Chamber opera by Guðmundur Steinn Gunnarsson

Dhorpmas The experimental lyres in this picture are prototypes of an attempt to create string instruments well suited to Guðmundur Steinn´s style of composing which can be made cheaply and consistently from generic parts and materials.

A halldorophone is included in the instrumentation of Einvaldsóður, a chamber opera by Guðmundur Steinn Gunnarsson premiered at Sláturtíð 2017. Singers explore aspects of kvæðaskapur and the baroque, accompanied by old and experimental instruments in alternative tunings. Also included in the instrumentation are prototype experimental lyres developed by Guðmundur Steinn and Halldór Úlfarsson, here are a few of Guðmundur’s words about the project:

Like many just intonation scales or natural tuning systems this system works with intervals in a palindromic fashion, ratios and its compliments. Compliment refers to when two numbers in a ratio are switched. This literally corresponds to playing a string on the other side of the bridge to hear the compliment of the note. In theory this is how it works and these instruments are a simple display of this natural function. Of course this is not the whole story as there are always multiple other variables that can affect the tuning. 36 (or 35 or 37) notes in one octave are played on 6 different 3 string but 6 note instruments. Needless to say, this project owes a lot to Harry Partch and other composers in that continuum.