The Bohlen-Pierce Symposium
First symposium on the Bohlen-Pierce scale, Boston, March 7 – 9, 2010
Paul Erlich


Paul Erlich is a guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, and theorist, originally from New York City. He grew up with Western classical music at home, emanating from both the radio and the piano, which his parents taught him at a young age. He then moved away from classical piano, mastered conventional ear training and theory by age 10, and taught himself guitar at age 15. He has devoted his life to immersion in a wide variety of musical styles and to the understanding of, and innovation in, harmony, scales, and tuning.

Since moving to Boston in 1995, he has performed with an array of Boston’s best rock, folk, jazz, Middle-Eastern, and avant-garde musicians on the stage, in the recording studio, on the radio, and on television, in locales ranging from Texas to Vermont. Paul has composed and performed microtonal music with Ara Sarkissian; with whom he participated in both Microthon concerts of the American Festival of Microtonal Music in New York (1999, 2000) and some of their performances ended up on a recurring WNYC broadcast. Some of his music and guitar playing can be heard at . . .

Paul earned a B.S. in Physics from Yale University in 1995, but also spent long periods of time in Yale’s, Harvard’s, and NYU’s music libraries and the New York Public LIbrary’s Performing Arts branch, absorbing the writings of Harry Partch, Adriaan Daniël Fokker, Easley Blackwood, and countless other theorists, historians, musicologists, and psychoacousticians, while relentlessly experimenting with microtonal ideas and sounds on his own. He posted countless articles to the Tuning List and related internet discussion groups from 1996-2006, where he learned about Erv Wilson and many others who have been devoted to the field, and helped forge a thorough, new understanding of the nature and generalization of the diatonic scales — as well as many related topics. He has published important papers in Xenharmonikôn 17 and 18 as well as independently and online. He hopes to write a book tying together many of these ideas, exhibiting many alternate tonal systems in detail but also probing the deep methematical foundations that underlie them, such as the duality between Projective Tone Space and Projective Tuning Space.