Archive for the ‘microtonal composing’ Category

LinnStrument as a Microtonal Controller – Split Mode

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Click to enlarge, right-click to download

Here is a short demonstration video of the split mode as implemented in the original Linnstrument. By using the split mode one can access all 200 pads. With a judicious selection of synthesizer and range one can extend a tuning well beyond the current midi standard of 128 notes. The short demonstration piece uses two non-octave tunings => 5/4 divided into 4 and 5/4 divided into 8 notes respectively.

Red Sands Maunsell Forts

Friday, August 5th, 2016


Red Sands Maunsell Forts is quasi-ambient piece constructed from loops taken from a 17 edo guitar improvisation and the subsequent loops processed and live sequenced using Sonar’s matrix view (the graphic below). While it doesn’t have the flexibility of Albelton Live, I find the the constructs to be interesting despite being laborious to set up.


click to enlarge

Piano Exercise in 17 Notes per Octave

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016


Piano Exercise in 17 Notes per Octave is an attempt to write something playable for a piano student that has modest skills. The score is purposely scordatura because I think that notating in various microtonal accidentals is simply a burden when a person with a 12 equal midi controller and microtonal aware sound source set to 17 notes per octave (like a free Xen-Arts VSTi) can simply play the score as if it was written for 12 equal but the sound will be in 17 equal and produce the microtonal music of the score. A note on the composition – it is a of a nested ABA’B’ form.

The full score is here. Academic performance in a setting where a fee is charged is allowed. Any other commercial use without my permission is not. Please write me for permission in such a case, I haven’t told anyone no as of yet 🙂

Thank you Neil Haverstick for suggesting this project.

Cloudy Moon (9th root of 4 thirds)

Monday, February 1st, 2016

S0033028crop Picture by Chris Vaisvil

Cloudy Moon in 9th root of 4 thirds tuning [(4/3)^(1/9)] performed on a Linnstrument playing a fractal tune smithy relay retuned iPad Alchemy (Guitar PM Acoustic patch, modified)
multichannel midi file of performance – a capture of the retuned performance

the midi / audio path is below
Linnstrument => LoopBe => Fractal Tune Smithy => Sonar midi in (and recorded) => Sonar midi out => rtpMIDI => wifi => iPad running Alchemy => iPad audio => USB audio in => Sonar audio track in (and recorded)

For Mark L. Vines – Cloudy Moon 2 a new improvisation.

14th Century Harmony in 17 EDO – by Margo Schulter

Friday, December 11th, 2015

Above is the scordatura notation of Margo’s examples
Example 1
Text and examples by Margo Schulter: Here’s a curious sketch for another side of 17-ed2, (17 edo) or a 17-WT also, that starts with some 14th-century European common practice, and then gets a bit more uncommon with thirdtone shifts.


Here’s what I hope is a clearer notation of my idea for 17-ed2 or a 17-note well-temperament (17-WT) like George Secor’s, showing the voices using scale steps as well as Pythagorean note names.



Notice how cadences with ascending semitones tend to be more conclusive that those with descending semitones, and the way that the wide major third and sixth expand efficiently to the fifth and octave respectively.

Above is the scordatura notation of Margo’s examples
Example 2



Here the lower F is step “0,” on which we cadence in the fifth sonority, F-C-F or 0-10-17 steps.

Note that in the first eight sonorities, all melodic steps are either regular tones (3 steps) or regular diatonic semitones (1 step).

In the lower system, however, the lowest voice moves through scale steps 10-7-6-4-3 (descending 3-1-2-1 steps) or C-Bb-A-Ab-G, with Ab-A a chromatic semitone or 2 steps; and then 10-7-6-4-1 (desecnding 3-1-2-3 steps, or a 9-step tritone in all at 635.3 cents, close to 13/9), C-Bb-A-Ab-Gb.

Here it may also be helpful that 10 steps is a perfect fifth, 7 steps a perfect fourth; 4 steps, a minor third, and 6 steps a major third; 11 steps, a minor sixth, and 13 steps a major sixth. There are no vertical neutral or middle intervals used here, although that would open lots and lots of other possibilities. However, the melodic middle seconds or chromatic semitones A-Ab in the lowest voice (2 steps) may give a hint.

Again, what the numbers count is thirdtone steps in 17-ed2 (or some 17-WT), which I’m hoping will clarify the notation.

