Norwegian composer Eivind Groven (1901-1977).
A legend as a folk-fiddler in his native Norway, Groven was firmly rooted in folk music, and all but self-taught as a composer. Like many other composers before him, he collected folk tunes, contributing more than a thousand to the rich treasures of the Norwegian music archives. His approach to composition was an unusual one, however: much of his music was shaped by his acoustical research into the untempered intonation of Norwegian folk musicians and the specific qualities of the resulting sound. As part of his research he constructed his ‘Automatic Just Intonation Tuning Device’, an organ-like instrument with 36 possible pitches per octave and an ingenious coupling device - assembled from discarded relays from a telephone company - which would choose the correct pitch according to the harmonic context.
What makes Groven so special is that he succeeded in making artistic use of the results of his scientific research, exploiting them in a number of works for orchestra. Typical traits are his frequent use of the chord on a sixth, some highly individual major-minor constellations and a deliberately frugal use of the chordal palette.