So we’ll go this way eleven miles
or ninety to the mystery curve
Oh, we’re close to danger! but
by dark, the shine
will be off the deck.
Over two millennia in the making, the release of the fledgling edition of the Sagittal Songbook is without question a major galactic event in the tiny universe of microtonal notation.
Sagittal, an elegant, elaborate system of arrow-shaped accidentals conceived by the gods and designed with the intent of enabling mortals to notate music in any imaginable variety of intonation, is put to the test against actual music in this book, which features 48 vocal pieces written by 15 different composers in tunings ranging from the benign 5-limit just intonation to the exotic Bohlen-Pierce scale.
“I wanted to see what a bunch of scores would look like in Sagittal,” says Jacob Barton, who compiled the book and composed six of the songs. “I also wanted to take some weight off people getting into xenharmonic music, to give it a friendly face.”
The Songbook includes everything from solos to full ensembles, from one-line mnemonics to full-blown arias and “spiral canons” which transpose indefinitely.
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