Orgelfrühling Steiermark

Adjustable Tempers

Works by Reiko Yamada
Wednesday, 02.06.21 - 20:00

Composer Reiko Yamada, who has repeatedly created commissioned works for the festival Orgelfrühling Steiermark in recent years, was Styrian-Artist-in-Residence (St.A.i.R.) of the Province of Styria in 2018 and also a guest at the Center for Organ Research of the University of Arts Graz, for her artistic research in the fields of imperfection in composition.

At that time, three of her works were premiered as part of the Organ Spring, exploring imperfection in various aspects of the organ: spatial sound distribution, tuning systems, and the mechanics of the organ.

The project Orgelfrühling 2020.2021.transformations now shows a video recording of this exciting performance from the R3 in the Palais Schwarzenberg Graz, for you to re-experience.

user supplied image
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Streaming: June 2 to 16, 2021

Introduction by Reiko Yamada

About this Project

My name is Reiko Yamada.
I am a composer for three pieces you are about to experience.
The concert was premiered in June 2018, as a result of collaboration with my dear friends, Christina, Barbara and Aleksey.
The story of this artistic research goes like this:

Once upon a time, multiple tuning systems existed in the Western world. Their coexistence made creating music inconvenient, unpractical, time-consuming and yet diverse. Then, over the centuries, they were gradually all replaced by a single system called equal temperament.
If we, as musicians and listeners, unreflectively accept equal temperament as the only possible tuning system, what else do we accept in the same way?

Using a special organ that allows performer to change its tuning in real time, me, as a composer and my collaborators, as performers, explored those questions through creation and performance.

I hope you enjoy.

Reiko Yamada

About the Works
1/12 of Comma for E-Organ Solo

1/12 of Comma for E-Organ Solo is written for a MIDI-console organ with multi-channel sound projection. 1/12 of comma refers to a resulting distance between pure intonation and the equal temperament (the modern Western tuning system) in the interval of perfect fifth.
In this work full of perfect fifth, the composer seeks the essence of pure intonation by spatializing harmonic contents in multiple ways. In this virtuosic composition, pure intervals are presented in a context of multi-channel sound projections.

524288=531441 for Violin and E-Organ

524288=531441 for Violin and E-Organ is written for an E-Organ with DynTune system.
DynTune allows performers for realtime modifications of organ temperament using a foot pedal.
Organ as a temperamentally fixed instrument transforms into an unfixed instrument just like a violin in this work.
Two instrumentalists are asked constantly to adjust their intonations to be in or out of tune to each other, and therefore represent our great struggle and imperfect solutions to musical temperaments.
The numbers 524288 and 531441 together refer to Phytagorian comma, one of the discrepancies in the pure intonation tuning.

7:8 for Dancer and Electronics

7:8 for Dancer and Electronics was co-created with performance artist Christina Lederhaas. The simple acoustic ratio of 7:8 falls in-between major second and minor third, unable to fit in the conventional Western 12-note tuning system. By using the mechanics of the organ in relation to the human body as an inspiration, this collaborative creation strives to find un-named connections between sounds and movements of the organ performance in a subtle space of in-between media.


Reiko Yamada, compositions
Aleksey Vylegzhanin, digital organ
Barbara Lüneburg, violin
Christina Lederhaas, performance art


ICFO – The Institute of Photonic Sciences, Barcelona