Reply To: Melodica Tuning and Detuning and Being Out of Tune

Steven Morris


I love this topic!! I’m a huge fan of tuning (including detuning) and I appreciate everything you’re saying. I’m a huge synth fan :D.

One thing though- regarding synthesizer detuning, most of the time there are multiple oscillators going at once. The Voyager that you mentioned, as I’m sure you’re aware, has three oscillators. Detuning one or more of the oscillators in relation to the remaining one(s) will create various effects depending on the degree they’re detuned (especially if LFOs are involved).

With that on the table, when you say players & producers sometimes tune a keyboard sharp (or flat) do you mean the WHOLE keyboard in relation to the rest of the instruments in the arrangement or do you mean an oscillator or two (as in the example above). If the former… even if it’s a polyphonic synth? I’m very curious about this!

Another thing about the instrument is that if you play harder it goes flat and if you play softer it goes sharp. Do you have any techniques to compensate for this Lowboy? For example, as you crescendo a note it would go flat because of too much airflow to the reed (or it would sound like a downward bend)- perhaps slightly pressing a nearby key could correct the pitch while adding slight harmonic dissonance. That could possibly add a kind of distorted sound. I haven’t experimented much with this so I’d love to hear about some of your ideas and experience.

Here’s an interesting idea: What if instead of a single reed per key, there were multiple reeds per key. In that case, it would be possible to create a much thicker sound by detuning your ‘oscillators’. I can also imagine octaves, to get a mandolin/12-string guitar style sound. I’m sure there would need to be some major compensation as multiple reeds would probably require more breath though.

Regarding your music- please post some YouTube videos if you can. I can’t be the only one who’s interested in seeing some of your performances :).

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