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Topic: Partch instrument samples?

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  1. #1

    Partch instrument samples?

    I am now curious... is there anywhere to get a set of the instruments created by Harry Partch as a sample library? I am totally smitten with them, and even though there are a couple ensembles that keep them in playing shape and use them constantly, they are all but unavailable.

    If anyone knows if something exists like this... or Gary is feeling crazy... here is some info on them, including a neat little Flash thing to mess with them:

    http://musicmavericks.publicradio.or...re_partch.html


    I don't know why, but microtonal music sounds so cool with percussive instruments. It sounds so ancient to me.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  2. #2

    Re: Partch instrument samples?

    I asked the same question a few years ago, and there was never a single response to the thread. Not even people jumping in and saying 'Me too please.'

    But now there are two of us - developer's please take note.

  3. #3
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    Re: Partch instrument samples?

    Quote Originally Posted by jesshmusic
    If anyone knows if something exists like this... or Gary is feeling crazy... here is some info on them, including a neat little Flash thing to mess with them:
    http://musicmavericks.publicradio.or...re_partch.html
    I don't know why, but microtonal music sounds so cool with percussive instruments. It sounds so ancient to me.
    I am feeling a bit crazy but hat is typical .

    I've looked into microtonal instruments and like the idea. But the question is how to play them or even notate them. When there are 43 notes per octave and a midi keyboard has 12 notes per octave, how can the someone properly play them with conventional equipment.

    I would very much like to develop these types of instruments but unless we can figure out how to play microtonal samples on typical equipment, it will not be viable.

    Perhaps some of you have thoughts on this issue.

    Gary Garritan

  4. #4

    Re: Partch instrument samples?

    That is something I hadn't considered. Whenever I've worked with microtonal samples it's been things such as Gamelan, where a standard keyboard actually has too many keys per octave.

    I have to admit to not knowing Partch's music, (or, indeed, the instruments) too well. Is it the case that all 43 notes are always available, or does he use some system of subsets - i.e. 'modes' within his tuning system. Obviously where I'm heading is the idea that you may be able to use keyswitches to select valid subsets of the whole. This wouldn't be ideal, since composers may want to use the tuning system in a completely different manner, but at least it would enable us to emulate Partch's 'system' (if there is one. To me his music often sounds as though it's probably very freely composed.)

    Another option, assuming that most of Partch's instruments have a limited range, might be to simply spread instruments across the keyboard, and performers can accept that a step between keys is no longer a semitone. Clearly though, this only allows for two octaves on an 88-note controller, so again not ideal.

    I'll do some more thinking.

  5. #5
    Senior Member rayzalaf's Avatar
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    Re: Partch instrument samples?

    I don’t see the problem here if one has a sample player and assigns microtonal variations of an instrument sample/s across a keyboard. I might try it just for fun.

    Ray

  6. #6
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    Re: Partch instrument samples?

    I know almost nothing about the tuning system and how it is used. I'm just going to make some random comments....

    I would guess some type of key switching might be used. Reserve the bottom four notes of an 88 note keyboard to switch between 4 series of 12 notes (that would get you 48 notes).

    I know one type of alternative tuning (not sure if it is this one) has it so you can have perfect 5ths in any key. I mean real perfect fifths, not equal tempared fifths. In a case like this, the "flavor" of "A" you use at any given time would depend on what key you are currently using. If so, using something like a key switch system you wouldn't have to continueally use it (unless you wanted to, for effect).

    Didn't Wendy Carlos do some work with alternative tunings? Did she do anything with more than 12 notes prer octave? If so, what did she do? I'll have to pull out my CD of Beauty in the Beast....
    Trent P. McDonald

  7. #7

    Re: Partch instrument samples?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garritan
    I am feeling a bit crazy but hat is typical .

    I've looked into microtonal instruments and like the idea. But the question is how to play them or even notate them. When there are 43 notes per octave and a midi keyboard has 12 notes per octave, how can the someone properly play them with conventional equipment.

    I would very much like to develop these types of instruments but unless we can figure out how to play microtonal samples on typical equipment, it will not be viable.

    Perhaps some of you have thoughts on this issue.

    Gary Garritan

    Mr. Partch actually had the solution. If you will look at the pictures of his Chromelodian you will notice the color coded keys. HA.
    But seriously, all of his instruments are usually not more than an octave, and his largest microtonal scale is 43 notes between the octave. So even though those instruments look big, they cover a limited range. The non-percussive instruments would be the toughest to sample I guess because it would be just like making more standard GPO, mod-wheel, nice looped sounds. But the percussive stuff... if I could get my hands on those things... look like it wouldn't be hard.

    I have expiremented in Kontakt 2 (full) with different tunings, and a lot of that is built in. I even set the GPO marimba to 43 notes in an octave. I would need to get the exact ratios Partch used, however. lol


    Gary, you might be interested in Partch's book, Genesis of a Music. He talks about his instruments, and about every tuning system known to man. lol
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  8. #8

    Re: Partch instrument samples?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pingu
    Another option, assuming that most of Partch's instruments have a limited range, might be to simply spread instruments across the keyboard, and performers can accept that a step between keys is no longer a semitone. Clearly though, this only allows for two octaves on an 88-note controller, so again not ideal.
    This is actually perfect. None of his instruments have more than a two octave range for the same reason. The diamond marimba is only one octave.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  9. #9

    Wink Re: Partch instrument samples?

    That isn`t a new thing.

    I have experimented for a long time to work with more than 12 notes per octave and got very interesting results.

    I do it as Ray said, I assign microtonal variations of an instrument sample/s across a keyboard and it works fine.

    Experiment this with big ackords, for example detune the thired note a little bit up or down,and you will be astonished..... .

    By doing this, you do not more than stringplayers do, when they play an ackord and hear the tune from the others..... .
    "Music is the shorthand of emotion." Leo Tolstoy

    Listen to me, tuning my triangle http://www.box.net/shared/ae822u6r3i

  10. #10

    Re: Partch instrument samples?

    Quote Originally Posted by rayzalaf
    I don’t see the problem here if one has a sample player and assigns microtonal variations of an instrument sample/s across a keyboard. I might try it just for fun.

    Ray
    That's the approach I actually took years ago when I bought my Yamaha DX7S. I'd gotten interested in Harry Partch at about the same time and set about programming the tuning tables with his 43-tone scale.

    I never went very far with this, but it occurred to me that it would probably be a good solution to program a large number of 12 tone scales with subsets of Partch's 43-tone system. I don't remember much now, but I think Partch's system allowed for certain notes to act as key centers, with the other notes being defined as justly tuned intervals from those key centers. So you could program, for instance, several different scales based on G, including major and minor scales, some incorporating septimal and undecimal ratios, and switch between them with program changes.

    You could probably do the same thing with a Kontakt script today-define several different 12-tone tuning tables, and provide a way to switch between them, either with a CC or a keyswitch.

    Assuming this works, you could then create your own "fake" Harry Partch instruments, out of existing samples and your own defined tuning tables.

    Hmm. I need something to do this summer...
    Dan Powers
    www.danielpowers.info

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

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