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    Just released today on Spectropol Records...

    Possible Worlds Vol. 2
    The latest installment in our ongoing presentation of some of the finest contemporary xenharmonic (not 12-tone equal tempered) music available. Spanning five continents and showcasing a diversity of styles/genres, these twelve tracks provide multiple entry points into worlds inhabiting novel pitch space.

    With music by Jacky Ligon, Mirjam Tally, Lewis Krauthamer, Lois Lancaster, Karen Keyhani, Christian Molenaar, Todd Harrop, Scott A. Moore, D. Edward Davis, Claudi Meneghin, Michael Vick and Kraig Grady.

    Announcement page:

    Download and stream on Bandcamp:

    As with the other releases on Spectropol Records, it is thrilling to get to hear the music of so many new composers and sound artists from around the world, and as in the case of Possible Worlds Vol. 2, all exploring the vast realms of sonic possibility found in alternative intonation systems (aka microtonal and xenharmonic music) and bringing the creative process full circle through sharing their compositions with adventurous listeners.

    Very special thanks goes out to Spectropol Records label owner, Bruce Hamilton, for organizing, curating and compiling this, and the next two upcoming volumes of the exciting Possible Worlds series.

    Please spread the word about this new record and feel free to share your perceptions and insights, either in the comments of this post, private email, or otherwise through the usual social media channels. 

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    Linplug's Spectral, a fully microtonal tunable, four oscillator additive synthesis VSTi.

    Exciting news today for computer musicians and composers exploring the deep sound realms of alternative intonation is the release of LinPlug's new Spectral VSTi, which like the rest of their amazing synth and sampler virtual instrument line, supports full controller MIDI pitch microtuning with the popular TUN microtuning format.

    Spectral is made up of four harmonic additive oscillators with up to 256 partials each, including features for FM, AM and PM. Dedicated filters for each of the four oscillators are also available, with deep graphic timbral shaping features for all. Vast modulation possibilities are available in the Mod Matrix, in which practically every aspect of the synthesis engine can be variously modulated for continuously evolving complex timbre creation. At the end of the signal chain is an amazingly versatile effects section for further timbre expansion, featuring LinPlug's great sounding reverb that includes the very useful host sync'd predelay feature found on many of their other instruments. Spectral is a microtonal sound-designer's dream synth.
    • Full controller microtuning functionality using the popular TUN format 
    • Four Oscillator and Filter modules with powerful yet detailed harmonics and filter band editing and modification functions
    • Extensive Oscillator and Filter audio rate cross-modulations.
    • Versatile Arpeggiator with in depth editing of every step, including length, transpose, voice number and Glide
    • Each Oscillator and Filter with own dedicated envelope to control its volume or frequency respectively
    • Additional 3 freely assignable Modulation Envelopes.
    • Five LFOs with various waveforms, up to 320 Hz, tempo-sync, poly-, mono- and one-shot-mode, unipolar and bipolar options, integrated delay-attack-envelope, phase, symmetry and smoothing adjustable
    • 15 slot Modulation Matrix with 35 sources and more than 100 destinations including all important parameters
    • Fully recognizes Velocity, Aftertouch, Pitch Bend , Modulation-Wheel and various other MIDI controllers
    • A sophisticated effects section containing 15 Effects including various Delays, Chorus, Phaser, Filter, Reverb, Flanger, Gator, Stereo Enhancer, Parametric EQ and Crusher.
    • Glide / Portamento featuring mono/polyphonic operation, constant Time / Rate operation, Auto-Bend Modes and detailed options on where Glide takes place
    • 32-voice polyphony (CPU and sound program dependent) and adjustable voice limit.
    • Supports AU and VST hosts on Mac OS X and Windows PC.
    • Scaleable user interface on PC
    • Comes with 850 presets to get you started
    As many who have followed the development of fully microtonal virtual instruments over the years will be aware, LinPlug has supported microtuning since 2005 when it was first added to their amazing CronoX 3 VSTi, so it is always thrilling to see these new additions to their line. Very special thanks goes out to Peter Linsener and Pavo for the hard work and dedication that went into this great sounding instrument.

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  • 02/15/14--09:12: The OEIS Movie
  • The OEIS Movie
    Plots of 1000 sequences from the
    On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences

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  • 02/19/14--18:14: Xen-News | February 2014
    For visitors who might have missed some of the recent interesting developments, as well as upcoming events, what follows is a brief summary of miscellaneous Xen-News in the neighborhood...

    Last year, Tony Dubshot, owner of the Dubbhism label, published a great five part video series on modular synthesis called Advanced Modular Research...

    The entire series is worth taking the time to watch, as the incredible sounds of the Doepfer Eurorack modules and synthesis techniques are inherently microtonal in nature and exude general cosmic aural goodness. See them all here:

    Advanced Modular Research #1 ~ VOSIM (voice simulation)

    Advanced Modular Research #2 ~ Analog thru-zero linear FM
    Advanced Modular Research #3 ~ Moog-flavored analog FM
    Advanced Modular Research #4 ~ Harmony is actually a really fast rhythm
    Advanced Modular Research #5 ~ Introducing the Karplus Strong String Trio

    Composer and generalized array keyboard performer, Carlo Serafini, recently published a couple of great new xenharmonic music tracks, the first of which features the dulcet tones of Wendy Carlos' Alpha microtuning, while the second, the spicy and jazzy-something intervals of 13-ED2:

    "This piece features my newest synth, a Waldorf Blofeld and my Alpha15 keyboard. The Blofeld is retuned to Carlos Alpha tuning system with LMSO (via Logic Studio 9)..."

    [It is clear from this piece that the Waldorf Blofeld rules when microtuned.]

    "This song is an experiment testing a Kawai MP6 as a microtonal sound module. The result is awesome! What you hear is all coming from the MP6 except for a drum loop. I used it also as MIDI controller. In order to force it to play in 13ED2 (Equal Division of ratio 2:1 into 13 steps of 92.308 cents each) I use the invaluable LMSO..."

    Microtonal music composer, Warren Burt, has written a nice and in depth review of one of the most powerful microtonal softsynths released in recent memory - Linplug's Spectral - which has graciously been published for our reading pleasure on the music technology website, SoundBytes:

    "And then, like all LinPlug products, it takes TUN files (from the free Scala program), so that all that timbral power can be played microtonally."

    Humanoid Sound Systems releases their amazing sounding wavetable and physical modeling microtonal synth, Enzyme, with TUN support: Enzyme

    Xen-Arts now has a YouTube channel:

    In the meanwhile, mystery and rumor continue to swirl around an alleged upcoming release of the next xen-bass record collab between Tony Dubshot, Sevish and j:l, as well as the next tone-bending Xen-Arts microtonal virtual instrument.

    Stay microtuned for more details...

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    Just released today...
    Ligon / Sevish / Dubshot ~ 23

    After the Subversio album, this is the second release on Dubbhism Deluxe bringing together the sounds of Jacky Ligon (Xen-Arts), Sevish (Split-notes) and Tony Dubshot (Dubbhism). This EP is about a tuning, known as 23 EDO. We call this style Xenharmonic Bass Music.

    All pieces are written using the same tuning, and once again the FMTS synthesizer, a VSTi developed by Jacky Ligon of Xen-Arts, was used to design many of the sounds on this EP. Watch out for the release of the FMTS 2. A major update of this synth is imminent.

    Buy at Juno, Amazon, Digital Tunes or your favorite online store.

    Read the entire record release announcement on Dubbhism:

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    proudly presents
    Xen-FMTS 2
    An FM Synthesis VSTi for the Creation of Microtonal and Xenharmonic Music

    Xen-FMTS 2 is a 4 Operator FM Synthesis VSTi with a specialized set of features for computer musicians interested in exploring the vast expressive possibilities of making music with alternative intonation systems. It is a freeware 32-bit plugin instrument for Windows that includes 115 patches, 55 microtunings and 56 partials files. 

