Composer/keyboardist/producer Elodie Lauten creates operas, music for dance and theatre, orchestral, chamber and instrumental music. Not a household name, she is however widely recognized by historians as a leading figure of post-minimalism and a force on the new music scene, with 20 releases on a number of labels.

Her opera Waking in New York, Portrait of Allen Ginsberg was presented by the New York City Opera (2004 VOX and Friends) in May 2004, after being released on 4Tay, following three well-received productions. OrfReo, a new opera for Baroque ensemble was premiered at Merkin Hall by the Queen's Chamber Band, whose New Music Alive CD (released on Capstone in 2004) includes Lauten's The Architect. The Orfreo CD was released in December 2004 on Studio 21. In September 2004 Lauten was composer-in-residence at Hope College, MI. Lauten's Symphony 2001, was premiered in February 2003 by the SEM Orchestra in New York. In 1999, Lauten's Deus ex Machina Cycle for voices and Baroque ensemble (4Tay) received strong critical acclaim in the US and Europe. Lauten's Variations On The Orange Cycle (Lovely Music, 1998) was included in Chamber Music America's list of 100 best works of the 20th century.

Born in Paris, France, she was classically trained as a pianist since age 7. She received a Master's in composition from New York University where she studied Western composition with Dinu Ghezzo and Indian classical music with Ahkmal Parwez. Daughter of jazz pianist/drummer Errol Parker, she is also a fluent improviser. She became an American citizen in 1984 and has lived in New York since the early seventies

Visit Elodie Lauten's Web Site
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Microtonal Math-Heads

Math and Music – Harmonious Connections, by Trudi Hammel Garland and Charity Vaughan Kahn, is the clearest introduction to the subject I have come across. It has a rather interesting explanation of the Pythagorean tuning ; also touches upon the concept of self-similarity, which I also refer to as ‘dinergy’ (see article on the subject on my web site: & concepts). This book also offers a chronology of music/mathematics thinkers, from Pythagoras to Ptolemy, Euclid, Boethius, Kepler, Pascal, Gauss, Mersenne, Euler and for the 20th century, Joseph Schillinger who taught both math and music at Columbia University in the 1920s… which brings me to a new book by a similar personality: Serge Donval, who teaches both science at the University of Paris and music at the Conservatoire. His book, Histoire de l’Acoustique Musicale, (a history of musical acoustics), and I would look forward to its publication in the English language, as it is uniquely comprehensive and concise, as well as widely researched; I was particularly interested in Donval's presentation of Zarlino’s scale (1558), a largely forgotten early temperament system. Donval also uncovers a vast array of multicultural models. I stared for a long time at the ‘first microtonal scale in history’, a triangular 17-tone matrix conceived in the 13th century. This is an excellent and thorough reference book for anyone interested in microtonality, the history and geography of temperament, and other music-math connections. In The Math Behind the Music, by Leon Harkleroad, I found some unique information about chance music and probability systems. What I would like to see in a future on math and music is more information about Hans Cousto, Benoit Mandelbrot, and the musical implications of their work. Also what I haven’t yet found is a comprehensive presentation of the relationship between color and sound.

The sound/color equation, at first glance, seems exciting, but even though it has triggered an incredible amount of interest in this over the centuries, no one seems to agree on what color matches what sound. This particular area of exploration intrigued Isaac Newton; then in the 18th century Louis Bertrand Castel started building eccentric ‘color harpsichords’ that would pop a colored card with each note – a wonderful salon gadget, not doubt, for the aristocrats of the Enlightenment period; Castel used a simple correspondence scheme based on the color spectrum; but then Rameau stepped in and introduced the concept of color harmony: for instance, the primary colors, yellow, blue and red would be lined up with a major chord. This complicated matters somewhat in terms of the sound/color correspondence. Later Helmholz looked into the subject, and Alexander Scriabin seems to have been the first to use the color/sound correspondence approach as a compositional device, and from there a new school of thought has emerged: ‘spectral music’ based on the light spectrum correspondence.

At one point, I experimented with a light/sound correspondence for the matrix of an orchestral piece (shown above); the scheme that made the most sense to is the basic mathematical correspondence between Angstrom (light units) and Hertz (frequencies) which places the violet with G, indigo with A, blue with B, green with C, yellow with D, orange with E and F with red. On the other hand, I didn’t really find this correspondence scheme too useful in composition, because it is so limiting, and I used it mostly for determining tonal centers. In a multimedia piece, however this could possibly make sense, provided one goes for a ‘rainbow’ sort of look, with a balance of colors… or one would have to go monochromatic with a single tone held for a long time…

I found some information at, authored by Fred Collopy.

Does math make jack a dull fellow... not necessarily, and we microtonal mathheads are having a fest at of all places the Bowery Poetry Club - it doesn't get much more highbrow than this... Dates are April 29, May 2 and May 9 at 10 PM. I am eagerly awaiting the first performance of my Ecocity for woodwinds and percussion - I keep wondering why I wrote such a piece... no fear of tunings though I am using ear-friendly temperaments 0nly. More infor at: