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Tutorials:How use FTS to compose microtonally
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THIS PAGE IS WORK IN PROGRESS, PORTED FROM OLD HELP, HAS MANY BROKEN LINKS ETC AT PRESENT
How to Retune a Score (Video) - How to use Loopbe1 to connect Sibelius to Tune Smithy (video) - How use FTS to compose microtonally - FAQ - Composition Retuning - Retune Compositions with FTS Check List - FAQ - Midi File Save
More wordy version of this page, probably to be removed eventually: Tutorials:How use FTS to compose microtonally (verbose)
Intro and motiviation
Tune Smithy is used for retuning your compositions. Your composition software or sequencer doesn't need any special retuning capabilities at all - that side of things is handled by FTS entirely.
You can explore any tuning in this way
Gamelan tunings, non octave tunings, tunings with any number of notes per octave and so on - all these can be explored with only your ordinary composition software and a program like FTS to do the retuning.
There are two main ways of doing this. One way is to add microtonal accidentals to your score using volumes, midi patches, controllers etc interpreted as pitch shifting accidentals. This can be done in FTS, but it requires more work to set it up, so let's leave that for later.
The approach we will look at here is easier to set up. It is more flexible in fact, probably, and a suitable introduction to what you can do.
Any keyboard player will be able to play your scores on sight
The result is a score which any keyboard player can play at sight on a suitably retuned keyboard.
You can retune compositions with many instruments playing simultaneously (though not so many as with twelve equal scores)
Each staff of your score normally needs to be retuned to several midi channels. So, you have fewer staffs to work with than you normally do in midi.
However, within that limitation, when the pitch bend retuning is highly optimised, as it can be when done in software, then it is surprising how flexible it can be.
You don't need to do anything special to permit this to happen. Just give each staff a separate channel. FTS can handle the retuning automatically.
What happens if you go over the limits of what is possible in midi?
If your music has many instruments, especially with use of pan positions, controllers and effects, you may go over the limit of what is possible in midi with this technique. If this happens, the music will be retuned still and the notes you do hear get retuned to the desired pitches - but some notes may need to be left out or cut short to permit the others to play.
Ways to go beyond the limitations of midi pitch bend retuning, and retune even full orchestral scores
- If your synth supports .tun tables or MTS sysexes, then the limitation is removed completely.
- If you can also play the music on several midi devices simultaneously (e.g. on GPO) this removes the sixteen channel limit, and you can retune even large orchestral scores, using the option to assign separate out devices to in devices in FTS.
- Another way to retune complex scores with many microtonal lines played simultaneously is to make separate audio tracks for various ensembles within the orchestra and combine those together to make the finished track.
This tutorial will introduce those ideas by example
This tutorial will introduce those ideas, by example. Short demo compositions are presented for some of the main techniques.
Tune Smithy integrates seamlessly with your composition software or sequencer
Because it can retune the notes in real time, the integration of FTS with your composing software feels seamless once you have it all set up.
Perhaps you are used to hearing the notes as you place them on the score - well you will still be able to do this, and you will hear them tuned to the new tuning. When you play a bar or two in your composition software to check what they sound like, again, you will hear it retuned to the correct tuning played through FTS.
Normally you shouldn't try to compose directly in FTS, or edit the retuned midi clips directly
The midi output from FTS is optimised to sound as good as possible. Individual notes of a phrase are often played on separate channels to maximise the pitch polyphony. The result sounds better, but is hard to read.
So, it is normally best to do all your editing in your composition software. Only edit the original unretuned midi by hand.
Use the retuned midi just to play it to listen to the result - or for your final renderings to audio.
The Tune window in FTS is meant for viewing only, not for composition
You may discover the Tune (Ctrl + 4) window in FTS. This is useful to keep an eye on what is happening while the retuning is in progress. You can also, it is true, play notes by clicking on the staff there - but not in a way that makes it useful as a composing tool unfortunately.