    Microtuning Features
    • Internally loads and externally receives both MTS (MIDI Tuning Standard) Bulk Dump and Single Note Microtuning Files 
    • Operator ratios can easily be set to values that are coincident with the microtuning being used, thereby producing intonation related sidebands in the timbre of the instrument 
    • Microtonal pitch-bend ranges may be configured in cents, harmonics and superparticular ratios 
    • Arbitrary microtonal pitch shifting makes it possible to easily pitch transpose the oscillators in both octave and non-octave increments 
    FM-RM Oscillator
    • 4 Operator FM Synthesis with Ring-Modulation 
    • 57 Operator Algorithms 
    • 11 different Operator Waveforms 
    • Analog Pitch Drift Emulator 
    • Transposition by cents offsets 
    • Partials text files may be used to quantize the frequency ratios of the operators to user specified values 
    • Velocity-to-Harmonics Modulation enables oscillators to dynamically sound harmonics of the fundamental pitch
    • Seven dedicated hybrid modulators for Operators A, B, C, D, Filters, Amplifier and Pitch 
    • Each modulator includes an ADSR style envelope generator, and an LFO which can be switched to run at audio-rate 
    • Each ADSR Envelope Generator features Per-Stage Keyboard Tracking 
    • LFOs can either be synchronized to the host DAW tempo or set in Hertz. They include 24 Waveforms, a Slewer and can be switched to run at audio-rate 
    Filter Section
    • Pre-Filter Saturation Stage with 20 Saturation Types 
    • Two Independent Filters with Six Filter Types: LP4, LP2, HPF, BPF, BRF, APF 
    • One and Two Stage Filter Cascade 
    Performance Control 
    • Full controller MIDI Pitch Microtuning with MTS (MIDI Tuning Standard) 
    • MTS Support for both Single Note and Bulk Dump 
    • Loads MTS Microtuning Format Files Internally and Receives MTS Externally 
    • Local (Per-Patch) and Global Microtuning (Static Microtuning for All Patches) 
    • Microtunings can be loaded from any directory on hard drives or storage devices connected to the PC 
    • 12 Note Polyphonic 
    • Monophonic Legato Mode 
    • Monophonic Portamento 
    • Microtonal Pitch Bend 
    • Vibrato 
    • Effects include Chorus, Lowpass Filter Cascade (Warm Filter) with 6 dB to 48 dB per-octave filters and Stereo Ensemble 

    Please note that Xen-Arts software never has been, and never will be, infected with computer viruses; this we promise. If your virus software ever indicates that our microtonal music software has a virus, this is what is known as a False Positive. Contacting the developer of your virus software to make them aware of the false positive is the best solution.

    Xen-FMTS 2 Development Notes:
    This iteration of our popular Xenharmonic FMTS VSTi features many new and exciting enhancements over the original, some of which were suggested by our users and development group:

    A common comment about version 1 was that the user interface was too large for small monitors and laptop screens. In response to this user feedback, the interface was completely redesigned making it much smaller than before, which is now at 943 x 652 pixels.

    Among the many new features are the Modulators, which include an ADSR-style envelope generator, and an LFO which can be switched to run at audio-rate. There are seven of these dedicated hybrid modulators for Operators A, B, C, D, Filters, Amplifier and Pitch. With the LFOs running at audio-rate, the pitch is controlled by the MIDI-to-CV and the loaded MTS Microtuning file; transforming the LFO into a pitch-accurate microtonal-controlled oscillator, which is in turn capable of introducing microtuning related sideband spectra into the composite synthesizer signal.

    In the instrument's Performance Control section, numerous improvements have been made, which include new MIDI Pitch Bend modes that enable users to specify precise bend ranges in either Cents, Harmonics or Superparticular Ratios. A Chorus effect has also been added, as well as a more versatile LPF cascade on the Ensemble page (a kind of tone control, formerly called Warm Filter).

