Microtonal metal?

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by The Omega Cluster, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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  2. The Omega Cluster

    The Omega Cluster n00b

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    Jon Bap is amazing! Didn't think of sharing it here but thanks for doing so! I guess I could also add that a collaboration between The Mercury Tree and Cryptic Ruse, two well-known microtonal experimenters is coming out pretty soon!

    https://themercurytree.bandcamp.com/album/cryptic-tree
     
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  3. The Omega Cluster

    The Omega Cluster n00b

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  4. coffeeflush

    coffeeflush SS.org Regular

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    ^^ FAAAAK.
    This is so good and challening to listen to. Loving it.
     
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  5. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Huntress is really good, that is played live in the video i posted earlier.
    By the way The Omega Cluster your blog post reads: "Igliashon Jones of Cryptic Tree.", should be "... Ruse".

    So we have all these microtonal metal artists using EDOs, but Just Intonation has huge potential for distorted guitar since it is perfect harmony, the reason behind the root-fifth power chord.
     
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  6. The Omega Cluster

    The Omega Cluster n00b

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    Oops haha Will correct it!

    And yeah just intonation is pretty cool too but it's not nearly as versatile as EDO. When you make a JI scale, it's based on a starting pitch, say E, and if you play on any other tonal centre it will sound off by a varying amount (see "wolf intervals"). There are some JI artists out there but they are few.

    Recently there's that thing "True Temperament" on guitars that is increasingly popular, and while it's just a not very good compromise between JI and EDO where you will sound maybe better (very very slightly better?) solo, but slightly out of tune when playing with other non-true instruments. In any case, the difference is so minimal that it is barely noticeable.

    Also there are non-octavian scales like Bohlen-Pierce which are very promising too but very unused.
     
  7. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    EDO's, or, generally speaking equal temperaments, are easier to implement in rock-oriented music, because you can have infinite number of key changes in a song without painting yourself into a corner, and the fretwork is a lot easier to do with conventional tooling.

    I think the reason you don't see as much wild stuff like Bohlen-Pierce used very often is because there is still a large amount of commitment needed to go microtonal on guitar, versus, say, synthesizer. Also, as we are now seeing more interest in microtonal music than ever before, newcomers are almost entirely focusing their interest on 24-EDO and subsets of it. If you use a fretboard that is a subset of 24-EDO, it's easy to stick to chord structures out of standard 12-EDO, and then you can still jam with other people who only play standard instruments.

    In my mind, there's "standard" tuning in 12-EDO (or whatever closely approximates that), then there is quartertone tuning, where all of the most emphasized notes are standard, but there are some passing tones, then there is standard 24-EDO to accommodate Arabic and Persian playing, and then there is this whole world of JI interpretations, and then there are your nonstandard meantone tunings that can serve as alternate interpretations of those different takes of JI, and then there is "everything else."

    That first flavour of quartertone tuning opens up some doors of expression, but nothing below surface level. For example, with my Oni CF8, I have access to just a handful of notes that fall outside of 12-EDO, so when I write a chord structure, the root notes are all exclusively 12-EDO, then I add some colour with microtonal intervals in the upper registers. So there is nothing microtonal in the structure of the song.

    Bohlen-Pierce, for me, fits into that last category of "everything else," because the nonstandard notes in the scale all fall into that bin of intervals that I can't even name. At least if I play a neutral third or a harmonic seventh or a diminished sixth, I can come up with a non-spontaneous reason to use the note. I mean, listening to someone play Bohlen-Pierce is really cool, but I honestly don't know if their playing is based on theory or trial and error.
     
  8. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    double post
     
  9. The Omega Cluster

    The Omega Cluster n00b

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    You can look up each of the notes in ¢ value and compare with a 12-tone or 24-tone system to make some approximations, or to JI intervals as well. For example that new 17-EDO Mercury Tree/Cryptic Ruse EP, Ben told me it has good approximations for fifths and thirds and so he was able to build an impressive arrangement and harmonization based on standard theory. Some other systems like 18-EDO are more challenging to work with because they don't offer the same kind of analogy. However I believe you can get acquainted with one system and get interesting things out of it even if it's very far from 12-EDO or JI intervals. I like to say I did something interesting in 26-EDO, which is often viewed as a challenging system, but then it was also procedural in nature so I hardly have any merit save for the idea behind it.

    Bohlen-Pierce is challenging on another level because the octave doesn't exist, and it's actually the tritave, which is 3x the starting frequency instead of 2x. It's weird because that p12 interval is supposed to be seen and used the same as a p8 octave. This is weird because of how we're used to octaves, but it's not inherently weird or bad, it's just arbitrary. I also went on and came up with a decimal music system based on a 10x octave. But more than this it's infinitely recursive in steps of ten, and the rhythm part is based on 10s too. Read more here. It has some weird implications, but should be interesting to play with in electronic music. I can imagine a physical instrument playing that, but it would be quite complex and convoluted. The best I can think of is selecting a subset of notes on any decimal level and make frets out of them, like 0, 1.25, 2.3, 4.01, etc. So that you don't end up with an unplayable thing like 1000 frets per octave.
     
