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Microtonal/Alternate tunings - what is your workflow?
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Author Microtonal/Alternate tunings - what is your workflow?
strangeowl
Thanks phil, i was aware of that. However to get it working I need GTK+, which is unavailable and in turn needs another package, in which i need to type stuff into a command line. I am not a power user, my question is if there isn't a simpler way to install a little application that lets me write these .tun files. If there isn't I understand, but then there should be. I could figure out tubbutec mtune's editing interface in minutes...

The .tun files can also be edited in notepad, but then i need to calculate every of the 128 notesd enter a frequency in hz for them into the text file. There must be an easier wat.


Phil999 wrote:
you can find Scala at the Huygens-Fokker website, and a lot of other relevant information. Scala has a command-line tutorial built in, it is not difficult to build own scales.

http://www.huygens-fokker.org/links_en.html
http://www.huygens-fokker.org/scala/index.html
sizone
you don't need to be a power user. download, install.

https://gtk-win.sourceforge.io/home/index.php/Main/Downloads

what o.s. are you running?

if it's windows 10, the problem is windows 10.

if you -really- can't get scala going, I don't know what to tell you

http://www.microtonalsoftware.com/scl-scala-to-tun-converter.html
Phil999
strangeowl wrote:
However to get it working I need GTK+, which is unavailable and in turn needs another package, in which i need to type stuff into a command line.

sorry about that, I didn't know. Apparently I haven't used Scala for a year or two, I'm not up to date with current OS problems.

edit: you are right, one needs to install the GTK2 runtime first. But this runtime can be found, and if not, although rather unlikely, I can provide that file to you. After GTK installation, Scala runs perfectly fine. Just tried it out on a new installed Win7 machine.

I will have a look at my Win10 workstation tomorrow. But as far as I remember, it worked on Win10 as well.

edit2: sizone already provided the link to GTK runtime
strangeowl
Yes that gtk+ link is actually what I needed. The link to GTK from the scala website was dead, and what was left of the sourceforge led me on the wrong path, where I had to install another thing and had to run command lines in a terminal, I couldn't believe there wasn't a simpler way. And I was right, there was a simpler way:

The link you guys just gave me solved my issues!

It's running now. First scl and tun files are rolling out.

Thanks so much! <3

So for future users:

Download scala:http://www.huygens-fokker.org/scala/downloads.html
Download GTK: https://gtk-win.sourceforge.io/home/index.php/Main/Downloads
Convert SCL to TUN files on the webpage: http://www.microtonalsoftware.com/scl-scala-to-tun-converter.html
JakoGreyshire
I just got Scala to work on my Mac yesterday.... I sure do have a lot of studying to do to catch up on what I'm doing, and why I need to play with Xenharmonics... Scala seems really cool... just now going through the tutorial..

For some reason the new Disting mk4 firmware update has me very interested in Micro/Alternate tunings...

I can see why this is an interesting subject but I can't figure out why its interesting.... Does that seem weird?

Why are we all into this? Does it make music better somehow? "Better" is subjective I realize this...

What is it about microtonal/Xenharmonics makes you want to use it?

I can think of a few reasons for myself but the reasons are not concrete yet. It's a weird conundrum I'm having...

Anyone have a solid answer/suggestion?

Feel free to get deep if you must... I'm into it..
Phil999
recently I watched an interview with DAF, and they said that some of their sequencer driven synths are not quite in tune, and these sounds have to be like this. It was not deliberately intended, rather a result of the process. And indeed, their synths sound just right.

But that's just one example from electronic music. Another one would be - it must have been mentioned many times - Wendy Carlos' "Beauty In The Beast" where the microtonality is an integral part of the composition.

Traditional folk music, be it from Bali, India, Africa, etc, and even Europe, just has a certain character that drives one's listening experience into other realms. Combined with appropriate rhythmic structure it leads to very interesting domains.
JakoGreyshire
Cool... I think that helped me out a bit.... Thanks Phil999...

It's like maybe being able to find a balance of sound, harmonic or otherwise, when the need arises. It's like being able to adapt to different types of weather. Some times you need a different type of coat on, maybe just a sweater, or sometimes you can hang out in just a t-shirt.

I think this is a good thing...



Thanks.


