[sdiy] Shifting just intonation

Donald Tillman don at till.com
Sun Nov 5 16:48:04 CET 2023

On Nov 4, 2023, at 9:52 PM, Didier Leplae via Synth-diy <synth-diy at synth-diy.org> wrote:
> As far as I understand, the biggest problem with just intonation scales, is that they are based around one tonal center or fundamental. 
> However, with modern electronic instruments, it seems possible to create an instrument that could retune to each new fundamental.
> Also, curious if people have thoughts/ideas on tackling this problem.  

I don't see it as a "problem", it's just the way math works out, and we have the opportunity to make music from it.

But exploration is good, so...

It has always been easy to tweak the tuning on a harpsichord.  

Even easier on a Hohner Clavinet (front panel, screwdriver).

The digital Yamaha DX-7 II (from 35 years ago) has completely user-settable scales.

The Fisk-Nanney pipe organ at Stanford University Memorial Church has an extra five pipes per octave, for the black keys, and a big lever that can switch between well-tempered and mean-tone tuning, on three manuals together.

But you need to describe more of what you want to do.  It almost sounds like you are suggesting a keyboard that notices what key you're playing in and adjusts the intonation on the fly.

I would think the most practical approach would be a set of foot pedals that could switch the intonation on a keyboard, and you can do that right now with an off-the-shelf DX-7 II.

  -- Don
Donald Tillman, Palo Alto, California

More information about the Synth-diy mailing list