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I'm looking for a synthesizer to play some music which includes quarter tones, like Arabic music.

Does anyone know what synthesizers have this option, please ?

I found a list here but I don't know if quarter tones are available on them.

http://www.pssl.com/Keyboards?s=l

Thank you

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A general term to search on would be "microtonal keyboard" –  Dave Mar 6 at 18:49
    
Don't neglect the possibility of using a simple synthesizer as a controller for software that can be tuned however you want. For instance, in several of the modules in Reason, you can just set the keyboard tracking to 50 and get a quarter tone piano. –  Pat Muchmore Mar 6 at 19:43
    
I'm interested as to how one would play a keyboard this way. Press, say, an E note and that's what'll be heard. Play the F next to it, and it's a semitone higher. Which would be allocated to the E'semisharp' and what happens to the original note if needed later. A pitchbender would be a good move, leaving original notes still obtainable. –  Tim Mar 6 at 20:14
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@Tim Playing a truly quarter-tone piano is a very different experience. Some note is defined as the central pitch and will be the same as a regularly-tuned piano (often C4 or G4). All of the other keys are quarter-tone instead of semitone moves, and it is quite discombobulating at first. What feels like an octave will sound like a tritone. What feels like an augmented triad is actually just 3 whole steps. You're basically learning a new instrument. A pitch bend wheel is a good choice if you only want quarter tones as colorations of an essentially chromatic surface. –  Pat Muchmore Mar 6 at 21:54
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But if you want to experiment with all the possibilities of quarter-tone music, including harmonies like C — E-1/4-flat — G (neither major nor minor), then the pitchbend wheel doesn't help. –  Pat Muchmore Mar 6 at 21:56

2 Answers 2

See my answer at the link below, where I give a list of keyboards that meet your criterion, from Casio, Roland, Korg, Yamaha, and Generalmusic.

Are there any MIDI extensions that allow quarter tones?

All of these keyboard instruments have the word "Oriental" or "Middle-Eastern" in the name of the product.

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Most synthesizers have a pitch bend wheel that will allow you bend the pitch up or down by a number of microtonal increments. The trick is to train your ear and your hand to coordinate the proper microtonal adjustment on the fly as in the way a violinist develops intonation.

A more expensive synthesizer may allow you to set the keyboard to a particular tuning system that might be a better fit for the scales you are trying to play.

I highly recommend that you first learn to sing the notes correctly before embarking in using a pitch bending wheel as this will improve your musicianship instead of relying solely on the technology.

Consider too, how guitarists are able to create micro tonal pitches by bending the string at the nearest scale degree to play alternate scales.

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With all due respect Wheat, I was focusing on a melodic line as per the culture of Arabic music where such lines are a prominent feature. To suggest I do not understand the nature of tuning temperaments and micro tonal music is at best a grossly inaccurate assumption on your part, somewhat brutal. –  filzilla Mar 7 at 18:34
    
Comment retracted. I apologize. –  Wheat Williams Mar 7 at 18:35
    
No worries Wheat, thank you for your kind understanding. –  filzilla Mar 7 at 18:40

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