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Tutorials:How use FTS to compose microtonally (verbose)

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Tutorials:How use FTS to compose microtonally (short version)



See also

FAQ - Composition Retuning - virtual midi cable - Retune Compositions with FTS Check List

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.

At first, you may think that this limits you to explorations of various types of twelve tone tunings, such as historical temperaments etc. Indeed you can explore those tunings in this way, and it makes a good first demo of what you can do with FTS, and indeed for some users this is the only thing you want to be able to do.

Later, you realise that any note on your score can be retuned to any pitch whatsoever in the midi range. As you explore the implications of that, you realise that the possibilities of this approach are far wider ranging.

You can explore any tuning in this way

In fact, one 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 use midi "tricks" to add microtonal accidentals to your score (using volumes, midi patches, controllers etc interpreted as pitch shifting accidentals). You can use that approach in FTS, but it requires more work to set it up, so let's leave that forlater.

Here we explore a much simpler approach which doesn't require any of those tricks. It is easy to set up 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. We will see some examples in a minute.

You can make audio clips with many instruments playing simultaneously (though not so many as with twelve equal scores)

In fact the standard settings in FTS make this possible with no special configuration at all. You can record midi clips which you can give to instrumentalists so that they can hear for themselves what it should sound like. Or you can render your clips directly to audio using high quality soft synths, samplers and similar tools.

Each staff of your score normally needs to be retuned to several midi channels, though you may be able to share channels between instruments on some synths and soundcards. The result is that you have fewer staffs to work with than you normally do in midi. It is hard to do a full orchestral score this way.

However, within that limitation, when the pitch bend retuning is highly optimised (using methods only feasible in software, too complex to do by hand) it is surprising how flexible it can be.

Ways to go beyond the limitations of midi pitch bend retuning, and retune even full orchestral scores

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.

One advantage of the method presented here is that a keyboard player can play your pieces on sight directly from your score. All that is needed is a suitably tuned keyboard, which indeed you could tune in FTS itself.

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. But the result of that is that it is confusing to read.

If you play a short phrase or melody retuned in FTS, individual notes of the phrase are often played on separate channels to maximise the pitch polyphony. The result sounds better, but is hard to read. It is not intended for human readers, just for playing.

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 at times to keep an eye on what is happening while the retuning is in progress. But it is not intended as a composing tool. You can indeed play the 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 (such as the nudge to pitch and alternative score layouts). I have no plans to develop one myself. It is just too much work. Give me a team of ten programmers and a few years and it might be a different story :-).

Set up - How to integrate Tune Smithy with your composition software or sequencer

Find the Composition retuning task

Look for this icon: tasks_composition_retuning.png 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 the Tasks >> More menu, then in the File menu use File >> Reset Everything. 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 the Out menu of your composition software, and select the same device in the In 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 the Out menu, run the Out >> Out Device Capabilities Wizard 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, before we get into the more advanced possibilities of this approach.

Why quarter comma meantone

This example uses quarter comma meantone piece. Many of the major thirds are pure just intonation 5/4s. This 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

There are many interesting twelve tone tunings. This is just an example to show what you can do in FTS.

Whether you plan to write in it in a conventional fashion or explore its hidden exotic intervals, it would be nice to be able to hear the notes in quartet comma meantone while you are working on the piece :-).

That's exactly what we are about to do.

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 Arpeggio at Diatonic, and leave Play Arp. from at the standard setting of White keys. The black keys then play the in-between notes of the scale.

There is an alternative approach which some compsers prefer. Choose Play in Scale - and set Play Scale from to of All keys. It doesn't matter which you choose for this example, and Play in Scale does simplify the user interface a bit. However, the Arpeggio approach is more flexible when you get to tunings with several tunings available for each accidental, so it may be useful to get used to it early on.

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?

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.

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

If unsure what is happening here, go to Most Recent Note Played from Midi In (Ctrl + 27) which is in the In 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.

More detailed trouble shooting

12 tone example - Andante in quarter comma meantone

Here is an example, my Andante in Quarter comma meantone for flute and harpsichord

Score:Andante in C Major

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

You don't have to do any special configuring in Tune Smithy - the preset settings will do fine. So long as you run the Out Device Capabilities Wizard, and have set up everything as described here, then FTS should do it all automatically.

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 know which tunings to use for which of your scores, since the score is saved from your notation software or sequencer in its native format, while the tuning is saved in Tune Smithy as a Tune Smithy Project or midi relaying file. The two files need to be linked in some way.

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.

It may be enough to just to add a note to your score. To be sure you use the same tuning every time, paste the scale itself from FTS into the score.

The note is understood as meaning - Set everything else to the standard settings for the Composition retuning task in FTS. Then copy and paste the scale back into FTS, or follow any other instructions on the score, e.g. arpeggio, or the wolf fifth for QC meantone or whatever.

In these examples, I put the scale - the ratios / cents values - and any other retuning instructions into the lyric line - that is my usual habit with NWC. Just because that happens to be very easy to do 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.

Save a project with the same name as the score

If you have a lot of complicated settings to keep for the score, you may want to save a Project File from Tune Smithy. To make sure that you can always see which project goes with which of the saved scores, 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 have FTS all set up ready to play the 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.

This may be more than you need for short or straightforward pieces, but is very useful for large complex projects. The skins can be useful to distinguish between different projects if you have several open at once, and it is often useful to set up all the windows particularly relevant to the project, and use the Help | Show the current windows at start of session (F4) option in FTS to show them all whenever you open that project in the future.

