SCARLATTI ON A 7-TONE GAMELAN SCALE
Domenico Scarlatti – Naples 1685, Madrid 1757 – from the 555 Sonatas
original tonality was:
Track 1 2:39 Sonata K 024 A Major
Track 2 4:07 Sonata K 027 B minor
Track 3 1:35 Sonata K 062 A Major
Track 4 2:02 Sonata K 142 F sharp minor
Track 5 3:25 Sonata K 172 B flat Major
Track 6 1:49 Sonata K 175 A minor
Track 7 2:24 Sonata K 209 A Major
Track 8 3:38 Sonata K 260 G Major
Track 9 3:00 Sonata K 268 A Major
Track 10 2:20 Sonata K 293 B minor
Track 11 2:30 Sonata K 301 A Major
Track 12 2:16 Sonata K 398 C Major
Track 13 2:22 Sonata K 405 A Major
Track 14 2:30 Sonata K 448 F sharp minor
Track 15 2:31 Sonata K 450 G minor
Track 16 2:36 Sonata K 492 D Major
Track 17 4:44 Sonata K 519 F minor
Track 18 1:55 Sonata K 545 B flat Major
All tracks use a 7-tone scale of a specific gamelan, as illustrated below.
Concept, recording, mastering, and photos: John Noise Manis
The MIDI-constructed tracks here presented are connected with the project that produced “Gamelan Scarlatti”, played by Bali’s Sanggar Kembang Ceraki and released earlier in 2016 (Yantra JNM29).
As in “Bach’s Art of Fugue on a 7-tone Gamelan Scale” (Yantra JNM27, another MIDI-constructed album released in preparation of “Gamelan Bach” soon forthcoming), the ‘contamination’ of the classical compositions is invasive and structural, in that the original scores are played using only seven notes of the 12-tone chromatic scale; that is, ‘the’ seven notes of a particular Balinese gamelan. Had it been just any gamelan, the experiment would have been unworkable even for the most acquiescent ears (any gamelan in Java and Bali is tuned in its own specific way). The serendipitous occurrence was that in 2015, in Bali, ‘that’ one gamelan was built with a scale that is practically equivalent to an A-Major diatonic scale, or specifically:
C#, D, E, F#, G#, A, B.
Thus, Scarlatti’s score can be played rather correctly by that gamelan (with the micro-deviations inherent in the construction of Indonesian gamelan instruments) as far as the above seven tones are concerned. In both the MIDI rendition and the gamelan live performance, the remaining five tones are not muted: they are ‘reallocated’, each one to the preceding or subsequent pitch in the 12-tone scale. Which way to reallocate the five missing notes is a musical decision of the arranger.
Apart from inveterate purists, the majority of listeners should be able to appreciate the novel flavour and mood that the music acquires in the modified scale and tuning. And of course the vast selection of unusual sounds should make the listening a surprising and entertaining experience.
It should be noted that the 18 Scarlatti sonatas included in this album are different from the 12 sonatas played by Bali’s Kembang Ceraki group in the mentioned live album “Gamelan Scarlatti”.
YANTRA – Production and Digital Release