Enjoy the sweet sound of guitar just intonation on this album

Sorry. I’m terrible at writing headlines, actually. I’m also mostly terrible at writing reviews. So let me just say that if you haven’t heard Horse Lords, the Baltimore-based indie band, since their 2010 founding, you deserve to. And they make a great argument for why alternative tunings really do matter in music.

Freehand Playable Circles, in Any Tuning, on iPad: New Orphion Editor

Design is the art of compromise. And so, as the touch tablet asks you to sacrifice some things – velocity sensitivity, physical separation, tactile feedback – it gives back the ability to produce freeform interfaces. The iPad’s downside is that it is a piece of undifferentiated glass; its upside is that that glass can transform […]

Touch iOS Music in a New Way: Hands-on with Cantor for Users, Inside Details for Developers

Don’t fret. An iPad can open up new ways of touching musical ideas. What if you could touch sound more directly, using sophisticated sensing to play between most common notes – even with hundreds of levels of microtonal pitch? Cantor lets you do just that – and it’s here now, proving that Apple will indeed […]

Free Utility Makes Endless Oscillators for Ableton Live Simpler, Sampler

slicedbread, on behalf of The Covert Operators, has released a free Windows utility that generates “endless harmonic oscillators” for Ableton Live’s Simpler and Sampler instruments. (Since this was a released, a Mac build has been made available, as well; see link below.) Even if you don’t intend to use the utility directly, pay attention – […]

Gibson to Launch Self-Tuning “Robot” Guitar

Don’t get too excited. Gibson Guitar is not, in fact, introducing a fully robotic guitar. Or a creepy robot doll that plays a guitar. Nor are they shipping you a handsome (male/female/your choice) robot assistant who will follow you around and tune your guitar for you. Too bad. But they are launching a robotic, self-tuning […]

Great Musical Mysteries: Van Halen Mishap Remains Unsolved

What exactly went wrong at this botched Van Halen performance of Jump? The discussion continues, though the current running consensus is that a guitar tuning was screwed up, not the sample rate on a performance. (It’s not clear why Van Halen transposed the track from the album version, but that’s near-certainty.) Even the creator of […]

Jumpgate Resolved: Van Halen Guitar Sorta Absolved, Keyboard Detuned

Ah, YouTubers. While the rest of us pontificate endlessly, the unfairly-maligned YouTube community painstakingly assembles evidence to prove their point. Lonely girls need outing? YouTube is there. Can’t tell what’s wildly out of tune in a botched Van Halen “Jump” performance? Let’s just listen, shall we? (Too bad, as I had just worked out a […]

Zillion-Keyed Keyboards, New Musical Layouts, and Microtonal Gadgets

My God … it’s full of keys! While the black-and-white piano-style keyboard layout remains the standard, designers still look for ways of reinventing pitch in music controllers. Sometimes the aim is to make it easier to play harmonies (top) … and sometimes it’s 211 keys-per-octave microtonal mayhem.

AutoTune 5: Graphical Input, Microtonal Tunings, Pen Tablet Input, Beat Sync

Yes, now not only will Jessica Simpson be able to sing in tune, she’ll be able to be tuned to an Indonesian pelog scale! AutoTune, the ubiquitous and now pretty ridiculously powerful tuning software, has some major new improvements in AutoTune 5. Central to the upgrade is a graphical mode that lets you draw pitch […]