Theme from Invisible Haircut

You're listening to the beginning of Theme from "Invisible Haircut". It's a 6-measure phrase, with the bass repeated in the manner of a passacaglia.

written February, 1990

Adapted and expanded for use as incidental music for the play Invisible Haircut, written, produced, and directed by Jeff Morris. Performed off-off Broadway (New York) December, 1993.

There is a brief passing-tone chord near the end of measure 2, which I left in 12-Eq on this sequence. It lasts such a short time that the intonation isn't really noticeable.

JustMusic analysis (m = measure):

[In this analytical method, utonalities have the numerary nexus above the dividing-line with the udentities below, and vice-versa for the otonalities.]

m 1m 2m 3m 4m 5m 6
 C n0 -----
 F 3-1 ------ [12-Eq E] -----------
 Eb 33 5-1 71 ---------------
 F 33 5-1 ----------
```
1
5
3
15
3
9

```
 ``` 5 3 1 5 15 9 ``` ``` 5 3 1 5 15 9 ```
 ``` 5 3 1 5 15 9 ```
 ``` 11 19 7 5 3 1 ``` ``` 19 13 5 7 1 1 ```
 ``` 3 1 5 15 9 ```
 ``` 9 5 13 1 5 3 7 5 1 1 ```
 -------------------- F 32 5-1 71 19-1 ----------- Bb 32 5-1
-----------------
Ab 5-1

In Partch's terminology, the letters-with- numbers and exponents below or above the line give the 1-identity of the Otonality or Utonality, respectively. He would call these "roots" as follows:

```

m 1  C    1/1  -Utonality
m 2  F    4/3  -Utonality
m 3  Eb 189/160-Utonality
m 4  F  126/95 -Otonality
Bb   9/5  -Otonality
m 5  F   27/20 -Utonality
m 6  Ab   8/5  -Otonality

```

The stack of numbers alone, on the opposite side of the line, are the identities present in the chord. I find my notation much simpler than Partch's. If you understand what I wrote above, then you could easily reproduce the tune. It's also easy to visualize the pitches on a lattice with my notation.

I wrote it originally in 12-Eq, then figured out common-tones on paper, which is how I got those strange F and Bb chords in measure 4. I've tried this kind of thing for other people's (older) music and it didn't work, because the high-prime common-tones throw the chord-roots off into an odd-sounding high-prime key, but surprisingly here, it sounds great!

Part of the reason why I left that passing-chord in measure 2 in 12-Eq is because, by use of all the common-tone relationships in the following chords, I had to find a "break" in the tonal fabric somewhere, and I decided to do it with the parallel descending chords going from m 2 into m 3. So the chord in m 3 is the only significant chord in the 6-measure phrase that's not closely related to the preceding chord. Making the passing chord also unrelated (by leaving it in 12-Eq) helps to mask the "break".

There are some pretty "far out" chord changes in there, and with the employment of the 5-limit xenharmonic bridges ("unison vectors" as Fokker called them) they could be well represented in a simple 5-limit tuning!

Whether in 19- or in 5-limit, it sounds MUCH better in JI than in 12-Eq. The JI versions have a richness that is entirely lacking in the 12-Eq version. When you hear the JI first, the 12-Eq simply falls flat, so to speak.

graph of pitches

(Chords from Piano part only - no bass line)

Joe Monzo: Invisible Haircut lattice diagrams

Showing each of the main chords in red.

Click here to open a window with an animated applet of these lattices.

Click here to open a window with an animated applet of these lattices.

Some further observations on this piece:

• Me, Mills College TD 1415.17, Thu, 14 May 1998 16:33:41 -0400
• Erlich, Wed Mar 17, 1999 2:07 am
• Me, Wed Mar 17, 1999 1:02am
• Lumma, Wed Mar 17, 1999 6:11am, Onelist TD 108.5
• Me, Thu Mar 18, 1999 6:45am, Onelist TD 110.9
• Erlich, Fri Mar 19, 1999 1:08pm
• Me, Fri Mar 19, 1999 6:00pm, Onelist TD 112.12

Updated:

2002.09.14
2001.12.14
2000.10.04
2000.02.05
1999.03.09

 For many more diagrams and explanations of historical tunings, see my book. If you don't understand my theory or the terms I've used, start here or try some definitions.