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Encyclopedia of Microtonal Music Theory

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[Joe Monzo]

A term coined by Ivor Darreg from the Greek words for "strange harmonic". Darreg used it to refer to any non-12-edo (microtonal) scales, which presented strange and wonderful new intervals and sonic worlds to explore; he chose "xen" because its connotation in ancient Greek is that the stranger is to be welcomed as a guest, eventually to become more familiar, and ultimately to become a close friend.

Note that it is possible for a composition to be composed entirely of intervals that would ordinarily be considered 'microtonal' without sounding particularly unusual or 'xenharmonic'; an example is Joe Monzo's 19-tone Samba; other examples would be Renaissance, Baroque and Classical music performed in historically correct temperaments.

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[John Chalmers, Divisions of the Tetrachord]

An adjective coined by Ivor Darreg from the Greek words "xenos," meaning strange, foreign, or inhospitable, and "harmonikos," (harmonic, etc). to refer to music in non-12-tone equally tempered tuning. The topic noun is xenharmonics.

Xenharmonikôn is a journal devoted to microtonal music which was founded by John Chalmers in 1971.

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