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POSTPONED – Tonal Access III: The Array Fields of Bill Wesley

Thursday, October 29, 2020 — 7:30 PM
Tickets: FREE!
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About Bill Wesley

Bill Wesley is unique. He is a microtonal tuning theorist, Instrument Inventor, creator of multiple new arrangements for keyboard interfaces, a historian and a visual artist who’s work explores the most consonant and harmonious relationships. Sound always intrigued Bill and as a young man he took a course at the Naval Electronics Laboratory in San Diego to begin building electronic prototypes. His instruments have been played by Rye Cooter, Tatsu Yoshita, Sting, Imogen Heap, Taylor Swift and Trey Spruance. He currently makes a wide array of array instruments which can be purchased through his website at:

The Array

Bill’s focus has always been on creating new ideas. Realizing the limitations of the 12 tone (Halberstradt) keyboard, Bill wanted to access more octaves and other intervals (4ths, 5ths, 3rd,s, etc.) more ergonomically and came upon adapting the mbira (African finger piano) to play several octaves stacked up to be played with the stroke of a finger. Rows of 3/2’s (fifths) (right to left) became a field of pitches he called the “array”. The resulting sound has lots of resonance because of the reinforcement of the lower harmonics through sympathetic vibration.

Bill has been honing this idea for over four decades and has developed many Array instruments mostly in three categories, Harmonic, Melodic, and Timbraic. Harmonic Arrays include the mbira in various 12 tone and microtonal scales, the Array Organ (Nail Array), Psaltery (Harp), Array Guitar and Array Synthesizer (MBoard). The Chromatic Array Mbira uses octave rows in semitones right to left favoring melody rather than harmony. The Timbre Array uses octave rows with the fundamental  in the middle with octave rows of the harmonic series to the right and subharmonic rows to the left. Bill has also created two percussion arrays, the Rhythm Array and the Rasp Array that fit into this category.

Bill’s ideas are much bigger than his instruments. He has templates of emotion, chemistry, rhythm and psychology that fit within the Array Cosmology. Consciousness is the fabric that ties Bill’s ideas together. The drawings in this exhibition represent the array of pure isomorphic tone fields, maps of the most consonant interval relationships and their visual and musical implications. This field supports endless diagrams of harmonic structures rendering them visually available.