M I C R O T O N A L   M U S I C

ON  THE  E S Q-1/SQ-80

Temperament is the system of tuning in which intervals are "tempered" (slightly lessened or enlarged) away from their "natural" or "pure" form. There is contemporary interest in other tuning scales than the twelve-tone equal temperament for keyboards.

A basic guide to alternate scales (= temperaments) on synths is TUNING IN (Temperaments and Microtuning using Synthesizers) written by Scott R.WILKINSON and published in 1988 by Hal Leonard Books.

However, Wilkinson didn't mention the strong quality of the ESQ-1/SQ-80 in this matter!

I would like to explain new ways for various tuning scales by modulating the full keyboard range of the ESQ-1 without calibrating individual keys. In this last case I recommand DICK LORDs alternate O.S. for the MIRAGE sampler or the tuning tables for the ENSONIQ EPS+ .

Pitch bend modulation is a common method to vary the individual pitch of the keys you play. Comments and tables of values of pitch control of the ESQ-1 were included in articles published by TRANSONIQ HACKER. Read about Microtonality and Just Intonation on the ESQ-1 in Transoniq Hackers Issues # 73 (Juli, 1991, p.13-14) and # 64 (October, 1990, p.15-16). It seems very difficult to program maps - pseudo pitch tables (Transoniq Hacker,1992, August, p.9) - for the ENSONIQ synths: SQ-1,SQ-2 and KS-32.

Making alternate scales on the ESQ1 or SQ80 shouldn't be a time consuming job. It is easy to change, listen and control the result instantly. You don't even have to make difficult calculations on paper or computer. Believe your ears and make a choice for the most musical solution. The trick of microtonal scales on the ESQ-1/SQ-80 , is to find the relationship between the OSC-modulating and the pitch intervals.

Wendy CARLOS discussed her album "Switched-on Bach " in Back to Bach KEYBOARD (August, 1992). She mentioned her difficulties to store and to use several alternate scales or to swap between different alternate tuning scales within the same composition (Brandenburg Three). Strange enough, Wendy Carlos was looking for fast solutions for downloading and switching tuning scales on the actual and best equipped synthesizers but the YAMAHA SY77 has just two user tunings.
If you like fast access to different tuning scales without losing time, then use the good old ESQ1 of Ensoniq. In this instrument you may store and practice up to 40 internal tuning scales. Without loading and losing time, the tone-scale of the ESQ-1 patch is always integrated IN the soundprogram itself. If you like more then 40 scales, take an ESQ-1  80 sounds RAM- cartridge. Theoretically, you have instant access to at most 200 alternate scales using the 160 sounds RAM- cartridge! Isn't this great?

In the PART-Sound Set there are a few such patches integrated.

Click here on The P-ART MICROTONAL SCALES  to learn about tone scaling your keyboard or digitale wave synthesizer.





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