midi software and microtonal music

home       alt-tuner       forums       words       music       about me       links

"The tale grew in the telling." The manual for alt-tuner comes with a primer on tuning theory. They're both in one PDF because there's a lot of overlap. The primer is a work in progress, parts IV and V are unfinished. It's currently about 180 pages long. The manual for alt-tuner is about 120 pages long.

If you like the book, please consider a small donation to support my efforts.
No paypal account required. If you don't want to use paypal, e-mail me for other options.
For help with paypal donating, see screenshot here.

Alternative Tunings: Theory, Notation and Practice, including the alt-tuner manual
      309 page pdf, last updated: October 24, 2016

Part I – An Introduction to Just Intonation

      Chapter 1.1 – A Parable (800 years of Western tuning practice as personified by King Duplius and his wives)

      Chapter 1.2 – Ratios, Cents, Primes, and Limits (covers the basic concepts of tuning theory)

      Chapter 1.3 – The Harmonic Lattice (explains lattices, a powerful tool for exploring relationships beteween notes)

Part II – JI Color Notation (a non-mathematical way to talk about frequency ratios)

      Chapter 2.1 – Interval Names (red, yellow, green and blue intervals)

      Chapter 2.2 – Commas and Wolves (larger lattices and the troublesome intervals they contain)

      Chapter 2.3 – Note Names (applies the color notation to A, B, C#, etc.)

      Chapter 2.4 – Chord Names (names for over 50 different 7-limit chords)

      Chapter 2.5 – Chord Progressions, Scales, Keys and Modulations (applies the color notation to entire songs)

      Chapter 2.6 – JI Staff Notation (combines the color notation with standard sheet music notation)

      Chapter 2.7 – Chord Voicings (how to find the most consonant voicing of a 7-limit chord using all-odd-numbers ratios)

Part III – Further Out (the extended harmonic lattice and higher primes)

      Chapter 3.1 – Remoteness Classes (how to compare ratios)

      Chapter 3.2 – Really Remote Intervals (an extremely large lattice, and the patterns it reveals)

      Chapter 3.3 – Paradoxical Intervals (negative 2nds and upside-down intervals)

      Chapter 3.4 – Purple Intervals (neutral intervals in 7-limit JI)

      Chapter 3.5 – The Expanded Harmonic Lattice (the deep blue and deep red planes, and how they relate)

      Chapter 3.6 – 11-limit and 13-limit Intervals (ratios with higher prime limits)

      Chapter 3.7 – Higher Primes: 17, 19, and Beyond (even higher prime limits)

      Chapter 3.8 – Using Higher Primes in Chords (Aug chords, dim7 chords, flat-9 chords, etc.)

Part IV – Temperaments (unfinished)

      Chapter 4.1 – Basic Tempering (EDOs, scale step sizes, and moment of symmetry scales)

      Chapter 4.2 – JI-centric Tempering (examples of comma pumps, shifts and drifts)

      Chapter 4.3 – Meantone Temperament (tempering out the green comma)

      Chapter 4.4 – Other Commas (lattice rank)

      Chapter 4.5 – Temperament Names Part I (color names for single-comma temperaments)

      Chapter 4.6 – Periods and Generators (non-octave periods, non-fifth generators)

      Chapter 4.7 – Adaptive Tuning With Alt-tuner (making just intonation work with any chord progression)

      Chapter 4.8 – Temperament Names Part II (color names for multi-comma temperaments)

      (unfinished, more chapters to come)

Part V – Alternative Frameworks (unfinished)

      Chapter 5.1 – Frameworks (addresses the question "how many notes to an octave?" from a world music perspective)

      Chapter 5.2 – The 12-tone Framework (why 12 tones implies either a heptatonic or pentatonic framework)

      Chapter 5.3 – Pentatonicism (what music theory would be like if there were only 5 notes per octave)

      Chapter 5.4 – The 19-tone Framework (how to tune and notate a 19-tone keyboard)

      Chapter 5.5 – The 22-tone Framework: Ups and Downs (how to tune and notate a 22-tone keyboard)

      Chapter 5.6 – 22-tone Staff Notation with Ups and Downs (Using ^ and v to notate "Tibia")

      Chapter 5.7 – Other Frameworks: The Scale Tree (how to notate any EDO or framework)

      Chapter 5.8 – Chord Names and Scale Names (A upminor, D downmajor, etc.)

      Chapter 5.9 – Guitar Frettings: Edos and Udos (how to make your own cable-tie frets)

      (unfinished, more chapters to come)



      A Guide to Shorthand Notation

      A Guide to Microtonal Terms

Part VI – The Alt-tuner Manual

      Chapter 6.1 – Overview & Setup

      Chapter 6.2 – Quick Start: Basic Operation

      Chapter 6.3 – Alt-keyswitcher

      Chapter 6.4 – Basic Alt-tuner Preference Screens

      Chapter 6.5 – Multi-keyboard Setups

      Chapter 6.6 – Recording With Alt-tuner

      Chapter 6.7 – Advanced Preference Screens

      Chapter 6.8 – Advanced Topics

      Chapter 6.9 – Advanced Examples

      Chapter 6.10 – Hardware & Software Issues

      Chapter 6.11 – Troubleshooting and Other Considerations

      Chapter 6.12 – Customizing Alt-tuner

      Appendix 1 – 3000 Ratios

      Appendix 2 – Alt-tuner Flowchart

      Appendix 3 – List of Clickable Items

I welcome comments; e-mail me at my e-mail address, or post on the Xenharmonic Alliance Facebook group. (Tag me if you post there, so I don't miss it.)