The Bohlen-Pierce Site
Web place of an alternative harmonic scale

Last updated: August 22, 2013

Site description

This site presents a collection of practical and theoretical material related to the Bohlen-Pierce scale (BP scale). BP is a harmonic, non-octave scale; its 13 tone steps span the framework of the twelfth (3:1). It is meant to permit creation and performance of harmonic music in tonal relations that are different from those of traditional scales. So far, there are only rudimentary approaches available to a tonal understanding of this scale. Instruments that can play it (except synthesizers) are few, but their number is growing fast. A considerable body of compositions exists, and some related literature is at hand.

BP is often called a "tuning", but it may be important to realize that it cannot be counted among the many tunings of the traditional Western scale. It is a musical scale in its own right, in far-reaching duality to the Western scale. It is in need of its own theory, and it has already begun to spawn its own tunings.

The aim of this site is to provide a place where interested people can find facts, thoughts and ideas related to BP. Connected to this home page are other pages (see side bar) that are dedicated to specific issues. Their number and content have been growing over the last years and will continue to do so. The collection is arranged in a rather accidental manner; it is not at all comprehensive and its view is probably fairly subjective.

ATTENTION: This is a quasi "historic" website, first launched in the mid 1990s. It is now under maintenance only, i.e. up-to-date information can no longer be expected.

Comments and questions regarding the contents of this site are welcomed by the caretaker; he can be contacted via:
info at huygens-fokker dot org

External links

BP from a different point of view:

Elaine Walker's "The Bohlen-Pierce Scale"

Kees van Prooijen's "13 tones in the 3rd harmonic"

Current BP Projects:

Bohlen-Pierce Clarinet Project at Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Hamburg, Germany

Bohlen-Pierce Clarinet Project by Stephen Fox, Ontario, Canada

tranSpectra Collective, Ontario, Canada

Bohlen-Pierce Clarinet Project by Nora-Louise Mueller

Related, but not strictly BP:

Interval gestalt and harmonic scales

An unorthodox look at consonance

Tristan, Terhardt, and the Tritave

Other Unusual Scales

An 833 cents scale

On "Pythagorean" Scale Derivation
(presenting thoughts that lead to a 47-step division of the double octave)

Some useful microtonal hubs:

Joe Monzo's "Definitions of Tuning Terms"

Huygens-Fokker Foundation

The following sites offer, besides valuable information, lots of interesting links. It is in the nature of the beast that many of them are broken.

John Chalmers' "Tuning Page"

Sebastian Bradt's "Collected Websites on Microtonality"

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