[LAD] making 'whysynth' microtonal/tuning-table capable

Aaron Johnson aaron at akjmusic.com
Tue Apr 28 14:41:01 UTC 2009

Porl, linux-audio people

A SCALA scale library interface would be a fantastic idea....I did something
like this as an exercise in Python for turning SCALA .scl files into tuning
dump commands for fluidsynth (even though SCALA itself has fluidsynth scale
output :) )

One could use regex statements to parse the header, and have some case
switches to determine if the line in the scale 'body' of the .scl file was a
ratio, or value in cents, etc.
The synth engine would work with the final array of frequencies that were
spit out into a MIDI-key indexed array....

I think this would be the easier part. The harder part, and where I think
I'd need help, is integrating such functions into an existing audio
architecture, plus integrating new GUI dialogs and menus into the same...it
might take a whole to figure out if other things get broken as a
result...I'm thinking for instance of envelope scaling being related to
absolute pitch in HZ instead of MIDI note numbers. I haven't dug deep enough
into the 'whysynth' code to see, but such things might need to be
redesigned, and it might take time to work out any side effects of shoving
SCALA interface code into the mix....maybe if Sean Bolton is on the list
here, he'd have some insight into how to best fit things in with his
existing code....

Perhaps the SCALA interface library could have a modular template of GUI
dialogs/controls/menus for the more popular libs like GTK, FLTK, KDE, TK,

Anyway, I'd be happy as a pig in %^&* to see this in whysynth, and as a de
facto standard library the same way jack is in any synth application now

http://www.akjmusic.com  #my site (lots of music made with linux there!)
http://www.untwelve.org    #my project (microtonal/tuning-centric concert
series ;) )

On Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 5:25 AM, porl sheean <porl42 at gmail.com> wrote:

> perhaps someone could write a simple library that takes a midi-key (0-127)
> as input, as well as a 'scala' mapping and outputs frequency numbers? rather
> than every project reimplementing the same idea.
> having written this, you all probably think it is obvious anyway, so i'll
> keep quiet :)
> porl
> 2009/4/28 Dave Phillips <dlphillips at woh.rr.com>
> Aaron Johnson wrote:
>> > ... after having located the code snippet in whysynth that creates a
>> > standard 12-equal tuning array, called 'y_pitch', as factors relative
>> > to 440HZ (A440), and indexed by MIDI note numbers. I wonder, how easy
>> > would it be to make this table dynamic and subject to for example,
>> > loading a SCALA .scl file, or at least, a user defined array which can
>> > be loaded from a dialog box?
>> I'd like to second Aaron's proposal/request. Support for Scala files
>> should be standard in all software synthesizers. It seems a bit
>> ludicrous to fix intonation at 12-tone ET when the medium is capable of
>> any intonation desired.
>> Best,
>> dp
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Aaron Krister Johnson


Aaron Krister Johnson
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