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Tiento No. 1 (4:12, 1998 / 2006)

In the 16th and 17th centuries “tiento” denoted a harp, vihuela, or keyboard piece typically featuring sectional structure, thematic transformation, and polarities of restrained counter- point and florid coloratura. The present piece shares those characteristics, and some of its timbres are reminiscent of the plucked string.

Some tientos served to test an instrument's tuning, and tuning is of interest in the present piece, which uses a Carlos gamma scale comprising equal steps of ~35 cents each. Just perfect fifths and major and minor thirds are very well approximated by 20, 11, and 9 of these steps, respectively. Perfect octaves and fourths are not well approximated in this scale.

The present realization is recorded from a Macintosh computer running Digital Performer with Native Instruments' FM8 software synthesizer as a plug-in. The composer designed the timbres here, all of which lack octave overtones.