The JUST INTONATION NETWORK _________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Just Intonation Network Web Site. The purpose of these documents is to disseminate information about the Just Intonation Network, its publications, recordings, and activities. We'll be developing and expanding this site over the coming weeks and months, so we hope you'll stop by from time to time to see what's new. Feel free to email us your comments, suggestions, announcements of JI-related events or releases, or information about other alternate-tuning related sites on the web that we might want to link: JINetwk@DNAI.COM _________________________________________________________________
* What is the Just Intonation Network? * What is Just Intonation? * The Just Intonation Primer * 1/1, the Journal of the Just Intonation Network * The Just Intonation "Store" * Concert Announcements * Other Tuning-related Sites on the 'Net
The JUST INTONATION NETWORK is a non-profit group fostering communication among composers, musicians, instrument designers, and theorists working with Just Intonation. Founded in 1984, the network is an international organization, with members in 14 countries and 36 U.S. states. Network members are composers and performers of electronic and acoustic music in every imaginable style. They work in every medium from unaccompanied voice to the latest digital synthesizers. They range from experienced practitioners, with decades of experience in the use of Just Intonation, to novices who are only beginning to discover its expressive power.
The network's journal, 1/1, (pronounced "one-one") is the only regularly published periodical dealing exclusively or primarily with the topic of Just Intonation. All aspects of the topic are addressed, but the emphasis is on theory and compositional technique. From time to time, 1/1 also includes book, CD, and instrument reviews, composer interviews, articles on instrument building and or modification, and scores. 1/1 has just completed its eighth year of publication. The network recently published The Just Intonation Primer, a 72 page introductory text that is offered free to all new network members.
The network issues periodic compilation recordings of members' compositions, such as Tellus 14: Just Intonation (1986), Rational Music for an Irrational World (1989), and Numbers Racket (1992). In 1991, the network received a grant from the California Arts Council to produce and present seminars on Just Intonation. A committee of network members developed the MIDI Tuning-Dump Specification, an extension of the MIDI specification adopted in 1992 that allows the transfer of microtuning data among synthesizers and samplers from different manufacturers. An additional service of the Just Intonation Network is The Just Intonation Store, a mail order service offering hard-to-find books, recordings, and educational materials to members at reduced prices. The Just Intonation Network Archive, located at the network's San Francisco headquarters, includes collections of books, articles, scores, recordings, and memorabilia.
As interest in Just Intonation continues to grow, the network will grow with it, keeping its members informed about the latest developments in this exciting field. We are convinced that, as the twentieth century wanes, Just Intonation will be an increasingly important factor in shaping the future of music. Whether you already share our belief, or you are merely curious as to what all this talk is about, we invite you to join the Just Intonation Network. Network membership includes four issues of 1/1, special member prices at the Just Intonation Store, a complementary copy of The Just Intonation Primer, access to the membership database, and occasional personal consultations. The duration of a membership is one volume of 1/1, rather than one year, as the publication schedule is irregular. _________________________________________________________________
Revised 5/18/95 What is JUST INTONATION? _________________________________________________________________
JUST INTONATION is any system of tuning in which all of the intervals can be represented by ratios of whole numbers, with a strongly-implied preference for the smallest numbers compatible with a given musical purpose. Unfortunately this definition, while accurate, doesn't convey much to those who aren't already familiar with the art and science of tuning. The aesthetic experience of just intervals and chords, however, is unmistakable.
The simple-ratio intervals upon which Just Intonation is based are the fundamental constituents of melody and harmony. They are what the human auditory system recognizes as consonance, if it ever has the opportunity to hear them in a musical context. The significance of whole-number ratios has been recognized by musicians around the world for at least 5000 years.
Just Intonation is not a particular scale, nor is it tied to any particular musical style. It is, rather, a set of principles which can be used to create a virtually infinite variety of intervals, scales, and chords which are applicable to any style of tonal music (or even, if you wish, to atonal styles). Just Intonation is not, however, simply a tool for improving the consonance of existing musics; ultimately, it is a method for understanding and navigating through the boundless reaches of the pitch continuum--a method that transcends the musical practices of any particular culture.
Just Intonation has depth and breadth. Its fundamental principles are relatively simple but its ramifications are vast. At present, Just Intonation remains largely unexplored. A few pioneering composers and theorists have sketched in some of its most striking features, but the map still contains many blank spaces where the adventuresome composer many venture in hopes of discovering new musical treasures.
In light of its numerous virtues, why isn't Just Intonation currently in general use? Like so many of our peculiar customs, it is largely an accident of history. During the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, when Western harmonic music and keyboard instruments were co-evolving, instrument technologies were inadequate to the task of developing affordable, playable instruments that could accommodate the intricacies of Just Intonation. As a result, various compromises or temperaments were attempted. Twelve-tone equal temperament was ultimately adopted because it provided the greatest facility for transposition and modulation with the smallest number of tones, and because it made all of the intervals of a given type equally out of tune, thus avoiding the contrast between in-tune and out-of-tune intervals that characterized some earlier temperaments. ... Fortunately a few visionary composers, most notably Harry Partch and Lou Harrison, rediscovered the source of truly viable new musical resources. These farsighted musicians recognized that in the acoustically pure intervals of Just Intonation, and in the diverse traditions of World music were to be found sufficient material to fruitfully occupy generations of composers. Unfortunately, until recently composing and performing sophisticated music in Just Intonation presented such difficulties that only the most dedicated enthusiasts were likely to invest the required time and effort. However, due to the recent appearance of affordable electronic instruments with programmable tuning capabilities, it is now possible for almost any musician to explore Just Intonation without first making a major commitment. The technical barriers having been largely removed, the only thing lacking for a widespread growth in the use of Just Intonation is an increased awareness of intonational principles and their musical applications on the part of our more adventuresome musicians. It is to encourage this development that the Just Intonation Network was founded.
