Bohlen-Pierce research

A big part of current and past research projects here, as already seen in many of aforementioned pieces, has to do with the Bohlen-Pierce scale. In a nutshell, the Bohlen-Pierce tuning is a non-octave tuning in which the just 12th is divided into 13 steps.

                During the winter semester 2013, Prof. Dr. Georg Hajdu and Dr. Konstantina Orlandatou gave a class in Bohlen-Pierce ear training. The lessons served two purposes: on the one hand to enable music students to identify tones, intervals and chords of the scale and on the other hand to explore if it is possible to develop a new pedagogical and theoretical method of ear training specifically designed for the BP scale.[1] During the winter semester 2013/14 BP class, harmony and counterpoint were explored and the findings of both these experiments, along with theoretical and historical background of the scale, were published in a book aptly titled “1001 Microtones“.

                One of very few interpreters to play the Bohlen-Pierce clarinet[2]  is Nora-Louise Müller. Her artistic research is mostly about playing techniques of the instrument, e.g. multiphonics and high-register playing, both of which are quite different from a usual B flat clarinet. Her research outcomes have been used by composers in new works for BP clarinet, and by herself in projects involving improvisation. Her dissertation, titled “The Bohlen-Pierce Clarinet. A Practical Guide to Performing and Composing”, aims to collect, codify and expand on the information about this new and remarkable instrument.


[1]                      Müller N.L., Orlandatou K., Hajdu, G. (2014). Starting Over – Chances Afforded by a New Scale (Bohlen Pierce). In Safari, S. & Stahnke, M. (Eds.): 1001 Microtones. R.v. Bockel

[2]                      Bohlen-Pierce clarinete was first developed some 10 years ago at the initiative from Georg Hajdu and was brought into existance by the Canadian physicist and clarinet builder Stephen Fox