting experience. Everyone needs to stop what they are doing and form a xenharmonic ensemble right away. Preferably in a nonoctave tuning. It all works. It is incredible. Stop playing alone. Spread the word. You do not need theory or years of study. It is intuitive and obvious what to do. The past is gone, the future is now, the old, limiting ways of 12 are past and obsolete.
**The Microtonal Design UnConference will keep us busy through Saturday, and if you can make it to Urbana, it is not too late to get involved. For the upcoming events, see our announcement page.