Sixxen

In his percussion sextet Pléiades (1979) Iannis Xenakis calls for a special instrument, the so-called Sixxen.

The name was created by the composer and originated from the combination of the two words "Six" and "Xenakis". His work Pléiades is today considered one of the milestones of percussion literature. Iannis Xenakis has noted his indications of what sixxes are and how they should or should not be tuned in the score. He writes that for each of the six percussionists (players A to F) there must be 19 metal sounds, which need not be tuned either chromatic or diatonic. Each of the metal scales should not be exactly identical from player to player but should vary slightly. 

Sixxen - LUNASON LINE

LUNASON has taken a new direction in terms of sound with its specially developed sixxes, since, among other things, it uses aluminum plates instead of iron as metal. If all musicians play on many different sound plates at the same time, one can hear the clear strokes and, thanks to the exactly constant frequencies of the individual plates, every note.

On the other hand, a so-called "Drone" is created, which makes this LUNASON LINE so special. Since the aluminium plates are full like bells and reverberate for about 15 seconds when struck hard, there is a strong, long-lasting interference between the notes.

This special sound experience is supported by the tuning of the plates. The intervals from tone to tone are smaller than half tone steps but larger than quarter tone steps. The result is a very natural sound scale, which seems less complex than quarter tone scales but stranger than usual half tone scales.

The six resulting scales vary very slightly from Sixxen A to Sixxen F, so that if all six musicians play the same notes on their sixxes as Xenakis wishes, there will be additional slight interference between the instruments.

The frequency spectrum in which the Sixxes - LUNASON LINE are tuned lies in the range CIS5 - G5. This frequency range, which is rather high for sixxes, was deliberately chosen as a contrast to the much lower skin instruments that are found in pléiades. 

Sound sample

Métaux from Pléiades by Iannis Xenakis

Click here for the CD: GENUIN / I tunes

Transport case


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