The Bohlen-Pierce Symposium
First symposium on the Bohlen-Pierce scale, Boston, March 7 – 9, 2010
Hajdu: Beyond the Horizon

Georg Hajdu: Beyond the Horizon (2008)

“Beyond the Horizon” for two Bohlen-Pierce clarinets and synthesizer, written in 2008, is the result of my continuous preoccupation with the Bohlen-Pierce scale, which, characterized by its particular acoustic qualities, is an almost perfect fit for the clarinet.

What motivated this piece was the purely hypothetical and philosophical question of what the world would look like, if it consisted only of odd numbers as it is the case with the clarinet spectrum. But these are exactly the questions that inspire composers to create parallel worlds contrasting the omnipresence of 12-tone temperament. Since the Bohlen-Pierce scale is based on the just twelfth, or the tritave, as Pierce calls the octave replacement, it seemed a logical step to use a computer to construct a stretched spectrum whose 2nd partial lines up with the 3rd harmonic. This artificial, bell-like sound was slightly modified to reduce what we call sensory dissonance, which would result from intervals and chords. We thus achieve coherence between the spectral, harmonic and tonal dimensions, something we also encounter in traditional tonal music.

The text written by cosmologists Lawrence M. Krauss und Robert J. Scherrer (“End of Cosmology?”) and recited by Marcia Lemke-Kern, is an incentive to start thinking about the existence of a parallel (also tonal) world, that may eventually disappear from our view, if we don’t catch the moment.

Score to Beyond the Horizon