Alternate tunings

I just read an interesting interview with Apex Twin, where he tells about using alternate tunings for his ambient works.
I know there are quite a few people in this group who also use alternate tuning.
I would be interested to know how you use those, and why (if there’s an answer to that :slight_smile: )
Thanks, Joop

I haven’t done a lot of this but…
how: Nysthi scala
why: I wanted stuff to sound “exotic”
In fact, I think I was trying to emulate Tuvan(sp?) throat singers but didn’t know what scale to actually use.

1 Like

Seconding the Scala Quantizer. My primary use for it so far has been for trying some more interesting sounds I wouldn’t usually be able to or think to play with. Also I have a particular tuning I like to use for some worldbuilding music project I have going on.


Well, I know what modules I could use. I was more curious about the musical use. Do you use just intonation, and what does that mean in a synthesized context?
I am a trombone player, I am used to all sorts of intonation issues, especially when working together with, for instance, a piano.
But I assumed most people, when using synthesizers, would just use tempered tuning, until I read that interview with Aphex Twin, and now I am wondering how to approach this. So it’s the choice and application of alternate tunings that interest me, and I know what modules will help me there.

1 Like

I read the same interviews and started messing around with Scala a while ago. I use Nysthi Scala or sometimes i just tune oscillators by ear. I am currently just using normal sequencers to sketch out ideas, Foundry/ Piano Roll, which frequently don’t quantise correctly given a non-12tet scale.For this reason, I would like to make a module for intuitive tuning, or maybe tack it on to another sequencer, like literally tuning a piano or fiddling with a knob underneath keys on a keyboard. But really it would be better with an automatically scaling keyboard, one that will reproduce 48 keys for a scale with 48 degrees. The only really precise, but fiddly, way of sequencing that i’ve found is just putting in the time and getting the precise voltage, which is alright if you’re RIchard D James but not everyone has the time! I always end up sticking a drift/detune on the end anyway.

Edit: Another thing that i do is use a reference table that i made of 12-TET frequencies to tune samples that i’ve collected over the years in the arrangement-in-a-DAW phase. I use an online calculator to do this. Sometimes they sound alright so i just leave them how they are.

The reason why i use alternate tunings exclusively is that VCV is so far the easiest way of making microtonal music that i know of and i’ve never really liked 12-TET that much anyway, can’t really explain why… maybe it’s because it’s not “in tune”? :stuck_out_tongue: I feel like it’s a good idea to make “out of tune” music most of the time, only then can you develop Imperfect Pitch, a super-power that makes you even better than those with Perfect Pitch :wink: