Microtonal tuning has been a characteristic common to many musical traditions yet despite a growing awareness of these traditions among many musicians today, a single system of tuning based on the twelve-note equal division of the octave continues to dominate development of multimedia applications. This paper describes a new software tool developed to export and document microtonal scales for use in computer music and multimedia composition. The tool was developed as a command script written by the first author using an editor, librarian, and analysis tool for musical tunings known as Scala, written by the second author. The tool called scaleplayer. cmd allows tuning to be exported from Scala to Pure Data, an environment for algorithmic composition where novel purpose-built performance interfaces can be prototyped easily. The tool allows composers to interact with thousands of historical and novel scales and to develop a user interface based on a new understanding of the tuning characteristics being explored. Pure Data has already been used to create performance interfaces for the Pocket Gamelan, a project that has allowed new microtonal tunings to be implemented and performed using Blue-tooth enabled mobile phone technology.
This conference paper was originally published as Schiemer, G and de Coul, MO, Pocket Gamelan: tuning mircrotonal pplications in Pd using Scala, in Riddell, A & Thorogood, A (eds), Proceedings of the Australasian Computer Music Conference 2007: TRANS Boundaries / Permeability / Reification, Australian National University, Canberra, 2007, 81-86.