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Meantone tuning

alternate tuning meantone microtuning microtonal

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#1 jimbell



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Posted 05 March 2015 - 06:44 PM

Hi! I'm Jim Bell. Have been looking into microtuning for a while now. At first I was suspicious to exotic sounding scales but I'm now pretty sure that tuning freedom is around the corner. That doesn't mean that the old faithful 12 tone scale will go away any time soon. I believe musicians will find a new respect for this scale within a greater palette of them like I have. The 12-tone scale as observed by musicians all the way back into the 14th century does have some well known tuning problems that could be addressed by Autotune for Guitar. The major thirds are too sharp. (And the major sixths. Minor thirds and minor sixths are too flat.)

I have been playing in Meantone tuning on a piano lately and what it does is that it flattens the fifths ever so slightly so that for instance C-G-D-A-E hits a slightly flatter but purer E as a major third to C. You have to have a starting note in the cycle of fifths where you can begin the flattening of the fifths though, and that note is the middle one in the diatonic scale that defines the key you are playing in. So in the key of C built from the chain of fifths F-C-G-D-A-E-B you have D in the middle and you flatten the fifths symmetrically from this note extending it to Bb, Eb and all the wat to Ab on the left side and F#, C# and G# on the right side. The Ab and G# is the same pitch in equal temperament but in Meantone they are two different pitches. This note could be tuned based on context but since that requires some programming it's OK if that note is just selectable like on a piano. The tuning's starting note could be user selectable by pressing down a fret but it would make more sense to people just to press down the key you want to play in.

It is my sincere wish that Antares at some time will build Meantone tuning into it's already impressive array of features.

#2 Mark R

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Posted 15 May 2015 - 07:13 AM

Very interesting! I'd like to try it. Could you use the new preset editor to create an example, and share it here?

I only became aware of the subtleties of guitar tuning recently, and the existence of 'sweetened' tunings - which I assume are designed for particular keys. But I haven't heard them yet, though I do tweak my acoustic guitar's tuning after using a tuner.

With ATG you could even store slightly different tunings for different keys, and switch between them in performance.

#3 bizjer


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Posted 15 May 2015 - 02:07 PM

Im sure the new 3.10 preset editor would allow for this. You can set a custom tuning for each string and it uses cents as a scale if you knew the conversion from the frequency of the note you're tuning to in meantone you could assign fairly easily I imagine.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: alternate tuning, meantone, microtuning, microtonal

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