28

Note: For the sake of discussion, I'm limiting myself here to equal temperaments, which is the most common way of tuning keyboards. Other systems exist, of course, but would probably only confuse the matter. Why do B and C and E and F not have a sharp note between them? Simply because, acoustically speaking, there is no room in our current system for ...


28

This question seems to arise from a “linear” mental model of notes. C♭ C C♯ D♭ D D♯ E♭ E E♯ F♭ F F♯ G♭ G G♯ A♭ A A♯ B♭ B B♯ C♭ C C♯ Like a piano keyboard, but somehow with 31 notes per octave instead of 12. (Building or playing such an instrument is left as an exercise for the reader.) But instead, look at the notes in Circle of Fifths ...


21

Technically vibrato is going in and out of "tune." But that is controlled, and I think that is the key to approaching the question. If it's deliberate, creating some intended effect, it seems like a valid musical choice. All kinds of slides, half-sung notes, etc. are used by singers and add life to a performance. By comparison when I hear a very "clean" ...


16

When is out of tune ok? Most of the time. You could write a whole book on all the situations in which 'out of tune' is the norm - from the individual harmonics of stringed instruments, to temperaments of scales, to chorus pedals, to blue notes, to 'unpitched' percussion instruments and spoken passages of indeterminate pitch.... as well as not hitting an ...


16

It is because B and C are closer together than the difference between B and B♯ and the difference between C and C♭. That is, they are all some sort of semitone apart. Alternatively, note that B♯ is also higher than C♭ in every 12-tone temperament, because in the 12-tone system B♯ is the same pitch as C, while C♭ is the same pitch as B. but this doesn't ...


12

A trivial answer : yes. When I was quite young I wrote a computer program to spit out a succession of 'beeps' at random frequencies not related to any musical scale; I suspect many people who have a computer and a bit of an interest in music have done the same. In practice how close you could get to infinity (!) would be limited by the resolution at which ...


11

There's no single, universal answer to this. Most Western music is based on a combination of diatonic melody (which is arguably best rendered in Pythagorean tuning, i.e. 9:8 whole-tone steps), and 5-limit JI harmony. It immediately follows that there's a conflict between the ditone 81:64 (≈1.266) and the just major third 5:4 (=1.25). So you either need to ...


9

I admire a lot of Adam's work, but I think he's exaggerating a bit about the reasons why choirs get off pitch. (Though he's stating a commonly held belief -- or perhaps common excuse.) Yes, most choirs tend to drift in pitch when singing a cappella, but I guarantee you that at least 99% of the time, it's not due to "comma drift." Instead, non-professional ...


8

In the composer John Lambert's ear-training classes, he got his students to sing quarter-tone exercises using - I think - DIE RYE MY FIE SIGH LIE and TIE for quarter sharps, and DAW TAW LAW SAW FORE MORE and RAW for quarter flats. Although musical grammar also requires three-quarter sharps and three-quarter flats, I don't think they were used. I never saw ...


8

I had a couple of emails recently from ex-members of the mailing-list telling me where everyone had gone. The information below is taken from those. ..................................................................................................................... Yahoo Groups! is shutting down permanently on December 15, 2020, meaning that even email ...


8

There are two alternative notations for 31-TET. One of them uses double sharps and double flats: Note name A B♭♭ A♯ B♭ A♯♯ B C♭ B♯ C D♭♭ C♯ D♭ C♯♯ D E♭♭ D♯ E♭ D♯♯ E F♭ E♯ F G♭♭ F♯ G♭ F♯♯ G A♭♭ G♯ A♭ G♯♯ A Note (cents) 0 39 77 116 155 194 232 271 310 348 387 426 465 503 542 581 619 658 697 735 774 813 852 890 929 968 1006 1045 1084 1123 1161 1200 The other ...


7

This isn't quite an answer, but is also too long for a comment, and I think it will point you in the right direction. The conventions for the spelling of 31TET are related to the conventions of meantone temperaments, and in a sense 31TET can be seen as a special case of a "completed" meantone temperament. And if you pick out a subset of 31TET the intervals ...


7

There are some proposed solutions for a variety of tunings. For example, here's a solfege for 31-EDO, attributed to Andrew Heathwaite. The same page contains links to systems for 17-EDO, 22-EDO, 29-EDO, and 41-EDO. The original system was invented by Guido d'Arezzo (ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la) and pre-dates the major/minor system. It was later adapted for such. ...


