Free Album Explores Alternate World Of Xenharmonic Music

Possible Worlds Volume Two is a free album that explores the world of contemporary microtonal/xenharmonic music and sound art from around the world.


There are many approaches to pitch use outside non-12-tone equal temperament on display here, conveyed through a wide variety of musical styles. Artists in this collection, which include well-established experts in microtonal practice, explore just intonation, the harmonic series, free & mixed tunings, extended playing techniques, invented instruments, and an emphasis on various equal divisions of the octave.

Despite the variety of sound presented, the playlist is designed to be a compelling experience straight through, the exploration of xenharmonic pitch space serving as a common link among a group of tracks we consider excellent in any venue.

You can preview and download Possible Worlds Volume Two via the embed above or at Bandcamp.

2 thoughts on “Free Album Explores Alternate World Of Xenharmonic Music

  1. Luvli!
    And what a nice label. Might OD artmusic this weekend!
    Minor essay follows.

    Several ways to do xenharmonics:
    (1) use traditional /physical instruments with the harmonic overtone series (voice, strings – NB metal rods and drums / membranes have other overtones).
    (2) Use generated or found sounds with a scale designed to match the overtone series of the sound.

    (1) is the most common. Two main subdivisions:
    (A) Many composers seek scales where the overtones will match scale tones as much as possible. Regular 12-TET (12-Tone Equal Temperament) of your piano or synth is a compromise, Just intonation and 19-TET are other compromises that create different tensions in harmonies.
    You may be more or less sensitive to the distinctions.

    (B) If you OTOH choose a scale that doesn’t match the instrument overtones at all it results in the sour-sounding off-kilter tones of eg tracks 3, 7 in the collection. (Track 10 vacillates, it’s cool)
    I like that, but with limited experience I find it hard to hear the difference between different scales.

    (2) is an interesting more recent approach.
    (A) Synth sounds: you design the overtones so they will match scale notes.
    (B) You can also analyze any sound and create a scale that will best match its overtones.
    (Track 9 does a combo of these)

    Both ways there is little beating in the first 2-3 overtones of chords, so you don’t get the “sour” feeling unless you want. This way one can create chords that sound “just right” in a traditional sense, yet use wildlly nonstandard tonally. Melodies however may sound, er, foreign.

    Again your sensitivity may vary. To me with normal-to-limited pitch sensitivity, it’s quite fun, I get a both-right-and-wrong feeling.

    Sorry for any late-night errors.

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