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Friday, January 31, 2020

Featured on the Now&Xen podcast playing the Kite Guitar

I was featured on the Now&Xen podcast! Full link:

Here's an embedded player:

The "xen" in the podcast name refers to the prefix that means "strange" or "foreign" (so xenophobia is fear of foreign people or things, xenophilia is love of them). In this case, it refers to xenharmonic, a term for musical tunings that feel foreign.

In the podcast, I'm playing on and discussing the amazing Kite Guitar, named for my friend Kite Giedraitis who discovered the tuning and invented a practical language around it.

Also while it can produce "xenharmonic" (strange) new sounds, the Kite Guitar can play familiar, comfortable harmonies that just blend better than any normal instrument! I'm not interested in merely being weird (there's lots of other xen, weird sounds out there). As you'll hear in the podcast, my goal is to play inspiring, beautiful blended harmonies I hear in barbershop quartets, blues, world music, and so on.

Note that this is mostly edited from a live conversation that wasn't planned as a podcast. It captures enthusiasm and a lot of ideas, but the three of us already understood tuning theory. Most musicians — even professionals — may not understand the language here. But anyone can still get some gist and hear the sounds.

For 20 years (note the past articles here on tuning), I've been seeking a practical system for playing more harmonic and expressive tunings on guitar and Stick. I finally have it! I'm thrilled to be a partner in developing and bringing the Kite Guitar to the world. We're planning videos, audio recordings, songs and compositions, instrument production, educational methods, theory explanations and more… For now, enjoy this sneak peak.

Kite, Jacob Collier, me,
and Caleb Ramsey (who recorded that session)
BONUS: The end of the podcast has a couple short clips from when Kite and I showed one of the earliest prototypes to Jacob Collier… We hope to get him an instrument and see what amazing things he does with it. And I plan to write sometime more about the way Jacob has inspired me both in my music and teaching.

1 comment:

  1. FANTASTIC article, and all of your contributions to the XENHaromic wiki.
    Really appreciate you all sharing your supercool discoveries. Thanks.