Margo requested an organ version – I broke up the examples into four phrases.
Scott Dakota requested a choir version – as above this is in four phrases.

Five Note Just Scale Played by Sines Applied to Images

Sunday, November 1st, 2015

I used Audio Paint 3.0 by Nicolas Fournel to create just intonation audio files generated with sines using the graphics as score. Click on them for a full size version. The tuning is essentially a just major 7th add 2 chord. The stereo space is split so that one channel responds to red intensity and the other to blue intensity. Each row of pixels is considered an oscillator and there are 256 of those in each “score”. The audio range is from 55Hz to 2048Hz.

CREATOR: CImg : Original size=1800x1800x1x3stars1



! E:\cakewalk\scales\5note_harmonic.scl
5 note harmonic

Inversion Dialations – Synthesizers in Orwell

Monday, July 20th, 2015


Here I present a collaboration with Bill Newbold who composed the midi part which I realized in Orwell tuning with a Korg MS2000. There is rumor of a video version using Google’s Deep Dream which is left as an exercise for the reader to find.

!12 note Orwell scale, pure octaves, Unstretched TOP-RMS, note from Orwell13 omitted 428.557
12 note orwell


Three by 19 edo

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015


I put a GK-3 hex pick up on my 19 edo guitar – what follows are three demonstration pieces that rely on the pitch interpretation of the GP-10 processor. My overall impression that this was successfully accomplished as you can clear hear places where I pushed a decidedly non-12 equal note(s) through the system.

Acoustic 12 string emulation

Distorted harmony in C major (intended to be 12 edo harmony which gets “bent”)

G open tuning


Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Remembrance is a chilled piece in 22 notes per octave using my DIY refretted $50 used “First Act” electric guitar and DIY fretless bass. Additionally there are my vocals, drums and Kontakt flute.

Poem by Evan Harrington

Words are contained in the film – full quality video

Here is an analysis by Andrew Heathewaite:

  • With the exception of a chromatic passing tone, the guitar part seems to be entirely (although maybe I missed something) in Superpyth[5], that is to say, the 22edo pentatonic scale generated by fifths/fourths. The voice sings these notes and a few major thirds to round things out. I take the first note of the voice melody to be tonic, and the chord progression to be more or less a I-V7-I… kind of thing. It’s not meantone, though, since there are two sizes of whole tone — the four-degree step and the three-degree step. To tell you the truth, the melody as you sing it sounds a little twelvey. That’s understandable if you haven’t sung in 22 a lot, since the large/small whole tone distinction is pretty tricky. It’s similar in 15, but even more exaggerated.

    Taking out the passing tone, your 22edo major scale is 4324432. If you treat it as a meantone major scale, you’ll find that the triads don’t work out the same. You’ve got a regular I chord, but the minor ii chord is actually subminor. A regular minor iii chord, but a supermajor IV chord. A regular major V chord but a vi chord with a subminor third and a wolf fifth! And finally, a decent septimal-flavored diminished vii chord. It’s worth mentioning also that the dominant V7 chord has a strong septimal flavor to it, like a tempered version of a 4:5:6:7 otonal chord. You play the seventh a lot in the guitar part, and I think it works nicely that way.

  • Quartertone Study for Strings – Easy DIY Microtonal Composing

    Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

    Short Quartertone Study for Strings is a demonstration with score on how anyone with a program that allows note input and a over-all tuning adjustment sound source (sampler, synthesizer) can start writing microtonal music today. The basic idea is to have two copies of your sound source with the same sound tuned a quartertone (50 cents) apart. If you can’t figure out where the quartertone is in the tuning adjustment simply load two copies and on two separate midi channel place an A and a Bb and adjust the tuning until the two notes sound the same. Make note of where you started and where you ended the adjustment because the half-way point in 99.999% of the cases is a quartertone. Then, while its weird to do at first, use the two scores to enter data for the one sound. In my score the top staff is unadjusted (i.e. normal) and the bottom staff is a quartertone sharp. So if you want an A quarter sharp you put an A on the bottom staff. If you want an A three quarter sharp you put a Bb on the bottom staff. If you want a regular A use the top staff. This method will work with practically any VSTi or Audio Unit and music composing program. More information about quartertone music can be found here on Wikipedia.

    The oddities seen in my score explained – the really low notes in measure 1 turns off vibrato and the very last stray note is to make sure Sonar captures the tail end of the reverberation of the real part of the score. That note was edited out of the final mp3.