microtonal music notation/playback software

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by gsys, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. Any such thing? Can I do this with Finale or Sibelius or Powertab or anything?
  2. Maybe I should have put this in the tablature forum.
  3. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Yes, you can do this with Sibelius and I'm guessing Finale. It depends on what you mean by 'microtonal'. Sibelius and Finale have ways of notation quarter-tones (that would be the pitch of a note inbetween Eb and E for instance). This in effect would give you a 24 note octave that you could divide up in any one of several ways.

    Notation of pitches smaller than quarter-tones is a little dicey. There really isn't any standard way to do that, and the five line staff begins to be a bit of an impediment. You'll probably need to devise your own system and be prepared to explain it to anyone using your music.

    There are lots of web sites devoted to this, and microtonal music is a very interesting study. Personally, the problems I have with it is that if you intend to introduce this into music that otherwise has a lot of influences based in 'western music' it is difficult to make it not sound 'just out of tune'. There are, however, many wonderful examples of microtonal music from world cultures other than western, and in those contexts it often has a very beautiful and exotic feel to it... I don't hear it as 'out of tune' as much as just a part of an interesting piece of music.

    If you have the ability (tools) to produce microtones (fretless bass being one of the best) it is well worth a deep exploration. I know that Michael Manring is using these scales in his music, but I haven't checked them out yet, and that's bad of me not to know his music. I need to do that.
  4. As things stand I think your best bet is to generate your music with Csound. You've got to type it all out as a text file, but you can pick your notes arbitrarily, and it's the only software I know of that allows that.

    You could also produce a regularly tuned MIDI and use a program like Scala to retune the notes, either with MIDIs retuning feature or pitch bends. In this case you'd be limited to 12 notes, but you could choose them as you liked.

    Tonalsoft Tonescape is the only program designed for microtonal composition that I know of, but I don't think it's generally available yet.

    I don't think there's any easy solution yet. I'd like nothing better than some microtonal composition software with a tracker interface, but there just isn't any yet. :meh:
  5. Thanks guys. You are teh 4w3X0M35T.