OTHER MUSIC prime numbers lp
File under Gamelan or New Music
Other Music is a unique ensemble of eleven composer / musicians who perform their original compositions on a set of justly tuned instruments designed and constructed by members of the group.
Founded in 1975 by David B. Doty, Henry S. Rosenthal, and Dale S. Soules, Other Music has evolved a rich and complex music which, while drawing on such varied sources as Balinese and Javanese gamelan, European polyphony, ancient Greek modal theory, African polyrhythms, and the American experimental tradition, is innovative and distinctly contemporary.
The union of these diverse elements is achieved with the aid of Other Music's original tuning system. This versatile scale of fourteen unequal steps per octave contains hundreds of current and historic world music modes, and literally thousands of novel and heretofore unheard scales.
Other Music is (left to right): Andrew Fischer, Henry S. Rosenthal, Brenda J. Tiersma, Jacqueline Summerfield, James Stadig, Carola B. Anderson, Robert Lauriston, Dale S. Soules, David B. Doty, Kathy Sheehy, and Jonathan Plenn (not in photograph).
Recorded Live at The Complex, May 1980 Executive Producers: Novak and Henry S. Rosenthal Produced by Other Music Engineered by Tom Paddock Mixed at Sound Research Systems Artwork and Design by Reid Martin Photographs by Michael Jang Special thanks to Different Fur Recording, Brian O'Donnell, Maggie Payne
Nth_ a subsidiary of DUMB RECORDS 625 Post Street, Suite 129, San Francisco, CA 94109
Prime Numbers _1980 Other Music OMJ14 (Stereo)
OTHER MUSIC prime numbers
The Tuning Other Music's tuning system, affectionately known as OMJ14, is a form of just intonation with fourteen unequal intervals per octave. Designed in May 1977 by David Doty and Dale Soules, OMJ14 is derived primarily from the ancient Greek modes recorded by the second century Greek theorist Claudius Ptolemy in his Harmonics. Just tuning systems are characterized by the fact that all their intervals can be represented by ratios of whole numbers. For this reason, just systems possess superior consonance when compared to the equally tempered intonation now in general use.
The Instruments As in Indonesian gamelans, the foundation of Other Music's ensemble consists of metallophones. These instruments, comprised of aluminum bars suspended over individual tunable resonators, span a total of five octaves divided among four voices: Bass (C to c, Tenor (c to c''), Alto (c' to c'''), and Soprano (c'' to c''''). The alto register is enriched by the tones of a two octave marimba with keys of cocabola, a South American rosewood. Additional coloration is provided by a set of tubular brass chimes, originally part of a pipe organ, retuned to Other Music's system.
A variety of drums is heard on this record including the Balinese kendang, a horizontal double-headed drum, heard on several selections; a Western trap set, on "Music With Four Tones"; and bongos, on "Ness." Additional percussive accents are supplied by the ch‚ng ch‚ng, also from Bali. These are a set of six small upturned brass cymbals mounted on a wooden base and struck with two additional cymbals.
The flute, heard on "Gending: A Waning Moon", is made of 3/4 inch I.D. acrylic tubing. It is a notch flute like the Chinese hsiao or Bolivian cana, and plays a scale of seven tones. The human voice, heard on "Blue", is that of the composer, Dale S. Soules.
The majority of Other Music's instruments were designed and built between May 1977 and April 1978 by group members Carola B. Anderson, David B. Doty, Henry S. Rosenthal, Kathy Sheehy, and Dale S. Soules, with assistance from cabinet maker Michael Lynch. Substantial improvements in the key racks and alto resonator banks were made by James Stadig in the summer of 1979.
The Composers David B. Doty (b. 1950 Jackson, Michigan), a founding member of Other Music, is a primarily self-educated composer, performer, and instrument designer/builder. His formal education includes a B.A. in the Humanities from New College of California, where Other Music had its beginning in 1975; graduate studies at the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music; and studies in Javanese gamelan at the University of California, Berkeley.
David has served as editor of EAR, a Bay Area journal of contemporary music; and is currently a member of the faculty of New College of California, where he teaches music theory in both the undergraduate Humanities and graduate Poetics programs.
Henry Sigmund Rosenthal (b. 1955 Cincinnati, Ohio) lived for eighteen years on the banks of the idyllic Ohio River. In 1973 he relocated to San Francisco to attend New College of California where, in 1975 he helped found Other Music, and in 1976 earned his degree. In addition to his activities with Other Music, Henry was the creator of the television series "Files: Things That Are Kept and Why" which aired in San Francisco in 1976 and '77. A man of diverse interests, he has played rock ''n' roll drums and Javanese gamelan, and is a collector of twentieth century art, paper bags, and pennants.
Kathy Sheehy (b. 1948 Washington, D.C.) has studied piano intermittently since childhood and has more recently attempted such varied instruments as oboe, recorder, tablas, and conga drums. Her interests in intonation systems and composition led to her joining Other Music in 1977. A former Federal bureaucrat, Kathy is now engaged in the tuning and repair of pianos.