    In the FM-RM Oscillator section of the synthesizer, randomization and reset features have been added to two of the partials selection pages, as well as the ability to either multiply or divide the pitch of an operator by the selected frequency ratio. The completely redesigned Iso-Index page now includes an Op Rotate feature for rerouting the frequency ratios to other operators.

    The Pitch page of the FM-RM Oscillator now features Velocity-to-Harmonics Modulation, where playing force through MIDI velocity is able to break out harmonics of the fundamental pitch. Another very important enhancement in the Pitch section is the inclusion of a full-featured Pitch EG that shares many common features of the other Modulators.

    This version of the instrument also features the same versatile filter section that is found in two of our other instruments: Ivor and XenFont.

    Please feel free to share your comments, perceptions, experiences - and especially music made with this instrument - either in the comments of this post, or through email.

    Music featuring the Xen-FMTS VSTi

    Xen-FMTS 2 • The Sidebander • ARO Demo

    A short FM-geek timbre demonstration of the Xen-FMTS 2 LFOs running at audio rate. There are seven dedicated hybrid modulators for Operators A, B, C, D, Filters, Amplifier and Pitch. Each modulator includes an ADSR style envelope generator, and an LFO which can be switched to run at audio-rate. With the LFOs running at audio-rate, the pitch is controlled by the MIDI-to-CV and the loaded MTS Microtuning file; transforming them into pitch-accurate microtonal-controlled oscillators, which are in turn capable of introducing microtuning related sideband spectra into the composite synthesizer signal.

    It is likely self apparent that when doing one's own custom sound-design, it's not necessary to set all of the LFOs to run at audio rate, which as shown in the above demo, quickly creates a pretty dense spectral forest. This is more to show that complex timbres can be generated from extremely simple sources - i.e. - in this case sinewaves.

    To those kind individuals who have donated, thank you very much.

    What is microtuning? 

    Microtuning, just-intonation, microtonality, temperament and xenharmonics, are all terms indicating the practice of being able to change the underlying intonation systems of musical instruments, typically to something other than the standard Western 12-tone-equal-temperament. Even though 12-ED2 is an intonation system of self-evident great beauty and musical utility, it is but one member in a huge continuum of possibility for musical instrument intonation. 

    You are all warmly invited to download the free instruments on offer at this site - which place microtuning features front-and-center in the instrument's designs - to explore these sounds and learn about the use of alternative intonation systems, as each instrument includes a nice basic set of tunings as a basis for getting started.

    Thanks to Aleksey Vaneev at Voxengo for his free Span frequency analyzer, which was featured in the above video demonstration.

    from standingwave via soundcloud:

    Observe the sounds at 0:40 and especially starting at around 0:45...


    [Send more Xen-FMTS 2 user demo links via the Xen-Arts blog email contact information above.]

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    A member of our xenharmonic bass underground and microtonal virtual instrument design group - Sevish - has started producing a collection of MTS microtuning add-on packs which are compatible with the Xen-Arts VSTi line.

    So far available are the No Octaves and Eikosany Packs, but in the works are also a World Scales and Regular Temperaments Pack.

    Visit the Sevish Music | Resources for Computer Musicians page to download these great add-on packs and feel free to let us know how you get on with them, either by commenting in this post, or if you prefer, through private email.

    A very public word of thanks goes out to Sevish for the effort to compile these microtunings, along with the nice presentation materials, and making them available to everyone. I'll personally be looking forward to the other upcoming editions of this series.

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    Xen-FMTS 2 | Bringing festive xenharmonic sensations to a DAW near you

    Today is the the two month mark since since the release of our popular Xenharmonic FMTS 2 VSTi and it's interesting to consider the download stats at this point:

    February: 1,800
    March: 2,490
    April: 539

    Total downloads: 4,829

    It's easy to infer from these figures that there is a very robust and ever growing interest in the exploration and compositional use of alternative musical instrument intonation systems (aka microtonality, just-intonation, xenharmonics, temperaments, microtuning, non-octave tunings, etc.) in computer music, which has been a most thrilling development to see unfolding over the past decade or so.

