'Natural' keys

• May 6, 2020 - 18:24

Is there a likelihood of allowing 'natural' keys into musescore? I get a bit tired of playing E double flat and hearing D. Could musescore be programmed to play the actual key instead of the tempered key? It's already a brilliant platform; and natural keys would put it way ahead of its competitors.


I'm afraid I don't understand the question at all.

Can you please elaborate on your use case with a sample (score)? What are you doing (where to click, which interactions to undertake) and what is happening instead of what you would expect to happen?

In reply to by jeetee

It's a bit difficult to explain if you don't play a violin or similar instrument. Each key has a specific set of notes; and each scale is slightly different to the next; a matter of a few cycles per second difference. In the 1700's, these differences were set aside when the pianoforte was introduced; so that you didn't have to retune the piano each time you played a different key; the new scale (The modern scale) was called the 'Tempered Scale'; and each note for each key was adjusted so that all the notes, regardless of key, was identical. But if you play a violin, there is a distinct difference between each scale. If you listen to J. S. Bach's 'Well tempered clavier', you get an idea of how the tempered scale was first introduced. But if you listen carefully to the violin playing scales in each key, you will hear the difference. The result is that E double flat is a tiny bit sharper than D; sort of D semi-demi-sharp.

I suppose what the OP is asking for is for the playback of Ebb to differ from the playback of D. That sure isn't possible in a midi-based environment.

In reply to by BSG

I'm not familiar enough with different tunings indeed, but could one use/adjust any of the 19/24/31-TET plugins for such a purpose?
I believe to apply a per-accidental-type tuning offset in cents to the notes in the score.

On a historical note, Bach's work was the Well Tempered Clavier. "Tempering" just means tuning. Well tempering is different from Even/Equal tempering. The latter is the modern convention where each successive note is 2^(1/12) times the frequency of the previous. Bach was celebrating Well tempering, which had the nice property that you could actually play in all keys. But the ratios of the pitches are not all the same, as with Even tempering. So different keys do indeed have different characters, and not just a uniform change of pitch. I mention this because I read about it a while back in a Bach edition, where the author pointed out that this stuff is wrongly described in lots of publications.

In reply to by MikeN

Not quite; "well-tempering" denotes any of several tempering systems that were around at the time, "equal" not among them, which were considered suitable for playing in the full range of keys, all of them "not being the same in all keys", but usable.

In reply to by BSG

I picked up a very readable and interesting book on the subject: "How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony (and Why You Should Care)" by Ross W Duffin, published by W W Norton, 2008. As well as being a good read it has some excellent cartoons but does not skimp on the technical or historical details,

Hey there everybody; thanks for the input; and I'm glad to say my question has been answered better than I had hoped. All I have to do now is figure out how to load the github plugin. Great crowd!

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