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Zodiac suggests what surely must follow.
Last post Tue, Dec 08 2020 by Macker, 25 replies.
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Posted on Tue, Dec 08 2020 10:02
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 357

Just a quickie, Paolo.

It seems you're now discovering for yourself the first big problem I encountered in 2001 when I first got busy with OI. MIDI Fine Tuning - or Detune - is not very well pinned down in the MIDI Specification. Many virtual instruments - and the hardware synths and samplers of yesteryear - have gone their own idiosyncratic ways in implementing and calibrating MIDI Fine Tuning; and some, not at all. Trying to use MIDI Fine Tuning, as you've noticed, is a waste of time in Kontakt, for example. It soon became painfully obvious to me it was not the path to take.

Also, .tun microtuning files have the show-stopping disadvantage of being subject to slow-boat-to-China loading speed in operating systems; it's definitely not a real-time facility - although (if I recall correctly) Kontakt does offer the possibility of pre-loading a small array of microtuning files ready for real-time selection.

I came to realise that 14 bit Pitchbend, being much more tightly defined in the MIDI Spec, is the most reliably convenient and accurate way of fine tuning the vast majority of virtual instruments. However, it's still not universally available; I know that some Spitfire libraries, for example, tend to block external Pitchbend input.

As for the recent additions to the MIDI Spec on microtuning, I find them way too heavy-handed and not particularly useful.

Anyway, hope you keep us posted on your battles to solve this primary big problem.

Posted on Tue, Dec 08 2020 10:39
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 357

One more thing .... lol, sorry :D

Hermode tuning has been available in LPX for many years now, first appearing in Logic 9. I have to say, in all that time, it hasn't exactly set the world on fire. 

Catch you later, ciao Paolo.

Posted on Tue, Dec 08 2020 11:40
by PaoloT
Joined on Tue, Dec 27 2016, Posts 1172

Macker, I know, the alternative tuning issue has been only tried in the VI world. Not much development, however. We musicians are the main culpable: just think to libraries like UVI World Suite, were you can't even use the original cultures tuning with the base player. And, if I'm not wrong, with VSL's players, even with their fantastic historic instruments, you can choose an alternative scale, but you can't tune down to 415 Hz or up to 466 Hz, as required by the historically informed practice.

Yet, microtuning would not only be something for us spectral aficionados, but also to increase realism of any instrument. Why we musicians are not asking for this in higher numbers and more aloud?

In the meantime, I've used the alternative tuning schemas and spirals to try my own Hermode-like tuning of brass. I left leading melodies in Equal Tuning, and adjusted thirds and sixths in harmonies. The result sounds to me a bit strange, I must admit.

JupiZodiFanfare (Just Intonation)


Posted on Tue, Dec 08 2020 12:56
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 357

Excellent Paolo! Clear, clean, calm polyphony now. Very well done!

I guess your ear has been accustomed to ET for a long time; the strangeness will soon pass. Also, here in this small test piece, thankfully, the ET notes don't venture far away from PI, so hardly a worry on that front.


Now I'll wait for your next stage of dissatifaction - when you modulate away from the cosy safety of PI-ET similarity. The territory lying ahead of you is vast and will be, until you're fully equipped for OI, unforgiving. But I have faith - you'll rise to the challenge.

Posted on Tue, Dec 08 2020 13:25
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 357

Here's a revealing chart in which the discrepancies in pitches between PI and ET can be seen at the bottom. The scales here are all harmonic chromatic with their tonics on the conventional relative minor of each key signature.

But these spot-pitch discrepancies aren't the whole story. Beautiful, nuanced melodic lines and root progressions, especially when including a sprinkling of just intervals, as Wagner liked to do, are all too often mashed into a dreary, insipid bunch of nondescript pitches by ET.

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