About Cris Forster


2005 Video Performance





Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.



Immigrated to Berlin, Germany.



Immigrated to New York, New York.



Moved to California.



Became U.S. citizen.



B.A. in history, cum laude, University of California, Santa Cruz.



B.A. in music, piano performance, Lone Mountain College, San Francisco.



Began building original instruments.



Received a Special Projects Grant from the California Arts Council to compose and perform Song of Myself: Intoned Poems of Walt Whitman for voice, Chrysalis, and Harmonic/Melodic Canon.



Curator, archivist, and performer for the Harry Partch Foundation. Tuned, repaired, and rebuilt virtually all the Partch instruments; performed as string player and percussionist. In 1980, coordinated and supervised a tour of the Partch instruments to Berlin and Cologne; played Marimba Eroica in Partch’s The Bewitched in Berlin and Cologne; performed Song of Myself: Intoned Poems of Walt Whitman in Berlin.



Built and rebuilt original instruments. Established the Chrysalis Foundation in 1982. Wrote compositions; gave public performances throughout California.



Wrote Musical Mathematics: On the Art and Science of Acoustic Instruments. (See M.M. Pages.)



Edited, indexed, designed, typeset, and copyedited Musical Mathematics, published in 2010 by Chronicle Books, San Francisco, California; improved all the instruments with new or redesigned parts; wrote new compositions for Ellis Island/Angel Island: A Vision of the American Immigrants; directed Chrysalis Foundation Internship Programs (see YouTube Just Intonation Music Videos); gave private and public performances; built Chrysalis II; restored Chrysalis I; modified the String Winder; contributed structural designs for soundproofing the Chrysalis New Music Studio (see Kickstarter Article); modified Glassdance; rebuilt Diamond Marimba I; organized the Instrument Construction Archive.





Building New Chrysalis II


October 2013–March 2015






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Musical Mathematics

on the art and science of acoustic instruments


Table of Contents



Buy now at  Amazon.com: click New or Used.


Also available from the publisher at Chronicle Books, San Francisco.




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Musical Mathematics Online PDF Citations / Citations as PDF Files



1. How Music and Mathematics Relate     


2. In Defense of Music’s Eternal Nature: On the Pre-eminence of Musica theorica Over Musica practica     


3. Soittimen kehittäminen kehitysvammaiselle : soitinrakennus erityispedagogiikan kontekstissa     


4. The Hurrian Pieces, ca. 1350 BCE: Part Two — From Numbered Strings to Tuned Strings       


5. La musique persane, Formalisation algébrique des structures     


6. Music and Dance of the Middle East     


7. The Ear, Music, and Math     


8. The search for a microtonal Flute     


9. Metingen en Analyse van Muziekinstrumenten     


10. The Haydn and Hummel Trumpet Concertos and Their Similarities     


11. Acoustic Resonance in Cylindrical Tubes with Side Branches     


12. Mathematical Modeling of Resonance in an Open-Ended Cylinder     


13. The Blues Scale     


14. Mathematics, Music, and the Guitar     


15. Tópicos Especiais em Luteria     


16. Curso Superior de Tecnologia em Luteria     


17. The Development of the Equal Temperament Scale: Evolution or Radical Change?     


18. The Mathematics, Physics, and Computation of Music     


19. Discovering the Art of Mathematics: Music     


20. The Celtic Lyre     


21. Music in Islamic Spiritual Care: A Review of Classical Sources     


22. Appraising Timbre: Embodiment and Affect at the Threshold of Music and Noise     


23. Theoretical Framework for Modeling Ingressive Phonation     


24. Einführung, Stimmung, und Intonation     


25. Müzik İşaretlerinde Öznitelik Belirlenmesi...     


26. Ancient Strings: Alapini Vina     


27. Music of India - a brief outline - Part sixteen     


28. In Search of the Colascione or Neapolitan Tiorba. - a Missing Link?     


29. Quantitative Analysis of Guitar Harmonic Character     


30. El pensamiento religioso en la música de Arnold Schönberg     


31. Matematica e Musicologia: la costruzione dei temperamenti     


32. Authority, Critique, and Revision in the Sanskrit Music-Theoretic Tradition: Rereading the Svara-mela-kalānidhi     


33. On The Performance of Segment Averaging of Discrete Cosine Transform Coefficients on Musical Instruments Tone Recognition     




