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Microtonal/Alternate tunings - what is your workflow?
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Author Microtonal/Alternate tunings - what is your workflow?
Villarceau
Ever since I got into synths, I've been interested in microtonal and "alternate "and arbitrary scales/tuning systems. I downloaded scala and played around with it but never got very far. I would like to get a setup which would allow me to experiment and especially perform in conjunction with my modular.
I'm interested to know if there are any microtonal die-hards out there who like to try out different tuning systems and would like to learn what type of workflow/setup you have.
I've researched this quite extensively, mostly just getting into dead ends and because of this new project I have, I really want to get started and think I won't get anywhere without a little advice by people who are into this and have found a successful approach.
Refund
I've built all my own quantizers for use in puredata

in the modular world I stick to 12-tone because I don't know any way to do easily recallable/upgradeable microtonal work with at least 4 voices
myecholalia
Working with different tuning systems is exactly why I have a Yarns on the way.
Relatively easy way to have up to 4 voices in different tuning systems.
Can define your own via Scala files.
sleepmcevox
For experimenting with alternate tunings I turn to software first for convenience and speed. All the Madrona Labs synths support alternate tunings with scala files, and indeed come pre-packed with many different scales split up into categories. Might be worth picking up the Aalto demo and using it to flick through scales and see which ones you like the most! You could then apply these in a hardware / modular context.
hihi
Refund
myecholalia wrote:
Working with different tuning systems is exactly why I have a Yarns on the way.
Relatively easy way to have up to 4 voices in different tuning systems.
Can define your own via Scala files.


I'll look into it, thanks!
edit: had a look into it, I don't really want to use midi so it doesn't fit my criteria, I got excited for a moment that I could send it four cv channels and have it spit out quantized notes
dark_carcass
ER-101: Indexed Quad Sequencer seem to have customizable scales.
Phil999
routing a softsynth into the sync input of a VCO works sometimes. Useful for non-12-tone scales which I have some trouble to do with Scala and MIDI.
Villarceau
myecholalia wrote:
Working with different tuning systems is exactly why I have a Yarns on the way.
Relatively easy way to have up to 4 voices in different tuning systems.
Can define your own via Scala files.



Can you do larger than 12-tone scales with it?
What controller/keyboard are you going to use?

What intrigues me, is the total setup/workflow, not just gear or softsynths that can do a part of the job. It's easy to inventory gear but something else to work to a flexible and fun setup. I think I can't see the forest through the trees or something. I know that trying and performing with my fingers is what matters most to me. The continuum would be an option but it's just too expensive for me especially with the expansion for CVs and knowing it's not really geared towards microtonal but does seem to support it. The seaboard rise + the ES FH-1, well it's twelve-tone with pitch bend, I might get that but not to do microtonal stuff. For now, I often think just using a ribbon controller (or two) and the addac quantizer might allow a lot of leverage but feedback on that quantizer hasn't been amazing on this forum. A lot of people just don't get it to work well and although it seems powerful, the interface is quite daunting.
I really like ribbon controllers but it's not easy to play without much visual/tactile feedback.
I think the reality is that very little modular users are actually interested in microtones but to me it's a waste to have so many timbral choices and control and not be able to decide upon pitch intervals without sufficient control. Intervals aren't everything but timbres aren't either. Pelog is one of those inspiring things, rash timbres that work well with "weird" intervals.
To be clear, what I would like includes total "xenharmonic" stuff (I hate the word though), I want to try the most outlandish scales out there on my small modular and see what it brings me. The project I have is important, but not as much as noodling like crazy is.
grantmoney
I've enjoyed running a quantised voltage through an attenuator for basslines, but it's tricky to setup (so don't do terribly often).

Would be nice to have a precision attenuator with set ratios - that way you could fit 24/48/etc notes to an octave. Does such a thing exist?
Villarceau
It's just pretty much hopeless I guess.

Modulars without arbitrary scales are like pianos without the black keys (and notes) though.
Mood Organ
Refund wrote:
I've built all my own quantizers for use in puredata

in the modular world I stick to 12-tone because I don't know any way to do easily recallable/upgradeable microtonal work with at least 4 voices


Could you do this with Silent Way?
wigwig
grantmoney wrote:

Would be nice to have a precision attenuator with set ratios - that way you could fit 24/48/etc notes to an octave.