Dale Staring Soules (b. 1947 Nyack, New York) grew up in Brazil where his parents were missionaries. His early musical experiences consisted of hymn singing and playing the French horn. Returning to the United States, he attended Yale University and joined a fundamentalist Christian sect whose activities included group glossolalia and singing and praying "in the spirit." Dale is a graduate of New College of California, where he studied philosophy and helped to found Other Music in 1975. Currently, he is engaged in the creation of a song cycle based on the poems of his brother, Terrill.
James Stadig (b. 1944 Santa Monica, California) is a self-taught musician who, in addition to his activities with Other Music, has played with rock bands and theater groups. In the course of his extensive travels he reached Bali where he studied kendang (a two-headed drum) with Anak Agung Raka of the village of Ubud. James is a highly skilled woodworker who has made substantial improvements in many of Other Music's instruments.
Jacqueline Summerfield (b. 1952 Princeton, New Jersey) survived an adventuresome adolescence after which she studied music at Livingston College where her teachers included Philip Corner and Barbara Benary. In 1975 she came to the Bay Area where she joined Other Music. Since that time she has sung with The Fabulous Hubcaps, and graduated from Mills College where she studied music with Allaudin Mathieu.
Green Hungarian uses a variant of the Hungarian minor scale, which is characterized by its flat third and sixth, and its sharp fourth. This polymetric piece consists of five 60 beat sections, divided into recurring patterns of 6 x 10 against 5 x 12.
Blue is a setting of the poem of the same name by Terrill Shepard Soules, which Dale describes as "jocular jeremiad regarding the intrinsic burdens of being a social creature." The musical structure consists of an introduction, three verses and three choruses; the introduction and choruses being derived from a twenty-eight tone melody which is, in turn, derived from the twenty-eight blue's of the poem's refrain. Blue, in addition to being the only vocal piece on this record, is the only one which utilizes all fourteen tones of the OMJ14 scale.
Ness is a work in three parts. Part one is an extended, tense, downward moving passage which anticipates the central and longest part which is a prolation canon (the same melodic material played at different rates) in three voices. Part three is a digression which brings the piece to a rapid and decisive conclusion. The materials of this composition were borrowed freely from the composer's environment and adapted to Other Music's tuning system.
RecomIII/River of Dreams is composed of five distinct sections of varying styles, connected by brief linking passages. In section one following a brief solo introduction, the theme is stated in unison by the metallophones which then break into animated polyphony of the type characteristic of contemporary Balinese gamelan music. The final repetition of this material leads directly into section two, a sort of slow rondo, which while still using Indonesian pelog-type scales, is more Western in its counterpoint.
Section two concludes with a modulation to a new, non-parallel scale and accelerating rapidly, passes into section three, a broad serene, cyclic movement derived stylistically from the Central Javanese Court Gamelan repertory. After 2 1/2 repetitions of this material, another short accelerating passage leads to section four; an ostinato compression of the theme from section three, overlain by rapid elaboration (kotekan). A short break for the two alto metallophones leads to the final section; a unison coda for the full ensemble.
MN.2 is a melodic and contrapuntal exploration in the mixolydian mode, over a five beat ostinato bass.
Music with Four Tones was originally composed as a fanfare for the opening of the American Gamelan Concert of the 1978 Cabrillo Music Festival. The current version, dating from early 1980, involves a considerably expanded ensemble but maintains the original structure. Its four tone mode has a somewhat restless character, harmonic motion being supplied by the alternation of a perfect fourth (4/3) and a tritone(7/5).
Gending: A Waning Moon is part of the music for Appearances, a masked dance piece created by choreographer Katherine Mezur, in which it accompanied a scene involving the decline of an aging empress. Its form, style, and spirit derive from the ceremonial gendings (instrumental compositions) played by the archaic Balinese gamelan gong gede. It consists of two sections which alternate in the pattern A,A,B,A,B,B. Each section has thirty-two principal beats, those in section B being contracted to half the duration of those in section A.
"Now" "You" "Hear" "It" is a systematic exploration of the most dissonant aspect of the OMJ14 scale. The principal motif is a seven beat pattern, introduced by the marimba, consisting of the six most complex diads in the scale plus a one-beat rest. The use of hard mallets and excessive striking force on the alto metallophones results in a dense texture dominated by high, piercing, inharmonic tones. Cross rhythms sounded on the wooden handles of the alto key racks delineate the metric structure.
Baris Barat is the most traditionally-Balinese composition on this record and is derived from the music of the Baris Lengkat, a warrior dance which Colin McPhee described as "a dance of great tension -- a controlled but dramatic display of physical vigor."
Green Hungarian 2:20 Kathy Sheehy _1978
Blue 5:52 Dale S. Soules _1980
Ness 2:13 Henry S. Rosenthal _1979
Recom III/River of Dreams 9:02 David B. Doty _1979
MN.2 4:02 Jacqueline Summerfield _1980
Music with Four Tones 2:09 David B. Doty _1980
Gending: A Waning Moon 5:17 David B. Doty _1979
"Now" "You" "Hear" "It" 1:29 Henry S. Rosenthal v
Baris Barat 6:44 James Stadig _1979
Typed by Cheryl Vega 6-14-95