The most one could say about that window is that maybe some of the ideas there could be useful for someone planning a truly microtonal notation software - but I have no plans to develop one myself. It is just too much work for one person, at any rate with my current level of experience / expertise in the subject.
Set up - How to integrate Tune Smithy with your composition software or sequencer
Find the Composition retuning task
Look for this icon: in your Tasks folder on your desktop.
This is the best task to use, as it sets FTS up to play each MIDI IN CHANNEL on it's own TUNE SMITHY PART which is what you normally want for notation software retuning.
Just click (or double click) on the icon to start up FTS already configured for composition retuning.
Alternatively - set your desktop shortcut to do Composition retuning
Do you intend to use FTS mainly for composition retuning? If so you may want to set up the desktop shortcut to start up the Composition Retuning task.
To do that, start up FTS, change to the Composition Retuning task in themenu, then in the File menu use . Then from then on the desktop shortcut will start up FTS suitably configured for composiiton retuning.
Connect your composition software or sequencer to FTS
To get the music from the composition software or sequencer to FTS, you need to use a virtual midi cable.
In brief, you need to select one of the virtual cable devices in themenu of your composition software, and select the same device in the menu in FTS.
Now, all notes played in your composition software will be played through FTS.
Choose an Out device in FTS and configure FTS to work with it
In FTS, you need to choose an appropriate Out device to actually play the notes. After you select a device in themenu, run the to test your output device capabilities and set up FTS appropriately to work with it.
Detailed instructions and trouble shooting
For detailed instructions and trouble shooting see virtual midi cable.
Twelve tone retuning - a gentle introduction
Motivation for this example
This is an easy starting point for composers who are used to writing music in the twelve tone system. You use a score which is familiar in all respects, except that it uses some other historical or modern tuning instead of the usual twelve equal. This will give a gentle introduction to what you can do with FTS and your composition software.
Why quarter comma meantone
This example uses quarter comma meantone, by way of an example of a twelve tone tuning. It was the "standard tuning" in vogue in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries - just before Bach's time. Quarter comma meantone (wikipedia)
By then, the major third was treated as a consonance (in earlier times it was regarded as a dissonance) and quarter comma meantone gives you the most pure major thirds that are possible in a twelve tone scale. You can't make them all pure - so one in three of the major thirds are sharp. Also the fifths are quite a bit flat compared with modern tunings - and one of the fifths is very sharp, the "meantone wolf fifth".
It has other interesting intervals that one may want to use in ones composition. You can find information about this tuning at Joe Monzo's Quarter Comma Meantone page. Or wikipedia entry about Quarter comma meantone
How to do it
This is the easiest of the examples.
All you need to do in FTS is to select quarter comma meantone as your scale.
You can leave the other options at their standard settings.
That's it done. You will now hear your composition in quarter comma meantone. Any controllers, instrument changes and so on should be handled by FTS automatically.
Leave everything else at the standard settings
Leave the Diatonic, and leave at the standard setting of White keys. The black keys then play the in-between notes of the scale.at
There is an alternative approach which some compsers prefer. Choose Play in Scale - and set to All keys.
It doesn't matter which of these methods you use for this example. Play in Scale does simplify the user interface a bit. However, the approach is more flexible when you get to tunings with several tunings available for each accidental. It may be useful to get used to it early on. So FTS is preset to use the approach.
Trouble shooting (brief)
If this doesn't work, you need to check all the connections between FTS and the other software and hardware. Find out how far the notes get, and what happens to them. This normally can quickly locate the problem.
Can you play notes in FTS?
- Check that you can play notes in FTS. Play a few notes using the PC keyboard player - or click the play scale button - and make sure that you hear the notes tuned as intended. If this doesn't work, your selection of device in the menu may need attention, or maybe the volume settings.
If unsure what is happening, go to Notes in Play - Midi Out (Ctrl + 47) - which you can find in the Out menu. This should show each note which FTS plays via Midi Out.