Indeed exclamation
Did a quick search for quantizers, but...

Quote:
Does such a thing exist?

Would love to know.
Anyone?
Mood Organ
wigwig wrote:
grantmoney wrote:

Would be nice to have a precision attenuator with set ratios - that way you could fit 24/48/etc notes to an octave.

Indeed exclamation
Did a quick search for quantizers, but...

Quote:
Does such a thing exist?

Would love to know.
Anyone?


Attenuate the output of a regular quantizer. 24 notes to an octave = quarter-tones. So attenuate the quantizer output so that 2 octaves maps to one octave. 48 notes to an octave would be eigth-tones so 4 octaves maps to 1 etc.
Greengrocer202
My setup is either Sunvox on my Ipad using the Set Pitch function or my Arduino controlled YM2612 (Sega Genesis soundchip) breadboarded circuit. Either way my workflow is tediously inputting frequencies in the form of hexadecimal values.
M6live
Redacted.
Refund
M6live wrote:
Mood Organ wrote:
Refund wrote:
I've built all my own quantizers for use in puredata

in the modular world I stick to 12-tone because I don't know any way to do easily recallable/upgradeable microtonal work with at least 4 voices


Could you do this with Silent Way?


Yes, see: http://www.expertsleepers.com/index_files/microtonal-tuning-scripts.ph p


it needs to be done without a computer to suit my purposes
Mood Organ
Refund wrote:
M6live wrote:
Mood Organ wrote:
Refund wrote:
I've built all my own quantizers for use in puredata

in the modular world I stick to 12-tone because I don't know any way to do easily recallable/upgradeable microtonal work with at least 4 voices


Could you do this with Silent Way?


Yes, see: http://www.expertsleepers.com/index_files/microtonal-tuning-scripts.ph p


it needs to be done without a computer to suit my purposes


How about the Quantix-8? Has anyone used this?
http://m.bareille.free.fr/modular1/quantix8/quantix8.htm#quantizer
Iromeku
I would love to see an 8hp module that could do microscales. I know that the ADDA has quite a few options (including Just Intonation) however, something with a smaller footprint & lower price point would be most welcome.
Mood Organ
What I actually want is a quantizer module that allows you to send Scala files via USB connection.
justintonation
You could use a cirklon sequencer or an orthogonal devices er-101 sequencer which both can use any arbitrary scale and output pitch cv.

I am also interested in this. I am going to use my just intonation guitar through an entry point for melody and into a patch chord and a doepfer a-113 to create harmonic and sub- harmonic chords respectively. I'll use switching and mutes to choose which chords are sounding.
wigwig
Mood Organ wrote:
wigwig wrote:
grantmoney wrote:

Would be nice to have a precision attenuator with set ratios - that way you could fit 24/48/etc notes to an octave.

Indeed exclamation
Did a quick search for quantizers, but...

Quote:
Does such a thing exist?

Would love to know.
Anyone?


Attenuate the output of a regular quantizer. 24 notes to an octave = quarter-tones. So attenuate the quantizer output so that 2 octaves maps to one octave. 48 notes to an octave would be eigth-tones so 4 octaves maps to 1 etc.


Just saw this. Of course! This is a good solution. Now I just need a quantizer...
Thanks
dc_Sux
Do any mac users know a way to get Scala working on El Capitan please?
Or if not, any alternatives?
Villarceau
dc_Sux wrote:
Do any mac users know a way to get Scala working on El Capitan please?
Or if not, any alternatives?


Scale works on mine with El Capitan (phew, didn't try it since I upgraded not so long ago).

Did you download X11? It's kind of an involved process to install it all. Make sure you performed all the steps.

I don't think there is anything out there as complete as Scala.

This company has some interesting software but I haven't tried it yet.
http://hpi.zentral.zone/scalavista

It's the company that produced the Tonal Plexus keyboard, I hope they start building them again.
dc_Sux
Villarceau wrote:
dc_Sux wrote:
Do any mac users know a way to get Scala working on El Capitan please?
Or if not, any alternatives?


Scale works on mine with El Capitan (phew, didn't try it since I upgraded not so long ago).

Did you download X11? It's kind of an involved process to install it all. Make sure you performed all the steps.

I don't think there is anything out there as complete as Scala.

