Manfred Stahnke​/​Nora​-​Louise Müller - Die Vogelmenschen von St. Kilda

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The Bohlen-Pierce scale uses the twelfth as its harmonic frame, dividing it into 13 steps, according to various mathematical considerations. Thus, an alternative harmonic system evolves in which - nota bene - the octave does not appear. Due to the step sizes that differ from the usual, the octave is simply stepped over. The tritave replaces the octave as the perfect interval. Consequently, chord structures evolve that are acoustically different from the ones in the twelve tone system. For example, in contrary to the usual major chord (frequency ratio 4:5:6) the Bohlen-Pierce scale ″stretches″ the ratio in order to achieve a chord with the odd numbered frequency ratio of 3:5:7, generating a unique and unfamiliar but apparently harmonic chord.

"The Bird People of St. Kilda" by Manfred Stahnke for two Bohlen-Pierce clarinets uses the Bohlen-Pierce scale in the context of Just Intonation in a number of humorous sketches.


from Possible Worlds, released July 10, 2011
Manfred Stahnke, born October 1951 in Kiel, Germany, studied composition with Wolfgang Fortner, Klaus Huber, Brian Ferneyhough, Ben Johnston, John Chowning and György Ligeti. He is now professor for composition and music theory at the Hamburger Hochschule für Musik und Theater.

Nora-Louise Müller works as a performer and researcher in contemporary music. She is one of only few people worldwide to perform on the Bohlen-Pierce clarinet. In this recording she performs her version of Manfred Stahnke's piece which originally is written for two Bohlen-Pierce clarinets: She adds live effects and plays with a tape as her counterpart instead of a second clarinetist.




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