What are some cultures or bands that don't use the 12TET system and where can I find their music?

  • For microtonal studies in context of Indian music I recommend searching for "22 shrutis" and the works of vidyadhar oak youtu.be/YfF8ZEVOYks
    – Rusi
    Jun 28, 2019 at 17:18
  • 3
    This seems like a broad identification question to me. With a hint of resource recommendation. Jun 28, 2019 at 18:20
  • How about old European music. The ET in TET is Equal Temperament and prior too that there were more distinct tones used in European music. Turkish music for example uses quarter tones. They do not use a 24 TET scale. It's more like a 7 note scale with one shifted note or an extra note (I don't recall the details).
    – user50691
    Jun 28, 2019 at 22:00
  • @ToddWilcox would you suggest closing?
    – user50691
    Jun 28, 2019 at 22:01

1 Answer 1


Expanding on @ggcg : That European music is absolutely 12TET-oriented is a notion that is not accurate


Violin intonation recommendation default pythagorean adjust chords towards just


Waldstein's third mvt. has, I believe, 17 bars with the pedal to be held down. Try this on a ET and it will quickly turn to a blur. Performed on a Young or Vallotti, it becomes an orchestral landscape https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=39288.50

I can assent to this (almost) – I don't have access to a Valloti/Young tuning – but with Werckmeister or Kirnberger one can keep the pedal depressed as Beethoven indicates which is messy with ET.

Current trends

Equal temperament "destroys everything" Note 100% western setting

History misunderstood

Bach did not promote Equal temperament


Staff notation is not ET but closer to meantone ie there is one notion of whole tone (unlike Just's two) but C# is not 'spelt' same as Db. A pure 12 TET notation would be like midi numbers!

  • With regard to Beethoven and long passages with the pedal depressed, its not only the tuning but also the instrument. The instrument of the early 19C was under much less tension and an undamped note would not sustain for as long.
    – phoog
    Jul 1, 2019 at 18:34
  • @phoog Well yes and no: Yes: Instrument matters. No: Tuning matters more than is realized. Combined with the misunderstanding that Bach's "wohl temperierte (well tempered)" is the same/equivalent to "equal tempered"
    – Rusi
    Jul 2, 2019 at 7:22
  • @phoog You can try this small experiment to check "tuning matters more than instrument" Here is a performance. Make a bunch of people hear it without seeing it. Make another see without hearing. And ask them all "What instrument did you see/hear and from which region of the world (if not western) "?
    – Rusi
    Jul 3, 2019 at 5:19

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