This company has some interesting software but I haven't tried it yet.
http://hpi.zentral.zone/scalavista

It's the company that produced the Tonal Plexus keyboard, I hope they start building them again.


Great. Thanks.
I was being a total douchebag and hadn't read through the setup instructions on the Scala website d'oh!

Just went through the tutorial.
Didn't understand a word.
Will take me a while to get my head around I think.
justintonation
The dsi pro 2 uses the midi tuning standard and also has cv out. A good microtonal technique would be to use the pro 2 to tune eurorack or other format modular oscillators. Tuning on the dsi pro 2 could be controlled dynamically via the alt tuner program on a laptop.
Villarceau
justintonation wrote:
The dsi pro 2 uses the midi tuning standard and also has cv out. A good microtonal technique would be to use the pro 2 to tune eurorack or other format modular oscillators. Tuning on the dsi pro 2 could be controlled dynamically via the alt tuner program on a laptop.


Great info. Thanks.
I went to the website and found that apparently alt-tuner should work with Yarns too but is untested...
Using the DSI Pro 2 of course would allow to use it as a controller as well, so quite a great option (if expensive).


From http://www.tallkite.com/alt-tuner.html

Quote:

Mutable Instruments' Yarns midi-to-CV converter works with alt-tuner in either pitch bend mode or sysex88 mode, allowing real-time microtuning of CV synths (untested, but the Mutable Instruments people say it should work). Another possibility is using Native Instruments' Reaktor, which is confirmed to work with alt-tuner, and which can function as a midi-to-CV converter. Reaktor can send CV out your laptop's ADAT audio port to Expert Sleepers' ES-3 interface, which can convert the digital CV to analog CV. A third possibility is Sequentix's Cirklon sequencer, which has 8 tuning tables that respond to alt-tuner's sysex82 mode.
sizone
I know the op is looking for a modular solution, but experimentation is so much more practical with whole synths.
An ensoniq MR whatever can be had for less than 200$ (ZR-76s were routinely selling around here for less than 100$ because no one wanted to fix the encoders) and will provide a ton of polyphony and a full 16 channels of timbrelity. It's also has enough modulation and routing options that you can make interesting patches with it, especially if you drop an urban dance card into it.
I recently picked up a DSI Prophet-12, it can only do two different voices at once, but man are those voices something else.
Sadly, that's about it for practical hardware, nothing else has enough resolution, full keyboard scales or MIDI tuning standard support. The Marion MSR-2 is great, but good luck finding one, a Korg Oasys PCI sounds really nice and is a lot of fun but requires keeping an old mac around to host it.

As far as gear agnostic stuff. Pick your scale first and then build your patches within it, timbrel content sounds better or worse depending on the tuning, different timbres fit different tunings and vice versa. If you start with the tuning you have a baseline to work from. If you have a chance to read Sethares' Tuning Timbre Spectrum and Scale, do so because the relation between tuning and instrument is explained there much better than I can explain it.
Get a keyboard controller that works with the tuning you're playing in. A generalized harmonic tablet, or any general controller with impede you a lot less than a 12tet piano keyboard. I use a pair of iPads because they can be made into tuning specific controllers with a minimum of hassle and time.
https://ridlabs.wordpress.com/2016/07/03/tablet-remappable-midi-keyboa rd-interface/

So, like, my specific workflow is to pick a tuning. I'm not terribly scientific about that, I mostly used Partch's 43 tone scale because I'd heard examples of it (Partch's) and liked it, also Harry Partch was the man. I've used a few tunings chosen from the scala archives based on which ones had the most metal sounding names. Right now I'm using 19tet because it's practical and easy to adapt to playing in because of its similarity to 12 tet.
Then I dump that tuning to mah synthamasizers.
Then I make some patches in that tuning for those synthamsizers.
Then I play, do some light sequencing, maybe get a few bars or patterns sequenced and then relegate everything to the enormous pile of unfinished stuff that defines my life.

Maybe don't try and emulate the last step.
Villarceau
I am definitely going to read that book you recommend. The relationship between timbre and scale is exactly why I would like a modular workflow.
What is the point of investing in a modular to build special soundpatches if you can not play them? And I mean this almost litteraly. Sometimes I feel that some of the reasons that got me to be interested in synths - and modulars in particular - were simply spurious, on the other hand, I have not have that much fun making music in 20 years....
bobbylandry
My Akai S6000 does alternate scale is you work out the note deviation from 12-tone and use the custom scale setup.
Yeggman
sizone wrote:
If you have a chance to read Sethares' Tuning Timbre Spectrum and Scale, do so because the relation between tuning and instrument is explained there much better than I can explain it.