You can choose what exactly you want to save to your project files in Project Options (Ctrl + 195)

Save a midi relay file with same name as the score

The next option is to save a Midi Relaying file from FTS, again using the same file name. That is the best method if all you want to save are the settings that affect midi relaying. This 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

If you just want to save the minimum information needed to tune it, save as a Retuning Info file

The Retuning Info file saves your current scale and arpeggio and also the midi relaying settings for In , Kbd. Options , Kbd regions , Scales For Parts , and Scales to Morph To . So it saves the settings most relevant for retuning - but 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 File | Save As | Files of type | 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 have Tasks selected 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.

For those new to it, here is a bit on the historical context: See this Scottish fiddle tune (on-line). Another example of scordatura is Bach's cello suite number 5 (on-line), intended to be played on a 'cello with the high A string tuned down to G. The idea is that when you read the score (in its original form) the notes on the score for the G string indicate where to place the fingers, rather than the intended notes to hear. So a G as played for instance will be shown as an A on the score, an A will be shown as a B and so on.

A 'cello player can play such a piece from the Scordatura score on a suitably tuned 'cello, using the familiar hand / eye coordination. The A on the score would normally be played on the unstopped A string, so using their familiar hand eye coordination, they play it as such, but because the string is retuned to G, the note they hear is a G. Scordatura is also a feature of music written for the eighteenth century viola d'amore .

Scordatura keyboard scores most useful for keyboard and similar instrumentalists

So lets call the score you make for retuning via FTS a scordatura keyboard score, since it 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

So, the advantage of a scordatura keyboard score is that it can be sight read by a keyboard player with no further training, using the same hand / eye coordination that they use for a conventional score. Scordatura keyboard scores are suitable for any keyboard instrument, and also other "fixed pitch" type instruments such as a harp, xylophone, accordion, or glockenspiel provided that they are capable of being tuned to the scale shown on the score. Players of these instruments have nothing new to learn to play your piece. They just need to retune their instrument or obtain or construct a suitably tuned instrument for the piece and they are all set to go.

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

Anyway 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. Also many composers work with a keyboard to hand to try out ideas - and for such composers the scordatura keyboard convention is a natural one to use. 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 a truly microtonal software program would let you generate other types of scores as well for other instrumentalists automatically - unfortunately no such program exists yet anywhere in the world as far as I know. It is a fairly major software challenge, surely rather harder than a twelve tone notation software, and may well require some new ideas too to make it easy to program - but it's not an impossible one. (But beyond my current abilities as far as I can tell, FTS itself is more than enough work for me as it is, without trying to launch into a microtonal notation software program as well).

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

[days_end_song.htm Day's end song] for Oboe and Cor Anglais. (or [javascript:popup('days_end_song_new_win.htm') open in new window] ).

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 now here is how one would listen to the score in FTS:

From the Midi Relaying view, click the Standard Settings... button (you don't have to do this for every piece you do, but if you have been playing a fractal tune or have modified some of the more way out settings, you need to do it).

Set the Scale to 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.

Set the Arpeggio to Follow scale .

Leave Play Arp. from at the standard setting of White notes .

One 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 the Pitch... window. The Standard Settings... button resets it to concert pitch middle c.

For those who are following this with NoteWorthy Composer (or the free Note Worthy Player),use days_end_song.nwc (for retuning to the scale). Relay from NWC to FTS, set up the scale as just described, and you should hear the same pitches played as you hear in the example midi clip. If using other notation software, then start with days_end_song_source.mid.

Note, as this scale is five tone, then the A of the score actually plays a note an octave above the C. In fact, the scale is the 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:

[days_end_song_orig.htm Day's end song_orig] for Oboe and Cor Anglais. (or [javascript:popup('Day's end song_orig_new_win.htm') open in new window] ).

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

In use, this method of composing is pretty much like writing any ordinary twelve tone score. After editing the score, you click the play button in your notation software, and because everything is being relayed via FTS, you hear it with the correct re-mapped pitches. This method lets you hitch into all the facilities of your existing sequencer / notation software. .

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.

Here is an example with the scale padded out to an octave: my [hexany_recorder_trio.htm Hexany Recorder Trio] (or [javascript:popup('hexany_recorder_trio_new_win.htm') open in new window] )

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 Scale to 8/7 6/5 48/35 8/5 12/7 12/7 2/1 as shown in the score. Set the Arpeggio to Follow scale . Leave Play Arp. from at the standard setting of White notes .

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

Let's take another example, this time my tune in [Graham_Breed_blues_scale.htm Graham Breed's blues scale] (or [javascript:popup('Graham_Breed_blues_scale_new_win.htm') open in new window] ),

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 the Scale to 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 Play Arp From as WhiteKeys and set the Arpeggio 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.

See my tune in [jacky_ligon_golden_meantone.htm Jacky Ligon's golden meantone non octave scale] (or [javascript:popup('jacky_ligon_golden_meantone_new_win.htm') open in new window] ),

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 Play Arp From as WhiteKeys . Then just enter the Scale and Arpeggio from the score in the main window, and relay in the normal way.

So set the Arpeggio to: 1 5 6 9 12 13 16

and the Scale to Jacky Ligon's Golden Mean non octave scale
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.

Any key on the score can be retuned to an pitch you desire. The rest is up to your imagination and inspiration.

Other examples

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 (

And that basically is it. Any questions, do please contact me!

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