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  10. mguilherme87

    mguilherme87 SouthShoreSeven

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    Embarassed to say Ive never heard of microtonal metal. Ive heard of microtonal music, but my knowledge is very limited. Excited to look down this rabbit hole! If anyone has suggestions im all ears!
     
  11. The Omega Cluster

    The Omega Cluster n00b

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    This whole thread.
     
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  12. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    17-EDO has very good fifths, but I'm not so sure the same can be said about the thirds. It's definitely a system that I find myself doesn't jive with standard notation. 18-EDO is like you took the whole tone scale and cut each interval into threes instead of twos - at least that's the way I look at it. 26-EDO is completely nuts. I loved the Tolkien stuff, but I'd never be able to compose anything in that system without some serious time spend figuring out my own notation and theory around it.
    I'd love to try Bohlen-Pierce scale on guitar, because it is such a nifty idea, but I wouldn't even know where to begin with composition and theory.
    I think JI would be much easier, in general, than some of the more experimental equal temperaments. Every not in JI represents something deliberate, whereas notes in equal are just equal slices of a chosen interval, and fall wherever they fall. So, if I pick up an instrument tuned to JI and I just bang on notes around the proper tonal centre, it should sound like something musical. If I took the same approach in equal, I might end up with something interesting, but it would most likely sound less deliberate, because the intervals themselves are less musically deliberate.
    It's all very interesting conversation, but would probably be best served with some musical examples around it for context...

    Yeah, I mean, there's a lot to take in in this thread. I think that the Mercury Tree collaboration most recently mentioned is a particularly great example of how metal and microtonality can sound together. Last Sacrament, Cryptic Ruse, and Jute Gyte are other examples. Unfortunately, there isn't like a "Metallica of Microtonal Metal" sort of band, otherwise, I think more people would be talking about it than the half dozen or so in this thread. Sort of what I was going for was striking my own balance between weirdness and accessibility with this: Bostjan Zupancic: MicroMetal (particularly Vol I) , but then I said f*** that, and went for all-out whatever-I-felt-like on this: Naegleria Fowleri - Life Cycle.
    @The Omega Cluster has his own projects, and if you are at all a fan of Tolkien or of weird music, definitely check out Melopoeia.
    @Necris has some cool stuff here too: https://soundcloud.com/submergingloweringress/gate
    https://soundcloud.com/submergingloweringress/nether
    https://soundcloud.com/submergingloweringress/nothingi
     
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  13. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Some gentle microtonality, standard guitar plus added fretlets, apparently the scale is 'Huseyni Makam' or 'Husseini Maqam' which seems to be close to 0 1.5 3 5 7 8.5 10 12 semitones (Minor with neutral 2nd and neutral 6th).
     
  14. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    "Official video for the song Diffractions & Halos, from the album CRYPTIC TREE by The Mercury Tree + Cryptic Ruse. Live footage from SeaProg 2018, Seattle, Washington. Video edited by Igliashon Jones, with help from Acid Cam."
    17 tones per octave.
     
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  15. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Jon Catler's wordpress blog at Freenote Music disappeared a while ago, but luckily i found it archived at Wayback Machine here https://web.archive.org/web/20180107220434/http://www.freenotemusic.com/wordpress/. It has a useful post explaining his '12-Tone Ultra Plus' fretting system, which i copy-paste here:

    ////////////////////////

    12-Tone Ultra Plus tuning explained
    April 18th, 2012 Jon

    I originally designed the 12-Tone Ultra Plus fretting system to give guitarists access to pure Harmonic Series pitches without having to abandon the standard 12 pitches they already knew. It took me 20 years of playing microtonal guitar to come up with a way to combine tempered and Harmonic pitches. Although originally designed for other players, I have found myself using this system more and more, including 3 songs on the 3rd Willie McBlind CD and all the songs on the Fretless Brothers ‘Footsteps’ CD. 12-Tone Ultra Plus has become the most popular alternative tuning system. Here I will explain the basic concept behind the system.

    As stated in my book, The Nature Of Music, I believe that the first complete scale found in Nature, the 8th - 16th Harmonics, is the place to start when building a Just Intonation system. The basic concept of the 12-Tone Ultra Pus system is to use each of the 12 standard pitches as a potential tonic on which to build a Harmonic Series to give, in effect, a modulating 13-limit Harmonic system.

