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Hopelessly Microtonal Featured in Westword

Hopelessly Microtonal Featured in Westword

Hey all…Jon Solomon did a great job capturing the essence of our phone conversation, and the ideas we discussed are well presented. This is not an ez topic to write about, but it sounds like the way I actually talk…God help us, ha…hope you can check it out…Hstick

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Upcoming Events

Hey all…a few things coming up…

  • Tuesday January 8th, I’m on the KGNU Kabaret show, 7-8 Denver time…we’ll be talking about my new book “Hopelessly Microtonal,” and I’ll be playing several different instruments. Dan Willging, aka Big Daddy, is the emcee…we go way back, and he’s a great host…hope you can tune in…then…
  • January 29th I’m at Dazzle with the Bill Hill Quintet, a remarkable band. Bill is a great percussionist/composer, and he keeps us all on our musical toes…early show, so old folks can be tucked in at a decent hour (me included)…
  • February 10th, the Quintet is at Rockley’s Music on W. Colfax…another early show, we’ll also be doing a workshop with area students beforehand, which will be a lotta fun…
  • And sometime in May (most likely) we’ll be doing our annual benefit for the Evergreen Chamber Orchestra, for which Bill is the musical director. I’ll be posting more updates as they come in…hope to see you folks at some of these…


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Hey all…this email means a lot to me…my friend Matt Ostrowski has not only helped me finish my new book, “Hopelessly Microtonal,” but he’s totally redone my website, adding many new features, including the ability to sell my books and CD’s directly from the site, anywhere in the world. It also looks much more professional now as well, plz take a look. He’s also made it possible to email everybody on my list with one little click, so now I don’t have to type everybody’s name in one at a time anymore…yippee. Computer expertise is not part of what I do, so many thnx to Matt. He creates websites for a living, and you won’t find anyone better or more professional…he’s at

Hopelessly Microtonal
Hopelessly Microtonal

I’m taking this opportunity to once more let people know about the book, which is about my unique instrument collection. I have guitars in tuning systems of 12, 19, 22, 24, 31, 34, and 36 notes to the octave, as well fretless guitars and banjo, Ouds, and a Turkish Saz. There are pics of all the instruments; a brief history of what tuning is all about; neck graphs that illustrate the spacing of the frets in the different systems so you can see how they compare; information on the guitar companies, and the luthiers that do my work; and many musical anecdotes from my career, including a story of how I met legendary studio guitarist Tommy Tedesco in 1982, and the impact he had on my life. I think it’s a fun book, as well as educational. It came out really well, now on to the next project or three.

I also want to let you know of some great shows coming up in 2019…

December 31…(ok, 2018) I’ll be zookeeper for a Swallow Hill Instrument Petting Zoo at the Children’s Museum, from 9-4. It’s called Noon Years Eve, and I bring a bunch of different instruments for kids to play/bang on (adults too). I’ve done a lot of these the last couple of years, and they’re a lotta fun…come on down and see.

January 8…I’ll be live on KGNU’s Kabaret show, from 7-8 PM, talking about the book and playing a number of different instruments. I’ve been on here numerous times in the past; they do a superb job with the sound, and I’ll get a CD quality recording of the show…hope you can tune in.

January 29…I’ll be with the Bill Hill Quintet at Dazzle, early show, probably 6:30. Bill is the long time timpanist with the Colorado Symphony, which is where we met years ago. He’s also a helluva drummer/percussionist, and a great composer. His new CD “The Raven” is his 4th Symphony, and is based off of the E.A.Poe poem. It’s a masterpiece, check it out. Bill writes some challenging charts for the Quintet, and it’s a remarkable band indeed…we’ve sold Dazzle out the last couple of times, a great room.

February 10th… at Rockley’s Music, on West Colfax, again with Bill, another early show (great for certain old folks). We’ll also be doing an improvisation clinic with some high school students before the show. Everybody in the band has been teaching for years, so this is a natural for us. It’s a nice sounding hall, and Rockley’s is a longtime Colorado institution.

I’m also going to start writing a blog…I’ve actually done more writing the last few years than composing, and I plan to continue that. But, I do have a new CD that’s been sitting here for a couple of years, and plan on putting that out soon (“Radio Waves”). A sci fi memoir is in the works…I’ve had a rather interesting and unusual life this time around, and am already sketching it out…you’ll be the first to know. At 67, one tends to look back a bit, and it’s been quite a ride…it still is. I wish to thank all the people that have supported my artistic vision over the years…more to come I assure you…all best in 2019 and beyond…Hstick

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What is Microtonality? An Introduction

In all my years of playing, I have found the least understood subject to be that of tuning. Not just tuning an instrument to sound good, but: WHY are the notes on a piano (or guitar) tuned in the arrangement that they are, namely, what we call 12 tone equal temperament? Equal temperament means, simply, that every note is exactly the same distance from each other…a convenient way to measure this distance is CENTS; 100 cents is C to C#, one key on a piano, or one fret on a guitar. (there are 1200 cents in the 12 tone octave). But, the 12 tone system we all use is actually a fairly new kid on the tuning block, so to speak…throughout history, most cultures throughout the world have used systems with smaller intervals than 100 cents, and this is where the term microtone comes into play. And Western musicians have also used temperaments with more (or less) notes than 12 tone temperament; some popular tunings are 17, 19, 22, 24, 31, 34, 53, and 72 notes per octave; 19 tone temperament, for example, has 63 cents per note; 34 tone has 35 cents between notes. Charles Ives and Bela Bartok both used quartertones in pieces (24 tones/octave), and Julian Carrillo had a 96 tone system…yow.

Continue reading What is Microtonality? An Introduction

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The First Blog Entry

Stick Speaks

Okie…so, why am I doing a blog, and what will I be talking about? Well…for one, I’ve always believed in communicating, and reaching out to people with words. As a self managing artist for the last 45 years, I have had to contact people, and let them hear my music, since nobody else is doing it for me. Even in the ancient days of cassettes (and I still listen to them, ha) and snail mail, I wrote people all over the world, and still have many letters I’ve received in reply. Now, of course, with email and social media, you can reach people much more efficiently, and I like that. So with a blog, no telling who might read it, at any place in the world.

Continue reading The First Blog Entry