Intervalon 2D-Interval Explorer
Nature breezes What, Row row row a boat,
vibrating in rings and arches; Gently down the stream,
Get on a boat of a rainbow; Merrily merrily merrily merrily,
Life is but dream.
Intervalon is a musical instrument software that works on a Windows PC/tablet (technically a Win32 desktop application with Touch interface support).
It can be played by touch (best if you have a touch screen monitor or a tablet), or PC-keyboard keys (very good, mappings flexible) and a mouse.
It has features that makes it easy to learn Meantone tunings (here not restricted to twelve or any number of keys per octave) and Harmonic-Series tones. In short, good for your music.
I'll explain the concept very briefly. (You can skip it and jump to the download section.)
Intervalon is subtitled 2D-Interval Explorer. Yes, try consider, please:
Musical intervals, a second, third, fifth, octave, and so on, are most easy when they are thought of as Two-Dimensional.
I say this because, traditionally intervals have been understood as 2D-like things, D# and Eb flatly discrete, but today too many people think just otherwise.
The idea of 2D Interval
- has long been around, for centuries, probably since when C-D-E began to be sung straight, regular.
Meantone tunings are the very embodiment of it.
If you sing or play thus regularly (and not in 12ET) for years, a sense of an 2D space would build up gradually, wherein intervals can reside stable, easy, visual, even touchable.
Kontrapunkt flows gently down the stream, merrily merrily on the trip, getting more and more simplified, where is a goal? , Life is but a dream.
- An interval can be represented technically as coordinates (a,b), where a and b are any two basic interval elements.
If you pick out a second and a minor third as the two basic elements, (1,0) and (0,1) respectively, then a fifth is (2,1), two seconds and one minor third, and an octave is (3, 2), three seconds and two minor thirds.
- You can also assign 2D-Intervals between Harmonic-Series tones.
Tune pitch heights of note-keys by way of 2D-Intervals.
- A pure 5th and a pure octave gives Pythagorean tuning; A pure 3rd and a pure octave gives 1/4 comma meantone; A pure 5th and a pure 3rd gives a tuning with a non-pure large octave.
It is Not that scale tunings are defined in an octave range and copied up/dwon octaves, as often seen.
- Irregular tunings such as Werckmeister and Vallotti can be given by 'undulations'.
Plot note-key points by way of pitch heights and 2D-Intervals, always linearly.
- Plot note-key points of C, D, and E on a straight line, regularly, only if D is tuned at the just center (mean) of C and E (Meantone).
- You can draw buttons as Voronoi cells.
- Plot also Harmonic-Series tone note-keys by this way. The series is given a visual shape, which will be a big help.
- Play under a moderate sound volume. Do not play too long hours at a time; Take enough breaks.
- If instrument sounds are unpleasant in any way, stop playing immediately.
- Download the linked zip file (Intervalon20170414.zip, 9.3MB) containing the latest Intervalon folder.
- (After malware scan,) unblock the zip file (right-click -> Properties -> Unblock), and unzip it (right-click -> Extract All).
- The folder has in it Intervalon.exe, three DLL's, Intervalon.ini, text files with additional info, and 'Soundfonts to use' folder initially with a small soundfont of my compilation/modification. (The soundfont, EditedforIntervalon.sf2, will be updated fairly frequently.)
You can put the folder (or later move it) anywhere you have write-permission (for .ini file to be updated. Windows Registry is not used).
- Open Intervalon.exe. Administrative privileges are never required. The board window appears.
Now you can play (just press note-key buttons), and change settings.
Messages are displayed at the bottom of the window.
- Enlarge the window by the Windows standard operations.
- Press 'Opt. board' (board options) button at the top-left corner of the window.
If the window is not vertically large enough to show all options, you can kind of scroll by pressing the twin buttons at the right of 'Opt. board' button.
Double-arrow buttons go forward/backward with larger steps.
Hide/Unhide options by 'Hide' button at the top-right corner of the window.
- Adjust scaling by the buttons on the scaling line.
- Change orientation, aspect ratio, rotation. A couple of prototype patterns (Layout profiles) are provided.
Note that you can easily cover six octaves range or more, even with a small-size monitor (the case with tablets), by changing aspect (xy) ratio.
- Save the settings into .ini. file by pressing 'save board options...' button.
- Press 'Opt. sound' (sound options) button.
Tunings are defined in .ini file (editable by hand in your favorite text editor).
Intervalon generates sound by way of Midi; It has in it a mini synthesizer (select a soundfont to use), or connects to an external software/hardware multitimbral synth (select a midi-out device).
- Change tunings, soundfont/midiout-device, instruments, and so on.
- You can optionally choose audio via WASAPI, Windows audio facility for higher quality and lower latency (only exclusive mode at present).
- Save the settings into .ini. file by pressing 'save sound options...' button.
- To play Harmonic-Series tones, press the button 'Harmonic Series Tones' or 'PAD' in board options.
- Specify the primary (first) tone by mounting a Harmonic-Series tone note-key on any board note-key, by 'Drag'.
- In keyboard-key playing, you can use keyboard-key assignments for them.
Switch the current key-assignment-set by keyboard-key shortcut Shift + Z and Shift + X.
License of this software
Copyright © 2015 Kazuhiko Shirai.
Intervalon is freeware. It can be used anyway.
Redistribution is prohibited.
The software is provided as is without warranty of any kind.
Use it at your own risk. The author is not responsible for any loss or damage resulting from the use or misuse of it.
Meantone the author uses most often:
7/48 comma meantone. 7/48 = ( (1/3 + 1/4) / 2 ) / 2. (This makes 5th 698.81867 cents.)
It has 5th/4th and 3rds/6ths equally less pure.
Let M stand for comma meantone, and m(a,b) just in between of a and b.
Pythagorean tuning (with pure 5th) = 0 M.
1/3 comma meantone (with pure min.3rd) = 1/3 M.
1/4 comma meantone (with pure maj.3rd) = 1/4 M.
7/24 M = m( 1/3 M, 1/4 M).
7/48 M = m( 0 M, 7/24 M).
1/6 M = m( 0 M, 1/3 M).
1/8 M = m( 0 M, 1/4 M).
7/48 M = m( 1/6 M, 1/8 M).
7/48 meantone seems fairly near to 1/7 (=7/49) meantone, but actually sounds very differently, with an unblended compositeness.
Composers the author admires:
Palestrina, Alessandro Scarlatti, Handel,
Beethoven, Muzio Clementi,
Brahms, Mahler, Manuel de Falla, Furtwängler
by Kazuhiko Shirai. mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
last updated 2017/04/14.