Recent developments in synth technology are driving an explosion of experimentation with microtonal electronic music – and many of these experiments are showing up on YouTube.
Non-standard tunings may initially sound strange or out of tune. But moving beyond equal-tempered tuning opens up infinite tuning possibilities and alternate music traditions for musicians to explore.
Recently, we reported that Moog was making Microtuning Mainstream, by introducing the Phatty Tuner Alternate Scales Editor. The Alternate Scales Editor is a free download that lets owners of the Slim Phatty and Little Phatty retune individual notes of the scale. While microtonal support in synths is nothing new, it’s rare and a welcome feature.
Here’s a synth jam, via Chris Stack of experimentalsynth.com, that explores non-Western tunings with the Moog Little Phatty. Stack explores the Arabic scale Maqaam Husayni.
The iPad’s touchscreen interface is creating an explosion of alternate keyboards, many of which lend themselves to microtonal electronic music.
Here’s a video exploring the microtonal capabilities of Rob Fielding‘s Mugician.
Fielding has another iPad application, Pythagoras, in development. The video demo, above, explores the idea of “dynamic frets”, which move to show harmonic relationships to the current note.
New alternate keyboard layouts aren’t limited to the iPad, though:
Carlo Serafini’s Invocation is an “electronic folk piece” played with an Opal Chameleon tuned to Carlos Gamma.
Are you making microtonal electronic music?