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date: 20 September 2019

Drummond, Deanlocked

  • Charles Corey

Extract

(b Los Angeles, CA, Jan 22, 1949; d Princeton, NJ, April 13, 2013).

American composer, conductor, performer, and instrument inventor. Drummond attended the University of Southern California and the California Institute of the Arts, and studied composition with Leonard Stein. He also worked as an assistant for harry Partch in the 1960s and 70s, and in 1990 became the Director of the Harry Partch Instrumentarium. Drummond’s music is microtonal, exploring the unique possibilities of expandable just intonation through the use of standard Western instruments, voice, electronics, Harry Partch’s instruments, and two just-intoned instruments of Drummond’s own invention—the zoomoozophone and the juststrokerods. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1995, and is co-director of Newband, a new music ensemble for which he frequently serves as a performer or conductor.

Drummond’s zoomoozophone, built in 1978, is a metallophone which employs 31 just-intoned pitches per octave. The instrument is based on a g′ of 392 Hz, and has a total range of just over four octaves. Made of aluminum bars, it has a full, resonant sound with a long sustain, and can be played by anywhere from one to four percussionists at a time. The juststrokerods have an even longer sustain; spanning one octave, this instrument contains 13 notes that form a just-intoned version of the equal-tempered chromatic scale. One or both of these instruments are employed in a large number of Drummond’s works as well as those by other composers such as Elizabeth Brown and John Cage....

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