A History of Musical Pitch – Seamus Cater

With Anne La Berge, Sander Breure, Seamus Cater, Marielle Groven, Koen Nutters, Germaine Sijstermans, Fredrik Rasten and Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec.
Rijksakademie Schip, Amsterdam

The event is fully booked.

‘A History of Musical Pitch’ is a music work by the Amsterdam-based composer Seamus Cater. It was devised as part of a re-sounding of the explorations of Alexander J. Ellis, a Victorian polymath who within numerous avenues of interest invented the musical cent and is commonly thought of as the initiator of comparative musicology.

The 74 tuning forks used in this piece were tuned by Seamus to represent Ellis' research, The History of Musical Pitch (1880), where he gathered 223 instances of the note ‘A’ from intact historical organs and assorted instruments and makers. The A’s ranged between what we now call F# and C#. A History of Musical Pitch explores these micro-tonal sounds, focusing the system's most consonant tones, while moving through a historical timeline of 1495 to 1880.

For this presentation, Seamus (electronic tones) will be accompanied by Anne La Berge (flute), Fredrik Rasten (e-bowed guitar), Sander Breure, Marielle Groven, Koen Nutters, Germaine Sijstermans (tuning forks). As a prelude, artist and researcher Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec will give an introduction and contextualise the piece.

Seamus Cater

Seamus Cater is a English musician based in Amsterdam. His music is, usually, a combination of song writing and acoustic instrumental composition. Playing the duet concertina, sometimes tuned in Just Intonation, as accompaniment for voice, he searches for resonant connections between these sources. His songs are noted for conceptual narratives, often reinforced by musical parallels.

'A History of Musical Pitch' was released by Another Timbre (UK) in September 2023. The thesis presentation from where it came was awarded the research prize (2020) of the Royal Conservatory, Den Haag.

Previous releases include 'The Three Things You Can Hear', on Annihaya Records and Nearly Not There Records, 'Secrets', a long term collaboration with the Berlin clarinetist Kai Fagaschinski, and 'The Anecdotes', an LP of biographical portraits of artists with Viljam Nybacka. Currently he works solo and in duo with Fredrik Rasten playing traditional English songs in special tunings.

Seamus is a founding member and organiser of the Amsterdam concert series DNK-Amsterdam.

Public Programme

Our calendar of events, project presentations, talks & readings.