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 Forum index » How-tos » Micro Tuning
Using different scales together
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Octahedra



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:33 am    Post subject: Using different scales together Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Has anyone tried using different tuning systems together at the same time?

I'm just making my first attempt. Maybe too much listening to Ligeti, Murail and Julian Anderson has made me want to be some kind of Evil Genius composer! Twisted Evil

<heavystuff>
I've got big background chords in 12 equal temperament. There are only 10 chords in 9 minutes, but it's multitimbral with each part having its own volume variations, so there's plenty of evolution and you lose track of which note is the root. These chords aren't usually based on major or minor triads, and all that unpredictable change of emphasis and texture spoilt many of the chord progressions, so I just faded the problem notes down to silence around the changeover points. The lowest note of the chord is always E, A, C or D. Those 4 notes finally come together into their own chord in the last minute, then resolve to A major (A, C#, E) - the tonality being a surprise after all the ambiguous weirdness.

The melody takes the lowest note of the current chord (which isn't always the root), and builds a harmonic series scale from there. You multiply the original frequency by all the whole numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. up to 32 in this case.
</heavystuff>

I've used a harmonic scale on its own before, but making it work with these chords has been a bit of a nightmare. Many of the notes cause crazy dissonance against the equal temperament stuff, although I've used some of the more acceptable dissonances on purpose (that was kind of the whole point of doing this!). Leading tones that actually give you a decent idea of what the next note will be, are really hard to find. You can't rely on experience composing with other tuning systems, and basically need to learn a lot again by trial and error.

The higher you go, the more notes you get per octave. You keep thinking of a note you want and then finding it only exists in a higher octave! If I'd used just intonation to put in those extra low notes I wouldn't have been able to fit 4 scales of 32 harmonics into the midi range of 128 notes.

So it's going to take some more tweaking before I can call it finished. Not that I'm trying to put people off the whole idea! Embarassed

Gordon
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seraph
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi Gordon
check this out: Alphapanther. It features 12tET and Carlos Alpha at the same time Cool

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Rykhaard



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Gordon - Surprised OMG. All you've above spake almost reminds me of one who's discussing building a living arrangement in a 4th dimension. Wink

It's cool to read of what you're doing with this composition as well. I'm hoping that you'll be posting an mp3 of it, once it's ready for release. Smile

I myself am in the beginnings of attempting to toss away all of my previous musically related trainings and things that I've been used to in composing, for the past 34 years. Scale? Tuning system? To heck with that. Very Happy I've recently started exploring melodies and movements based on no tuning system or scale at all - The Scale of Naught I'm naming it overall.

Applying the same mind frame to timing, will be coming in time as well. I'm enjoying the travels with it, so far, with my noise machine. It's become quite addictive. Smile
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Octahedra



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

seraph wrote:
Alphapanther. It features 12tET and Carlos Alpha at the same time Cool


Cool - that goes beyond any stereo chorus effect I've heard, because the interval between the two versions depends which note is playing!

But... if you're dividing the 5th into 9 steps (as you say, 77.995 cents per step), there's no octave interval any more. I've heard of that kind of thing (eg. Bohlen–Pierce) but never tried it. Does that make it harder to compose?

Rykhaard wrote:
almost reminds me of one who's discussing building a living arrangement in a 4th dimension.


You only have 4 dimensions where you live? I was getting far too comfortable with 11. Maybe that's why my rent seems so high... Wink

Rykhaard wrote:
no tuning system or scale at all - The Scale of Naught I'm naming it


I remember you mentioning this a few weeks back. If you got it really worked out you could also use consonant intervals and chords from different tuning systems from time to time, in between all the chaos.

If you've got a 'chord' of lots of notes very close together (a cluster), it becomes like noise; the top and bottom notes are the most important in controlling what you actually hear. That might be one way to sneak in a lot of frequencies where most are unrelated and you only have to worry about the tuning relationships between 2 of them. It works like that in 12 equal temperament, so you I guess you might be able to get away with it using any random pitches for the middle ones.

One way to get seemingly unrelated microtones is to have lots of instruments playing portamento or pitch bend independently, at the same time. It's been done with everything from a string quartet to a big orchestra - by Gloria Coates.

In her Symphony No. 1 there's a whole movement where the strings are being retuned from a special setup back to the usual one, as part of the performance. No.7 begins and ends with the kind of portamento stuff I was talking about.

Gordon
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seraph
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Octahedra wrote:
... if you're dividing the 5th into 9 steps (as you say, 77.995 cents per step), there's no octave interval any more. I've heard of that kind of thing (eg. Bohlen–Pierce) but never tried it. Does that make it harder to compose?

well...especially working with a traditional keyboard, the answer is yes.
you really need an isomorphic controller.

arrow Have you seen these videos by Elaine Walker?

arrow Have you listened to my Bohl-en Roll piece?

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Octahedra



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

seraph wrote:
you really need an isomorphic controller.


I've already been looking at special keyboards such as the Axis one in those Elaine Walker videos (which I'd briefly looked at before and have now watched properly). But as they start at the same kind of price as the most expensive synth I've ever owned, I really need to work out how good each design is for each kind of scale. study

Somehow I never found the microtonal mp3s on your site before, so thanks for the link. You've tried a lot of different tunings there! It's really good for us to have some finished music to hear before picking scales to experiment with. I'm putting some on my iPod now for the walk home from work.

My microtonal work so far amounts to 1 piece with a few quarter-tones, and 2 with harmonic series - one of which isn't even finished yet. I'm now itching to try some higher equal temperaments - in my sequencer first and then maybe on the right kind of keyboard...

Gordon
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seraph
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Octahedra wrote:
I'm putting some on my iPod now for the walk home from work.


beware: microtonal music can cause dizziness Shocked

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