The Bohlen-Pierce Symposium
First symposium on the Bohlen-Pierce scale, Boston, March 7 – 9, 2010
Young/Reitzenstein: Cross-Current

Cross-Current features video by Reinhard Reitzenstein, combined with music by Gayle Young.  The images of flowing water seen in the video are reflected in the sounds of clarinets, percussion, and strings, all tuned in the Bohlen-Pierce system.

The music is structured around the changing directions of the flowing water, and the movements of river-bottom rocks across the screen, the harmonies shifting with the transitions in the visuals. The pitches are organized using just intonation pitch ratios—as utonalities and otonalities as described by Harry Partch, and as dimensions of harmonic space as described by James Tenney, in which each dimension is characterized by a prime number in the pitch ratios. The musicians respond to the changing densities and textures of the video in a manner similar to that originally proposed by Earle Brown for his composition December 1952, where a motorized mobile was to be set on the piano, its movements followed by the performer.