• 2021
  • 11′
  • Partch instruments: mezzo-soprano, adapted viola, chromelodeon, diamond marimba, adapted guitar III & harmonic canon
  • première: Ensemble Scordatura, 21 August 2021, Het Cenakel, Tilburg
  • commission: Ensemble Scordatura

Music for the microtonal set of instruments by Harry Partch.

A microtonal composition for Partch instruments. Tangents is enchanting, with ritualistic repetition, a somewhat elusive structure and at times sultry, at other times electronically-like microtonality.

Composer Harry Partch (1901-1974) was an American composer, musicologist and musical instrument builder. He was one of the first composers of the twentieth century to work intensively on the systematization of microtonal scales. He composed in physically pure intonation, with which he rebelled against what, in his opinion, was too dominant a tone system in Western music since Johann Sebastian Bach. While in this commonly used equal temperament an octave is divided into 12 pitches, Harry Partch divides this octave into 43 much smaller pitches.

In de pers

Ben Taffijn, Nieuwe Noten23-03-2022
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about Tangents
"Finally, and it is makes for a perfect ending, Merijn Bisschops' 'Tangents' sounds, postrock mixed with contemporary composed. Bisschops drags the listener along, thanks to the tight structure and the strong interwoven, hallucinating sound world.
Mark van de Voort, Concertzender03-09-2021
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about Tangents
“New work for Scordatura and the Partch-instruments alse sounded tonight. Tilburg composer Merijn Bisschops took up the challenge and provided the surprise of the evening with his brand new Tangents. A strong work in which Bisschops reverses the Partch idiom and chooses for a fixed, almost minimalistic composition. A ritualistic work in which the extraordinary sounds are carefully probed. With her graceful vocalising singer Schmid offers emotional foundation. For the first time the harmonic canon sounds, a psaltery in pure tuning. The leading role is for the adapted viola by ensemble leader Elisabeth Smalt. On this extra long-necked viola Smalt plays soul-carving, dramatic notes that pierce through the etherial soundfabric.”
Joep Stapel, NRC27-08-2021
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about Tangents
“But Scordatura takes it further: they also ask present day composers to write for Partch’ microtonale instruments. A world première by Merijn Bisschops proves how fruitful that approach can be. Bisschops’ Tangents started from a crystal-clear fifth, that is opened up though a cycle of collective respirations into a rainbow-like wealth of colours, full of quasi-electronics effects like oscillating tones and tape delay.”


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