    Very special thanks goes out to the following music technology sites (as well as others not mentioned) for featuring news about the release of this new Xen-Arts instrument:

    Thanks also to everyone who has shared their enthusiasm about the plugin and the new 23 record collaboration (both publicly and privately), as well as to members of our creative development and xenharmonic music collective who have made these releases possible.

    More good stuff to follow - promise.

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  • 04/27/14--06:34: Ivor | UI Update

  • Ivor | Imbuing computer music with xenharmonic goodness

    The user interface of our popular Ivor VSTi has been updated. Download this update from the original release page:

    This is only an update to the interface to bring the plugin into visual accord with the other microtonal virtual instruments in the Xen-Arts line. It has the same version number and patch bank as before. Just download it and extract the ZIP archive into the same location as your existing Ivor install.

    Let us know what you think.

    FYI: Ivor 2 is planned at some point in the future, which will offer many new and exciting enhancements and expressive possibilities for microtonal and xenharmonic music sound-design, however, other more pressing projects are in motion at the moment.

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    ZynAddSubFX | Windows VSTi | Microtuning Features Updated

    For Windows and Linux based computer musicians who may be new to exploring alternative intonation systems (aka microtuning, xenharmonics) and composing microtonal music with virtual instruments, an important development along the way has been, and what we may now consider to be one of the great cult classic VSTi, ZynAddSubFX, first introduced in 2002 by visionary developer Paul Nasca (also the developer of the amazing Paulstretch); a fully microtonal and multitimbral virtual instrument plugin, which, in its current iteration is comprised of three unique and powerful synthesis engines, and especially noteworthy among them, the PadSynth, being capable of making some truly exquisite and expressive timbres for microtonal and xenharmonic music composition. At some point in recent years, Paul Nasca appears to have stepped away from the ZynAddSubFX project, and current development of this open-source microtonal synthesizer has been assumed by other programmers.

    As anyone who has tried to use the Windows version of ZynAddSubFX in their microtonal music will be aware, there have always been problems with the microtuning functions. Going back to my own earliest work with this instrument – if memory serves – sometime around 2005, it has never been able to correctly save and restore the microtuning settings from within a host DAW. The only way to save and restore the Scale settings in the earliest versions of the plugin was by saving a scale settings file, then reloading that manually when opening a project. In later iterations of ZynAddSubFX, microtuning settings had to be made manually each time a DAW project was loaded with an instance of the plugin, due to its inability to accurately save and restore the scales settings.

    I’m extremely pleased to announce, that as of today, all this has changed, and these problems have been fixed by one of the current programmers, VDX (aka jackoo on KVR Audio), who was kind enough to update the microtuning code for ZynAddSubFX. Now the plugin will faithfully save and restore the microtunings within the host applications, which has been tested primarily in Cubase and Reaper.

    Read about and download the release here:
    Latest ZynAddSubFX VST version
    ZynAddSubFX VST v2.4.1.496beta
    It has long been my feeling that ZynAddSubFX has the most elegant – and logical – implementation of using the Scala SCL and KBM format I’ve seen on any microtonal VSTi that uses it, so it is a truly momentous event for microtuning enthusiasts to have this working properly in this particular instrument.

    Let’s go through quick a overview of the ZynAddSubFX Scales Settings dialog, for those who may not be aware of its powerful features for microtonal music composition.

     1. When first loading an instance of ZynAddSubFX into one's DAW, this is the first dialog one sees:

    2. Near the top right corner, click the button labeled Scales to open the Scales dialog. Once opened, this is the initial state of the dialog:

    3. Check the Enable Microtonal check box at the top left of the dialog to activate the Scales and microtuning features. As one can see, it opens to a default of 12 tone equal temperament:

    4. To load your own microtunings, click the Import SCL File button on the bottom right of the Scales dialog. Navigate to a location on your hard drive where Scala SCL files are saved and load one from that directory.

