Ervin Wilson: One of the Great Intonation Theorists

by Bart on March 22, 2010

With sadness we report that one of the leading microtonal theorists of our time, Ervin Wilson, is now in failing health.  Erv’s work in musical scale systems was informed by his extraordinary gift for geometric visualization. Some of his most influential work involved the creation of multi-dimensional models representing tonal relationships as relationships in space. Some of these geometric conceptualizations, simplified to two dimensions, formed the basis of  keyboard designs used in instruments by Harvey Starr of Starr Labs, Scott Hackleman, Steven Golovnin and others. Electronic composer Marcus Hobbs, in addition, has created software implementations of many of Erv’s tonal constructs.

For an extensive archive of Erv’s own writings, go to Kraig Grady’s Anaphoria web site. (While you’re at this site, be sure to linger a while to explore the wonderful island of Anaphoria.) And here is a page from the Starr Labs web site describing one of the Wilson keyboards.  One more: scroll to the bottom of this page for an audio demonstration by Stephen James Taylor.

(Thanks for Jim French and Scott Hackleman for information and link suggestions.)

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