    The standard 12-Tone Equal Tempered system approximates the 8th - 16th Harmonics in some ways. The perfect fifth of 3/2 is approximated within about 2 cents, and the 9th within about 4 cents. The major third is further off, being 14 cents sharp. However, changing this interval everywhere on the guitar would require replacing all the frets, as it is impractical and unplayable to put frets 14 cents apart.
    So, the major third on the 12-Tone Ultra Plus is not changed. In practice, this note can be left out of a chord voicing so as not to interfere with the Harmonic notes, or it can be played by another instrument, or can be sung, or played on guitar using bends, harmonics, etc. Or, something I have been doing lately is to tune the guitar to an open chord, such as G or D, and tune the major third string to a pure 5/4 Just major third. There are also many other types of Harmonic thirds to explore, and most of these have rarely been heard.

    So, using the standard pitches for the tonic, 9th, perfect fifth, and major third/major seventh, we can add the Harmonic pitches that are not even approximated in standard tuning, the 7th, 11th, and 13th Harmonics. The 7th Harmonic, 7/4, is over 31 cents flatter than the standard version, (which really approximates the minor seventh, 16/9). The pure 7th is a beautiful consonant interval, and the Ultra Plus guitar has this interval available on 11 out of the 12 standard pitches (the 7th of Eb is left out).
    The next interval added is the 11th Harmonic, 11/8. At 551 cents, this interval is almost exactly in between two standard pitches, so it is not approximated by standard tuning and is about as different as you can get. Although it can be alien sounding at first, this interval also has a consonance to it that is revealed by deeper listening. There are 3 frets on the Ultra Plus guitar that give pure Harmonic 11ths of various 12-Tone notes.
    The other interval added to complete the 8 - 16 scale is the 13th Harmonic, 13/8. At 840.5 cents, this interval is also very different from any standard interval. I believe this interval is a consonance, and I have used it throughout my music. There are two frets on the Ultra Plus guitar that give Harmonic 13ths of various fundamentals.

    So, combined with the 12-Tone pitches, this gives us an 8 - 16th Harmonics scale from many different starting places. Also, these new pitches can be used in endless ways to give many other Harmonic intervals. For example, we can use the 7th Harmonic of A, G half flat, on an E tonic to give the half minor third, 7/6. Or, the G half flat can itself be used as a tonic, to give a Super Major chord, or an Underone chord. 11ths and 13th can also be used as neutral thirds, or tonics, or in a huge number of different ways.

    Other microtonal tuning systems, such as 19-tone and 31-tone equal temperaments, have been around for a long time. They provide unique sounds, moods, and feelings not otherwise available. But these tuning systems have not gotten large numbers of musicians to switch from standard tuning. It seems clear that in order for tuning to evolve, musicians need to be able to agree on certain pitches to be able to play together. It also seems clear that standard tuning is so entrenched that is is difficult to get people to change. Why not, then, keep the standard pitches and add more pitches, straight from Nature’s first complete scale. This is the concept behind the 12-Tone Ultra Plus tuning system.
     
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  16. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Here i copy some of a post http://xenguitarist.com/index.php?topic=418.msg1175#msg1175 from the somewhat dead xenguitarist forum, which with the post above can be used to understand the 12-tone Ultra Plus system. I post a photo of a bass as the size more clearly shows the fret positions:

    //////////////////////

    6148670371_2b65468cd6_b.jpg

    The microtonal frets seem to have 3 variations: 4/10ths of the distance between standard frets, 1/2 of the distance, and 2/3rds of the distance.
    If the standard frets are numbered 1 2 3 4 5 etc as normal, then the microtonal frets could be numbered as decimal numbers, where .4 is 4/10ths, .5 is 1/2 and .7 is roughly 2/3rds:
    0.7
    1.4
    2.7
    3.5
    4.7
    5.5
    6.7
    7.7
    8.4
    9.7
    10.5
    11.7

    The 3 variations correspond to the following Just Intonation intervals which are also the 13th, 11th and 7th harmonics:
    13/8 13th harmonic / tridecimal neutral sixth 8.41
    11/8 11th harmonic / undecimal superfourth 5.51
    7/4 7th harmonic / septimal subminor seventh 9.69
     
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  17. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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  18. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    Is everything of theirs done like that? Or just that one song?

    Just M3rds is 1/3 of my plan for my 92528. Once I get some “me” time, the plan is to string it up in M3rds, but tune it so strings 9,6,3 are octaves, 8,5,2 are just thirds and the 5ths on 7,4,1 are just to the 3rds and the octaves.

    This way, I’ll essentially have three different temperaments, and the same chord played on different sets of strings will have different colors. I just hope that things aren’t too far off and everything that’s not “just” sounds like crap.

    If it doesn’t work, then I could try all Just M3rds, or go back to the regular 12EDO All M3rds tuning.
     
  19. Aaron Myers-Brooks

    Aaron Myers-Brooks SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for checking out my stuff! At the moment, that's the only song I've recorded with that tuning, but I plan to do more. It's exceptionally easy to tune to by ear as far as microtonal retunings go, although the high strings end up kind of floppy with a standard set of strings.

    I did use a similar concept on the second half of this piece, where every other string is tuned to a just minor 7th. (D string is 7/4 of E string, G string is 7/4 of A string, etc) Start at 8:10.
     

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