Scala comes with a very large collection of tunings. Many of these are mysterious to me. Specifically, I'm seeking information about these two:

pyramid_down.scl               12  Upside-Down Wedding Cake (divorce cake) 
t-side2.scl                    12  Tau-on-Side opposite

I'll take anything I can get at this point -- historical information about who made them and why, technical / mathematical information about how they're constructed, examples of their use in music etc.

Incidentally, I have no reason to believe these are related, they just stood out to me when I was exploring the collection. I'm currently using them both in a piece of music so I'd like to be able to say something about them when asked (or even when nobody asks).

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    You probably know that doing SHOW SCALE with different SET ATTRIBUTES values gives you some clues to the mathematics involved. But although I've used a number of the tunings, only occasionally could I find out who had created them or how or why. The Tunings mailing-list closed, then the Yahoo Group, and now I think there is only Facebook, which has four or more groups, each specializing in some aspect of microtonal music. How keen are you to pursue it? I've got a few links and also some names of people who might be able to help. Commented May 28, 2020 at 1:55
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    As for examples of their use, I've used Graham Breed's scale of 12 notes to a schismatic fourth and a 19-note scale from Thorvald Kornerup's Golden meantone. I've got some big 'band' and 'orchestral' pieces using 06-41 Hexatonic scale in 41-tet and 07-37 Miller's Porcupine-7 but not the scales you are interested in. Neil Haverstick has pieces of his on his site, mostly using 19 and 34-note E.T., played on specially-fretted guitars. I would guess that a tuning like a wedding cake would have narrow intervals at the top and wide at the base, so divorce cakes would be the opposite. Tau? No idea! Commented May 28, 2020 at 3:50
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    Thanks for the insight -- at least I'm not missing something obvious... I'll take any leads you have (regarding these tunings or sources of information in general). I'm more ear-led these days so I'm happy to have found sounds I enjoy but I'd like to at least be able to give credit where it's due.
    – helveticat
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 8:32
  • If you're still interested, I had a couple of emails with some contact details. I'll post them here in a new answer. Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 17:19

2 Answers 2


Tunings and creation dates from ScalaVista Online Scale Archive

Pyramid / Wedding Cake

Created: February 19, 1996

9/8, 75/64, 5/4, 4/3, 45/32, 3/2, 25/16, 5/3, 27/16, 16/9, 15/8, 2/1

Pyramid down / Upside-down Wedding Cake / Divorce Cake

Created: February 19, 1996

16/15, 9/8, 6/5, 32/25, 4/3, 3/2, 8/5, 27/16, 16/9, 9/5, 48/25, 2/1


Created: February 2, 2010

25/24, 16/15, 9/8, 5/4, 4/3, 45/32, 3/2, 25/16, 8/5, 5/3, 15/8, 2/1

Tau-on-side opposite

Created: March 24, 2003

9/8, 75/64, 6/5, 5/4, 4/3, 45/32, 3/2, 5/3, 225/128, 9/5, 15/8, 2/1

Yahoo Groups! is shutting down permanently on December 15, 2020, meaning that even email functionality will be broken.

At this point, virtually all of the online microtonal/xenharmonic presence is at Facebook's "Xenharmonic Alliance," "Xenharmonic Alliance - Mathematical Theory", and "Microtonal Music and Tuning Theory" groups. You are all encouraged to join those!

The messages from this group have all been archived. The archive is at: https://yahootuninggroupsultimatebackup.github.io/

You can also always get the Xenharmonic Wiki at: https://en.xen.wiki/w/Main_Page

Thanks and I'll see you all there!

There's also a group on MeWe (Dr. Oz posts there, but he's not on Facebook). https://mewe.com/group/5c9c1bc3d71e3023f90fe123

....and an email list run by Aaron Krister Johnson at [email protected]. You should be able to sign up here: http://lists.untwelve.org/listinfo.cgi/tuning-discuss-untwelve.org

There's also a (quiet) Slack, if you're interested in more real-time interactions. Let me know if you're interested.

Jake Freivald

  • This seems like a good Q/A in its own right. ...and possible more likely to be found.
    – Aaron
    Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 18:19
  • @Aaron Did you see my message above? My answer just consists of a couple of emails from various members of the late-lamented Tunings Group, who sent an email round saying where to find what's left of it. Do you mean I should ask eg 'Where to find tunings info?' then answer it with the info in their emails? I guess I could, if that's what you meant. Btw, the archived messages are useful, and searchable. Well done finding Wedding Cake etc. Remiss of me not to have checked the ScalaVista Online Scale Archive back in May when the OP asked the question. Do you dip a toe in other tunings? Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 0:08
  • Yes, exactly. I was suggesting you post a question like "Where to find tunings info?" I'm often wrong about these things, but my sense is it might prove useful to a fair number of people. As far as alternative tunings -- not as a performer (or, not on purpose as a performer), but academically it's an area of curiosity if not a great deal of knowledge.
    – Aaron
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 0:12
  • @Aaron Ok I'll do that. Thanks. My math(s) isn't good enough to follow some of the discussions the experts have, but there are certainly some beautiful tunings. Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 0:37
  • Thanks very much for these links, and to Aaron for the info from the Archive; I appreciate both. I'm not on any of the platforms you mention but maybe that should change. Looks like Old Brixtonian's question will be a good lightning rod for collecting links: music.stackexchange.com/questions/106882/….
    – helveticat
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 21:05

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