Robert Inventor

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Microtonal Features of FTS
One of the many features that come as part of Fractal Tune Smithy

FTS supports some special microtonal features that are otherwise rarely supported or unusual.

Monophonic legato - if your synth or soundcard supports this style of playing, then it means that you can play wind player style legato trills by holding down the first note and with it held down repeatedly play the second note in the trill. Usually you can only play in this style in twelve equal, and the notes go out of tune if you attempt it in other tunings. With FTS, you can also do the same in any tuning. FTS will automatically apply all the necessary pitch bends so that when you release the second note of a trill it snaps back to the original note perfectly in tune.

Tonic shifts. You can use a controller to change the tonic of the scale while playing, and FTS will automatically retune all the other notes to accord with your choice of tonic. You can also use a special area of the keyboard - an octave of it for twelve tone scales - playing any note in that area sets the tonic to that note.

Midi merge from multiple midi in devices, all in the same tuning. For instance you can play from your music keyboard at the same time that you relay notes from other programs or music notation software, by using two midi In devices at once in the same instance of FTS.

Play on multiple midi out devices and choose which channels to relay to for each one - you can set the midi out channels and midi out devices to play on individually for each midi in channel. This is particularly useful for any of the situations which are particularly demanding on the pitch bend method - and if you can't use tuning tables on your synth or soundcard.

Play on multiple midi in devices and choose which out devices and channels to relay to for each one - This is particularly useful for composers retuning large orchestral scores from music notation software (Sibelius, Finale, etc) to FTS.

Retune using the Midi Tuning Standard tables - if your synth supports this standard. Unfortunately it is rather rare but it is supported in the most recent release of the FM7 soft synth by Native Instruments, and in their Pro-53. The advantage of tables is that you can achieve more "pitch polyphony" than you can for the pitch bends method - more simultaneous microtonal pitches. This is most relevant if you want to do something demanding such as to play many instruments at once with different pan positions or varying amounts of tremolo, vibrato etc, or to play dense clusters of pitches.

If your synth supports tables, but not the MTS ones (many have their own custom tuning methods) then I recommend that you use SCALA to retune your synth. You can set FTS up to use the same tuning as your synth with a .TUN file.

To continue reading about Tune Smithy, go on to the Retuning Midi File Player

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© Robert Walker 2008
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By Robert Walker

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