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Microtonal tunings with modular
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Microtonal tunings with modular
os
This might be of general interest (hence not posting it in the Silent Way forum):



For more info see

http://www.expert-sleepers.co.uk/siwacalibrationdata.html

If anyone has any good microtonal scales which would make for a slightly more compelling demo, please let me know!
Arders Bergdahl
Thats VERY cool.. download ScaleGen and you can generate any scale you can imagine.. i have generated 13 note just Bohlen-Pierce, scales besed on Phi, Pi some i have made to have octaves other are more like overtone series..
Seems like voice controller could be a good addition to my setup.
Currently i mainly use Gestrument or Scalegen and let the toneBend take care of micro tonality.. but that limits me to these two controllers..
(Below, in my sig, is my first piece that properly use a PHI microtonal scale..)
chamomileshark
hi, I started looking into this and discovered that the Cubase microtonal tool doesn't work.

do you need any particular hardware for Silent Way? I have a Focusrite midi box which then goes out to a Kenton Pro 2000 which does the conversion to CV
slow_riot
YES! Absolutely needed.
hydrophilos
Arders--that's a really beautiful work--thanks for sharing it
chamomileshark
slow_riot wrote:
YES! Absolutely needed.


I'm assuming that was to me, that you need the Expert Sleepers hardware?
slow_riot
chamomileshark wrote:
slow_riot wrote:
YES! Absolutely needed.


I'm assuming that was to me, that you need the Expert Sleepers hardware?


No sorry Mark, I meant the significance of this Expert Sleepers solution generally speaking. For such a free platform for music creation modular could certainly use a few more options for using non 12tET turning systems.
chamomileshark
ok Mark, so I guess my question remains then.

I was sorta suprised that a number of the VSTs that used to be able to do this have stopped working in Cubase and there doesn't seem to be anything now for this - which seems odd ..and a pity.
gde
Any equal temperament tuning can be played with a conventional 1v/Oct source and an attenuator/amplifier.

To get quarter tones (24 tone equal temperament) turn your attenuation so that a 2 octave difference on your keyboard (out other source) makes an octave difference in your oscillators pitch. For 17 tone equal temperament, have the interval between C and the F an octave above sound an octave apart. 17TET is great because it essentially has all the same notes as 12TET with a few extra. The thirds are interesting and the "perfect" 4ths and 5ths are more... perfect

Playing these nonstandard tunings with a conventional keyboard is possible, but keeping track of where your new C's lay on the keyboard can be tricky.
chamomileshark
hi, yes that's a possibility. I was also thinking of tuning the unquantised output of a sequencer but that's not ideal.
gde
Quantising to chromatic scale and attenuating/tuning to 24TET, 17TET, etc is a little more fool proof if you are trying to stick to a specific scale. The joy of modular is the lack of restrictions though.
fluxxion
http://subaqueousmusic.com/sof/

I found this really interesting for doing microtonal music in Ableton. I've been trying to think of how to do microtonal music with my modular but the best I've come up with without using expert sleepers hardware/software was tuning the un-quantized output of a sequencer like you said. I was thinking maybe set up a midi effect rack in Ableton, with the scale midi effects like from the link, and then with a couple VCOs, say 3, detune them apart in the scale you want so that they would play a cord if all played together. Then you can play one midi note and get a cord. This would only work ET scales I guess.
Well hopefully this gives some ideas.
justintonation
I have confirmed (from Colin Fraser) that the Cirklon sequencer is micro-tunable through the Midi Tuning Standard.

here is the exchange I had with Colin

>I was wondering if the cirklon allows scala file import. I could find no >mention
> of it in the Cirklon manual. But Richard James (aka AFX twin) seems to say this
> is possible from this interview quote below:
>
>
> "peeps can prob find me on circlon list as I've been pecking Colin for ages to
> implement a microtune editor for analogues on there!
> He finally put scala import on there which was a hidden feature for a while ,
> while i was making the end of syro, actually
> but we, yes we the people REALLY need colin to b able to save the goddamn
> tuning tables on there and be able to tweak them intuitively on the fly!!!
> when he does that ill be happy for next 10 years"
>
> If the Cirklon does indeed have scala file import and ability to microtune
> synths then I would buy one.

The microtuning support is implemented on the Cirklon's CV outputs.
The user interface is still somewhat limited, as it was developed mainly to suit Richard's requirements.
It doesn't load Scala files directly yet (although I have looked at the file format, and it could be done).
Instead it can receive a standard MIDI tuning dump to re-tune the currently selected tuning table for the CV outputs.
There are eight tuning tables, held in non-volatile memory so they don't have to be re-loaded at every session.
Other possible additions to the m.t. support would be the ability to name a table and save it as a file, store a table as part of a song so it will be recalled when that song is selected, re-transmit a tuning table via MIDI standard tuning dump (although I understand many synths use a proprietary table dump format so use of Scala may be preferable) and possibly a basic tuning table editor for manual tweaks.

