Exposing a new instrument to a new audience through new music
Lore Amenabar Larrañaga
My first experience of the quarter-tone accordion was at a concert given by the great Veli Kujala. The vast sound world created by the sonic capabilities of this instrument instigated my obsession with owning and performing on my own quarter-tone accordion one day, however, two vital components stood in the way of my quartertone journey: a technically unimpeded instrument on which to play and a generous body of repertoire from which to choose. As such, the next natural step was to design, develop and manufacture a quarter-tone accordion on which I could expose this new instrument to new audiences through new music.
Unlike most other quarter-tone accordions in use today, the design of my instrument allows the production of quarter tones in both the right and left-hand manuals. White, black and blue buttons are used to differentiate between the natural, flat/sharp and quarter-flat/sharp pitches, as can be found on the manuals of the Fokker organ. The range and timbral possibilities of this instrument are expanded through the use of fifteen registers on the right-hand manual and seven registers on the left-hand manual, resulting in a sounding range of E-2 to B-quarter-sharp-6 in the right hand and E-1 to D-quarter-sharp-6 in the left hand.
I am currently facilitating a strategic and detailed investigation of the instrument through self-reflective artistic practice, as well as challenging its boundaries through commissioning a new body of collaborative works. I intend to analyse the tonal characteristics of this accordion in relation to other microtonal instruments, discovering in this way, its place on the microtonal spectrum.
Header Image Credit: Ura Iturralde