Rose Petal Jam-The Amsterdam Partch Project by Scordatura Ensemble:
Scordatura Ensemble wishes to make a Diamond Marimba for their upcoming concert tour Rose Petal Jam, with music by Harry Partch and new compositions inspired by Partch. The Amsterdam Partch Project started in 2002 with the tour The Truth about Tune and has meanwhile brought into life exact copies of the Adapted Viola and the Kithara I. Creating a Diamond Marimba is our latest dream waiting to come true.
The Diamond Marimba is a musical instrument designed by the American composer Harry Partch. In his book Genesis of a Music he explains the 'tonality diamond', a musical concept in tuning theory, visually presented as a diagram of ratios. In 1946 he translated this idea into a real instrument: the Diamond Marimba. It has a square slanted shape which allows the mallets to make a falling motion and arpeggiated chords, from one side creating 'Otonality' (a sort of "major"), and from the other side 'Utonality' (a sort of "minor").
Harry Partch (1901-1974) developed his musical ideas in the Californian desert in the thirties of the 20th century. He didn't want to accept the tempered tonal system and invented his own scale, based on just tuning and the acoustic laws of nature. He built new instruments to play his music, such as the Adapted Viola, the Chromelodeon, the Adapted Guitar, the Kithara, and the Harmonic Canon. The Diamond Marimba was the next milestone in his amazing odyssey.
Scordatura Ensemble has the music of Harry Partch as their starting point and inspiration, initiated by their founder member Bob Gilmore (1961-2015), who is the writer of Harry Partch, a Biography (Yale University Press). The ensemble investigates the many possibilities in unusual tunings with composers all over the world and commissions new pieces.
In our project Rose Petal Jam we want to bring our ongoing research about Partch and his influence many steps further, and the Diamond Marimba is our next inevitable step in the process. When we recently met the unique artist and instrument builder Aart Strootman, we knew that the right moment had come; it is now!
- The Hague – May 13 2017 Festival Dag in de Branding, Korzo
- Amsterdam – May 15 2017 Splendor
- Rotterdam – May 18 De Doelen, Classical Next
- Hamburg – June 7 2017 Blurred Edges Festival
- s’Graveland – July 21 2017 Wonderfeel Festival
- Zutphen – June 24 2017 Het Bolwerck
- Assen – April 8 2018 De Muziekkamer
- Tilburg – April 10 2018 De Link
the musicians: Lucia Mense, Chris Rainier, Samuel Vriezen, Lucas van Helsdingen, Reinier van Houdt, Elisabeth Smalt and Alfrun Schmid.
the composers: Lisa Illean, Kate Moore, Anne LaBerge, Miranda Driessen, Samuel Vriezen, Anna Mikhailova, Chris Smalt, Chris Rainier.
the biological jam maker: Harm's Kitchen
the filmmaker: Karel Poortman, www.zuis.nl
Risks and challenges
Playing Partch is always risky - the instruments, the notation system, nothing is 'normal'.
Failure is part of the process. But we are doing this now for 15 years and we have overcome a lot of obstacles. With Aart Strootman we found someone who has the expertise but also the adventurous mind to join us in this expedition and make it work! And we can always ask our Californian friends and Partch experts for help, should we get in real danger.
- (21 days)