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Friday, August 19, 2011

53ET Geometry fix in Geo Synth (Pythagoras)

This thing is getting very close to being shipped. Kevin Chartier (Jordan Rudess' programming partner at Wizdom) is doing a lot of user interface changes. We are working on at least making a stable and feature frozen version that's shippable in principle to have something ship by a well defined date, or just go ahead and ship that version and keep going with an update.

The entire time using 53ET in this synth, there was a minor bug in the geometry that is now fixed. The consequence was that even though 53ET emerged as a consequence of the fourths and fifths without being programmed in (or even known at the time I first saw it!), the major and minor thirds conspicuously didn't seem to line up very exactly with any of the 53ET frets; in spite of the fact that the maj fret slightly flat of 12ET and min fret slightly sharp of 12ET sounded astonishingly like correct Just intervals.

So now that this minor numerical fix was made, you can easily navigate visually around while playing to discover the Just Intervals that are so closely approximated in 53ET. This numerical problem I always had also affected the 12ET tuning very slightly, something that I noticed when working on the MIDI, but had written off as just floating point inaccuracies.

This is kind of like discovering an exact representation for Pi and having all of the goofy engineering inaccuracies disappear so that you can actually understand what you are looking at. Now that this is in, major and minor triads actually form well defined triangles visually. I should think about making those an explicit part of the visualization at some point. Playing around with the spectrum rather directly like this is a bit of a game on its own.

There will be more to come. I will ship this in the store soon, hopefully with Wizdom as planned; but some version of it will ship no matter what.

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