    If you happen to not have any SCL files on your computer, and haven't yet learned how to create them with Scala, go to the below page and download the Scale Archive; a zip archive of Scala SCL files comprised of literally thousands of historical and contemporary microtunings; enough intonation systems for innumerable future world cultures to make microtonal and xenharmonic music from now, until the sun goes supernova:

    Scale Archive

    For this illustration, I'm loading a 19 tone equal temperament SCL file I made for testing this beta:

    5. Now that we have a SCL microtuning file loaded into ZynAddSubFX other than 12 tone equal temperament, let's consider some of the powerful features of its Scales settings dialog. 

    How To Set The 1/1 Starting Note Of The Loaded SCL File
    6. At the top of the Scales dialog there is a field labeled "A" Freq, and a selector labled "A" Note. These settings enable arbitrary mapping for the 1/1 of the loaded SCL file.

    A couple of typical concert pitch settings that musicians will make with microtuning enabled VSTi, are to set the 1/1 starting pitch to either:
    • MIDI Note 60.C, at a frequency of 261.626 Hz.
    • MIDI Note 69.A,  at a frequency of 440 Hz. 
    ZynAddSubFX defaults to the latter, MIDI Note 69.A, at a frequency of 440 Hz, which means that the starting note of the loaded microtuning, in this case, 19 tone equal temperament, has its starting pitch mapped to MIDI Note 69, which is tuned to 440 Hertz, or 440 CPS (Cycles Per Second, if you prefer). But what if we want the former to be our 1/1, MIDI Note 60.C, at a frequency of 261.626 Hz?

    Here's how to get there...

    Position your cursor at the beginning of the text in the "A" Freq field and then perform keyboard command Shift+End on your keyboard. This will easily and quickly select the text in the field. Now type 261.626 over 440.000 and change the "A" Note selector to MIDI Note 60

    With these settings, you have now moved the 1/1 starting pitch from the ZynAddSubFX default, 69.A at 440 Hz, to a new starting pitch of 60.C at 261.626 Hz. This powerful feature is how musicians and composers can easily set the 1/1 starting note the loaded SCL microtuning file to any desired MIDI Note and specific pitch.

    How To Set The 1/1 Pitch To A Non-Standard Frequency
    Here is a great article on historical concert pitch:

    Concert pitch

    As a demonstration of the flexibility of the ZynAddSubFX Scales dialog features, suppose for instance, that for the performance of Baroque music, it is required to tune to A.69 to a frequency of 415 Hz; merely type 415 into  the "A" Freq field, and then set the "A" Note selector to 69. With these settings, you have now set the 1/1 of the microtuning to a specific pitch of MIDI Note 69 at 415 Hertz (or CPS). 

    As one can readily see and hear, even with just these two settings: the "A" Freq field, and the "A" Note selector, it is very easy to change the 1/1 of any loaded microtuning to any desired pitch imaginable; either historic or otherwise, and indeed, changing the base frequencies of the music to something other than typical concert pitches of 69.A 440 Hz and 60.C 261.626 Hz is a great way to totally change the sonic character of the music in general, although it is an advanced and somewhat specialist topic.

    7. The Shift selector enables modal rotation - or interval matrix rotation - of the loaded microtuning. This is very useful, because musicians can load one microtuning, and shift to any of the other modes of that scale with ease, which is important for microtunings having two or more interval sizes.

    8.  By clicking the Import KBM File button on the bottom right of the Scales dialog, it is also possible to load a linear keyboard mapping file (KBM) with simple instructions such as that MIDI Note C.60 will be at a frequency of 261.626 Hz. And when such a file is loaded, it actually changes the values in the "A" Freq. field, and the "A" Note selector at the top of the Scales dialog. This and the other KBM files I checked seemed to work. The KBM files are a complex topic about this microtuning format, and it's largely undocumented how every facet of this works.

    But the most important thing of all is that now ZynAddSubFX will save and restore the Scale settings within the host DAW, which essentially means that this classic synthesizer is ready for serious microtonal and xenharmonic music composition tasks. It's thrilling to see this working now and many thanks to VDX for making this possible.