Anyone got any sparks of how and why of what to try? Scala has a huge list of scale files... I guess I need some reading to do... I'll do some research on Wendy Carlos, Dolores Catherino, and re-read the threads here on MW....
JakoGreyshire
Well, I've found these explanations to be a great help in understanding Micotonal music:

http://dolorescatherino.com/EMC/EXPANDING_MUSICAL_CONSCIOUSNESS.html


Now for the learning curve and experimentations..
Phil999
Dolores Catherino is a great musician, I like what she is doing. From what I can see she is an explorer, an explorer with a lot of knowledge. But when I hear her music I immediately get the feeling that she approaches the topic in a rather academic way. Which is fine and interesting. However the music is quite far away from what is - to my mind, or ear - interesting and valuable. Sorry to say that, as I appreciate very much her work, I learned much from what she is doing. And I'm not in the slightest way competent to judge her work, as I'm just a beginner.

There is much 'academic' work done in tonality. Probably the first was Pythagoras, although these harmonical relations surely has been known long ago, but not described or found archaeologically. He related tonality to mathematical proportions. A great achievement. And there are thousands of mathematically derived Scala files.

However, when we look at ancient music, their scales, the tonality was quite different from the mathematical ideal of Pythagoras. From what I can tell, there is not one single note that relates to any mathematical theory. Even the root note was different, probably lower than the current standart A=440 Hz. This is a different topic on its own.

I believe pure mathematical scales should be regarded as ideals, just like a geometrical shape of a polyhedron. A perfect polyhedron actually only exists as an idea, as an ideal, as a foundation of theory. In nature it doesn't exist. In nature there are no parallel lines, etc. You get the idea.

The same with music theory. Pythagoras was a genius, there's no doubt, but musical instruments and music in general doesn't follow exact mathematical rules. For example when we go from tonality to rhythm, we all know that mathematically exact patterns are boring after just few seconds of listening. It is the 'human feel', the nonconformity to the 'grid', the 'shuffle', that makes rhythmic patterns interesting.

That's how we should approach tonality, music, rhythm, in general. When we observe these facts, we will be able to create good music, even with electronic devices. It's a long path, but the reward is immense. It's the key to true music.
JakoGreyshire
Phil999, I'm enjoying your input here... What you are saying here reminds me about balance. Moreover, balance of right and left hemispheres of the brain. It's rather easy to get too academic about many things, and forget to let some emotion or intuition be involved. I have found, in my perception, that a balanced approach make my endeavors stronger. Not too much of one side or the other, but just the right mix of the two really makes everything better. Stronger somehow...

From Dolores' explanation on her webpage she definitely talks about intuition and creative imagination expanding the boundaries of perceptual pattern recognition. The whole article has to be academic to get the point across, and it's easy to perceive the article as very left brained and super heady academically.

I suspect that Dolores is probably a deep individual. I hope she has a level of intuition that matches her academic prowess. It's hard to say really. Intuition and emotions are not taught at school. Hopefully most students are getting some art and or music in school though.

The explained current musical system and visual reference of said system compared to the microtonal system and visual representation is really a good part of the reason why I'm advocating a balance of mental activity.

"Our current musical system is based on a static quantization of the continuous pitch spectrum into 12 equal subdivisions; a recurring, closed, octave circle schema. This may be visualized as vertically stacked closed octave pitch circles, each containing 12 equally spaced chromatic pitches. Each ascending circle starts again, one octave above (double the frequency) the circle and pitch beneath it. The octave is the fixed intervallic relationship upon which all chromatically based systems are based (octave equivalence)."

And:

"Imagine...

... a continuous, sonically colorful, open spiral ascending and descending infinitely; consisting of perceptually seamless, subcomponent pitch hues and limitless multidimensional harmonic combinations. This continuous spiral would be funnel shaped to represent the widening pitch space intervals at increasing frequencies (higher octaves). Thus, also visually depicting intervallic pitch relativity.

Further, an intuitive awareness that this multidimensional
spiral image is a representation of only a single fundamental pitch:

primary harmonics, extended harmonics (subharmonics as well as the embedded secondary harmonics contained within each harmonic), and implications of harmony (interaction of multiple simultaneous pitches/harmonics; perceptual gestalt anomalies) have yet to be considered."


It's all too easy to be too academic. I think we can all see that played out many times with most people we see, and even in ourselves.

