Beauty in the Beast

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Beauty in the Beast
Studio album by Wendy Carlos
Released 1986 (1986)
Genre Classical
Length 57:41
Label East Side Digital
Producer Wendy Carlos
Wendy Carlos chronology
Digital Moonscapes (1984) Beauty in the Beast (1986) Wendy Carlos: Secrets of Synthesis (1990)

Beauty in the Beast (1986/2000) is an album by Wendy Carlos using alternate tunings and scales and influenced by jazz and world music. On the back she includes a quote by Van Gogh: "I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it."

As the liner notes state, the entire album is synthesized, meaning that, "All the music and sounds heard on this recording were directly digitally generated. This eliminates all the limitations of microphones, the weak link necessary in nearly all other digital recordings, including those which employ 'sampling' technologies."[1]

As Benson writes, though, "it seems that for most users of synthesizers the extra freedom has not had much effect, in the sense that most music involving synthesizers is written using the equal tempered twelve tone scale. A notable exception is Wendy Carlos, who has composed a great deal of music for synthesizers using many different scales. [Benson] particularly recommend[s] Beauty in the Beast...(SYNCD 200, Audion, 1986, Passport Records, Inc.)."[2]

"The music on this album cuts through a lot of the conventions and restraints that were used as frameworks for previous releases: instrumentation, tonality, and scaling, to name just a few."[3]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Incantation" – 6:46
  2. "Beauty In The Beast" – 3:58
  3. "Poem For Bali" – 17:41
  4. "Just Imaginings" – 12:06
  5. "That's Just It" – 3:37
  6. "Yusae-Aisae" [pronounced "You say I say"] – 3:13
  7. "C'est Afrique" – 6:14
  8. "A Woman's Song" – 4:08

Musical content:

  1. "tritone rich"
  2. Beta and Alpha scales
  3. Pelog and Slendro tunings
  4. Harmonic Scale with modulation
  5. Harmonic Scale, jazz
  6. Harmonic Scale, "Hollywoodesque Mid-Eastern marketplace"
  7. African rhythm
  8. Bulgarian Sheperdess's "Izel je Delyo Hajdutin" with tambura and dilruba, instead of Bulgarian bagpipes, appropriate raga tuning, western horns, crotales, and several hybrid timbres


  1. ^ Carlos, Wendy (2000/1986). "Liner notes", Beauty in the Beast. ESD 81552.
  2. ^ Benson, Dave (2006). Music: A Mathematical Offering, p.207. ISBN 0-521-85387-7.
  3. ^ "Beauty in the Beast", [1]