I recently translated a video by Hidekazu Wakabayashi (Japanese composer, sound artist, vocalist) into Arabic about his “Iceface Tuned Piano”.
This project that Wakabayashi put together, along with the questions he raises through it, is very meaningful to me as a sound artist/composer. I am specifically referring to the idea of microtones and their position within Western and non-Western musical traditions (such as Arabic musical traditions).
Wakabayashi’s “Iceface Tuned Piano” is an idea that came to him in a dream: tuning all the black keys on a piano up by 50 cents (equally tempered musical instruments are generally tuned to 100 cents between every two intervals). The tuning suggested by Wakabayashi has a unique sound, and I believe that musicians should play around with it. I also think that it could be a way for musicians to create their own tunings and approach to a unique musical sensibility. I have been over the last few years interested in different composers who created their own tunings or preparations for instruments such as the piano. Some examples of such composers are John Cage, Harry Partch, and Alois Hába.
Another issue that I believe is important through this simple translation is the necessity for Arab composers/musicians to be able to create a vocabulary (in the Arabic language) to discuss contemporary music practice. The lack of a critical vocabulary about music in the Arabic language is an issue that needs to be researched and discussed for music practice to develop.
For more samples of Wakabayashi’s music, please visit his soundcloud page at https://soundcloud.com/hidekazu-wakabayashi.