Maqam Melodies: Pitches, Patterns, and Developments of Music in the Middle East and other Microtonal Writings

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Product Details
Jenny Stanford Publishing
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.38 inches | 0.81 pounds

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About the Author

Peter Alexander Thoegersen was born in Los Angeles, USA, in 1967. He earned his doctorate in music composition from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, in 2012. He wrote his thesis on polytempic polymicrotonality, previously untouched as a stylistic genre, with only a single precursor in the literature, Charles Ives's Universe Symphony (1915). Polytempic polymicrotonality offers expansive potential for the re-emergence of pitch and rhythm in contrast to extended technique noise gestures prevalent today. Dr. Thoegersen, a drummer, extrapolates rhythms and explores polytempo and four-way independence, wherein each independent "limb" becomes its own part, or voice, with its own tempo, and ultimately, its own microtonal system--approaching a radical new polyphony not yet practiced in musical literature. He has had his works premiered in Europe, Australia, and the United States. His eponymous CD Three Pieces in Polytempic Polymicrotonality (2019, New World Records) has had nine reviews and made to three top ten lists for 2019's best CDs. His song cycle Facebook: What's On Your Mind? was released on Flea Records in April 2021. Dr Thoegersen's most recent album, Alien Music (2022 Magic&Unique Records), is available for streaming on Spotify and Apple and is also available at Amazon.


"Polymath Peter Thoegersen's doctoral dissertation, published in 2022 as Polytempic Polymicrotonal Music: The Road Less Traveled, went around the world and through the whole of musical history to explore man's attempts to use differently tuned scales and competing simultaneous tempos. Here he focuses his extraordinary erudition on the scales of Arab music throughout history, as defined in treatises by medieval scholars like Safi al-Din and Qutb al-Din; he then moves giddily through an exploration of pre-Bach theories of modes as prelude to an exploration of quarter-tones in Western music after 1900, including his own multidimensional music. Once again, the historical sweep and wealth of detail are astonishing."

Prof. Kyle Gann

Bard College, USA

Author of The Arithmetic of Listening: Tuning Theory and History for the Impractical Musician