The alternative alternative tunings digest
- I haven't been keeping up with the list lately, so I'm condensing all my
replies into one big chunk.
First of all, thank you to Dan Stearns for giving me an excuse to listen to
Harmony Corruption again. As to a just intonation version, I'm quite
invited by the prospect. More demanding and gripping, certainly. Not the
sort of thing I'd want to wake up to, though.
The Mentally Murdered EP, on the other hand, is a gem so exquisite that I
fear the polish of just intonation would only serve to spoil its beauty.
However, I see the question was about "music one is not personally fond of",
so maybe my comments here aren't so relevant after all. I don't really care
how music I don't like gets played.
Incidentally, as I'm using EMACS today, I couldn't help putting the question
"Should Napalm Death play in just intonation" to ELIZA. His reply was "This
is not a healthy way of thinking." I think we should leave the matter there.
Which brings us neatly to the subject of AI. My response on reading the
initial New Scientist article on SARA was that they shouldn't really have
compressed everything into 12-equal. As Mozart used staff notation, and
seemed to have some idea of meantone temperament, the whole thing could have
been potentially microtonal from the start. That would mean using two
numbers for each note. The way it seemed to be done assumed the same motif
would be "similar" when transposed to different scale degrees. This won't
hold outside of equal temperament.
To Dan Stearns, and my quest to understand his terminology. So, we have a
scale defined as mw+nh where all numbers are integers. The interior set is
where h is an interval larger than a unison, the perimeter set is where h is
a unison, and the exterior set is where h is smaller than a unison. These
exterior sets, if such they be, look to be of some theoretical, but little
musical, value. I can't see musicians counting both up and down to
construct their scales.
It was pointed out a while ago that, if we're going to put lots of highly
theoretical stuff on the list, we should try and give it some connection to
what musicians might find useful. The advantage I see of classifying scales
in this way is that a similar notation can be used for scales from the same
class. Also, there may be a similar feel to the scales, but you need to try
them out to be sure of that.
I'm still working with 3+4 scales, to which I will now attach the cute name
"neutronic" after their neutral thirds. I'll also call "my" scale the
"symmetrical" version and "Paul's" scale (which he says is also Arabic) I
will term "tetrachordal".
I have Manuel's scale list, but these are all dry numbers with nothing of
how the scales are used in real music. The relevant scales are presumably
those in 12-equal with two quarter-tone additions. There aren't any
symmetrical neutronic scales here as you need three notes from the
alternative spiral of fifths.
A meantone-derived keyboard mapping for neutronic scales would have the
white notes in yuor favourite meantone, with C/, E\, F/ and B\ where the /
and \ symbols are for half-sharps and half-flats respectively. These are
literally what you get by halving the interval a sharp would normally
represent. I prefer having the white notes as a symmetrical neutronic scale
in the way I mentioned before, and each black note a quartertone flat of the
white note on the right.
>Well, I'm not a big fan of maximal evenness, as my paper makes clear. IfAh yes, if in doubt, change the rules! The version of your paper I've got
>I could rewrite the contest, I'd eliminate that, but maybe allow for a
>structure that spans a 5:4 and occurs 3 times in every octave span (as
>in the ME 22-out-of-41).
(the original HTML one) doesn't make clear any dislike of maximal evenness
that I can see. And I did read it through, so I don't think there are any
assertions hiding anywhere. I do agree with what you say in it that
maximally even scales are good choices for the "natural" scales. Maximally
even scales will tend towards an equal temperament, which may or may not be
a good thing depending on what you're trying to do.
I don't think a melodic rule should presuppose both a 3/2 _and_ a 5/4. I
don't have an alternative, though. I prefer my ears to be the criterion for
At the moment, I prefer the symmetrical scales as they are more in tune with
what I'm trying to say. Even though they are weaker melodically.
Tetrachordal scales aren't strange enough for me. I'm trying to break away
from the diatonic scale and that "normal" pentatonic is too familiar.
Mostly, though, the tetrachordal scales sound too cheerful.
I'm also looking at 5-note subsets built t s t+s s t+s or s t t+s s t+s
where t is the larger and s the smaller second as before. I'm finding a lot
in them which I can't really describe. They aren't self-sufficient
harmonically, so I'm using a full symmetrical scale for the chords.
I have worked out a symmetrical scale on my guitar. It's a pain, though, as
it doesn't include any open strings. Does anyone, perchance, have a way of
tuning the strings so that neutronic scales come out more easily with a
Right, I'll leave it there.
- Original Message From:
>the exterior set is where h is smaller than a unison. These exterior sets,if such they be, look to be of some theoretical, but little musical, value.
I can't see musicians counting both up and down to construct their scales.
No musical value -- just a quick way to say see exactly what n-tET's will
NOT be able to accomplish a given scale... personally I find this useful
(and therefore practical).
>Also, there may be a similar feel to the scales, but you need to try themout to be sure of that.
Maybe similar feel(s)...?