Just a +1 vote of confidence for the Sethares book, it is THE book for tuning and related information, at least for me.

Don't overlook the audio examples, either - knowing that a "dissonant" interval might sound "consnant" because of how the timbre of the sound is built is a lot different than actually hearing what that sounds like, so the audio examples are key, too.

I believe Sethares's examples are all digitally-generated, and indeed it is much easier to accomplish a lot of these things with digital tools... but if there was ever a worthy challenge for a modular system, implementing a microtonal tuning system is it!
meursault
I've also heard ADDAC's VCO is powerful when it comes to these purposes ... microtonality, etc. Not 100% sure though, haven't digged much into it.
freq_divider
First, i'm amazed at how often questions and requests about microtonality pop up here, and how little module developers/manufacturers have done in - say - the last ten years to address the question. We now have 100 different multiples to choose from, but not one decent state of the art xen quantizer that accepts standards like scala.

Over this same period, a good friend of mine has developed a suite of exquisite VSTi's for any xenharmonic use imaginable, and all for free over here http://xen-arts.net/vsti/ and with excellent manuals. Meanwhile, in the modular community, we still only have second rate solutions so far, like the ADDAC Intuitive Quantizer, which is a superb quantizer, but in my humble opinion is pretty much a failure when it comes to xenharmonics.

Second. Bill Sethares' book is indeed The Holy Grail. Buy it and read it. You'll be amazed. Also check out the software developments that Sethares is involved in, mindboggling stuff like this http://www.dynamictonality.com/transformer.htm

3rd, i have come up with two cheap and lo-fi tricks myself which are of limited use. One is using hardsync http://www.dubbhism.org/2015/01/retuning-analog-oscillators-using-hard .html and one is hacking pitch slope, which won't answer the question of the OP but here's a link anyway because it might inspire others to try out funny things http://www.dubbhism.org/2015/03/play-edos-using-pitch-slope-or-pitch.h tml#more

4th, the best working method for me personally is to simply adjust the cv-output of regular quantizers, in order to be able to play 5-tet or 7-tet pieces. In my opinion, this 'attenuated' tuning method actually only works well for 5-tet and 7-tet, so if you don't like those, that's a pity. It just happens that i really like these two, and expanding the method with matching fm-timbres a la Bill Sethares, i get pieces like these

[s]https://soundcloud.com/ism-studio/bass-2[/s]

I also have a label that does some things in xenharmonic music. If you're interested, there's a Xenharmonic playlist, but keep in mind that most pieces on this list are not 100% modular, in fact some explicitly showcase the Xen-arts software https://soundcloud.com/ism-studio/sets/xenharmonic-showcase
BendingBus
Villarceau wrote:
I'm interested to know if there are any microtonal die-hards out there who like to try out different tuning systems and would like to learn what type of workflow/setup you have.

freq_divider wrote:
First, i'm amazed at how often questions and requests about microtonality pop up here, and how little module developers/manufacturers have done in - say - the last ten years to address the question.


I'm still using Paul's MOTM-650, which must be at least 10yrs old by now? It gets the job done.

Work flow - work out the song, decide on a temperament that enhances the feel, write a scala text file (just takes a minute), import that scale into the 650 via midi cable. Then record; the 650 takes a standard midi keyboard as input, and gives you 4 outputs of micro tuned voltage to your oscillators (modes: mono, poly, arpeggios). Easy.

Made this recording earlier this year, uses Ptolemy just major intonation, MOTM650 + 300 oscillators + 440 filters...

Phil999
BendingBus wrote:

Work flow - work out the song, decide on a temperament that enhances the feel, [...]

I think it is necessary to decide on the temperament/tuning first. Then work out melody and song. This is expecially true for tunings that deviate more from equal temperament.

BendingBus wrote:

the 650 takes a standard midi keyboard as input, and gives you 4 outputs of micro tuned voltage to your oscillators (modes: mono, poly, arpeggios).

this must be a very good module!
Dogma



Check this out
wsy
grantmoney wrote:
I've enjoyed running a quantised voltage through an attenuator for basslines, but it's tricky to setup (so don't do terribly often).

Would be nice to have a precision attenuator with set ratios - that way you could fit 24/48/etc notes to an octave. Does such a thing exist?


Pretty close.

The QAO alternate software for the EON in quantizer mode has quantize levels of powers of two from 2^0 (= 1) to 2^10 (= 1024) levels.
Also can emit a gate on the internal LFO or whenever the quantize value should change because the input CV moved out of the
closest-match window. The voltages are stable, but the spacing is uniform, which doesn't match some scales with unequal
note intervals. You can't have everything...

As to alternate tunings "on tap" - I have to recommend the Buchla 223e "thunderbird" controller. You dial in whatever voltage
you want for each touch pad to emit, save it, and Don's your uncle. And you can have up to four of the tunings active
at one time. I have mine set up for Chromatic, Cmajor, Pentatonic, and (I think) some microtonal scale I found on the
web, maybe Carlos alpha or gamma... I don't remember exactly.

- Bill
sizone
Would like to point out that the Korg Monologue handles microtunings amiably. You can import scala scales and keyboard maps straight into the Korg provided librarian and send them straight to the synth. It's got 6 storage spaces for user full keyboard tunings and an additional 6 for 12 note octave tunings.

The first piece of hardware I've found that beats the now ancient ensoniq mr engine stuff in terms of ease of microtonality.

Richard James also made some of the presets (and the alternate tunings). Maybe not as prestigious as Robert Rich, but not a bad name to have associated with it.
sizone
Unfortunately regarding getting tunings in, the way the monologue handles base frequency gets in the way. No amount of messing around with keyboard mappings has gotten around this. Basically, the more divisions of your octave, the lower the pitch of the resulting notes.

There's an easy way around this, the monologue also accepts midi tuning standard 3k dumps (tuning model 107 in scala). So if you open your tuning in scala, set the destination synth as a mts 3k bulk dump, export to a .mid file, convert the .mid to a .syx file then send that to the monologue via, say midiox, the tuning will play with the same register as it will in any other synth.

Still easy, still an amazing synth for 300$, just not -quite- as plug and play for alternative tunings as it could be (actually, it's exactly the same process as getting tunings to dsi synths). Hopefully the scala import on the librarian will be patched to allow you to set where the root note is on the keyboard.
Haterade
Can anybody say how difficult it is to get custom tunings into yarns? You just blast it in using sysex?
notmiserlouagain
I don´t go about it in a ´scientific´way and also no external computers for me, but I like using strange tuning systems, that I develop by hand tuning cv-adressable sequencers in parallel for different voices (I guess you can always use a frequency counter).
This gives me only ten notes per scale over the whole frequency range (I use 2 of Grant Richter´s Analog Tracking Generators), but this scarcety can help making the scale sound more defined (like string skipping/arpeggiating on a guitar).

There´s also the Barton Music user scaleabel quantizer(iirc), which I didn´t check out yet, but am planning to do, it is a digital (that atcually meaning software in a pic chip or something) solution...
phirewall
As a sound healing facilitator, I work with whole-number ratio frequency relationships based on principles of sacred geometry. Currently I use the Prophet 6 and Moog Sub 37 synths as they both support alternative tunings, but I've been looking into modular solutions as well.

In addition to Yarns, I've found two other helpful modules, although I haven't gotten my hands on them yet:
https://www.modulargrid.net/e/tubbutec-%C2%B5tune-
https://www.modulargrid.net/e/other-unknown-krm-100
GGW
I dabble in tunings and, as stated above, it's kind of frustrating that there is still such a lack of technical support for this, and that there are incompatible systems between different pieces of gear. If you work strictly from number theories, I guess it is easier, but to audition in real time as you develop a tuning is not as commonly available. I don't use scala as it seems to want to be based on conventional "C" and not all things support the base frequency standard in the same way. I note, as per references to the Ensoniq gear above, that there was a period in the glory days of romplers where tunings were accommodated by most hardware. I keep my Roland JV1080 just because of the way it handles tuning development. When switched to the tuning page, the curser jumps to the note being played and it can be adjusted with the data wheel. You can play single notes or polyphonically to audition a scale development in real time. The scale then needs to be transposed to other gear in their format.

