I'm not a programmer but I am working on a program that manipulates music via MIDI files in all sorts of interesting ways.
I want to add the ability to use alternate tunings. I even went so far as to build a function that uses pitch bend to achieve alternate tunings (and it works and is mostly fine even though there are some constraints that I'm not thrilled with).
But then I discovered a couple of things. One is that Timidity, which is an integral part of the project already, allows you to specify alternate tunings. The other is Scala. Great, but now the questions:
1) What does Timidity mean by "pure intonation"? Is this Pythagorean?
2) I see that Scala has some 4,400 alternate tunings available. I do not understand anything about Scala or how to use it. That's fine. What I am able to do with it is load an .scl file and then save it as a .tbl which is what Timidity uses. Question: do I need to, somehow, create a version of each tuning I want to use for each of the notes of the chromatic scale? Or does Timidity magically convert it for you based on the key signature supplied (either in the MIDI meta text or in the command line parameters)? (My knowledge of just intonation is sketchy but I think that the tuning has to be based on whatever key your piece is in?)
3) Scala has some 4,400 alternate tunings. I don't think I really need to supply options for all of them. How in the world can I tell which ones are the ones I really need? Which Pythagorean (it has quite a few listed)? What else? Quarter meantone? La Monte Young's? What's a good top 10 list? Or top whatever that would cover the ones that musicians are ever really likely to use/want/hear?