- If you still don't hear anything when you play notes in FTS, go to in FTS - and make sure everything looks okay there - and that the device selected is neither muted nor set to zero volume. There may be more devices available from Options | Properties in that window, if so it may help to try the other devices.
Are the notes from your notation software or sequencer getting to FTS?
If the notes don't seem to get as far as FTS, then
- Check that the In device is open in FTS - look at the menu. If it isn't, then select .
If unsure what is happening here, go to Most Recent Note Played from Midi In (Ctrl + 27) which is in the drop menu. This will show you each note as it is received from Midi In, along with other details such as which channel it was recieved from, and what note FTS retuned it to.
If the notes still don't get to FTS, check that you have the virtual midi cable set up properly.
Do you hear the right notes, but sometimes played on the wrong instruments?
If you hear music on several instruments, but sometimes the wrong ones, go to Out Devices Capabilities (Ctrl + 106) and see if you have Multiple simultaneous instr. per channel selected. You may need to unselect this and remake the clip. This can happen for instance if you compose using your soundcard, then your midi clip is used for another device, e.g. embedded in a web page, which has different capabilities.
More detailed trouble shooting
- If this still hasn't sorted out the issue, then go to the more detailed Retune Compositions with FTS Check List
12 tone example - Andante in quarter comma meantone
Here is an example, my Andante in Quarter comma meantone for flute and harpsichord
This score is conventional, except for the instruction to retune to QC meantone - other tunings of this piece can be tried as well. I've put the instruction into the Lyric line for the NWC score.
Media:andante_in_c_major_source.rly Midi Relaying file to set up FTS appropriately.
Here is a NWC file for retuning.
The NWC files here are saved scores from Noteworthy Composer . You can also use the free NoteWorthy Player to play them - in the player, you can select the Midi Out device from Tools | Options | Midi.
Here is a midi file which you can open if you have Finale, Sibelius or one of the other notation programs - most should be able to read midi files: andante_in_c_major_source.mid
This piece plays on two instruments simultaneously
So long as you run the, and have set up everything as described here, then FTS should handle everything automatically. If you get notes played on the wrong instruments, try running the wizard again.
Of course, you need to assign the instruments to different channels in your composition software - here I assigned the flute to one staff in NWC, played on channel 1, and the harpsichord to the other staff played on channel 2.
That is all FTS needs to be able to distinguish which notes belong to which instruments. It can then spread them out over many output channels if necessary, each with its own pitch bend.
There is no need for you as user to know how it is all done. But if you want to know the details of how it has achieved this, you can see it from Notes in Play - Midi Out (Ctrl + 47) in the Out menu.
What is a NWC file and why do you use this format for your scores?
It's the save format for NoteWorthy Composer, the program I use for all my compositions.
What I like about NWC is it's design philosophy. I find score entry very fast. Also unlike the other programs I've tried, it makes it very simple to set bar lines wherever you like. You just type the tab key whenever you want a bar line. That's great if one likes to work with continually varying metres.
Where it does fall a bit behind the likes of Finale and Sibelius is in the score output. Particularly its low resolution scores for images for web pages don't work very well - for some reason the lines tend to vary in width - which is why the scores here are closer to printer resolution. It's printed scores aren't too bad. There's a NWC to Lilypond converter for the next version of NWC still in beta which may help when the next NWC is released.
So - please excuse the uneven quality of some of these scores for now. The first one I did in another program. I will use NWC for these examples as my compositions are already in this format. If you know an easy way to convert these scores to Finale, Sibelius etc. or to get better low resolution images from NWC scores, let me know. If you want to provide files for these examples in any other formats for other users - that would be great, just upload and add extra links if necessary.
You can of course import the midi files into other programs - but as there are no bar lines in midi files, the result of auto import from midi files into notation software is often uneven in quality - especially if the meter varies from bar to bar. It is indeed a reasonably fast way to do the conversion if there is nothing better to hand - but it often needs a lot of post import tidying up.
