Music for 31-tone organ by Jan Hage

by Jan Hage | Het ORGEL | Year 107 | (2011) | Issue 3


Jan Hage Music for 31-tone organ
Het ORGEL 107 (2011), nr. 3, 11-16 [summary]

Although many think of the 31-tone organ as a modern instrument for modern music, it is in the first place a sounding realization of the 31-tone system of Christiaan Huygens. That system inspired Adriaan Fokker to have an instrument built with which old tunings could be realized. It can be seen as a part of the early-music movement and the attempt to realize more historically responsible performances of music from the 16th and 17th centuries.
The relationship with the past is apparent also from the music that such composers as Paul Christiaan van Westering (1911-1991), Henk Badings (1907-1987), Jan van Dijk (born 1918) composed for the 31-tone organ: the works are mostly traditional music which is colored by micro-intervals. That Fokker’s work was strongly rooted in tonality was emphasized when Peter Schat (1935-2003) composed an atonal work for the instrument, which resulted in a heated discussion between Fokker and Schat.