Lets give Dolores the benefit of the doubt that she has probably seen a side of Microtonality that most of us will achieve with a lot of work in balancing our perceptions.

I for one can say that it is a challenge to cultivate a still mind in such a seemingly fast paced world. I enjoy the uber heady mental acrobatics that modular synthesis, live sound, and signal flow affords me. I can become entrenched in thought of where can I stick this carefully mixed and sculpted voltage in such a way that I understand what is going to happen at that input and consequently affect the next output..

But then there is that, "Hey why not try this input instead?", that comes from outside of my mental process. Many call that part the "Happy accidents" outcome...

Would it be silly to encourage emotions and intuition in modular? I think that is for the individual to decide. It depends on how much of modular is an art form for said individual.

Maybe for some it's not an Art, but a Science..

Well, in that case, is it taboo to mix Art and Science? I think we all can agree on the answer to that question...


Whoa! I got lost on a tangent of sorts...

What I may be trying to say is that there is a point where words and academia cease to exist and it's probably difficult to describe that esoteric area of achievement.

It's like the spiral of a seashell. As was Said by Phil999, perfection in Nature does not exist. The seashell starts at an almost 90 degree angle, and as the animal grows the spiral becomes more and more a closer fit to the reference of the Golden Mean Spiral, but the animal never meets the perfection of the GMS...

The quote above about " open spiral ascending and descending infinitely" is what the GMS is, and to think that we could somehow reach out and touch that perfection with microtonality is mind blowing! Why not though? Light and Sound spectrums do have infinite points connecting the frequencies together right? How many times can a atom/particle be divided?



Dead Banana
I've reached my limit. I might be pretending to know what an atom or particle really is at this point... It is an exciting subject to ponder though, and I now know why I'm interested in Microtonal reality. Being familiar with all the smaller bits makes it easier to see the whole.

I guess it might be time to get a big ribbon controller or a theremin..

cool
Phil999
o yes a ribbon controller is a beautiful thing for electronic music. One can switch off any quantisation and play directly the pitches one wants. One can add markings to find notes easier, and one always can slightly bend up or down to find the right pitch. I can recommend the Doepfer ribbon controller, it has an additional CV output for pressure.

I like Dolores' texts. The image of the spiral, compared to the stacked octave-circles, is beautiful. The reason why I stopped following her is simple, I listened to her compositions. I get similar impressions with almost all modern microtonal compositions posted on websites like

http://sevish.com/blog/
http://xen-arts.net/

Maybe I'm simply not interested in avantgarde music. It doesn't give me pleasure to listen to most of it. I may not have enough patience to learn to understand it. While on the other hand when I listen to some traditional music from various countries, it immediately makes click, and I know for sure that this is the music I want to pursue. But who knows, maybe I will approach avantgarde music in a different way in a few years.

Nice discussion indeed JakoGreyshire. Much of this topic has become more and more clear to me in the past years, and there are not much places to write or speak about it. Well there's the Xenharmonic Facebook group, but it's not the right platform for me.
JakoGreyshire
thumbs up Yeah I feel ya on the avantgarde thing.... I haven't gotten too deep into it yet, but I can tell that there are many avenues that are possible. I have a small dreadful thought that it might take me awhile to find my own niche in Microtonality.. Maybe, Maybe not ... It seems to be vast ocean to an extreme..

Anyway, I'm glad we can chat about it and either agree or disagree... Way better than not having anyone to chat with.

thumbs up thumbs up

I still have a lot of research to do... Wish me luck!

Cheers!!

Thanks for the links!
notmiserlouagain
Phil999 wrote:
I like Dolores' texts. The image of the spiral, compared to the stacked octave-circles, is beautiful. The reason why I stopped following her is simple, I listened to her compositions. I get similar impressions with almost all modern microtonal compositions posted on websites like

http://sevish.com/blog/
http://xen-arts.net/

Maybe I'm simply not interested in avantgarde music. It doesn't give me pleasure to listen to most of it. I may not have enough patience to learn to understand it. While on the other hand when I listen to some traditional music from various countries, it immediately makes click, and I know for sure that this is the music I want to pursue. But who knows, maybe I will approach avantgarde music in a different way in a few years.

Nice discussion indeed JakoGreyshire. Much of this topic has become more and more clear to me in the past years, and there are not much places to write or speak about it. Well there's the Xenharmonic Facebook group, but it's not the right platform for me.


