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I want to write a MIDI processor on the computer that "detunes" specific tones and leaves the others intact. But up to now I only found the pitch wheel MIDI message to go into this direction. However, if I send a pitch wheel message, all tones are detuned. I only want it to be specific ones. Is there any way I can accomplish that with MIDI?

Or, more generally, how can one have "just scales" on MIDI?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

There is a MIDI spec for sending MIDI Tuning Messages, but not all synthesizers support it.

Some specific synths that have good support for alternative tunings:

  • The Access Virus has a sophisticated predictive system called Pure Tuning (seems to have been around since the Virus C, also present in the more recent TI series)
  • Korg is generally very good about offering alternative tuning options in their workstations and high-end synths. The Z1 comes with a number of built-in tunings, and you can create your own.
  • The DIY Shruthi-1 has some of the usual western tunings as well as a number of Indian tunings.
  • The Roland XV5080 has options for setting up alternate tunings, not sure if it came with any predefined alternatives
  • The Yamaha EX5 includes a number of alternative tuning systems, but it doesn't look like you can create custom tunings. (A number of interesting features from the EX5 never made it in to the Motif line, so download the manual before buying a different Yamaha workstation)

Update: all of the synths I list above have front-panel access to the alternative tunings.

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