foum, or Xenharmonic Variations on a Theme by Mozart

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In middle and high school, I participated in a web forum for young composers. In August 2003, someone—I think Chris Shaver—called for people to write variations on Mozart's Minuet in G (K1), one of the first pieces Mozart ever wrote.

Fired up on retuning from reading Harry Partch's account of the history of tuning, I whipped up a rousing variation in 19 tone equal temperament—what was to become the final variation. The results pleased and encouraged me.

By the following autumn I had grown conversant enough with equal temperaments 13 through 18 to write the first six variations, which made for a smooth-yet-jerky ride through what Ivor Darreg calls the "teen tunes".

This composition received a 2006 BMI Young Composer Award—the first of a handful of times I have actually been paid for a composition. The money enabled me to return to the School for Designing a Society for a second summer.

This new rendering was made with Pianoteq, a synthesizer which models the dynamic interactions that occur within a physical piano with exquisite detail.

Included with the album are retuned and unretuned MIDI files of each variation.


from effluve ana moontense, released December 13, 2011
Jacob A. Barton, sequencing and sound design




Metta Virginia Beach, Virginia

Jacob A. Barton (1985-) is a composer and multi-instrumentalist whose work focuses on microtonal practice and theory. In 2005 he accidentally co-invented the udderbot, a DIY slide woodwind instrument. He has organized numerous events, most recently the first Xenharmonic Praxis Summer Camp. He is currently working on new collaborations and mooching off his parents in Virginia Beach, Virginia. ... more

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