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  • 01/25/13--16:42: Sleepwalking
  • A highly microtonal inflected classic...

    Santo & Johnny - Sleep Walk 1959

    The definitive original.

    The Ventures - Sleepwalk

    One of my personal favorite renditions; perfection.
    Amazing bass, snare and guitar sound.

    Santo & Johnny

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    New VSTi Announcement
    By Xen-Arts 

    XenFont is a two oscillator, hybrid SF2 SoundFont & Subtractive Synthesis VSTi that features full-controller MIDI Pitch Microtuning using the MTS (MIDI Tuning Standard) format, where any MIDI Note Number can be freely microtuned to any desired pitch across the MIDI range, enabling computer musicians and composers to explore the vast expressive possibilities of composing music with alternative intonation systems.

    XenFont is a microtonal sound-designer's SF2 sample-based synthesizer, with a carefully designed ergonomic workflow for quickly creating powerful sounding and musical useful timbres. The instrument enables users to load their own SF2 SoundFont files and thereby any special timbres required of the music at hand, from classical acoustic instruments, to synthesized ones. Routing the SF2 SoundFont Oscillators through the internal synthesis functions of the VSTi, provides a way to radically transform the original sounds and create new synthesized timbres.

     XenFont is also an educational tool for learning about computer music sound-design, sampling and subtractive sound synthesis, as well as musical instrument intonation (aka microtuning and xenharmonics).

    XenFont embodies a design philosophy of simplicity for microtonal music sound-design…
    • Enables computer musicians and composers to freely load their own SF2 SoundFonts into a fully microtonal, hybrid sampling & subtractive synthesis based VSTi.
    • A ‘knob-less’ design featuring slider controls only, which enables intuitive direct control with a computer mouse.
    • A dedicated control signal system mapped to the most important synthesis functions.
    • Settings are made by typing values into fields, dropdown lists, left-and-right arrows, switches and sliders.
    • Enables musicians to specify precise microtonal pitch-bend settings.
    • Features arbitrary microtonal oscillator transposition settings.
    • Velocity modulation of harmonics enables dynamically playing harmonics of the fundamental pitch.
    • Envelope generators with per-stage ADSR keyboard tracking.
    Detailed Features...
    Oscillator Section
    • Two Soundfont Oscillators that enable users to load their own SF2 files.
    • Microtonal, Harmonic Series and Subharmonic Series Oscillator Transposition.
    • Pitch Envelope Generator with Per-Stage ADSR Keyboard Tracking and Polarity Switching.
    • Host Synchronized LFO (with Rate Sequencer) for Cross-Fade Modulation between Oscillators.
    • Analog Pitch Drift Emulator with both Unipolar and Bipolar Modulation
    • Velocity-to-Harmonics Modulation enables oscillators to dynamically sound harmonics of the fundamental pitch
    • Ring Modulation
    • Oscillator and Ring Modulator Mixer with Six Cross-Fade Modes.
    Filter Section
    • Pre-Filter Saturation Stage with 20 Saturation Types.
    • Two Independent Filters with Six Filter Types: LP4, LP2, HPF, BPF, BRF, APF.
    • One and Two Stage Filter Cascade.
    • Host Synchronized LFO (with Rate Sequencer) and Envelope Generator for Filter Cutoff Frequency Modulation.
    • Filter Envelope Generator with Per-Stage ADSR Keyboard Tracking and Polarity Switching.
    • LFO and Envelope Generator enables both Unipolar and Bipolar Filter Modulation.
    VCA Section
    • Dedicated Envelope Generator.
    • VCA Envelope Generator with Per-Stage ADSR Keyboard Tracking.
    • Switchable Velocity Sensitivity and Fixed Volume Control.
    Performance Control
    • MIDI Pitch Microtuning with MTS (MIDI Tuning Standard).
    • MTS Support for both Single Note and Bulk Dump.
    • Loads MTS Microtuning Format Files Internally and Receives MTS Externally.
    • Local (Per-Patch) and Global Microtuning (Static Microtuning for All Patches).
    • Microtunings can be loaded from any directory on hard drives or storage devices connected to the computer.
    • Ten Note Polyphonic.
    • Monophonic Legato Mode.
    • Polyphonic Portamento with Three Glide Modes.
    • Microtonal Pitch Bend.
    • Vibrato.
    • Effects include Chorus, Flanger, Phasers, Warm Filter and Stereo Ensemble.

