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Title: Improvising a microtonal system : the creative implications of a hybrid scale calculated from the reversed fretboard structure of a standard 24-fret guitar, and the resulting xenharmonic microtonal system
Author: Nielsen, Michael
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 4078
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2017
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This practice-based research (driven by an initial improvisatory pluck on the opposite side of a fretted note, producing a microtone) focuses on the development of a new hybrid microtonal system derived from inverting the measurements of a 24-fret guitar fingerboard and superimposing them onto a normal fretboard, produced a 40-fret guitar with numerous additional microtonal intervals. This resulted in a composite scale structure consisting of a standard twelve-tone equal temperament (12-TET) system in addition to microtonal intervals of varied sizes. The structure of this fretboard produced a distinctive, performatively accessible, cluster of microtones at the beginning of the fretboard, contributing structural definition to the resultant evolving practice. The attractiveness of such an approach is that the idiomatic performance structures of the microtonal fretboard can be seen as contributing to the definition of the resulting scale’s performative potential. The research aims centre on how the interaction of 12-TET and unequal-division microtonal intervals can contribute to the development of a novel musical language (in the specific context of structured improvisations). The research also aims to explore how collaborative performance practices can contribute to the definition of this musical language. Key contexts for this work are provided by the work of a number of twentieth-century microtonalists, most notably Carillo, Hába and Partch. An exploration of Hába's bichromatic (two separate parallel chromatic structures with microtonal offsets) and ultrachromatic (integrated microtonal scales) models, alongside an awareness of various competing structural rationales within the present project's composite fretboard model, yielded the descriptive term polysystem (after a literary practice in which different competing traditions exert influences upon a text within a different tradition) in relation to the interacting 12TET and microtonal dynamics. Newly-coined terms (micro+chromatic, analogous to Haba's bichromatic, and ultramicrochromatic) are advanced as part of the analysis of the performative outcomes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available