Clarence Barlow

The death is reported of the composer Clarence Barlow. Among his works is Ludus Ragalis, “13 preludes and fugues for piano or other keyboard instrument”. Although Barlow was a Stockhausen pupil, there is nothing in this piece to frighten the horses. It might be played on the harpsichord, presumably in ET.

The score can be downloaded from his website. Youtube has a performance here.


Fascinating, thanks. It seems these days I find out about most of the contemporary composers I play by reading their obituaries. Which always seems too bad.

I do think equal temperament is an odd choice for music based heavily on Indian ragas? I will find the time to run some of these later. On Harpsichord? Clavichord?


Given that in general there are 22 srutis, and of unequal size, to the octave in Indian music, what are you going to do? Basically an impossible fit. No western temperament on a normal keyboard comes close.

I also thought ET a pity. Nothing is said about tuning in the score and, as ET is the overwhelming aim of piano tuners, I think the composer would have had close to zero performances of the work had insisted on a more unequal temperament, interesting though that might have been to us.

Generally the only good thing about ET in my opinion is the evenness it imparts to long chromatic runs, as in the finales of Beethoven’s 3rd and 4th piano concerti.