French Just Intonation composer, instrument builder and Eastern music specialist Pierre-Jean Croset, born 1949, discovered the sonic properties of Altuglass through his father, who worked for the Altulor company who invented the Plexiglas and Altuglas acrylic materials based on polymethylmethacrylate, or PMMA. Croset build his first “Harmonic lyre” in 1974, an electrified, table top stringed instrument build from an Altuglas body, carbon fiber neck and 18 Black Sun nylon strings from French guitar string manufacturer Savarez. He used the instrument to explore just intonation and special tunings inspired by Indian, Balinese and Nepalese music he studied during numerous trips to the Far East. During the first half of the 1980s, he gave lectures and performances in Californian universities, home of American Just Intonation pioneers like Harry Partch, Lou Harrison, Ben Johnston or Kyle Gann. Just Intonation is not very well known in France, but Croset found kindred spirits in Jacques Dudon and Alain Daniélou, whose theories and research on acoustics and spirituality inspired him.
♫ This self-released LP documents a May 1979 live performance organized by Charles Antoni, manager of L’Originel, a French esoteric publishing house, through which Croset released his February 1979 article on Just Intonation titled Guide parfait du compositeur parfait (The Perfect Composer’s Perfect Guidebook). As track titles imply, the side long tracks are excerpts from 2 hour-long performances. These are improvisations on stringed harmonics – the Harmonic Lyre doesn’t have frets – in which Croset plays just intervals only, raising a peaceful and complex web of exquisite, chiming notes from the instrument.
01 First Hour (25:00)
02 Second Hour (22:55)
Total time 47:55
Self released LP, Atelier Musical de Provence, ref. AM001, France, 1979