What is microtonal music?

  • Can you imagine the sound of a piano that has no familiar intervals on it?
  • Did you know that the human voice naturally wants to sing in pure Just Intonation if given the chance?
  • Did you know that guitars and basses can easily have frets added to give you more possibilities?
  • Did you know that all wind instruments (sax, flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon) have the possibility, through alternate fingerings, to achieve different tuning systems?
  • Did you know that you can create your own tuning system with a little understanding?
The system of tuning used in the European tradition in the last 200 years or so is 12-Tone Equal Temperament, a man-made tuning. Before this there were many other tunings as used by Bach and earlier composers, but since then 12-Tone Equal has dominated the mainstream of musical progress. Microtonal music is music that uses the notes between the notes of 12-Equal. "Just Intonation" is the name given to tunings which are derived from the pure notes of the naturally ocurring Harmonic Series. There is no longer any room for musical dogmatism - let's explore the infinite world of tuning possibilities!

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