45. Physics of Musical Instrument (woodwind instrument)     


46. Islamic Civilisation Primer Series      


47. The Microtones of Bharata’s Natyashastra      


48. The Relentless Pursuit of Tone: Timbre in Popular Music      


49. Müzikte Yeni Doğuşkan Arayişi Konusunda El-Jurjani’nin 1,000
Yillik İşaret İşleme Probleminin Nihayi Çözümü

          (Max F. Meyers original tonality diamond acknowledged.)      


50. El-Kindî’nin Ud Perde Değerlerinin Gitara Uygulanmasi Ve Enis Gümüş’ün “El-Kindî” Eserinin Analizi     


51. Experimenting with woodwind instruments      


52. Síntesis de Sonido Digital de un Instrumento de Viento Usando el Método de la
Transformación del Funcional


53. Foundations In Music Psychology: Theory and Research     


54. Η Εξέλιξη των Μουσικών Συστημάτων: Μια Διδακτική Ιστορικο–Μαθηματική Προσέγγιση σε Μαθητές της Γ΄ Γυμνασίου του Μουσικού Σχολείου     


55. Microtonality and the Struggle for Fretlessness in the Digital Age       


56. Workshop Pembuatan Instrumen Dan Penyusunan Musik Bambuuntuk Peserta “Festival Swara Deling 2015” Di Surakarta     


57. Avanti Dilettanti– Lasst das Cello ertönen!     


58. تاريخ علوم الموسيقى عند العرب وعند العجم        

      English machine translation site


59. Music as Biology       



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Writings on Cris Forster


Editors. “Cris Forster. In Für Augen und Ohren, Magazine of the Berlin Music Festival. January–February, 1980, pp. 16–17. Dr. Ulrich Eckhardt, Publisher. Berlin, Germany.


Mahlke, S. “Barde mit zwei Saitenspielen.” Der Tagesspiegel. January 25, 1980. Berlin, Germany.


Garr, D. “The Endless Scale.” Omni. March, 1981, p. 48. New York, New York.


McDonald, R. “Cris Forster: Making Music.” San Diego Magazine. September, 1982, pp. 136–139, 198, 228. San Diego, California.


Fleischer, D. “Sounds of Infinity.” Connoisseur. August, 1983, pp. 102, 105. New York, New York.


Levine, J. “Expanded Musical Palette Is Inventor’s Note-able Goal.” The Tribune. September 6, 1983. San Diego, California.


Brewster, T. “A Medley of New Instruments: A Wheel Like the Wind.” Life Magazine. November, 1983, p. 142. New York, New York.


Editors. “Klingen wie der Wind.” Stern. January, 1984, pp. 146–148. Hamburg, Germany.


Davies, H. (1984). “Microtonal Instruments,” pp. 656–657. In The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, Volume 2, S. Sadie, Editor. Macmillan Press Limited, London, England.


Drye, S.L. (1984). The History and Development of the Musical Glasses, pp. 46–49. Master’s thesis, North Texas State University.


Arnautoff, V. “Hill Musician Composes, Builds Own Instruments.” The Potrero View. November, 1985, p. 5. San Francisco, California.


Editors. “This Californian and His Bearings Are Making Beautiful Music Together.” Precisionist: A Publication of the Torrington Company. Summer, 1987, pp. 14–15. Torrington, Connecticut.


Bowen, C. “Making Music from Scratch.” Métier. Fall, 1987, p. 7. San Francisco, California.


Snider, J. “Chrysalis: A Transformation in Music.” Magical Blend. April, 1989, pp. 98–102. San Francisco, California.


Hopkin, B. “Review.” Experimental Musical Instruments V, No. 6. April, 1990, p. 4. Nicasio, California.


Editors. “Forster, Cris.” PITCH for the International Microtonalist I, No. 4, Spring 1990, p. 142. Johnny Reinhard, Editor. New York, New York.


