Is it possible to tune every note separately?

• Jan 17, 2019 - 10:51

I've been wondering if there's any way I could tune every note separately, for example: one note is 435Hz and the second is 431Hz, third one is 428Hz etc. It would be great if Musescore had that feature. If there's no way it can be done in Musescore, is there any other program I can use for that? Thanks!


In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

This feature of MuseScore is admirable. However, unfortunately, it cannot be extracted as information through a Midi File. Please let me know which controller achieves the tuning of an individual note (even if it is a member of a chord) without affecting the overall tuning, or the remaining notes of the chord. Thank you very much, George Hatzimichelakis.

In version 2 there was a plugin that changed the tunings of all notes according to about 10 different tuning methods. Once the plugins are fixed in the next month in version 3, you should be able to use a plugin if there is a pattern to the tuning involved.

In reply to by Sambaji

It sounds like the OP is trying to tune A4's to a few different pitches for some reason in his example. Select>more... would allow him to select all A4's and tune them the same, but would not allow for the apparent random tuning of the A4's. If I'm correct, selecting one note the ctrl+click to add to the selection will allow you to change the tuning of several notes at once in the inspector.

In reply to by mike320

I was hoping it would be possible to do this individually using frequencies. However, I suppose there is a mapping - to be worked out - from frequency in Hz to notes + the appropriate offset.

I would like to experiment with some unusual scales.

If it is possible to do this, would it then be possible to have different parts of a document working in different scales, or would each document have to have its own tuning?

Also, if all the notes are based on one single oscillator frequency - is there not a master control for raising or lowering the pitch of all the notes - whatever they are actually relatively tuned to?

In reply to by dave2020X

Hi Dave,

the process is as follows:

  • the soundfonts, even those for old instruments, are normalised to A₄ = 440 Hz tuning, so that anything that follows later in the process has something reliable to start off from

  • MuseScore defaults to A₄ = 440 Hz (document-wide), but this can be changed in the Synthesiser options:


  • Based on the chosen document-wide tuning frequency for A₄ the frequencies for all MIDI notes (0‥127, or C₋₁ to G₉) are calculated for Equal Temperament

  • Each individual Note in the document can, now, have a tuning that tells MuseScore how many cents (1/1200th of an octave) to deviate (in either direction, down or up) from the document-wide calculated frequency for this individual note; the permitted values go from -100 to 100 normally (because otherwise you could just choose the next semitone up/down) but I think that changed in later versions for more flexibility; typical values for nōn-ET tunings here are in the ballpark -2.0, +3.9, +5.9, +7.8, for some tunings even twice that. You can implement tuning where e.g. A♯ ≠ B♭ this way, because you have control over each individual note in the document.

  • For each note to be played from one instrument at the same time (be they in a Chord, tied together, etc.) the synthesiser then takes the reference sample from the soundfont (which (see above) is expected to be in ET A₄=440 Hz; some of the WAVs in the soundfonts are not but the soundfonts themselves can include scaling information (offset, envelope, …) to correct this), scales it from the reference frequency to the one indicated by the tuning difference; then it mixes all them together; the same for all other instruments, which are also then mixed together and panned, which produces the output waveform

So, yes, there is a master control for changing the pitch (the synthesiser setting), but only whole-document-wise and in ET, but you can additionally change each individual pitch.

Does this help?

In reply to by mirabilos

Thanks. It does help a bit. I wanted to check out some odd scales. It is possible to experiment a bit with tools like Audacity, but it's a bit slow, and doesn't lead quickly to anything playable.

For example, if one wanted an even scale with four notes per octave - including the lowest one could consider the frequencies f, f.2^(1/4),f.2^(1/2), f.2^(3/4). It would be perfectly feasible to calculate the relative frequencies of all the notes in the potential scale, then plug them into a system like MuseScore and then evaluate that scale as a system for some music applications. Regular 12 TET would I think arise by using 2^(n/12) where n varies from 0 to 11 as factors by which to modify the base frequency.

It may be that most unusual scales are not in fact very interesting musically, but it would be fun to try.

Being able to change the synthesiser base tone would certainly help, but the individual "note" adjustments might just have to be done by some form of tedious calculation.

In reply to by dave2020X

(Besides the fact that ¼/½/¾ are scalable to n/12…) Yeah, you’d have to “reverse-calculate” quite a bit, but it’s not too hard. The deviation is in cent, that is, 2^(n/1200) from the expected base frequency.

If you’re starting off, you could do just sine waves, rectangle waves, sawtooth waves, or something; there are generators where you just plug in frequencies and listen to it. Of course this is no replacement for the proper sound samples in the soundfonts, but it would, at least, be exact (the samples are never 100% frequency-accurate as most of them are recordings of humans playing).

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