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The system of tuning in music has been the object of experimentation since at least classical antiquity: according to history, the fact that an impure octave is the result of a series of pure intervals has occupied theoreticians and practitioners since Pythagoras. During the Renaissance, the approaches to solving this problem blossomed, and — in a nutshell — new instruments were developed that could realise various tuning systems without relying on today's standard of 12 tones per octave. The arciorgano is one such instrument, built by Nicola Vicentino (1511-1576). Inspired by an antique approach to enharmonicism, which uses intervals smaller than a semitone, Vicentino built an instrument with 36 tones per octave that was able to render the meantone temperament of the day transposable. However in the course of the Renaissance this practice did not become standardised; in today's compositional practice, deviation from the 12 equal tempered tones eg. of the piano is common. With the work by Catherine Lamb we come together with a composer which has engaged intensively with various tuning systems, not just for the sake of theory, but in order to create a starkly individual soundworld. In order to be able to play this music, we replace the modern harp and piano with the baroque harp and arciorgano. Through the collaboration with the Basel collective, Studio 31+ we get to experience music research up close: in the exchange between composers and the research department of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, Proton can bring pioneering music of the 21st century to life, thus not just a passenger on the new music bandwagon but very much in the drivers seat.
The collective Studio 31+ comprises musicians, scientists, composers and instrument makers. It performs research and documents within the field of pitch system expansion within one octave. The collaboration with Studio 31+ is planned for two seasons, with new works for arciorgano and Ensemble featuring in our 2022 season.
Registration/ticket sale for Basel possible from July.