Canright, D. “Performance: Concert in Celebration of the Chrysalis New Music Studio — Instruments and Music by Cris Forster.” 1/1, the Journal of the Just Intonation Network 11, No. 4. Spring, 2004, pp. 19–20. San Francisco, California.


Kaliss, J. Cris Forsters Just Musical Menagerie. San Francisco Classical Voice. July 23, 2013. San Francisco, California. (See San Francisco Classical Voice Article.)


Spaulding, B. “How Math Is Helping One Man Push the Boundaries of Acoustic Music.” PTC Product Lifecycle Report. January 4, 2016. Needham, Massachusetts. (See PTC Mathcad Article.)


Forster, H. “Support the Evolution of Acoustic Music.” Kickstarter Project. November 29, 2016–January 15, 2017. Brooklyn, New York. (See Kickstarter Article).



Videos on Cris Forster


Gaikowski, R., Videographer and Editor (1988). Musical Wood, Steel, and Glass: A video featuring Cris Forster, composer, musician, inventor. A One Way Films/Videos Production, San Francisco, California.


Noyes, E., Videographer and Editor; Forster, H., Producer and Writer (2006). A Voyage in Music: A retrospective of Cris Forster’s work over the past thirty years. An Alligator Planet Production, San Francisco, California.


Video performances of solo and ensemble compositions by Cris Forster at the Chrysalis New Music Studio. https://www.youtube.com/user/CrisForster/feed


Thomas, R., Videographer and Editor; Forster, H., Writer (2016). Support the Evolution of Acoustic Music. A Sponsored Films Production, San Francisco, California.



Articles by Cris Forster


“Chrysalis.” Interval: A Microtonal Newsletter. Spring 1978, pp. 6–8. Jonathan Glasier, Editor. San Diego, California.


“Harmonic/Melodic Canon.” Interval: A Microtonal Newsletter. Fall, 1978, pp. 17–19. Jonathan Glasier, Editor. San Diego, California.


“Introduction to Everything; Chrysalis; Harmonic/Melodic Canon; Diamond Marimba; Diamond Marimba Score: Ascent of the Phoenix.” Xenharmonikon 7+8, Vol. 4, Nos. 1+2, Spring, 1979, pp. 1–20. Dr. John H. Chalmers, Editor.


Song of Myself: Intoned Poems of Walt Whitman.” Interval: A Microtonal Newsletter. Spring/Summer 1979, p. 44. Jonathan Glasier, Editor. San Diego, California.


“Conversion Analysis: Ratios to Cents.” Interval: A Microtonal Newsletter. Winter 1979, p. 5. Jonathan Glasier, Editor. San Diego, California.


“Diamond Marimba.” Interval: A Microtonal Newsletter. Winter 1979, pp. 16–18. Jonathan Glasier, Editor. San Diego, California.


“Harry Partch: Ein Bildnis,” (“Harry Partch: A Portrait”). In Für Augen und Ohren, Magazine of the Berlin Music Festival. January–February, 1980, pp. 10–13. Dr. Ulrich Eckhardt, Publisher. Berlin, Germany.


“When the Music’s Over.” Omni. May, 1981, p. 14. New York, New York.


Reflections on building, tuning, and persevering; and on Song of Myself: Intoned Poems of Walt Whitman. In Sonic Art, Catalog of The Art Gallery at California State College, San Bernardino. February–March, 1982, pp. 12–13. Marlin Halverson, Editor. San Bernardino, California.


Descriptions of five original acoustic instruments; and of the Chrysalis Foundation. In Making Music, Catalog of the California Crafts Museum. February–April, 1987. Bill Mellentin, Editor. San Francisco, California.


“Plain String Calculations.” Experimental Musical Instruments V, No. 6, April 1990, pp. 10–11. Bart Hopkin, Editor. Nicasio, California.


“On the physics of musical glasses and marimba bars.” Experimental Musical Instruments VI, No. 3, October 1990. pp. 4–5. Bart Hopkin, Editor. Nicasio, California.


“Wound String Calculations.” Experimental Musical Instruments VI, No. 3, October 1990. pp. 14–17. Bart Hopkin, Editor. Nicasio, California.


The Partch Hoax Doctrines. Online article, pp. 1–22. The Chrysalis Foundation, San Francisco, California, 2015.