Writings Content 3

MICROTONAL MUSIC

Notes are not tones. My philosophy about tones is that no notation is ever sufficient to describe a tone. Wind and string instrumentalists as well as singers intonate and adapt pitch to context.

Some composers do experiment with a more exact notation, to achieve the sort of intonation that touches the heart, or to find pitch combinations that are unheard. Working with Gijsbrecht Royé (between 1992 and 1999) has been a tremendous inspiration for me. He investigated what was possible on the saxophone, gathering pitches and the timbres belonging to them for his own piece to work with. In the end, of course I had to learn to reproduce about two thousand combinations of fingerings that I had come across during these pleasant meetings. Since then, I have been in many situations where my efforts in this field were rewarded.

If you compare the quest for sophistication in pitch with the way notation of expression and dynamics has evolved in the last decades/centuries, I think it is vital to the modern musician to invest in playing microtones. For a saxophonist, that also means he will find new musical colours and expressive sounds in itself.

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