Bohlen-Pierce Clarinet Project in concert

I’m glad to announce that I will be joining the Bohlen-Pierce Clarinet Project for a concert on sunday February 15, 2015 in Hamburg, Germany.

The Bohlen-Pierce scale uses the twelfth (octave plus fifth) as its harmonic frame, dividing it into 13 steps, according to various mathematical considerations. The result is an alternative harmonic system that opens new possibilities to contemporary and futuristic music.

Lucid Movinguitar The 41-tone system is a very good match to the BP scale as its perfect twelfth (spanning 65 steps) is also divisible by 13: a single BP step equals 5 frets on this guitar. It even provides ‘microtonal inflections’ from the strict BP pitches by shifting one or two frets up/down.

I got in contact with Todd Harrop and Nora-Louise Müller during the EUROMicrofest 2013 in Cologne, and through them I received an invitation from Georg Hajdu for this concert. Exciting!

The following text is from their Facebookpage.

Here comes the Bohlen-Pierce Clarinet Project with quite a bunch of brandnew works! The BP family keeps growing, and we are proud to present an ensemble of nine BP musicians, including three BP clarinets.

Musicians:
Nora-Louisa Müller, Akos Hoffmann and Carola Schaal – BP clarinets
Andrej Koroliov – BP keys
Melle Weijters – 41-tone guitar
Manfred Stahnke – BP/JI viola
Yu-Ching Chao – BP alto recorder
Lin Chen – BP kalimba
Tair Turganov – double bass.

Composers:
Todd Harrop, Benjamin Helmer, Georg Hajdu, Mandfred Stahnke, Goran Lazarevic, Nora-Louisa Müller, Akos Hoffmann

New to this scale? Read the Very Short Introduction to the Bohlen-Pierce Clarinet below!

The Bohlen Pierce Clarinet – a Very Short Introduction

The Bohlen Pierce Clarinet – a Very Short Introduction
source

The Bohlen-Pierce clarinet project was initialised by prof. Georg Hajdu at Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg. The Bohlen-Pierce clarinet (BP clarinet) uses an alternative harmonic scale and was first built in 2007 by the Canadian clarinetist and woodwind maker Stephen Fox, Toronto.

TBPlogo010he Bohlen-Pierce scale (BP scale) was discovered in the 1970s and 1980s by three persons independently from each other. The first one to investigate the scale was the German microwave and communication engineer Heinz Bohlen in Hamburg. Several years later, another microwave and communication electronics engineer, John Robinson Pierce, found the same scale in California, USA. Also, the Dutch software engineer Kees van Prooijen worked on the same stuff.

In difference to the traditional western music scale which is based on the octave, divided into 12 more or less even steps, the Bohlen-Pierce scale uses the duodecime as its returning interval, dividing it into 13 steps, according to various mathematical considerations. The result is an alternative harmonic system that opens new possibilities to contemporary and futuristic music.

In March 2008, the Bohlen Pierce clarinet was premiered by Stephen Fox and Tilly Kooyman (Ensemble tranSpectra) in Guelph, Canada. The pieces „Wanderer“ and „Calypso“ for two BP clarinets were performed.

The very first concert in Europe presenting Bohlen-Pierce clarinets, with a program containing works by Hamburg composers, took place on 13th June 2008 in Hamburg Germany. The interpreters were, amongst others, the clarinetists Anna Bardeli and Nora-Louise Müller. Pieces were by Hajdu, Hamel, Lemke, Stahnke, Schwenk).

Please visit these websites to learn more about this fascinating scale!

http://www.huygens-fokker.org/bpsite/
http://www.sfoxclarinets.com/bpclar.htm
http://www.noralouisemuller.de/

Nuages

nuagesIt’s exactly three months after MicroBlues and it feels about time to share a track from that memorable concert. It took a while before I dared to listen back to this concert because it can be confrontational: what if the recording is not inline with my feeling about the concert? But this week, between Christmas and the New Year, it was time to not only look back but also to listen back to my most significant concert of 2014!

 

I am happy to present my solo arrangement of the piece Nuages by Django Reinhardt in extended meantone, played on my 31-tone guitar.

