Alphadesert is again a piece featuring Carlos Alpha, a non-octave scale based on the division of a perfect fifth into 9 equal parts (each step 77.995 cents).
As Wendy Carlos says: "If you try to play through a one octave scale of Alpha, you'd find there are 4 steps to the minor third, 5 steps to the major third, and 9 steps to the perfect (no kidding) fifth, but, or course, no octave"
This statement is approximately right because:
1) dividing a minor third (315.641 cents) into 4 equal steps each one measures 78.911 cents
2) dividing a major third (386.313 cents) into 5 equal steps each one measures 77.263 cents
3) dividing a perfect fifth (701.955 cents) into 9 equal steps each one measures 77.995 cents.
The version I use (3/2 divided by 9) has remarkably good minor thirds (311.98 cents) and major thirds (389.975 cents) but a pseudo-octave of only 1169.925 cents (very far from an octave of 1200 cents).
To sum it up I can report what my wife said after listening to it: "it's more listenable than many other pieces you have composed lately. It sounds like drunk Minestronics".
This piece uses a new feature X.J.Scott added to a beta version of his LMSO: "spectrally matched waveforms"
It means that the harmonic content of the waveform matches the tuning to be used with it. X.J.Scott provides one of the infinite number of timbres that could be devised starting from a given tuning. The idea is to load the spectrally matched waveform (saved as an AIFF tuned to A440) into a sampler, adjust the root to A if necessary, and then set up filters and envelopes to make an analog style sound with the waveform. I tried it out with Reason's NNXT sampler and it works just fine. I used it for the sound that plays the melody.
I quote X.J.Scott:
"I'll caution that this whole matching timbres and tunings thing is a fairly subtle thing like the difference between 12 and meantone, something most people wouldn't notice. It's not this giant dramatic effect where the audience sits stunned. But it does enable working with harsh sounding tunings and takes the edge off of them. Whether that's a good idea to take the edge off is an artistic decision! "
Thanks Jeff !!!