7

Generally, you don't notate for 31-edo. Recall that we don't really notate for 12-edo either, otherwise there would be no such thing as enharmonics. Rather, as long as you intend to use it for tonal 5-limit music, you should mostly notate for meantone tuning, which can apply to both 12-edo and 31-edo. I.e., you notate in diatonic tonality, just as you're ...


6

The layout of a piano keyboard always puzzled me. For many years I asked music professionals why was it so illogical - no one seemed to know. Eventually, the best answer I found was that early harpsichord type instruments had only white keys. They consisted of banks of seven notes. Each bank formed a scale which 'sounded pleasing and natural to the ear', ...


6

The first thing to consider for 13-limit is the octave-reduce thirteenth harmonic, 13/8. It is the first sixth that occurs in the harmonic series and comes in at about 840.53 cents. It's pretty close to being smack dab in the middle of the 12tet minor sixth and major sixth. So, like 11-limit, this limit is going to contain some neutral intervals. In fact, ...


6

The MIDI Tuning Standard allows for arbitrary remapping of all 128 note values. It was ratified in 1992, and can be implemented by both GM and GM2 devices. (Very few do, however.) There are also Scale/Octave Tuning messages, which allow slight adjustments to the 12 tones in an octave. Only these are required by GM2.


6

"Harmonies" by Gyorgy Ligeti is an interesting example of microtonal music. It's written for organ, but it's intended to be played with reduced air and manipulation of the stops, so the pipes don't play at their designed frequency. With (mainly) slow chord changes and wide voicings the overall effect is a slowly evolving harmony and dissonance through the ...


6

I'm surprised no one has mentioned what I think is the obvious answer: Listen to microtonal music! Check out works from: Tristan Murail Claude Vivier Pascal Dusapin Karlheinz Stockhausen Iannis Xenakis Harry Partch And be sure to check out who is probably my personal favorite, Ben Johnston. If I may, check out one of the three CDs by the Kepler Quartet ...


6

Salute, I'm a saxophonist and I've actually invented a solfège system a couple of years ago for personal usage which can deal with quarter tones. The basic principle is simple, keep the natural Italian note names, no matter you're using Si or Ti for the 7th note of the diatonic scale. Then, if the accidental is sharp, change the vowel to "u" (like &...


5

Well, how about the starting clarinet solo in Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue"? It's been almost a century ago. Granted, doing the glissando continuously on its last part was not written into the score originally but was rather an impromptu trick by the clarinetist that the composer then insisted on incorporating into the premiere, but it has been very much ...


5

There is provision in the MIDI Standard to send & receive microtuning, both as entire data dumps & some realtime modifications, using SysEx messages. 7EH 08 nn is MIDI Tuning Standard (Non-Real Time) & 7FH 08 nn is MIDI Tuning Standard (Real Time) I have never personally used either of these, though I knew of their existence - so some further ...


5

So far, in my experience, alternate tunings are a feature of the sound module, not the MIDI controller. Tetsujin (see the other answer) has found that there is a spec for this, but as far as I know it is not often supported. You can determine whether a keyboard supports this by finding the manual and looking for the "MIDI Implementation Chart", just like the ...


5

First, I want to shout out to Stanley Kubrick who did choose music that transcended traditional tonality for both his science fiction and horror movies. Also we might be hearing some amount of microtonality in the soundtracks by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, as working with analog synthesizers makes it easier to actually work with microtonal scales without ...


4

Major edit after OP's clarification I'm pulling nomenclature from a paper written by Myles Skinner, a microtonal community wiki, and Wikipedia. I'll refer to quarter tone intervals as decimals between the semitone intervals. 3.5 is pretty universally called a neutral third. That's from all three of the sources and personal experience. It's a good ...


4

I'm not going to lie, Just Intonation is not my forte, and I hate math, so I'll spare most of the number-talk. From what I've read from a few difference sources (some of which are outline below), there are a few reasons why there is little discussion / application of extended-limit ratios: In Harry Partch's landmark text The Genesis of Music, he simply ...


4

There are a number of microtonal theorists who can and will answer questions about musical issues and problems concerning the actual use of microtonal materials. Joe Monzo maintains a website that you would probably find helpful. http://tonalsoft.com/enc/encyclopedia.aspx You should check out the Xenharmonic Wiki at https://en.xen.wiki/w/Main_Page Lots ...


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