Harmonic/Melodic Canon

 

Photo by Will Gullette

 

I am the poet of the Body - 1980

Poem by Walt Whitman
Music by Cris Forster
Cris Forster, Harmonic/Melodic Canon and voice

 

 

 

 

 

The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me - 1986

Poem by Walt Whitman
Music by Cris Forster
Cris Forster, Harmonic/Melodic Canon and voice

 

 

 

 

I am the poet of the Body - 2013

Poem by Walt Whitman
Music by Cris Forster
David Boyden, Harmonic/Melodic Canon and voice

 

 

 

 

The past and present wilt
The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me - 2013

Poems by Walt Whitman
Music by Cris Forster
David Boyden, Harmonic/Melodic Canon and voice





 

Built:  ..... 1976, San Francisco, California.
Rebuilt: ..... 1981, San Diego, California.
Rebuilt: ..... 1987, San Francisco, California.
Dimensions: ..... Total number of strings: 48.
String length: 1000.0 mm.
Canon length: 41½ in.
Canon height: 5½ in.
Canon width: 40½ in.
Height on upper side: 51½ in.
Height on lower side: 31¾ in.
Materials: ..... Sitka spruce, Honduras rosewood, birch, teak,
delrin, kydex, aluminum, brass, and steel.
Range: ..... Open strings: G below middle C.
Tuning: ..... Just Intonation.

         

 

 

          In ancient Greece, Pythagoras, Euclid, and Ptolemy used an instrument called the kanon to analyze and play many different kinds of intervals and scales. In Greek, the word kanon means (1) a straight rule or rod, as in measuring instrument; and (2) a general rule or principle, as in code of law.

 

          On the Harmonic/Melodic Canon, all 48 strings are one meter long and are tuned to the same frequency, thereby giving an aural and mathematical constant. Moveable bridges then divide the strings into many different and exact length ratios, which in turn produce exact frequency ratios. Since the tuning possibilities on a canon seem endless, I refer to it as a “limited form of infinity.”

 

In the history of music, the Harmonic/Melodic Canon and the Bass Canon are the first canons that satisfy two musical conditions. Both canons have independently movable bridges that produce mathematically predictable length ratios; and both canons function as fully resonant performance instruments.

 

(See also M.M. Pages > Al-Jurjani’s Canon, > Forster’s Canon.)