The JUST INTONATION PRIMER
Do you want to start making music in Just Intonation, but don't know where to begin? Or do you just want to find out what all the talk is about? The Just Intonation Primer will give you the information you need, in a succinct and readable form. With 78 pages of text and over 50 charts and diagrams, The Just Intonation Primer explains the essential concepts of Just Intonation in terms that practicing composers and musicians will understand. _________________________________________________________________
Praise for The Just Intonation Primer:
I highly recommend this book as a textbook for theory classes and as an introduction to more detailed and idiosyncratic works on JI... Independent composers frustrated by the limits of 12 [tone equal temperament] should read this book...
John H. Chalmers, Jr. -- Xenharmonikon
David Doty is the appropriate person to create such a work... he has the requisite subject matter expertise in generous measure, and he has been in a position to know what students of the subject want and need. The book that results is a concise, practical, informative, and very affordable text.
Bart Hopkin -- Experimental Musical Instruments
...Doty has emerged as one of the preeminent contemporary theorists of JI, showing himself to be a gifted expositor as well as a careful and imaginative thinker. Hence the Primer is likely to become the main text and reference for American composers interested in the resources of JI.
Dudley Duncan -- Ars Musica Denver _________________________________________________________________
Unlike many previous texts dealing with tuning theory and its applications, The Just Intonation Primer is intended for readers with an elementary knowledge of common-practice music theory and no training in higher mathematics. Its object is to prepare the reader to begin practical work in Just Intonation and to understand more advanced texts and articles. Previously, the few books available on Just Intonation have been difficult to obtain and more difficult to understand. The primer will make it easy for any interested musician to understand the fundamentals of Just Intonation and begin making real music.
Among the principal topics addressed in the primer are: * What is Just Intonation? * A brief history of tuning in Western music * Acoustic and psychoacoustic background * Basic definitions, conventions, and procedures * Intervals, chords, fixed scales, and extended tonal space * Practical Just Intonation with real instruments
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
David B. Doty is a composer, author, instrument builder, and synthesist, and a leading authority on Just Intonation. He is a founding member of the Just Intonation Network and has edited the network's journal, 1/1, since its inception in 1984. He has worked exclusively in Just Intonation since 1975, composing primarily for American Gamelan and MIDI systems.
TO ORDER THE JUST INTONATION PRIMER
The Just Intonation Primer is available exclusively from the Just Intonation Network. The primer is offered free with a new membership in the network ($15.00 U.S./$17.50 foreign/$25.00 institutional), which also includes four issues of the network's journal, 1/1, and discounts on books and recordings from The Just Intonation Store. The primer is priced at $6.00 for current Just Intonation Network members and $8.00 for the general public, plus postage and handling (U.S.: $1.50./Canada and Mexico: $3.50/All others: $5.00)
Make Checks Payable to: The Just Intonation Network 535 Stevenson Street San Francisco, CA 94103
For orders from outside the U.S., please send a check or money order in U.S. dollars drawn on a U.S. bank. Sorry, no credit card orders or orders via the web (yet).
1/1, The Journal of the Just Intonation Network
1/1, the Journal of the Just Intonation Network, is the only periodical in the English language devoted exclusively to Just Intonation. In its ten years of existence, 1/1 has published over 130 articles and reviews, more information on the subject than is available from any other source. The emphasis is on theory and compositional techniques, but 1/1 also publishes reviews of books, recordings, and instruments, composer interviews, scores, and articles on instrument design/construction/modification and the history of tuning. Four issues of 1/1 are included with a membership in The Just Intonation Network (This is not an annual subscription--1/1's publication schedule is irregular (currently about two-three issues per year); the duration of a membership is for four issues, how ever long that may take.)
The Current Issue
The most recent issue of 1/1, Volume 8, Number 4 (November, 1994), is a memorial to the iconoclastic American composer, musician, instrument builder, and theorist Harry Partch, who died just over 20 years ago, in September 1974.
The issue features articles by Just Intonation guitarist John Schneider, on his reconstruction of the original solo guitar/voice version of Partch's Barstow; Dean Drummond (founder of Newband and current custodian of the Partch instruments), on his work with Partch and his plans for Partch's instruments and repertory; and composer Ben Johnston, on the relationship of his use of Just Intonation to Partch's. The issue also includes a review of Bitter Music, Thomas McGeary's collection of Partch's journals, essays, and librettos; and personal remembrances of Partch by John Chalmers, Lynn Ludlow, Stephen Schwartz, Stephen Puliot, and Jef Raskin.
FREE SAMPLE ISSUE
For a free sample of [1/1], email us with your street address. To receive a free sample issue, you must not be a current or former Just Intonation Network member (current members are encouraged to submit names of friends who would like to receive a free issue), and you must not have responded to any previous free 1/1 offer on the internet or WWW. JINetwk@DNAI.COM _________________________________________________________________ The JUST INTONATION STORE
The Just Intonation Store is the mail-order service of the Just Intonation Network, featuring recordings of music in Just Intonation, books on theory and acoustics, and related items. The Store is designed to make materials available to network members as easily and inexpensively as possible. Proceeds from store sales help to support network activities.
Make checks or money orders payable to the Just Intonation Network, 535 Stevenson Street, San Francisco, CA 94103.