 

Contents

Welcome to the contents-section of my website. Use the category list on the side to browse through all posts I have written over the years about all the musical things that interest me. Why not start with ‘Instruments‘, to get acquainted with my unique collection of microtonal guitars? And ‘Audio‘ takes you right to heart of my musical being, enjoy!

MicroBlues – first impressions and a review!

I was very surprised to see a review of my concert in the Dutch national newspaper NRC. The title: ‘Hallucinating effects in meantone tuning’, by Joep Stapel.  See below for translation.

featuredimage recensie

The core of the blues is the blue note, the third which is major nor minor, but which floats somewhere in between. This moaning blue note doesn’t exist on the piano and doesn’t fit the equal tempered octave. Actually, all blues is microtonal.

The project MicroBlues of jazz guitarist Melle Weijters extends beyond this. He plays his own compositions and adaptations of standards in meantone tuning (with a pure seventh) or in 31-tone tuning on a fretless guitar*. This gives a hallucinating effect.

The concert of Weijters with composer/keyboardist Guus Janssen was the first of a series of sunday morning concerts around the Fokker-organ which dates from 1950. Since its renovation in 2009, it is housed in de Small Hall of the Muziekgebouw. The piece Stuitervariaties (Bouncingvariations), a theatrical piece for ping ponging Wii-controllers based on chords from organ designer Fokker, proved that the organ can now be controlled digitally.

The concert had a messy start, with a lack of synchronisation between both players and sometimes seemed to be too much in its experimental phase.

Numerous beautiful moments however point to an exciting future. Like Mean Monk, Weijters’s fantasy about jazz giant Thelonious Monk who would crawl behind an old church organ in meantone tuning, with a hilarious pedal solo by Janssen. In Downhome Blues, Weijters played a beautiful century old acoustic guitar from the Mississippidelta, with 10 retuned sympathetic strings.

* I actually played on a 31-tone guitar (MW)

Downhome Blues
Downhome Blues

Soundpainting

M. Weijters Sound PaintingRecently, I opened a Pop Up sale and exhibition with Dutch artist Borg de Nobel. I used a looper as my canvas and I ‘painted’ with the 31 tones available on my microtonal guitar.

I don’t have a recording of the whole improvisation, so I only present the finished painting, straight off the looper. Enjoy!

Please visit www.saatchiart.com/borgdenobel for more information about Borg and her paintings.

Picture by Adrienne Norman
www.adriennenorman.com

 

MicroBlues Concert Announcement

I am happy to announce that I will be playing a concert at the Huygens-Fokker Foundation (Centre for Microtonal Music) on September 28 together with Guus Janssen.

The point of focus during the concert ‘MicroBlues’ is improvised music within the meantone and 31-tone tuning system.  Guus Janssen and Melle Weijters jointly explore what kind of new opportunities these systems offers for improvised music, especially the blues. As a regular performer on the Fokker organ musician and leading composer Guus Janssen has already ample experience with ‘light music’ on this 31-tone organ. Jazz Guitarist Melle Weijters dedicated many years to fretless and microtonal guitars and is a specialist in this field. The varied styles of improvisation and themes are supported by the use of the latest computer technologies that will lead to a surprising result.

http://www.huygens-fokker.org/activities/concerts/2014-09-28.html

http://www.muziekgebouw.nl/agenda/Concerten/3403/Guus+Janssen+%2B+Melle+Weijters/MicroBlues

Guus Janssen & Melle Weijters - MicroBlues
Guus Janssen & Melle Weijters – MicroBlues

 

CD’s / iTunes

I’ve received a question about the availability of my (non-microtonal) jazz CD’s from the past and, yes, they are still available. Please contact me if you are interested in any of the three titles below.

The Italian reprint of the CD Making Choices (entitled ‘Rubber Duck’) is also available on iTunes and so is Winterslag.

Review from ‘Making Choices’: The Antwerp-based trumpet player and his collaborators acknowledge the influence of John Zorn’s Masada in their use of transposed ethnic elements in the modern jazz language, but insist on the original compositions, specially written for the band by its members. As we mentioned, the tongue spoken is modern jazz, with some rock/noisy elements brought by the guitar of Melle Weijters, whose solo playing is quite alien to the jazz tradition. 

Click play to hear a sample of my recorded solos on these albums!