Julia Werntz

I use microintervals in my music simply because the sound is thrilling. My method was just to seize the “new” pitches from in-between the “old” pitches of 12-note equal-temperament—60 new pitches in total—and to sing the intervals again and again until I had internalized a new microtonal, equal-tempered chromatic scale consisting of 72 pitches. Then I began developing a melodic technique, relying on certain aspects of my traditional musical training, while at the same time looking out for the peculiar new demands of the new intervals themselves, such as rhythm. The rhythmic gestures must respond directly to the microintervals. What exactly would that mean? It would mean that rather than relying on familiar rhythmic structures, or any conventions from twentieth-century or pre-twentieth-century music, one would seek one’s own intuitive and idiosyncratic rhythmic reactions to the new pitches. Or, to view it in a perhaps more logical way, Russian microtonalist Ivan Wyschnegradsky’s idea makes sense: that there is a direct connection between breaking down the “harmonic continuum” with microintervals as small as a twelfth-tone and breaking down the “temporal continuum” with rhythmic relationships that are “more nuanced and more complex” and “at the same time more natural.” (See La loi de la pansonorité.) I like how he calls this a “liberating rhythmic revolution” (une révolution libératrice rythmique). Over time, of course, the new intervals cease to be “the new intervals,” or even “microintervals”; they become “the pitches I work with.” But they never cease to lead me in new directions, and to be thrilling.Biography
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Julia Werntz website

“We Eat Figs”
From Five Vignettes from the Garden by The Sea (2009)

Gabriela Diaz, violin; David Russell, cello