Pythagorean Pacific Music Festival

San Francisco’s first just intonation festival comes to the Contemporary Jewish Museum on Sunday, March 31, 2019.

Come explore the world of natural resonance and pure ratios.

*We like our numbers rational*

San Francisco’s first festival celebrating 'just intonation’ compositions with an all-star lineup of Bay Area performers from experimental to traditional styles

Featuring artists:

Chris Brown, Mills College (tuned piano)

Kyle Bruckmann (oboe)

Ellen Fullman (long string and autoharp)

Matt Ingalls (clarinet)

Larry Polansky, UC Santa Cruz (guitar)

Theresa Wong (cello and vocals)

Arjun Verma (sitar)

and the Del Sol Quartet

Most music traditions …

…around the world tune musical intervals as whole number ratios of frequencies. The Pythagoreans did this, playing the monochord, a single-string instrument that generates simple divisions of the string to create music. Touch the string at ½, ⅓ or other fraction of the length, and you get tones that create beautiful resonant intervals. In Europe, the rise of the piano, designed to move between keys without being retuned, forced a compromise in this mathematically rational system.

San Francisco’s Del Sol Quartet presents San Francisco’s first festival to return to the world of pure intervals often called “just intonation.”

The Bay Area is the birthplace of American just intonation composition, from archetypal outsider artist Harry Partch to composer Ben Johnston, and continues to nourish this tradition. The Del Sol Quartet brings together the just intonation specialists of the Bay Area for a four hour festival in the soaring Yud Gallery at The Contemporary Jewish Museum. In this light-filled space built with acoustic resonance in mind, audiences can experience a whole range of music that can be made with keeping “rational numbers” in mind, from soulful variations of “Amazing Grace” to highly calculated avant-garde compositions to the improvised world of extended wind techniques.

Music to be performed includes the world premiere of new quartet work by Michael Harrison and works by Ben Johnston, Ellen Fullman, Chris Brown, Larry Polansky, Matt Ingalls, Arjun Verma, Theresa Wong, and more. This first festival also launches a new commissioning arm of Del Sol Performing Arts Organization to produce future works in just intonation, including works to be premiered in 2020.

Just Intonation Commission Proposal

Next year for our PPMF we are commissioning a new work in Just intonation for string quartet. If you are a composer between the ages of 18 and 30 and would like to write for us check out more information on this page!

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Learn a little of what Just Intonation is all about with this video!

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