Kyle Gann: The Day Revisited

Flutist Pat Spencer and clarinetist Meighan Stoops of the Da Capo ensemble asked me to write them a microtonal piece. At the time I was re-evaluating some of my abandoned works from the early 1980s, and I became particularly re-enamored of an improvisatory piece with electronic tape from 1982, As the Day Is Long. I rescued the earlier work's most beautiful melody, built up a just-intonation scale that would support it, and wrote a piece whose harmonic strategy was to lead up to that melody at the end. Since a microtonal piece for two melody instruments would have been a lot of work for very little weird-harmony payoff, I added a virtual piano part, a fretless bass, and a soft organ part to keep the tuning calibrated. The joke of the piece is that the D drone in the electric bass is studiously avoided by the other instruments until the very end, where the music resignedly resolved into the tonality that's been implied all along. My working title, "As the Day Is Long Revisited," was too cumbersome, so I shortened it.

The Day Revisited was premiered at Bard College's Olin Auditorium on November 2, 2005, and had its New York premiere at the Knitting Factory on January 24, 2006. The piece is available on the recording Private Dances (New Albion NA 137). A PDF score is available here.

Duration: 13 minutes.

The Day Revisited (2005) employs a just-intonation, unequal-step scale of 29 pitches to the octave, based on D as 1/1.

Pitch*:Ratio:Cents:Woodwind Notation**:
D1/10D + 0
D^33/3253.3D# - 47
Ev+12/11150.6E - 49
E7+35/32155.1E - 45
E10/9182.4E - 18
E+9/8204E + 4
EL8/7231.2E + 31
F#+5/4386.3F# - 14
F#L+9/7435.1F# + 35
G7+21/16470.8G - 29
G4/3498G - 2
G^11/8551.3G# - 49
G#+45/32590.2G# - 10
G#L10/7617.5G# + 18
Av+16/11648.7Ab + 49
A40/27680.4A - 20
A+3/2702A + 2
Bb77+49/32737.7A + 38
A^+99/64755.2A# - 45
A#+25/16772.6A# - 27
Bv+18/11852.6B - 47
B5/3884.4 B - 16
B+27/16905.9B + 6
BL12/7933.1B + 33
B^55/32937.6B + 38
C7+7/4 968.8C - 31
C#v+20/111035C + 35
C#+15/81088.3C# - 12
D7+63/321172.7D - 27

*In a typographical approximation of Ben Johnston's pitch notation
**In cents, compared to conventional 12-tone equal temperament

World Premiere: November 2, 2005, Bard College, with Da Capo, Kyle Gann, and Bernard Gann
Other performances:
January 24, 2006, Da Capo et al at the Knitting Factory, New York
March 30, 2006, Da Capo et al at Evans Hall of the Cummings Arts Center at Connecticut College in New London, CT
May 2, 2007, American Festival of Microtonal Music at the Bowery Poetry Club, New York

Kyle Gann

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