[linux-audio-dev] Common synthesizer interface -or- microtonal alternative to MIDI?

ix at replic.net ix at replic.net
Mon May 2 21:38:00 UTC 2005

> enough to design an efficient, user-friendly and solid GUI for composing
> music without a scale (yes, you read it right) so I'm not going to put

the option of a "Scale" might be convenient for those who arent wishing to compose drum hits or the like

> Here comes the biggest problem.  I cannot use MIDI as a protocol between
> my sequencer and the syntesizers, because most (if not all) of the notes
> produced by my software will not lie in the equal tempered scale (the 12
> notes per octave everyone knows) nor in any other scale for that matter.
> Please correct me if I'm wrong: MIDI doesn't allow for microtonal notes.
> The best next things MIDI has to offer are Custom Scales and Pitch Bend.

AFAIK this has been overcome by using 14 bits to describe the note, a similar hack has been done for controller data. in fact, it is possible to use any multiple of 7 bits in MIDI as well (correct me if im wrong). many VST hosts and instruments on windows for example accept floating point note like 67.1234 and its rendered accordingly. there are even MIDI plugins to microtune notes in this manner to different scales.

> Is there a common protocol with the same scope as MIDI (transferring
> notes from a sequencer to a synthesizer) but which allows for microtonal
> notes?  I fear not.


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