Midicent playback

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keithwclancy
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2015 4:32 am

Midicent playback

Post by keithwclancy » Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:35 am

Hello everyone

I'm still loving this amazing set of tools. I write a kind of spectralist music made from deformed segments of the harmonic series. It produces interesting results in 1/4 tone or 8th tone resolution but I really would like to hear the midi files that I produce played with midicent resolution (effectively 1200 pitches per octave). Because of the deformation of the scales I use I imagine the effect of gradually changing harmonic relations is stronger if the pitches are as close as possible to the actual harmonics. In other words I want to use tonedivision = 100 and have those midicent values play back on say a VST without too much trouble. Is this possible? It seems that FM8 by Native Instruments can have the 128 midi notes separately retuned but I want to be able to hear midicent 6000 clashing with 6013 or 6023 etc with all the values between audible potentially as well. The idea is that the "sliding" of partials in these complexes I'm making need to be in midicent tuning.

So my question is this. Every time I export a midi file from bach.roll it appears to play in normal 12 tone equal temperament. Is there any VST synth that reads midicent values directly and simply outputs them as pitches? My pieces are polyphonic but each individual line could well be generated separately. Does pitch bend have sufficient resolution to capture midicent tuning variances?

thanks in advance for any help!

cheers KWC

danieleghisi
Site Admin
Posts: 931
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:25 pm

Re: Midicent playback

Post by danieleghisi » Fri Oct 21, 2016 9:38 am

Hi,

I am no expert in MIDI samplers, maybe someone on this forum might help you further. My two cents are that bach uses whole channel pitch-bending in order to play quartertones and eighth-tones. E.g. to play quartertones, the 9th channel is detuned by a quartertone, and all quartertones are played there, while the 1st channel retain the ordinary semitonal grid. As you probably already know, MIDI is far from being fit for microtonal music, and using pitch bending to do that is kind of a trick; doing it note-wise would be probably too quirky in most traditional systems. The channel detuning/routing is performed by bach.ezmidiplay, which is why such detuning is not exported while saving.

Probably not the best scenario for you - but you build an accurate synth directly in Max (just for prototyping, cage.ezsynth~ does that, it's a quick'n'dirty way to have pitch accurate rendering), or an accurate sampler (but in this case I'm pretty sure it'll end up being much more CPU consuming than "external" samplers or VSTs). But again, I am no expert on modern systems for microtonal MIDI communication, if anyone has info or pointers, I'd be interested too!

d

keithwclancy
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2015 4:32 am

Re: Midicent playback

Post by keithwclancy » Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:19 am

Thanks Daniele I'm investigating the synths that use midicent tuning. If I'm correct the midi file I'm generating would have midicent pitch values yeah? I will keep researching this and report back if I find a solution. Even simple sine waves would be fine!

cheers
KWC

danieleghisi
Site Admin
Posts: 931
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:25 pm

Re: Midicent playback

Post by danieleghisi » Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:15 am

If even simple sine waves are fine, have a look at cage.ezsynth~. You can probably start from there and modify it to fit your needs.
The MIDI file you generate via "exportmidi" does NOT have MIDIcents, but just approximate semitones MIDI values. This is not a bach limitation, it's a MIDI intrinsic limitation: can't specify MIDIcents in MIDI standard, as far as I know. (Differently from direct export, [bach.ezmidiplay] takes the MIDIcents of the playout and arranges channels pitch bend properly in order to play quartertones or eighth-tones.)

keithwclancy
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2015 4:32 am

Re: Midicent playback

Post by keithwclancy » Mon Oct 24, 2016 2:44 am

Oh I thought the midifile would preserve the midicents. There is apparently a newer MIDI tuning standard that has midicent values? I just looked it up on wikipedia. I may investigate ezsynth then, it doesn't need to be too fancy sonically as the effects caused by the variation of tuning are fascinating enough in themselves. Thanks for your help!

cheers

KWC

PS: this set of objects and way of working has changed my life and the way I write. I used the harmonic series objects in my recent piece for MIDI controlled pipe organ and electronics. This is a live recording from the premiere the other night, played on one of the biggest organs in the southern hemisphere. Here I just used overtone tuning on a sampled organ plus the 12TET real organ and sampled bells and glockenspiel to complement the bells and glockenspiel featured in the organ itself.

https://soundcloud.com/keith-w-clancy/c ... -recording

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