Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Information in this Blog has Moved

I decided that I don't need two microtonal blogs, so I moved most of the posts to my more general microtonal blog. I intended this blog to be a source of information to help others make microtonal music. I will still write about these subjects at my other blog. You can also scroll down for some basic articles about microtonal music.

Friday, May 04, 2007

A Few Great Resources for Making Microtonal Music

H-Pi Instruments

H-Pi Instruments sells unique microtonal keyboards, software and a revolutionary Tuning Box that allows you to retune ordinary electronic keyboards and soft synths that wouldn't normally have that ability. I own one and I'm impressed with its capabilities. My favorite part of the website is the instrument gallery. It contains fascinating pictures of microtonal organs, pianos and harpsichords with alternate keyboard layouts.


Scala software is free and has unique tuning capabilities. It is very versatile and can be used to retune a large number of software synthesizers and electronic keyboards.

L'il Miss' Scale Oven

L'il Miss' Scale Oven is a tuning software for the Mac. It tunes more instruments than any other software in the world.


Tonescape is a microtonal music production software that can be downloaded for free. There is also a Yahoo group for discussing Tonescape.

Microtonal Synthesis

A website that lists various electronic keyboards and software with microtonal capabilities.

Making Microtonal Music

A Yahoo group that is a good place to discuss microtonal music and how to make it.


Click this label link for articles about producing microtonal music at my other microtonal music blog.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Some Microtonal Music Tuning Terms

Microtonal Music

Generally, any type of music that deviates from the standard tuning of twelve tone equal Temperament. Some people are more restrictive in their definition of microtonal music.

Xenharmonic Music

Music that uses strange harmony. This term is often used to distinguish microtonal music that uses experimental tuning systems from microtonal music that relies on historical or ethnic tunings.


The interval that represents a frequency ratio of 2/1. Notes that differ by one or more octaves are considered to be the same note and have a similar sound, even though their pitches are different. Some experimental forms of music are based on nonoctave tunings.

Just Intonation

A tuning system that uses only purely tuned intervals that represent simple whole number ratios like 3/2, 4/3, etc. This approach can result in less dissonant harmonic combinations, but can cause difficulties when changing keys.

Twelve Tone Equal Temperament

The common, standard tuning in modern Western music. It divides the octave into twelve equally spaced intervals. This makes changing keys easier and provides a convenient tuning standard for performers and instrument makers. However, all its intervals, except the octave, are tempered away from pure, justly tuned intervals. Other equal temperaments are formed by dividing the octave into any other number of equally tempered intervals.

Monday, October 09, 2006

What is Microtonal Music?

Most of the music we hear today is based on twelve tone equal temperament, a tuning system that's only a couple of centuries old. Microtonal music is any music that uses a different tuning system.

Twelve tone equal temperament is so common that most people aren't familiar with anything else. This is a shame. Twelve tone tuning may be very useful, but there's no reason why it should be the only tuning we ever hear.

Our modern tuning is often criticized because it deviates from the so called pure tuning that was common throughout most of history. Some people yearn to hear the purely tuned intervals that have become distorted in our modern system.

Others want to take their music in other directions and use new experimental tunings that feature strange, exotic or alien harmonies.

Microtonal music is a way to do all this and more. Through microtonal music we can learn about the very structure of music. It can teach us about the music and people of far away places and of times long past. Better yet, it enables you to make music that is different from anything that has come before. Microtonal music can be an incredible adventure!