Associating tunings with your scores for future reference
You need some way to associate the tuning with the score. The tuning is saved in Tune Smithy as a Tune Smithy Project or midi relaying file, and somehow this needs to be linked to the score you save from your composition software.
I expect you will evolve your own techniques. Here are some methods you can try out.
Add a note to the score
This is a possibility when there is just a little information needed, such as the desired scale and arpeggio, and a few other retuning instructions. I will use it for the examples here.
You can just paste the scale itself from FTS into the score. Also add any other necessary instructions e.g. the arpeggio if needed.
Then when you need to play that piece in future, first do the reset for the Composition retuning task in FTS. Then copy and paste the scale back into FTS, or follow any other instructions on the score.
In these examples, I put the retuning instructions into the lyric line. It just happens to be very easy to do that in NWC. You can put it in any printing text field. Or if you don't want to print it, put it in a non printing text field somewhere on the score for your own future reference.
You can also add a note to the score say what pitch to use for the 1/1 - I use the convention that if omitted, the 1/1 is concert pitch c. To set the pitch for the 1/1 of the scale in FTS, use Pitch of 1/1 of Scale (Ctrl + 10).
Save a project with the same name as the score
Save a Project File via the menu in Tune Smithy. Save the project with the same name as the score and in the same folder. Whenever you open that score again in the future, open its same named project, and you will have FTS all set up ready to play the score.
This is the approach to use if the project is a complex one and it takes a while to set FTS up to retune your score.
The project saves everything, all your Tune Smithy settings including details such as what notation to use to show the scales and notes in FTS, and also the window positions, skins etc.
You can choose what exactly you want to save to your project files in Project Options (Ctrl + 195). The skins can be useful to distinguish projects from each other, and it can be useful to specify which windows to show e.g. if the score requires scales for parts, you can set the project to show that window when it starts up (using the F4 keyboard shortcut in FTS)
Save a midi relay file with same name as the score
Save a Midi Relaying file from FTS, again using the same file name.
This is the best method if all you want to save are the settings that affect midi relaying. It saves all your controller settings in FTS and so on, but not things such as notations to use, window positions and skins etc.
Save a Retuning Info file with same name as the score
Save as a Retuning Info file. This is the minimal amount you need to save.
The Retuning Info file saves your current scale and arpeggio and also the midi relaying settings for , , , , and . So it saves the settings most relevant for retuning.
It doesn't save the choice of controllers etc.
How to save your score for Tune Smithy's Retuning Midi Player
It is possible to use the Tune Smithy retuning midi player to play the midi file as saved from your composition software - directly in the desired tuning. You will find the retuning midi player in your Tune Smithy Tasks folder.
Here is how to do it:
In your composition software, save your piece as a midi file - best in Midi format 0. Just save it as it does normally, as a twelve equal midi file,
In FTS, save a Retuning Info file from Retuning Info (*.RTN). Save it with the same file name as the midi clip and in the same folder, so that the retuning midi player can find it.
Now play the midi clip in the retuning midi player. It will be played in the desired tuning, You need to haveselected for this to work (it is the standard setting)..
This is - a way of extending the capabilities of standard midi a bit by making it possible to set the preferred tuning for a midi file in another file of the same name with tuning info.
Scales with other numbers of notes per octave
Now, that's just a start, because one may want to explore scales with other numbers of notes to an octave, more than twelve for instance. Perhaps you want to explore nonoctave scales too - ones that repeat at other intervals instead of the octave.
Technically just as easy but can be confusing at first for a composer
Technically it is just as easy as the previous example - select any scale in FTS, and use it to retune a conventional score. But it may be confusing at first, since, depending on the number of notes in the scale, individual notes in the score may no longer sound anywhere near the written pitch.
Example of a nineteen tone scale
An example may help. Suppose you have a scale in FTS with distinctions of # and b such as say a 17 or 19 note scale. As that is too many notes to fit in a 12 tone octave on the score, you might set the scale to be played from successive notes in the score, like this:
Score: C C# D Eb E F F#
Played in FTS: C C# Db D D# Eb E
In this case the note E on the score plays a D#, and the F# on the score plays an E. So the notes you hear are nowhere near the expected pitches for a twelve tone score.
