Top 100 Composers: Alois Hába

I admit, Hába barely made it to this list. There're several reasons why he did: 1. I'm interested in any composers who used microtonality pre-1940 (& most after then too), 2. Hába's having composed an entire quarter-tone opera on the subject of Suffragettes ("The Mother") was really going that extra mile (& it took me decades to find a recording of it), 3. I'm fortunate to have a score of an early string quartet of his from 1920 (Op. 7) in quarter-tones so it seemed like a good idea to reproduce that here ENLARGED (the copy I have is a study score, I suppose, it's very small & hard to read off of for performing). Furthermore, I added an English translation of Hába's minimal text about his quarter-tone system. The original is in Czech, German, & French. - November 17, 2017 note from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE


"The Mother" (in quarter-tones) (Op. 35) - 1930

"Nonet C.1" (in half-tones) (Op. 40) - 1931 - 9:35

"Smyccovy Kvartet C.11" (String Quartet #11) (in sixth-tones) (Op. 87) - 1959 - 11:44

"Smyccovy Kvartet C.12" (String Quartet #12) (in quarter-tones) (Op. 90) - 1960 - 15:36

"Smyccovy Kvartet C.13" (String Quartet #13) (in half-tones) (Op. 92) - 1961 - 11:58


My English translation of the above follows. Note that you have to consult the above in order to understand what the notation symbols are.

Haba's quarter-tone system explanation:

I worked for years to develop this quarter-tone system. Musical ideas, which could not be expressed until now by the present system of notes, were unceasingly inspired by different attempts with instruments and by composing. The quarter-tone is the result of long and painstaking studies and researches. It wasn't my intention to compromise the current semitone system, but to imbue it with the most subtle differences. I seemed to feel that the quarter-tone system was not a new language but a development of the old one.

The impulses given by Busoni and Möllendorf are known. The new possibilities of expression have been presented by or expected by all modern composers.

The usual signs of transpositions in use have been kept (sharps & flats).

The new signs are:

sharp by a quarter-of-tone

flat by a quarter-tone

As is customary, the natural sign is still used.

Example: A quarter-tone progression showing the new signs in use. [going from lowest pitch to highest]:

middle c

middle c increased by one quarter-tone

middle c sharped (by the usual half-step)

d lowered by a quarter-tone

d natural

d increased by one quarter-tone

e flat (i.e.: d sharped by the usual half-step)

In the parts I've designated the fingering and the strings to better inform the players of the new intonation, fingering, which seems to me necessary for this work, without, however, wanting to anticipate the complete solution of your quarter-tone playing.

Vienna, July 1920, Alois Hába [as translated by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE assisted by Google]







idioideo at verizon dot net


to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Anti-Neoism page

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Audiography page

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Bibliography page

to my "Blaster" Al Ackerman index

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Books page


to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Censored or Rejected page

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Collaborations page

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE (d) compositions page

to Amir-ul Kafirs' Facebook page

to the "FLICKER" home-page for the alternative cinematic experience

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's GoodReads profile

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Haircuts page

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Home Tapers page

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE index page

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Instagram Poetry page

to a listing of tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's manifestations on the Internet Archive

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE as Interviewee index

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE as Interviewer index

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE'S Linked-In profile

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Mail Art page

for A Mere Outline for One Aspect of a Book on Mystery Catalysts, Guerrilla Playfare, booed usic, Mad Scientist Didactions, Acts of As-Beenism, So-Called Whatevers, Psychopathfinding, Uncerts, Air Dressing, Practicing Promotextuality, Imp Activism, etc..

to the mm index

to see an underdeveloped site re the N.A.A.M.C.P. (National Association for the Advancement of Multi-Colored Peoples)

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Neoism page

to the DEFINITIVE Neoism/Anti-Neoism website

to the Philosopher's Union website

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE movie-making "Press: Criticism, Interviews, Reviews" home-page

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Score Movies


to find out more about why the S.P.C.S.M.E.F. (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sea Monkeys by Experimental Filmmakers) is so important

to the "tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - Sprocket Scientist" home-page

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Top 100s page

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Top 100 Composers index

to Psychic Weed's Twitter page

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Vimeo index

to Vine movies relevant to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE made by Ryan Broughman

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's presence in the Visual Music Village

for info on tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's tape/CD publishing label: WIdémoUTH

to a very small selection of tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Writing

to the onesownthoughts YouTube channel