The Music of Jeff Harrington

Microtonal Music

Prelude #4 for 19ET Piano

A short piece based on a blues progression and packed full of African influences.

Prelude 4 for 19ET Piano - MP3
Prelude 4 for 19ET Piano - Score

Prelude #3 for 19ET Piano

A dramatically atmospheric piece which alternately become barbaric and pounding. Plenty of blues influences, but a more Debussyean approach than #2.

Prelude 3 for 19ET Piano - MP3
Prelude 3 for 19ET Piano - Score

Play this one also really really loud!!!

Prelude #2 for 19ET Piano

Another short piece for piano tuned with 19 equal-temperament; 3 minutes of pounding and Acid Bach like twirls. There's a little bit of counterpoint in this one, too.

Prelude 2 for 19ET Piano - MP3
Prelude 2 for 19ET Piano - Score

Play it really really loud!!!

Prelude #1 for 19ET Piano

My first piece resulting from my recent explorations of the 19 equal-tempered tuning has been finished, a short prelude. It's basically a floating piece with minimal drama, but it does explore the incredibly in tune chords and resonances that this tuning allows. Written in standard notation, assuming a MIDI sampled piano (or other keyboard) for the score.

Prelude 1 for 19 ET Piano
Prelude 1 for 19ET Piano Score PDF

Croche et Tient for MalletKAT and Quartertone Synthesizer (2003)

Commissioned by Michael Manion. Croche et Tient will be premiered in Cologne, in May 2004.

Using MAX or KeyKit MIDI echoing processes and a quartertone-tuned synthesizer, the piece explores territory charted in my Acid Bach series but with a more dramatic and longer tension-building form. Periodically, in the slower sections, the percussionist lets quartertone clusters sustain, creating a night-like atmosphere. The title, Croche et Tient, (Crush and Hold in english) is from a post card we received from Elsie's cousin who's in the French special forces (now stationed in the Coite d'Ivoire).

Croche et Tient MP3
Croche et Tient Performance Score PDF

Amor Loco - Quartertone HyperPiano Improvisation

An improvisation recorded April 20, 2002 on a microtonal virtual piano, extended with traditional electronica-influenced arpeggiator technique and digital delay. The improvisation captures the the barbaric qualities of my quartertone suite, Acid Bach, with my later piano preludes. A piece in development; working towards a series of new quartertone electronic compositions.
Quartertone HyperPiano Improvisation MP3

Jardin des Merveilles

A slow promenade through a garden of wonders. A piece inspired by esoteric myths of Buddhist heavens where millions of lotus petals clash and produce harmonies that are always in tune. On the more human level, this piece is an exploration of irrational tunings designed to create consonances with inharmonic timbres, in this case FM replications of bell timbres. None of these chords used in this piece have any relationship to the harmonic series. Instead, each chord and the tuning are designed to produce relative spectral consonances that can seem just as in tune as harmonic tunings.

Jardin des Merveilles - MP3

Acid Bach Suite for Quartertone Synthesizer

A four movement suite for quartertone electronic instrument. Composed in 1991, realized 1995 with Csound. Duration: 7 minutes. An exploration of a scale which divides the octave into 24 equal parts. Contrapuntal mayhem at the service of a hysterical baroque sensiblity.

Kyle Gann wrote about Acid Bach in July, 1999:

"Jeffrey Harrington's Acid Bach plinks its way through microtonal melodies like banjo music somehow smeared by a wet hand. The way those melodies fit together is determined by computer, for Harrington has programmed his software to work out the contrapuntal problems itself. He's a rare find; from his beginnings in Mississippi he's lived in a number of musical worlds, and at 17 wrote a serial piece based on the bass line from a Billy Cobham song. In the '80s he forged a style by combining an 18th-century harmonic vocabulary with jazz rhythms, while working as a galley hand in the offshore oil fields of Louisiana, as clerk in the world's oldest record store (Liberty Music on Madison Avenue), and writing Java games for Children's Television Workshop.

By a slim margin, Harrington is the most intriguing new figure I've discovered (so far) on the Web page that every new-music Web search ultimately brings me to: Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar (

Kyle Gann, Village Voice, July 7, 1999

Acid Bach I: Download MP3
Acid Bach II: Download MP3
Acid Bach III: Download MP3
Acid Bach IV: Download MP3
Acid Bach Csound Orc and Sco Files for all 4 movements