In this video, composer and synthesist Dolores Catherino shares her take on a selection of modern microtonal electronic instruments, including:
- Tonal Plexus
- Roli Seaboard
- Continuum Fingerboard
- Microzone U-648
Catherino suggests that modern microtonal electronic instruments free us to move beyond ‘low-resolution’ 12-notes/octave music making.
She describes this as a transition from monochromatic system that is easily captured with black and white music notation, to a polychromatic system, where notes have ‘colors’ that are more easily captured with full-color music notation.
Here’s a performance example of Catherino’s work, Heterodyne Horizon:
Heterodyne Horizon uses an ‘auditory resolution’ of 106 note/octave, vs the comparatively ‘low res’ 12 notes/octave. This allows her to use changing of the ‘color’ of chords as a compositional element.
And, as she notes in her discussion above, her performance highlights how the microtonal capabilities of these new electronic instruments challenge us to listen in new ways, and also to expand our language for notation and discussion of music.