Best regards,
Colin Fraser
Sequentix Music Systems Ltd
http://www.sequentix.com

And then responding to further questions from me:

Hi Justin,

> When you say "it can receive a standard MIDI tuning dump to re-tune the
> currently selected tuning table" I assume you are referring to the midi
> standard that was written by Robert Rich and Carter Scholz which is >detailed
> here: http://www.microtonal-synthesis.com/MIDItuning.html
> and here http://www.midi.org/techspecs/midituning.php ?
> Is there a limit to 12 note scales or can you load scales up to 128 midi >notes in
> size ?

Yes, it responds to individual note re-tune messages in the format:

F0 7F 08 02 00 01 [kk] [xx yy zz] F7

where kk is key number, and xx yy zz is the three-byte frequency/tuning data.
It only handles a single re-tune entry in each message, but that suits the 3-byte output from Scala fine.
Each tuning table has an entry for all 128 notes.

> Have you implemented the real time tuning features of the MTS ? This
> feature allows retuning of already sounding pitches which is wonderful >for
> adaptive just intonation and strange shifting pitch landscapes.

The tuning will be modified if a tuning message is received while a note is playing.
I'm not sure if you're referring to a different message format for real-time adjustment, I just assumed the 3-byte messages should take effect on reception.

> The scala program can output MTS bulk tuning dumps so scala input >may not
> be necessary. But perhaps some people would like that.

I did all the testing of the micro-tuning features using Scala, on Richard's recommendation.
Scala's comprehensive implementation of the many proprietary tuning dump formats that exist is why I didn't implement a tuning table editor locally.
Unless I put a lot of effort into a method of creating user-defined dump templates, or hard-coded the various formats myself, the typical user would most likely need to resort to using Scala with certain synths anyway.

> Naming of scales would be excellent. Also the ability to send the MTS
> messages to the emu and ensoniq synths that accept these messages >via
> midi would be great.

Sending the MTS output would be a trivial addition, just not done yet because of the assumed nearby presence of a PC running Scala.

> Colin do you mind if I share this exchange with the members of the
> xenharmonic tuning facebook group? There are many people there who
> would be delighted to hear that the Cirklon has this feature. Most would >be
> unaware that your product exists and would probably be able to help >you
> optimise these features. I expect many would be interested in buying >one
> too.

Sure.

Cheers,
Colin
usw
justintonation wrote:
Each tuning table has an entry for all 128 notes.

That would only cover around 3 octaves of a 13 limit just intonation scale for example confused
justintonation
usw wrote:
justintonation wrote:
Each tuning table has an entry for all 128 notes.

That would only cover around 3 octaves of a 13 limit just intonation scale for example confused


I am not sure which 13limit just intonation scale in particular you have in mind as you can have a 13-limit scale with 2 pitches e.g 1/1, 13/8, 2/1. But sure if you want a full Partch tonal fabric of 43+ pitches you are correct. But Partch saw his scale as a gamut, in other words a choice of a wide variety of pitches to choose from for compositions. He would rarely use all 43 notes in compositions. Also why do you need all the pitches available at all times? Why not switch scales dynamically as you need them? The Cirklon should be able to do this, it holds 8 scales. Or you can use something like this http://www.tallkite.com/alt-tuner.html to dynamically change tunings on the fly by sending Midi Tuning Messages to the Cirklon --> CV messages to the modular. If you used a 19 note just intonation scale or equal temperament you would get 6.7 octaves. With switching you could get an infinite amount of pitches.
BendingBus
chamomileshark wrote:
I was sorta suprised that a number of the VSTs that used to be able to do this have stopped working in Cubase and there doesn't seem to be anything now for this - which seems odd ..and a pity.


Yeah, it's bad out there. There is a VST called Alt-Tuner, but it says it's not tested on Cubase. Personally, I prefer hardware.
usw
justintonation wrote:
But Partch saw his scale as a gamut, in other words a choice of a wide variety of pitches to choose from for compositions. He would rarely use all 43 notes in compositions.

That is mostly true for the structural/semantical part of his compositions (just like most of his instruments could play more or less extended subsets of a more general just intonation scale), but there are still instrumental gestures all over his work that imply all intermediary tones the particular instrument was capable of.

justintonation wrote:
Also why do you need all the pitches available at all times? Why not switch scales dynamically as you need them? The Cirklon should be able to do this, it holds 8 scales. Or you can use something like this http://www.tallkite.com/alt-tuner.html to dynamically change tunings on the fly by sending Midi Tuning Messages to the Cirklon --> CV messages to the modular. If you used a 19 note just intonation scale or equal temperament you would get 6.7 octaves. With switching you could get an infinite amount of pitches.

