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microtone

microtone. All intervals which lie between the semi-tones of the 12-note, equal-tempered tuning system. Several 20th-cent. composers have experimented in microtones and quarter-tones. Joseph Yasser proposed a scale of 19 notes per octave and Adriaan Fokker 31 per octave, but little mus. has been written using these temperaments because instrs. are not designed to play them. Elec. instrs., however, enable division of intervals other than the octave in equal intervals, as in Stockhausen's Gesang der Jünglinge. Among the earliest composers to employ microtones were Ives, Bartók, and Bloch but as incidental features. More systematic use was devised by A. Hába, J. Carrillo, and H. Partch.

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