Featured on RMN Music's "Architectures, Music for Solo Instruments," Unconventional Tuning is a twelve-tone work. Since the oboe is the conduit for tuning an orchestra, I began the Prime Row on A440. Even the first note of the piece is sustained and held as though the player is beginning the tuning process. However, it is immediately broken up by playing fragments of the row, eventually progressing to pitch-class C.
Although the orchestra tunes to A, C has often been a crucial key or tonal center in developing musicianship. Beginner pianists, for example, start their lessons with "middle C." So although A440 is important to tuning an ensemble, C is equally as vital to "tuning into" being a musician. Therefore, the Prime Row is also played in Retrograde, with pitch-class C as the starting point.
Performed by Shawna Wolf at the BGSU New Music Festival 2020
Premiered by Jonathan Thompson in Sala Xochipilli, Mexico