In modular, I have been using the MengQi Voltage Memory to play a scale, but the notes are limited.
sizone
use scala. you can define the base frequency as what ever you want.
strangeowl
Orthogonal Devices ER-301 can function as a 4 part quantizer. The developer said that scala file support for alternate tunings "is also coming soon" (december 2017).

Source: https://forum.orthogonaldevices.com/t/scale-quantizer-unit/1010

I have a 301, and will wait for that update before I think about the tubbutec.

But I am guessing interface wise the tubbutec quantizer might be a bit more intuitive because it is built with limited functionality as opposed to the 301; it's meant just as a quantizer. Scala files can even be created on the module itself! The tubbutec site also says an expander is coming, which will expand it from a 2 channel to a 4 channel quantizer. (And another function: it can quantize midi to midi - you input normal notes over midi and it outputs notes + pitchbend over midi for alternate tuning of 12tet midi synths.)

Source: https://tubbutec.de/%C2%B5tune/
akrylik
strangeowl wrote:
Orthogonal Devices ER-301 can function as a 4 part quantizer. The developer said that scala file support for alternate tunings "is also coming soon" (december 2017).

Source: https://forum.orthogonaldevices.com/t/scale-quantizer-unit/1010

I have a 301, and will wait for that update before I think about the tubbutec.

But I am guessing interface wise the tubbutec quantizer might be a bit more intuitive because it is built with limited functionality as opposed to the 301; it's meant just as a quantizer. Scala files can even be created on the module itself! The tubbutec site also says an expander is coming, which will expand it from a 2 channel to a 4 channel quantizer. (And another function: it can quantize midi to midi - you input normal notes over midi and it outputs notes + pitchbend over midi for alternate tuning of 12tet midi synths.)

Source: https://tubbutec.de/%C2%B5tune/


The ER-301 has DC-coupled inputs but it does not have DC-coupled outputs. This means it can quantize for its own internal use but it cannot output those quantized voltages in a way that an external module can use.

So, no it cannot be used as a quantizer.
strangeowl
Oh shit that makes sense. That's disappointing :(

akrylik wrote:
strangeowl wrote:
Orthogonal Devices ER-301 can function as a 4 part quantizer. The developer said that scala file support for alternate tunings "is also coming soon" (december 2017).

Source: https://forum.orthogonaldevices.com/t/scale-quantizer-unit/1010

I have a 301, and will wait for that update before I think about the tubbutec.

But I am guessing interface wise the tubbutec quantizer might be a bit more intuitive because it is built with limited functionality as opposed to the 301; it's meant just as a quantizer. Scala files can even be created on the module itself! The tubbutec site also says an expander is coming, which will expand it from a 2 channel to a 4 channel quantizer. (And another function: it can quantize midi to midi - you input normal notes over midi and it outputs notes + pitchbend over midi for alternate tuning of 12tet midi synths.)

Source: https://tubbutec.de/%C2%B5tune/


The ER-301 has DC-coupled inputs but it does not have DC-coupled outputs. This means it can quantize for its own internal use but it cannot output those quantized voltages in a way that an external module can use.

So, no it cannot be used as a quantizer.
mrerdat
My workflow is to use Scala to find the scales I want to use on the computer first and then export them to an SD card to use them on the Eurorack via the Disting mk4.
strangeowl
freq_divider

hi from the microtonal thread I gather that you know a thing or two about working with microtuning: i'm just trying to figure out how to make my own .tun files.

Should I try to install scala? I found it a mess of dead links, unsupported sourceforge packages, just very confusing. There's also a programming language called scala that constantly gives my googling the wrong results, etc.

It seems very complicated to get this going, while on my tubbutec mtune I can do everything with just two buttons and one rotating knob.. It would seem like a simple browser app could easily make these files. Is there a shortcut to make these .tun files?
strangeowl
I'm trying to figure out how to make my own .tun files.

Should I try to install scala? I found it a mess of dead links, unsupported sourceforge packages, just very confusing. I needed another software package in which to put command lines to install another package, that can then maybe run scala? There's also a programming language called scala that constantly gives my googling the wrong results, so I'm struggling to find my way.

It seems very complicated to get this going, while on my tubbutec mtune I can do everything with just two buttons and one rotating knob.. It would seem like a simple browser app could easily make these files. Is there a shortcut to make these .tun files?
Phil999
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
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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