NanoTone Dev Notes
NanoTone Synth got a lot of support on the first anniversary of its release in August, so I decided to continue updating it with more features. The biggest change is the addition of a keyboard, which allows you to play chords in any temperament. This allows you to compare which tunings are more consonant/dissonant than others.
I added a stat to show how much better/worse the tuning of each given temperament is, compared to 12-TET. It basically compares the perfect fourth (4:3), major third (5:4), minor third (6:5) and minor second (16:15) intervals of each temperament. Since the perfect fourth (4:3) and major second (9:8) are 3-limit or Pythagorean intervals, the major second’s tuning is closely tied to the perfect fourth. Therefore it was redundant to count both, as it gave less accurate calculations.
On that note, the approximator doesn’t really tell you how well a tuning handles 7-limit or higher harmonies, since they don’t occur in 12-TET music and therefore there’s no comparison to make. It can only tell you how well tuned the intervals we encounter in Western music are. If you want to find a tuning that works well for 7-limit or higher, it’s best to use the corresponding menu screens to check their accuracy.
I would like to add an alternate keyboard that allows you to play the 7 and 11-limit harmonies later. That would cost the second octave though, as I’d need those higher keys. It’s something to consider if more people start using the software.
I also added a menu for 13-limit harmonies. It’s a bit more tightly packed than the other menu screens – there are 18 ratios for 13-limit, versus 14 ratios for 7 or 11-limit. I highly doubt I will add a menu for 17-limit or anything higher. There would simply be too many ratios to fit on screen w/o dividing the menu into multiple pages. Some famous microtonal composers like Harry Partch found no reason to go beyond 11-limit, as that provides plenty of new harmonies.
I also updated the GUI to make it look prettier, and added a help page to show controls.
If you want a deeper explanation behind the mathematics and genesis of this project, refer to my first dev blog here.
How to Escape 2017: Delete Your Social Media
I’ve been withdrawing inward more and more lately. I deleted my Soundcloud, my Instagram, and now my Twitter as well. Yes, it’s a reaction to the way the world has been changing. Not just this insane year but the whole decade. Everything is a reaction to a reaction to a reaction now. All social media is centered around comment sections and reaction emojis so you can feed into the endless back-and-forth.
None of it is conducive to “stopping to think” before you reply. Or better yet, “stopping to research”. If you don’t correct misinformation at the source it spreads like wildfire. And most people aren’t willing to admit they’re misinformed when they’re being called out on it.
Some pictures from my now-deleted Instagram.
I had a lot of varied experiences with Twitter, both good and bad. The good part was getting to know some of my obscure heroes of the gaming world, and interacting with some of my favorite musicians. Those were small but important milestones for me. There were funny moments too.
On the other hand, I’ve learned too many artists become “de-mystified” when you see them up close. Certainly not all of them. But there were a few artists that I have a very different impression of after seeing them regularly on social media. Up close you see their flaws, you learn their routine, you learn too much of how they really are.
One interesting event was Kurt Travis (ex-Dance Gavin Dance singer) drunkenly losing his shit and saying he was going to quit music. Musicians can be really moody in general. But again this isn’t the case with everyone. Most people have been very cool and entertaining to interact with.
Russians playing a game of human chess in St. Petersburg, circa 1924. A fitting metaphor for our world right now.
The more I learn about how the Russians hacked the US elections and spread misinformation through Twitter and Facebook, the less comfortable I feel being on social media. My twitter feed used to be lit but not so much anymore. Too many users left or became inactive. At this point I just use it to keep in touch with old friends. The platform can change at the whim of some out-of-touch nerd in Silicon Valley, anyway.
The fact that they won’t delete Trump’s tweet threatening North Korea because of “newsworthiness” makes me sick all over. I don’t want to be using a service run by people who think like that. Trump’s deranged threats are putting the lives of American soldiers at risk, and Twitter is enabling him. It’s horrifying.
On the subject of the US elections, I’m anxiously awaiting Mueller’s investigation as I imagine most Americans are. In the meantime, this feels like a good time to be changing my focus. The state of the world has become too depressing to watch. So I don’t think people would blame me for thinking this is a good time to turning inward and reflect on my own life, rather than the outside world.
Sharing and Intimacy
I’ve had this notion that sharing has been cheapened by social media. You’re encouraged to share everything about your lives on social media.
Some pictures of home life, taken for a friend.
The act of sharing, I believe, has become cheapened to the point of losing its original meaning. In the past, “sharing” generally implied a small group of people. Now it implies sharing with the world. So my latest art projects try to get back in touch with that original meaning. They have been very intimate affairs that I only share with one person.
I am trying to keep older forms of art alive, as it were. Not sure how long I’ll keep doing this but I find it personally rewarding. More rewarding than releasing art to a group of strangers online.
You will have to become my patron to get access to my personal art now. 😉
I’m not working on a new game. I’m not writing new music. I’m not working on music software. So what am I doing? I’m mostly writing short stories, some of which you can find here.
I’m still exercising with innovative ways to tell a story to the reader, subverting traditional first or third-person storytelling with fictional documents, chat logs, etc. All while I wrestle with a few massive narratives that I’ve had in mind for years now, trying to figure out the best way to express them.
My collection of poetry is growing. You can read my old work here. Most pieces come in the form of song lyrics so I can set them to music, but I’ve also been experimenting with other forms (haiku, free verse, ballads, villanelles).
I still feel like song lyrics are the form I’m most comfortable writing in. Occasionally I have ideas that work well in free verse, like my old pieces Focus and Divine Intervention. Those work because they are written to be spoken aloud, like songs are meant to be sung aloud.
While I am fond of visual poetry and have used it before, it doesn’t hit me quite as viscerally. I’m not a huge fan of “book poems”, as it were. Sometimes I feel old poems look better than they sound.
Haiku is a lot of fun because there’s a wonderful challenge in saying a lot with very little. I’m also fascinated with jisei – the Japanese tradition of writing a “death poem” towards the end of one’s life. They often convey a disarming humor about the transience of life. Basho’s jisei is classic.
tabi ni yande
yume wa kareno wo
On a journey, ill;
My dream goes wandering
Over withered fields.
That’s all for now. Till next time! 🙂