Generally, depending on the number of notes to retune, it is likely that the octave on the score will no longer play an octave in FTS.
You can get used to it though, and some find it refreshing
Though potentially confusing for a composer at first, you can get used to the new pitches and the new relationships between the notes. You can develop an intuition anew, of where the chords are in the new retuned score. In fact, some find it refreshing, something that leads one to new avenues of exploration, especially if you are very familiar with the usual notation.
Easily playable by a keyboard player
Anyway whatever it's advantages or disadvantages for a composer, the result is easily playable by a keyboard player.
The keyboard player doesn't even need to learn what interval the "octave" on the score beforehand to sight read it. Just give him or her your original score as shown in the notation software, and then tune the keyboard identically to the way you tune your score in FTS. So for instance if the score shows an F#, the keyboard player plays the F# key on the keyboard - it will then get retuned by FTS to whatever pitch the composer wishes that key to play.
In fact, the keyboard player doesn't even need to know any of the pitches in advance of pressing the keys to sight read such a score. All that is necessary is that the keyboard is tuned in advance to match the score (either by playing through FTS or by tuning it appropriately in advance by whatever method if acoustic).
Comparision with scordatura tuning of string instruments etc
This is like playing a string instrument with a scordatura tuning - i.e. with the strings retuned to some tuning other than the standard one. The tuning sounds tricky, but for the player, there are no new skills to learn.
So for that reason, to coin a word, let's call this a scordatura score, a term most usually familiar to string players.
Scordatura keyboard scores most useful for keyboard and similar instrumentalists
The score tells the keyboard player where to place his or her fingers on the keyboard. It doesn't represent the actual pitches heard. This is a relatively new thing because it is only with software that keyboards could easily be retuned to any tuning like this.
Scordatura keyboard scores not so easy for wind, voice, strings etc.
It's not so easy for players of other instruments such as wind, voice, strings etc. to read such a score, so ideally one would want to be able to generate both types of score in one go. See [#keyboard_scordatura_and_other_microtonal_notation_systems Keyboard Scordatura and microtonal notation systems] .
Scordatura keyboard scores as a quick way for composers to get notes on paper and to make audio clips
Whatever the practicalities for performers, it is a good way also for a composer to get notes quickly on the paper and hear it as you compose in the desired tuning, because you can do it using the existing conventional composing packages with all the features they have. If you work with a keyboard to hand to try out ideas this convention is a particularly a natural one. You can easily pick up your keyboard and try out a few ideas in the middle of composing the piece.
To test ideas and variations on your score, just read from your score as you would normally do when testing a piece on keyboard, but be sure to use a keyboard retuned appropriately to match the score.
Ideally should be interconvertible into a score with microtonal accidentals
I think later when someone makes a truly microtonal notation software they will surely need to include the option to generate a scordatura score and to compose directly in it. But I don't know of any such, and it is well beyond my current abilities as far as I can tell. FTS itself is more than enough work for me as it is.
Let's hope one gets developed!
Meanwhile though, keyboard scordatura works well enough for the time being.
Let's look at some examples of these keyboard-scordatura type scores.
Scordatura example - Days end song
Midi clip (retuned): [e-cards/days_end_song.mid days_end_song.mid]
NWC score (for retuning): days_end_song.nwc
Midi source (for retuning): days_end_song_source.mid
Midi Relaying file to set FTS up to retune it: days_end_song_source.rly
Again, this is just an ordinary looking twelve tone score - apart from the lyric line which reads:
White notes play 9/8 5/4 3/2 9/5 2/1 .
So here is how to set up FTS to play this score:
Set the 9/8 5/4 3/2 7/4 2/1 as shown in the score. You can use the Scale & Arp as text button, or go to the More version of the main window to fine the scale text field.to
Then to set it up so that the scale is played from the white notes:
Set the Follow scale , and leave at the standard setting of White notes .to
For those who are following this with NoteWorthy Composer or NoteWorthy Player,use days_end_song.nwc (for retuning to the scale). If using other notation software, then start with days_end_song_source.mid.
