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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ervin Wilson (born June 11, 1928 in Chihuahua, Mexico) is a Mexican/American (dual citizen) microtonal and just intonation music theorist whose work, outside of the academic community, is noted for its breadth and originality. Despite his avoidance of academia, Wilson has been remarkably influential on those interested in microtonal music and just intonation, especially in the areas of scale, keyboard, and notation design. Among his developments are Moments of Symmetry, Combination Product Sets, Golden Horograms, scales based on recurrence relations (scales of "Mt. Meru"), and mapping scales to the generalized keyboard. He cites Augusto Novaro and Joseph Yasser as influences. Wilson also breeds corn, and is sometimes credited as the first to suggest the use of blue corn in tortilla chips. Erv Wilson is a music teacher in the finest oral tradition.

Here is a bio by his brother Grant Wilson


Erv Wilson at The Quadrangularis Reversum

Erv Wilson at The Quadrangularis Reversum


Ervin Wilson was born in a remote area of northwest Chihuahua, Mexico, where he lived until the age of fifteen. His mother taught him to play the reed organ and to read musical notation. He began to compose at an early age, but immediately discovered that some of the sounds he was hearing mentally could not be reproduced by the conventional intervals of the organ. As a teenager he began to read books on Indian music, developing an interest in concepts of raga. While he was in the Air Force in Japan, a chance meeting with a total stranger introduced him to musical harmonics, which changed the course of his life and work. Influenced by the work of Joseph Yasser, Mr. Wilson began to think of the musical scale as a living process -- like a crystal or plant. On his own, he re-invented logarithms to base 2, a powerful tool for measuring musical intervals. He began to systematically explore all the equal divisions of the octave that were more than the conventional twelve tones, coming up with scales of 17, 19, 22, and 31 tones that were especially pleasing. He has been mentor to many composers and instrument builders. The goal of his research with scales is to make them musically accessible to the composer and the listener. "I sculpt in the architecture of the scale. Other people come along and animate it."


Some bios in his own words (?!)

erv bios


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