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!