Over The Beta Rainbow

Listen to
Over The Beta Rainbow

This piece is an orchestration, tuned to
Carlos Beta tuning system, of the famous song “Over The Rainbow” by Arlen and Harburg as played by Keith Jarrett in his album “La Scala”.

The original idea was to choose an harmonically sophisticated song and see how it would sound after receiving a “Beta treatment”.

My approach was simple: take the original score and play it with my
Opal Chameleon set to Carlos Beta/19EDO note layout.

Playing a 12tET score with this setup is not hard (as long as you remember that flats and sharps are not
enharmonically equivalent).

I started creating a 4 parts score (each an a different MIDI channel).
Once I entered all the notes I checked it out with my “trans-notational device” to make sure there were no mistakes. As you can see, from the picture below, the transnotated score looks exactly as it would in 12tET!


After this stage I went on orchestrating with Spectrasonics
Omnisphere .


This song is played by a single Omnisphere instrument using 7 different patches. Actually the first 4 of them are all the same mallet instrument that was used for the basic 4 voices arrangement. I use strings mainly to double some of the top and bottom lines and the other 2 remaining voices mainly to double the 2 inner lines. Of course the assignments of notes to instruments was not mechanical but done trying to create contrapuntal lines.

Once satisfied with the orchestration I edited the tempo of the song. I took the piece by Jarrett and played it while trying to play quarter notes at his tempo, not a simple task. I then took “his” tempo list and with
Logic Pro’s Beat Mapping I assigned it to become the tempo list of my orchestration selecting “Beats from Region” and “Protect MIDI”. The “Jarrett” tempo list was then edited to my taste.


This is how the finished song looks on Logic Pro’s arrangement page:


I would say those Beta stretched octaves do not bother me even in case of double octaves (2424 cents wide). The only interval I don’t like is the stretched perfect fourth (511 cents). Jarrett uses lots of fourths resolving down to major thirds and the only way to disguise those dissonances is to assign them to not sustaining instruments like my main mallet one.

A few considerations about Jarrett’s “La Scala” album:

the album starts with 2 long free improvisations called “La Scala” part 1 and part 2 and ends with “Over The Rainbow”.
Jarrett while improvising seems hard at work trying to force the piano beyond the outmost limits of its sonic capabilities then goes back to more familiar territories with this lovely song.
My impression is that he looks for something he can not get from the piano. I am aware that my point of view can be distorted being a xenharmonist but I can not help it!
Imagine Jarrett playing a keyboard like this one!


P.R. commented:
Truly lovely music. A master of texture and intonation