Note, as this scale is five tone, the octave above middle C is played from the A of the score.
About this tuning
It is normal just intonation pentatonic scale apart from the 7/4 (Bb in C major), which transforms it into a scale with four successive whole tones and including the 1/1 5/4 3/2 7/4 dominant seventh. I could have used alternatively 9/5 or 16/9 (original version had a 9/5 here). The 7/4 gives the most harmonious chords. The 9/5 gives a fairly strongly beating 25/18 between the 5/4 and the 9/5 of the dominant seventh chord.
Here for comparision are all the same files, for the original version of the same piece with the more vibrant ( beating) 9/5s:
Midi clip (retuned): [e-cards/days_end_song_orig.mid days_end_song_orig.mid]
NWC score (for retuning): days_end_song_orig.nwc
Midi source (for retuning): days_end_song_source_orig.mid
Midi Relaying file to set FTS up to retune it: days_end_song_orig_source.rly
Octave padding example - Hexany recorder trio
When working with scales of six or less notes, sometimes it is nice to be able to show octaves of the scale as conventional octaves in the score. This is also easy to do when working scordatura-keyboard fashion - add a duplicate note to the scale to make it into a seven note scale with a repeating note.
This method may also make it a somewhat easier score for players of other (non keyboard type) instruments to use.
Midi clip (retuned): [e-cards/hexany_recorder_trio.mid hexany_recorder_trio.mid] .
NWC score (for retuning): hexany_recorder_trio.nwc .
Midi source (for retuning):[hexany_recorder_trio_source.mid hexany_recorder_trio_source.mid]
Midi Relaying file to set FTS up to retune it: hexany_recorder_trio_source.rly
To retune, set the 8/7 6/5 48/35 8/5 12/7 12/7 2/1 as shown in the score. Set the to Follow scale . Leave at the standard setting of White notes .to
I wanted to try playing along with on recorder using alternative fingerings to play in the hexany tuning. Since I wanted to read it on the recorder, this was easier if the octaves on the score corresponded to what I know as octaves, e.g. all the Cs plays 1/1 and octaves above / below that, the D of score plays the 8/7 etc. Anyway this is the kind of thing one can experiment with and see what one finds easiest.
I did this retuned midi clip in NWC - just played it all the way through in one take retuned in FTS - you can do this because of the way NWC respects all the dynamics, tempi and flow directions in the score. You can also save it to a twelve equal midi file in NWC and play that in FTS using the retuning midi player.
Example using accidentals - Graham Breed's blues scale
Midi clip: [e-cards/Graham_Breed_blues_scale.mid Graham_Breed_blues_scale.mid] .
NWC score (for retuning): Graham_Breed_blues_scale.nwc
Midi source (for retuning):[Graham_Breed_blues_scale_source.mid Graham_Breed_blues_scale_source.mid]
Midi Relaying file to set FTS up to retune it: Graham_Breed_blues_scale_source.rly
This is another one in a 12 tone scale like the Andante in Quarter Comma meantone - but a bit more exotic in its tuning.
To retune, set theto 133.0 182.4 386.3 449.3 498.0 653.2 680.4 835.6 884.4 947.3 1151.2 1200.0
I just thought this is a good point to mention the two ways of playing such a piece.
One way is to leave it at the standard setting of Play in Arpeggio with as WhiteKeys and set the to Diatonic . The black keys are then treated as accidentals of the arpeggio, and will play the in between notes. This is the standard setting for Midi relaying. It is somewhat more versatile when you want to change to another tuning with more than twelve notes, as the arpeggio will still play the white notes, even if the new tuning has too many accidentals for all the black keys - see [midi_in.htm#Playing_accidentals Playing fine shades of accidentals from the music keyboard].
