Alternate Tuning Techniques


I like the patch! Nice harmonies.
I got the final version working this morning and discovered that it has some interesting quirks. Because it is possible to play a series of intervals that result in the quantizer getting progressively farther from the starting pitch, eventually you reach the point where two keyboard notes quantize to the same output value. In order to resolve this I think it will be necessary to change approaches. The current model captures the quantizer output and uses it to transpose the input, but I think it will be necessary to determine the required interval first and then modify the current output accordingly. Back to the drawing board. Just for grins here’s what I have currently:
Sliding quantizer dev.audulus (202.2 KB)

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So I have been in communication with a couple of redditors who work primarily with microtonal music, acriel (mentioned above) and FlyNap (who works exclusively in JI)

I asked them both about how they navigate JI

From FlyNap

I take many approaches to JI. For example I might find a set of small 5-limit intervals I like the sound of, and the use an algorithm to find all the different sets of them that fit in a span. Then take that span and repeat it up and down using the harmonic/subharmonic series.

The things that make my approach different:

  • Forget octave repeating
  • liberal use of harmonic series
  • keyboard maps that might not be linear in pitch
  • commas are cool, just go with it
  • discard western musical system of named notes entirely.

A scale you might be interested in that is sorta like 31 EDO, but is actually just is 22 Shruti. It’s octave-repeating, but it’s a wide octave. The component intervals are explained on that site. I find it really elegant. As for finding nice harmonies - just use your ear. You’ll find consonances unavailable in ET.

From acreil

I do both. For just intonation scales I find it’s easiest to use the harmonic and/or subharmonic series. If you want a 12 note scale you can pick a range of harmonics from 16 to 31, or 24 to 47 or whatever and omit the ones you don’t want (typically the really high prime numbers). So you could do 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30 and see how that sounds.



Here’s a version that works a bit better. It still has a few issues but at least the interval changes work properly. Set an initial note using the knob and reset the unit (A = 0, A# = 1, B =2 etc.) It will calculate the interval and modify the output accordingly. Like the earlier unit the actual pitch generated by an input note will change depending on the notes played before.
Sliding Quantizer Mark II.audulus (285.7 KB)



Maybe I should call its the NTSNT quantizer (Never The Same Note Twice)!:cowboy_hat_face:

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Each note has a unique existence!

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Harmonic Quantizer Demo.audulus (142.3 KB)

Here is a fun one, a quantizer that snaps to the harmonic series of a root note. It’s a fun way to be microtonal (high order harmonics played against each other can sound pretty dissonant while low order harmonics are very familiar intervals) while preserving just intonation.



It’s interesting how attempting to keep the intervals “just” leads to dissonance eventually. I’ve learned a lot about alternative approaches to tuning during my sojourn with Audulus. Who knew there were so many scales? As lovely as a perfect fifth sounds, I think I’ll stick to well-tempered for the most part. Still, it’s wonderful to have the tools to explore the alternatives without investing a fortune.



My crazy hunch is that only phenomena that have (no idea what the proper term is) certain properties like those of automata, properties that make their shape incomplete, only systems that have this spiral-like subsistence allow for a peculiar kind of novel expression. Along with this aspect comes another which is present as an idea incompleteness. Various parts vanish into the dark while other parts are in focus. But this allows for a non-symmetrical landscape in between any two points. Analog has it. It may be an ingredient in life, which is why Conway’s work is useful for making predictions about complex weather patterns by constructing models.



A little side note re. the tuning resources I mentioned finding in the Wilsonic and AudioKit Synth One apps. From the latest Synth One update:

  • You can now use Synth One to send micro-tunings to AudioKit Digital D1. Press the new “TuneUp” button on the “Tune” panel. Now, you can use your favorite Synth One tunings in Digital D1. It’s blowing our minds!!! :slight_smile:
  • This “TuneUp” tuning sharing can be thought of kind of like Ableton Link, but, for Tunings instead of Tempo. This technology is open-source. If you are an app developer and would like to share tunings with Synth One or Wilsonic to your app, please get in touch and we’ll help you get it integrated.


Many people don’t realize that MIDI also has a way to implement tunings other than well-tempered. It’s not widely supported but the standard (MTS) exists: