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Marc Sabat

Tuneable Intervals and the Development of a Real-Time Harmonic Microtuning Algorithm

At the center of Marc Sabat's project are tunable relations between acoustic sounds (consonant, dissonant, periodic) and their computer-generated counterparts (quantitative, calculable, algorithmic). Sabat is developing a computer algorithm that can derive possible harmonic relationships of simultaneously sounding pitches and thus intonate them in real time according to user-defined parameters. He wants to further develop this algorithm and make it the basis of an 'intelligent' electronic musical instrument called "Micromaelodeon". Such an instrument would allow musicians - composers, instrumentalists, real-time musicians - to discover harmonic perception in a new way.

Marc Sabat is a Canadian composer and audio artist based in Berlin since 1999. He has made installations, video works and concert music pieces using acoustic instruments and electronics, often collaborating with visual artists. His projects draw on ideas from American folk and experimental musics, psychoacoustics, new spectralism and minimalist art, and have been presented internationally in radio broadcasts and live at festivals of new music including the Donaueschinger Musiktage, MaerzMusik, Darmstadt and Carnegie Hall. Recent performers of his compositions include Aki Takahashi, Rohan de Saram, Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin and the Pellegrini Quartet.

Current projects include a retrospective of his work by the Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop (Berlin), a ballet and song cycle for Trio Scordatura (Amsterdam), a piano concerto for Stephen Clarke, a film with Peter Sabat based on the brass trio Hairy Hippy Happy and a music scenery with Lorenzo Pompa for five computer-controlled drumsets and electric guitar. Together with artist Mareike Lee, he is curating the performance series Zwielicht at A trans Pavilion in the Hackesche Höfe Berlin.

Sabat studied violin at the University of Toronto, at the Juilliard School in New York, as well as working privately with Malcolm Goldstein, James Tenney and Walter Zimmermann. He teaches courses in composition, acoustics and experimental intonation at the Universität der Künste Berlin, and has been a guest artist at the California Institute of the Arts, at the Escola Superior in Barcelona and the Paris Conservatoire. He has recorded for various labels including mode records, World Edition and HatArt.