Two examples of 19-EDO - Normal and Weird

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by bostjan, May 5, 2020.

  1. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    15,648
    Likes Received:
    4,022
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    Shameless self promotion time (songs from an album I released last year)

    These are both 2 minutes or less. Hopefully not too time-demanding to listen to. As for musicality, well...

    Normal:

    Bass, Guitar, and MT Power Kit free VST drums

    Weird:

    Synth with synth bass and drums.

    19-edo is a tuning in which, instead of 12 notes per octave, you divide likewise into 19 notes. So, basically, it makes each fret a third of a step instead of a half step.

    Boring story: The songs were something I did for a buddy who was doing a radio show and needed some filler/background material, which he requested specifically last exactly two minutes. When he ghosted me and the radio show never came to pass, I waited for a couple years to hear from him, and nothing, so I put the stuff all together on an album. Anyway...

    The first song might sound a little out of tune, but probably sounds mostly boring and normal to a casual listener. The second song sounds weird and out-of-tune. These are sort of the two extremes you can achieve with that tuning. Play the minor scale (or the major scale, even), and it sounds pretty much business as usual. Make your own messed-up-sounding scale, and things sound "XENHARMONIC"...
     
    vozhyk, tedtan and Necris like this.
  2. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    15,648
    Likes Received:
    4,022
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    I'm still pushing 19-edo as a viable alternative to standard tuning. I don't see that changing. You can play 99% of what you play in standard tuning with this tuning, and you get improved thirds and also the possibility of more usable dissonant intervals. The tones are spaced far enough apart to easily distinguish them apart from each other, and the fretboard doesn't get too crowded.

    Almost everyone else thinks of 24-edo (quarter tones) when they first think of microtonal guitar playing. I'd argue that the neutral intervals that result from such a tuning have fewer uses, and that there is no benefit to major nor minor intervals, so it's ultimately more of a gimmick than 19-edo.

    I'd love to get some feedback about how out of tune the minor key stuff sounds to non-microtonally-inclined people, and I'd also love to hear about how xenharmonic (or not) the other piece sounds to folks who are so inclined. Maybe the tuning is not weird enough to be weird but not normal enough to be normal for a majority of people?
     
  3. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    4,683
    Likes Received:
    1,207
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Location:
    Never Neverland
    When I listen to microtonal music, it often sounds off to me; not bad, just "off". Presumable because I've heard so much 12 TET music over the years.

    In listening to these two pieces, neither bothered me. The first "normal" piece didn't strike me as microtonal as I listened while typing a work email (i.e., not focusing specifically on the tuning). The second "weird" piece is much more obviously out of tune compared to 12 TET, but it didn't sound "off" here; you embraced 19 EDO it worked for the piece.
     
    bostjan likes this.
  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    15,648
    Likes Received:
    4,022
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    Thanks for that!

    I might add some examples of really simple scales on 12-EDO vs 19-EDO guitar and synth for comparison if anyone finds this stuff at all interesting.
     
  5. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

    Messages:
    11,842
    Likes Received:
    2,622
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Location:
    Yorkshire, U.K
    Your stuff is fun! Great contrasting examples.
    Indeed 19 is a great tuning and I'm sure many would be interested to know that the intonation it contains is quite similar to how our 12 tone scale was tuned historically. I'm not its biggest fan though.
    Certainly isolated chords in it sound more in tune due to the better 3rds (if your ear is searching for stability as the definition for in tune, rather than familiarity). I do think it can feel weird melodically though - I'm still not quite used to it. The semitones of 1/3 comma meantone (19edo) are just that little bit too wide compared to 12 that the motion of melodies and chord changes can sound a bit alien I think.
    I certainly prefer 1/4 comma meantone (31edo) , to the point that I considered the 19 tone subset of it worth going with over 19edo for my upcoming guitar, despite the broken chain of 5ths/some incomplete keys/smaller smallstep frets. I find its 77c chroma, 39c diesis, and 116c semitone more enjoyable than 19s 63c chroma+diesis and 126c semitone.

    I agree the dominance of 24edo in introductory microtonality is extremely strange. It's a tuning of quite limited usage, at least outside of dissonance and eastern melodic usage. Too much focus on keeping the original 12 where they are. When indeed, one could just use something like 19 or 31 where the original 12 move just slightly, retain all their function, and obtain better chord consonance - as well as many of the added notes being useful consonances like the subminor 3rd and harmonic 7th.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2020
    bostjan likes this.
  6. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

    Messages:
    11,842
    Likes Received:
    2,622
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Location:
    Yorkshire, U.K
    Oh and also, I thought the 2nd piece sounded weird but perfectly enjoyable - whereas most 'xen' stuff that isn't normal music in meantone or general JI consonance worship , sounds very bad to me
     
    bostjan likes this.
  7. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    15,648
    Likes Received:
    4,022
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    Thanks so much for the kind words!

    19 is a good number of notes to have on a tonal palette, IMO. 31, for me, is doable, but difficult. Even playing in 24-edo, I feel like I have to be very careful not to misjudge something and hit a clam.

    I'd love to hear what you can do with a 19-out-of-31edo guitar.

    I hear what you are saying about semitones being noticeably wide. The seconds/ninths and sevenths are the least pleasant intervals. I think (my opinion) that the fourths and fifths are close enough that those don't really get noticed as much being "off." But, IMO, 31-edo has the same weakness with the major second/ninth and the minor seventh. I think Neal Haverstick once told me that he liked 34-edo better because of the sevenths. 34-edo, of course, though, isn't a meantone-type tuning.

    31 is pretty much where my interest in adding notes hits a wall, because just about every interval available has some theoretical use. Beyond that, things get messier in an unnecessary way.
     
    Winspear likes this.
  8. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

    Messages:
    11,842
    Likes Received:
    2,622
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Location:
    Yorkshire, U.K
    I agree it would just be too many frets to have fun.
    Interesting your thoughts on 31 - considering that the 31 M2 and m7 are practically the same as 12edo. I guess my ears are generally seeking the melodic feel of 12 edo still, just with more in tune chords and some extended decoration here and there. But I don't dislike 19edo by any means, it's a subtle difference.
    As for what can be done with 19 of 31 , for a start accurate tuning of older music made in 1/4 comma meantone - here's a lovely recording on a similar guitar that has about 17 pitches I think.

    Here's a nice chart:
    [​IMG]
    In extending out to 19 , we push the orange and red areas further out , completely clearing all 12 initial keys of altered thirds. My guitar has all straight frets rather than any partials required to keep to the strict 19 though, so I do have some notes deeper into the circle available* thus some minor third barres for the more distant keys such as Db, major third for D# etc which would be missing from the above chart extended to only 19.
    *At the cost of the single-accidental note variant not being available in that string position
     
    tedtan and bostjan like this.

Share This Page