Some prefer to set FTS to Play in scale, and play the scale from All keys.
Both approaches have the same effect for a twelve tone scale, so you can use either method with this one.
Non octave scale example - Jacky Ligon's golden meantone
You can use non octave scales with this scordatura-keyboard method too - there is no need for it to repeat at the octave. I chose one of Jacky Ligon's non octave scales for this example.
Midi clip: [e-cards/Jacky_Ligon_golden_meantone.mid Jacky_Ligon_golden_meantone.mid] .
NWC score (for retuning): Jacky_Ligon_golden_meantone.nwc
Midi source (for retuning):[Jacky_Ligon_golden_meantone_source.mid Jacky_Ligon_golden_meantone_source.mid]
Midi Relaying file to set FTS up to retune it: Jacky_Ligon_golden_meantone_source.rly
Successive "white keys" of the score this time play an eight note mode of Jacky Ligon's non octave golden meantone scale (the cents values for the scale are given on the score and so are the scale degrees for the mode).
To retune this score, leave it as Play in Arpeggio with as WhiteKeys . Then just enter the and from the score in the main window, and relay in the normal way.
So set theto: 1 5 6 9 12 13 16
75.120 121.546 196.666 318.212 393.332 439.758 514.878 636.424 711.544 757.971 833.090 954.637 1029.756 1076.183 1151.302 1272.849
This time the scale is non octave, and the mode repeats every 8 white keys. So c plays the 1/1, d' plays the first repeat of the scale, which is at 1272.849 cents, and so on.
So - a "very scordatura" score you might say.
Some other ideas to explore
To take a few simple examples.
- You want to compose in seven equal - a tuning with seven equally spaced narrow whole tones to an octave. So - you make a score for the keyboard player which plays the notes of seven equal from the white keys C D E F G A B C. The black keys are ignored. The composition looks like any other twelve tone score, but when played through FTS, it plays in seven equal. The same approach can be used with any seven tone scale (e.g. near seven equal Thai tuning, Pelog, or any seven tone tuning you like).
- You want to compose simultaneously in a five tone and a seven tone scale on the same staff. This is a technique you can use particularly for the Javanese gamelan music. Retune the white keys to the Pelog scale (which is seven tones to an octave) and the black keys to the five tone Slendro (five tones to an octave). Now you can play Pelog and Slendro sections of the music from the same score.
- Of course you can also compose directly in any of the twelve tone temperaments such as Pythagorean twelve tone, quarter comma meantone, Werckmeister III or whatever it is you like to use.
- But you can go further than this, there is no need to retune octaves of the score to pitches an octave apart. You can use streteched octaves. Or you could play in the Bohlen Pierce scale repeating at 3/1.
- You want to compose in scales such as the overtone / undertone series, or the Lambdoma (or tonality diamond) which don't repeat at all. This you can do too. All you have to do is to decide how to map the pitches to the score. It takes a bit of work to set it all up the first time you do it, but from then on you can use the same settings in all your projects for the tuning (or share them with others for that matter).
- One common way to handle a non octave scale or one with many notes to an octave is to play successive pitches of the scale from successive white keys - or from all the keys in succession. This you can do as well.
- You want to play a tuning with many notes to an octave - maybe thirty one equal. So - one way is to spread each octave of the tuning over three octaves of your score. Similarly with 72 equal, use six octaves of the score to play each octave of the tuning - that is assuming you want every scale degree to be easily accessible. If you need only some of the notes of a scale with many pitches, you can retune the score to play just those notes.
Any key on the score can be retuned to an pitch you desire. The rest is up to your imagination and inspiration.
For more info about these pieces, and a fair number of other pieces composed in the same way composed with NWC and FTS, see my on-line page: Tunes . You will find some other techniques there - particularly- the use of an extra line in the score to change the root key of a piece - as explained in the section [#tonic_shifts Tonic shifts and Tonic Drifts] .
For mp3s of some of them: Robert Walker (mp3.com.au)
And that basically is it. Any questions, do please contact me!