A single midi tuning sysex message is 11 bytes long, which would take almost 3 milliseconds, multiply that by 128 and you're into the 0.4 sec range (a bulk would be slightly faster but still bandwidth intensive and slow…) !
This is just not convenient imho. Even the pitch-bend message offset per voice, note & midi channel seems like a better solution to me.

For this application the es3 with max/msp or the software of your choice is the most effective option seriously, i just don't get it
usw
oups double d'oh!
cupwise
i recently did a track where i came up with my own custom scale, basically just picking the notes/freqs by ear, using silent way. i used a different method from the one in the original post, and only saw about that method afterward. what i did was maybe a bit clunkier, but it had the benefit that i could actually design a custom scale and hear how all the frequencies sounded together, and if i didn't like a note, i could retune it live, while a melody was playing.

what i did was, instead of using a midi input into the voice controller module of silent way to control my pitch, i used the simple DC module. i use flstudio (don't laugh) and it has a modulation controller you can use to modulate parameters on pretty much anything including vsts, called the keyboard controller. it loads up like a synth/vsti so you sequence notes that go to it, and what it does is, you can fine tune exactly how the parameter you are using it to modulate will get adjusted, per note. so i had that modulate the main 'dc' control in the silent way module, just moving around the VC value i get.

so basically i went in, and by hand i retuned each note on the keyboard, in the little range i was using for that track, by ear. i would lay out a simple melody and just gradually retune each note and ended up with a pretty unique tuning in the end. of course i had to have another track in the sequencer with the same notes copied over from the other one, and sending those via midi to a voice module which i used to generate the triggers for my envelopes etc.

i dont know about any other daws specifically but i imagine there are at least a few others out there that have some feature allowing you to manipulate paramters via sequenced notes, and allow you to tune each note so the parameter jumps to whatever setting you want. could be wrong though...
Phil999
interesting.

My method is to use Scala. A free software that can retune MIDI input into any scale you like (relayer function). It supports many formats, but for the modular I prefer the simple relayer function in monophonic mode. This sends each note with pitch bend to the MIDI-CV interface.

To make this work in a DAW, there are a couple of things to do:
1) create a virtual MIDI port (Windows: loopMIDI software)
2) run Scala, run Relayer
3) set Relayer input to MIDI keyboard, output to loopMIDI port
4) run DAW, create MIDI track
5) set its input to that loopMIDI port, the output to your MIDI-CV interface

Now you can record MIDI notes with pitch bend to that MIDI track, to play back on your modular system. Play back doesn't need Scala anymore. With monitoring on you can play microtonal scales live of course.

Scala provides thousands of microtonal scales, and you can create your own of course. Scl files are simple text files. I believe this method is one of the best for monophonic synths. Maximum flexibility, easy handling. The only disadvantage is the need for a computer and a MIDI-CV interface.

But I think I'm going to get into Silent Way one day or another. I'm very pleased they offer the option to play microtonal scales.
Phil999
a very beautiful and inspiring text:

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

also see

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2015/11/01/modern-microtonal-electro nic-instruments/

I must say that Dolores Catherino is a bright light in the research of micrtotonality.
dark_carcass
Arders Bergdahl wrote:
Thats VERY cool.. download ScaleGen and you can generate any scale you can imagine.. i have generated 13 note just Bohlen-Pierce, scales besed on Phi, Pi some i have made to have octaves other are more like overtone series..
Seems like voice controller could be a good addition to my setup.
Currently i mainly use Gestrument or Scalegen and let the toneBend take care of micro tonality.. but that limits me to these two controllers..
(Below, in my sig, is my first piece that properly use a PHI microtonal scale..)


Scalegen seems really easy and capable. but Gestrument seems like a toy. are there any synth apps or proper pads or sequencer apps that are actually playable that can use Scalegen?
Phil999
dark_carcass wrote:
are there any synth apps or proper pads or sequencer apps that are actually playable that can use Scalegen?

myself I haven't found a real world use of Scalegen (don't like Gestruments either), although since Scalegen has MIDI input it could theoretically be used like Scala's Relayer function, but I don't know.
dark_carcass
Phil999 wrote:

myself I haven't found a real world use of Scalegen (don't like Gestruments either), although since Scalegen has MIDI input it could theoretically be used like Scala's Relayer function, but I don't know.


wondering if it could connect to a mid/usb to cv module or something hmmm.....
would be a cool and quick microtonal solution..
BendingBus
Here's something cool for the microtonal nerds (like myself). Reaktor Blocks digital modular, you can insert a microtonal block between the midi note in and oscillators (just as you would a MOTM-650), and tune a 12 note scale to anything you want using cents (and save it as a preset). It's simple, and works...been using it demo ideas and mess with temperaments before patching up the analog. Here's a screen shot, a simple patch tuned to C-just...

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