Kees Arntzen wins 3rd prize for Composition at the 4th Microtonal Guitar Competition

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Norwegian Mood arose as a result of a composition competition for microtonal guitar music in Istanbul, organized by the tireless Tolgahan Çoğulu…   

Where most entries build on – variations of – Eastern and Arabic tone scales with the help of some extra frets on the fretboard of the guitar, Kees Arntzen opted for a radical, more Western approach in the footsteps of the Czech Alois Haba who worked with quarter tones early in the twentieth century and even wrote a theory of harmony.

With the help of three strings tuned a quarter-tone lower, almost all frequencies of the 24-tone scale are available on the guitar. In particular, Kees Arntzen wanted to emphasize the so-called ‘natural seventh’, as it plays a prominent role in European folk music. In the melody of the song ‘Danse ikke gråte nå’ by Norwegian singer Lillebjørn Nilsen he found the starting point for seven free variations. The text of this touching vocals, which can give rise to beautiful vocal arrangements and improvisations, reads as follows:

This earth will feed you
This river will give you water
This girl will give birth to your child
This earth will become your grave

Please check out the recent release of Kees Arntzen – Lieder und Balladen zu Texten von Kurt Tucholsky. Now available at Donemus Records.