How to put it?
It doesn´t discount her concept, I think, like counterpoint, there are horrible counterpoint compositions, though the concept is fascinating.
Like I love to think of a brilliant street guitarist from Haiti I have seen (and heard) who I presume didn´t tune his guitar or I ´m out of understanding playing some rhythmically intricate quasi-melodies with great musicianship and expression.Like that, the concept needs to be filled with life, they don´t teach that at the academy Miley Cyrus
(Just listening to Townes van Zandt, hardcore diatonic with a swagger) Rockin' Banana!
sollichklang
Preenfm2 supports scala tunings.
My workflow consists of finding an appropriate scale for usually, ambient drone carpets or something more suitable for sequenced stuff. I approach it just with feelings and whether the intervals of the scales do something for me in the moment.
owmtxy
Worth noting perhaps that Ornament and Crime (o_c) can have custom 'scales' in addition to there already being a whole bunch of interesting systems:
http://ornament-and-cri.me/custom-scales/
tonymasiello
Over the last eight months or so, I have been focusing on working almost exclusively with 31-edo. I compose with software using Harmor by Image Line. It is a soft synth with native scala file support. On the modular side I am using a uTune microtonal quantizer. This allows me to 'play back' compositions from my PC via the midi interface, and convert to the correct cv pitch voltages. I have also played with pairing a sequencer to the uTune and having the sequencer output either unquantized or 12-edo quantized cv and using uTune to map it to 31-edo. This allows for some more spontaneous composition.
Ypsi Kid
Hey guys,

just wanted to revive this thread as I'm beginning to look into microtonal/alternate tunings based on the work of Steevio and using precision adders to either add or subtract pitch CV information to get some evolving pitch. I believe this technique can be better controlled if you use alternate tunings as the results *should* be a bit more predictable (I've been using 12-EDO and trying different scales and note masking which has been working pretty good, but sometimes get results I'm not expecting - so want to tame the beast a bit if you will). I'm currently looking to add some microtonal scales into my O&C's (I do understand there is already some loaded into the presets) to help facilitate this (thanks to dubbhism blog for passing those files along). The reason why this is probably a better approach is because you have the whole number ratios (does that make sense?), so when you add/subtract it is a bit easier to understand what the results will be. This in conjunction with FM, I'm hoping, will get me to where I want to go.

As a quick background, I'm looking to setup a live, playable patch so I can just jam out and get somewhat predictable results when combining pitch CV's together. I've had some really good results so far, but looking to rein this in even more so I can extend the 20mins I'm able to do now. I have zero background with musical scales and very minimal theory knowledge (outside very basic understanding), so I may have a lot of newb questions - also looking for good books/resources to help (www.dubbhism.org has been a great resource).

Would love to hear what others are doing with microtonal and FM!

Cheers.
BipTunia
Ypsi Kid wrote:
Hey guys,

just wanted to revive this thread .....Would love to hear what others are doing with microtonal and FM!

Cheers.


Microtonal Re-tuner. RE-TUNES OTHER VSTs to thousands of scales (included). Working beta, Free.
https://biptunia.com/?p=3309
tenembre
Phil999 wrote:


I like Dolores' texts. The image of the spiral, compared to the stacked octave-circles, is beautiful. The reason why I stopped following her is simple, I listened to her compositions. I get similar impressions with almost all modern microtonal compositions posted on websites like

http://sevish.com/blog/
http://xen-arts.net/

Maybe I'm simply not interested in avantgarde music. It doesn't give me pleasure to listen to most of it. I may not have enough patience to learn to understand it. While on the other hand when I listen to some traditional music from various countries, it immediately makes click, and I know for sure that this is the music I want to pursue. But who knows, maybe I will approach avantgarde music in a different way in a few years.



I heard Ben Johnston's 7th String Quartet recently and it was shattering - like hearing Bartok for the first time. A few years ago I probably would have just found it puzzling or dissonant. I'm not sure if the difference is a matter of exposure, personal openness, or what-have-you...but it's not a matter of will. One thing I've learned in life is that I can't make myself like anything. Trying will just result in intellectual posturing, and I'm too old for that shit. So, um, keep listening to that world music, and stay open if you can. That's my take.
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