Három Holló
2000 Ft, kedvezményes jegy (diákok, nyugdíjasok): 1500Ft.

The inside of a tone

Microtonal compositions by Phill Niblock, Nikolaus Gerszewski, and Bálint Bolcsó

The composer Jakob Ullmann once compared the contemporary state of music to that of nuclear physics. If we conceive the ‘tone’ as the ‘nucleus’, the smallest detectable element of music, contemporary music, in the same way as contemporary nuclear physics, goes one step further: it cracks the shell of the nucleus, and penetrates its interior structure. Due to that fact our attention is drawn away from the tone’s semantic function, towards its individual sonic presence.

Outwardly the music may appear static, since it doesn’t proceed towards any climax or harmonic resolution. But there is a pull from within; and the more unreservedly ready we are to expose ourselves to it, the deeper the listening experience it releases will be.

Phill Niblock’s ‘Disseminate’ (2004), scored in 16 individual parts, starts its course with a unison on the note ‘D’, that gradually swells to the scope of a minor third, within a timespan of 21 minutes. The fact that the disseminating interval is interiorly stuffed with microtones, ensures an inscrutable cloud of overtones and beatings, resorbed by which the listener very soon loses their spacial and temporal orientation. During the performance the film of Phill Niblock titled “ China 88” is screened

Nikolaus Gerszewski’s ‘Turn’ (2021), for 16 string instruments, simultaneously exercises harmonic, rhythmic, and dynamic transition procedures, on the fundament of a diatonic cluster, spanning 4 and a half octaves. One gains the impression of tonality being an infinitely variable compound, with the contrasting notions of major and minor, consonance and dissonance, being engaged in a process of continuous resolution.

In Bálint Bolcsó’s work “Fabric” (2021), the gestures and processes, distinct at first, are arranged into heterogeneous and then more and more homogeneous structures, the internals of which are characterized by a continuous traversal of pitch space: glissandi, microtonality and intentional instability of intonation.


Supporter: Hungarian National Found


  • Nikolaus Gerszewski: Turn (2021)
  • Phill Niblock: Disseminate (2004)
  • Bálint Bolcsó: Fabric (2021)