For hundreds of years, a seemingly unsolvable puzzle has perplexed music theorists: How can a musician play music using pure intonation, based on the harmonics of a vibrating string, while at the same time transpose chords and scales into any key the composer may wish to use?
Therein lies the problem:
Harmonics generate musical intervals which are pure and resonant in character, however due to the uneven spacing of these intervals, transposition through all keys is impossible. Evenly spaced tuning systems, called equal temperaments, make transposition easily possible but compromise the beauty and resonance of purely-tuned intervals.
Finally, after centuries of debate and experimentation, a solution has arrived. Infinitone DMT, a cutting edge new DAW plugin, has finally solved this primordial paradox. Not only does Infinitone DMT bridge the gap between ancient and modern tuning systems, it also provides musicians with exotic new blends of harmonic spices that can be used to cook up the music of the future. Musicians using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) can insert Infinitone DMT right into their workflow and instantly access new chords, scales, and tuning effects never before available using standard production techniques. At last, the modern musician can now have total Freedom of Pitch in their music, with full capacity to tune notes according to one’s taste AND transpose those notes in any way imaginable. And best of all: no music theory is necessary to get started.
The Tuning Conundrum: Harmonics vs Temperament
For thousands of years, in Indian cultures as well as many other cultures around the world, musicians have tuned their musical notes in response to the harmonics that can be heard vibrating in strings, voices, wind instruments, and many other timbres. If you aren’t sure what harmonics are, then try to experience them for yourself by directing the attention of your ears to the higher registers of the vibrations in sound of a tanpura. When listening, not only will you be able to hear the tone of the fundamental pitch of the strings, but other tones can be heard dancing above those fundamental tones. These tones are called harmonics, and their vibrations are related directly to the fundamental pitch. This array of naturally generated frequencies forms a series of musical ratios called the harmonic series.
By extracting these upper frequencies and playing them with musical instruments, we can more directly experience the tantalizing array of harmonious musical intervals contained in the harmonic series. Using Infinitone DMT, with the click of button, we can easily do this. In the following musical example created with Infinitone DMT, listen to the first 16 tones of the harmonic series in order, extracted from the Sa of the tanpura:
Using Infinitone DMT, specific musical intervals can be extracted from the harmonic series to create purely-tuned chords and scales. Listen to how four of these harmonic notes can be used to form a dominant 7th chord:
While pure-tuning, aka just intonation, has largely been the inspiration for musical note choices of the past, with the worldwide influence of modern Western music, a system of tampering aka tempering musical notes has become prevalent. The notes in almost all harmoniums, guitars, pianos, and synthesizers use tempered musical notes. Listen again to the pure dominant 7th chord, followed by a similar chord played using the notes from the standard tempered 12-tone Western scale. Note that the just intonation dominant 7th chord will sound stable and consonant, while the tempered dominant 7th chord will sound more unstable and dissonant:
Modern Western music evolved out of a growing appreciation for polyphony, harmonic modulation, and counterpoint. In order to access these newer parameters in music, the ability to transpose chords and scales to different keys became necessary.
Listen to what happens if we take a scale of 12 notes from the harmonic series, and try to transpose the same dominant 7th chord into 12 keys:
While some of the chords are more in-tune than the standard 12-tone scale, others are tuned in such a way that does not permit functional transposition. In order to resolve this problem, over the course of musical evolution, modern musical instruments have been standardized to use a system called 12-tone-equal-temperament (12TET). This means that instead of using unevenly-spaced notes, as in the harmonic series, the notes have been detuned from their pure form for the sake of even transposition through all musical keys:
The Impossible Becomes Possible With Infinitone DMT
This clash between just intonation and tempered tuning has raged on for centuries. Is it possible to have your cake and eat it too? Is it possible to maintain just intonation AND utilize all the transposition and counterpoint techniques of modern Western music?
Well, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, the answer is now YES! This new music technology, Infinitone DMT, has made it easy, intuitive, and inspiring to have the best of both musical worlds. Infinitone DMT makes it possible for any musician working with a DAW to have Freedom of Pitch in music through the application a revolutionary new technique called Dynamic Micro-Tuning. Now, instead of using instruments with a set of merely 12 discrete notes, the full continuum of musical notes can be dynamically accessed at any time. For the first time in history, musicians, like artists who paint, will have an unlimited palette of new notes to color their music.
The Musical Puzzle of Just Intonation and Transposition: Solved
The solution of the tuning conundrum can be solved by simply allowing new musical notes to be easily and intuitively selected, from a limitless supply, in real time. This is opposed to the standard musical systems of the past in which a musician would use a fixed set of notes for an entire composition, or even for an entire lifetime! Listen to this following example created in Infinitone DMT in which the harmonic dominant 7th chord in just intonation is transposed up 12 times. The root note of the chord will be generated by the standard 12TET notes but the upper extensions of the chords will use just intonation:
What does this mean for the modern musician? It means that any musician working with a modern music production system can radically expand the expressive range of their music through a click of a button!
For example, instead of being stuck with a single version of a scale (as is the case in 12TET), a single scale can now easily be tuned in a variety of ways. Here are three (out of infinite) ways to tune the Phrygian scale (aka Bhairvi Thaat) using just intonation:
Not only can scales be retuned in Infinitone DMT, but so can chord progressions. Here is a chord progression in 12TET, followed by much smoother, pleasing, and resonant version of the same chord progression in just intonation:
Now listen how this just intonation chord progression can be used to accompany a vocalist. Here is a just intonation reharmonization of an excerpt from Bhare Naina sung by Radhika Bhide, using the chords from the previous example:
Another tradition nearly forgotten in modern music is the dynamic use of pitch slides and glides (sometimes known as a meends) to achieve deeper levels of musical expression. With Infinitone DMT, not only can one perform slides and glides of single notes, whole chords can glide, or morph, into one another. Listen to the following discrete just intonation chords as a point of reference:
Now here is an example of what they can sound like when morphing from one chord to the next:
The best thing about all these new musical techniques is that no music theory is necessary to get started. Infinitone DMT has done much of the heavy lifting for you. To access these unique new musical possibilities, simply load the Infinitone DMT plugin into your DAW, connect it with your favorite synth, load a great tuning preset (then tweak it to your liking if you wish) and away you go!
Step Into the New Musical Frontier
As you have heard in the previous musical examples, incorporating Freedom of Pitch into the creative process in music not only makes ancient musical sounds easily available, it also opens up instant access to a broad range of new musical possibilities. Whether you are looking to bring more authenticity to traditional music, to bridge the gap between current musical traditions and old ones, or to break the sound barrier and create radical new music for the future, Infinitone DMT is there for you every step of the way. This is the first time in history such expressive parameters have been easily available to musicians. This means that by using Infinitone DMT, you step onto a wild and enticing new frontier of musical creativity. What extraordinary music awaits us in this new fertile landscape? What happens when we go beyond the limits of our current musical imaginations? There is only one way to find out… put the future of music in your own hands, and create it yourself!
Infinitone DMT is available to try for free for 14-days. Go to https://infinitone.com to download your free trial and to find out more information.