To get those nuances is very difficult on a regular trumpet but you can get quarter-tone
trumpets which have an extra valve which allow you to play the quarter-tones
which are very characteristic of Arabic music.
So you'll hear some driving rhythms and I call for some of the players to join me in a melody which features the use of quarter-tones
, the 'blue' notes in Arabic music.
An often rehearsed argument was that on the small scale of a phantasia or a suite, composing in quarter-tones
might be possible and consumable, but it was certainly inadequate for any larger works.
"Metro Vox" exploited quarter-tones
, slides, screams and timed hissing among several lengthy sustained chords.
Over the course of these twelve etudes, players will encounter rhythmic challenges, less familiar scales and modes, quarter-tones
, stopped technique, multiphonics, and a variety of interval combinations that make them seem really difficult at first.
Indeed, according to North's widow, Anne-Marie, he worked for a year on the score and was "extremely proud" of it, employing an array of musical techniques ranging from a massive use of percussion to announce Cleopatra's entry into Rome to avant-garde quarter-tones
to create an unsettling sound for Caesar's assassination.
As we wonder what it is that grips us and fills us with foreboding and delight in Chopin's music, we are apt to find a solution that might appear to many as pure fantasy, namely that Chopin's intention was to release upon us a cloud of quarter-tones
, which now appear as phantom doppelganger in the shadowy realm within the intervals produced by enharmonic change.
I had no formal knowledge of oriental modes or quarter-tones
, but it was clear that something very deep in me had lain dormant for 30 years or more," he says.
a system involving quarter-tones
and third- up to twelfth-tones.
Extended techniques like quarter-tones
have literally, as well as figuratively, transformed the flute into a "different" instrument.
In the piece I used various forms of singing, an intimate even voice, and fast rap declamations, and I also used a sixteenth-tone piano, a harp tuned to quarter-tones
, a sample with snatches of voice and the singers' breath, a lot of percussion instruments, like the chromatic octave of Java gongs, two octaves of cow bells, 3 octaves of boo-bams, a vibraphone tuned a quarter tone higher ...
The idea of combining a not-easily-detunable piano with sliding string quarter-tones
in the central movement might appear unwieldy, but in fact the collision of these two soundworlds worked tellingly.