Study in Fifteen Tone Equal Temperament for Bells

I have been working on a lot of microtonal music projects lately. I have been playing and writing music for most of my life, but I am pretty new at producing music with a computer. It sometimes seems that it is easier to write music than produce it. Well, I wanted to start sharing some of my music with you, even if it isn't as professional as I would like. This first piece is a study in fifteen tone equal temperament (fifteen equally spaced notes to the octave instead of the usual twelve) for bells. This tuning has a lot of strange dissonances. I welcome your comments, both positive and negative. I may eventually improve or expand on this piece and your feedback will be helpful to me.

Study in fifteen t...

Note: If you can't see the player or are having problems, try this link.


Tonescape Tuning Software Now Available

A public demo version of Tonescape is now available. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet, but it looks like it has a lot of useful features. You can download it for free at this link.

Tonescape only runs on Windows. Check this page for system requirements. Click here for helpful information and here for tutorials.

Please be advised that this software is new and still has some bugs. I also hear that the help pages aren't complete yet. Understandably, some people may want to try it out right away and others may choose to wait a while. I welcome any comments from those who have tried this software and I may discuss it further when I have had a chance to use it and understand it better. There's also a Yahoo group for discussing Tonescape.

This software is only one feature at the Tonalsoft website. Be sure to visit for a wealth of information on microtonal music.


Why This Blog Exists

I don't have an agenda for this blog. One of the reasons for this blog is to organise my own thoughts on a topic that is important to me and is generally under represented, especially in the blogging community. I have my own opinions. Some of them are pretty strong, but it is not my intention to change the world or coerce others to adopt my viewpoint.

I am pleased to offer my opinions and allow others to think and comment about them. I am delighted if people respond by considering new possibilities or question conventional thinking about music theory.

I try to remain respectful of other people's thoughts and approaches to music. I don't subscribe to the notion that all scales or approaches are equally as good. Neither am I willing to dismiss or severely criticise approaches that seem to me to be less profitable than others.

I draw a distinction between musical practice and the beliefs that surround those practices. If I challenge thoughts or beliefs about a certain musical tradition (such as just intonation), it doesn't mean that I'm suggesting that musical tradition is not valuable. If I point out the advantages of a certain technique, it doesn't mean that I necessarily subscribe to the extramusical doctrine that may be associated with it.

Depending on your perspective and background, you may view the thoughts discussed here as a trivial curiosity or of Earth shaking importance. You probably already enjoy music, even if you have no knowledge of tuning theory. I merely suggest that your appreciation and enjoyment can be improved with a little knowledge and understanding of the processes involved.

There is more to music than sound and the sensory experience it provides, although these are important. Music is the organisation of sound. This organisation, if understood, even dimly, is a key to wonder and excitement that cannot be reached through a mere sensory response to sound waves.

A study of the universe seems empty to me without also considering how the forces of physics combine in music to provoke powerful human emotion.

No study of history is complete without including an examination of the evolution of musical thought, a subject that has provoked passionate debate for centuries. Even more interesting is the inevitable conflict that arises when cherished belief conflicts with observation.

Why study mathematics if you ignore one of the most beautiful demonstrations of mathematical principles?

Can we really understand our fellow man if we don't consider how his cultural background effects how he expresses himself musically or responds to musical expression?

I am more interested in questions than answers. The conclusions I've drawn so far are tentative and an opportunity for further exploration. They are not, nor should they be, the end of the path of inquiry.

I don't want to be just another theoretician who does more to stifle growth than encourage it. I don't wish to indoctrinate anyone. I have no taste for it. If I come across as too forceful or not forceful enough in my presentation of ideas, then you are encouraged to view what I say with a critical eye. Don't let me, or anyone, tell you what to believe.

I do offer encouragement. Please open your eyes and ears to possibilities that you may not have even realised exist.