    XenFont is a freeware 32-bit VSTi for Windows XP or higher and includes
    a detailed instruction manual, 75 factory patches and 54 microtonal tunings. 

    [33 MB]

    Some Background Information
    Sometime after the release of the Xen-Arts IVOR VSTi, it was requested to consider producing a microtonal SF2 SoundFont instrument. At first it was my impression that the SF2 format was generally dead; superseded by the newer SFZ format used in many current popular VSTi.

    This turned out to be not entirely accurate, and it appears rather that the SF2 format is alive and well, and is used in quite a number of popular music software applications; in particular on the Mac OS, where there is a full featured microtonal SoundFont instrument available. But on the Windows side of the OS universe, there have been far less options for serious microtonal and xenharmonic composition using SF2 SoundFonts.

    With the ability to freely load any ‘historical’ SoundFont files one may have in their sample archive, or tapping into the vast numbers of free ones available around the web, this VSTi provides a way to dust off those old SF2 and give them a new sonic life, in a no-compromise, fully microtonal, hybrid sampler-synthesizer instrument.

    Please note that Xen-Arts software never has been, and never will be, infected with computer viruses; this we promise. If your virus software ever indicates that our microtonal music software has a virus, this is what is known as a False Positive. Contacting the developer of your virus software to make them aware of the false positive is the best solution.

    SF2 SoundFont Resources
    While there are vast numbers of freeware SF2, and in many cases, tragically orphaned ones, available around the web, below are a few links to get started with:

    Personal Copy SoundFonts
    A website containing numerous relatively high-quality GM SF2

     Creator of the GM SF2 used in the XenFont default factory patches:
    GeneralUser GS SoftSynth v1.44.sf2

    Old Soundcard Emulation
     Contains a number of old soundcard SF2.

    Soundfonts for chipmusic, chiptune and retro games.

    If there are other useful SF2 SoundFonts and sites that visitors would like make us aware of, please feel free to post your links in the comments of this announcement.

    We hope that you will enjoy this fun new microtonal instrument. Let us know what you think.

    VST Planet has been kind enough to create the below video demo of some of the single SF2 patches 1-32.

    From page 5 of the XenFont manual:

    1. Patches 1-32 use only SF2 Oscillator A, and have all of the synthesis functions of the instrument disabled. These simple patches are a great way to explore microtunings using only a single SF2 source without any of the synthesis and signal processing features being activated. They can also be used as basic initialization patches and starting points for creating one’s own custom timbres.

    2. Patches 33 and above use both SF2 Oscillators A & B in conjunction with the synthesis functions; many of which showcase the various unique features of the instrument, such as the Per-Stage ASDR Keyboard Tracking, Velocity-to-Harmonics Modulation, Microtonal Oscillator Transposition, LFO Controlled Oscillator Cross-Fading and Rate Sequencing. These patches also provide great starting points for one’s own custom, although more complex, sound-designs.

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    Xenharmonic composer and Split Notes label owner, Sean Archibald, has released a fantastic sounding new record on Faturenet Recordings, entitled, day​:​dot EP.

    Excellent compositions, sound-designs and engineering all around, and in particular I've been very impressed by the track created in collaboration with BristletoneSolid Smoke.

    For visitors and musicians interested in the technical details, the music is composed within the Ableton Live DAW, the bass and lead on track 2, Asha, features the Xen-Arts Ivor VSTi, and track 3, Longer Than String, features several instances of Ivor, one of Xenharmonic-FMTS, and also prominently features the u-he ACE VSTi, while the timbres on Solid Smoke showcase the popular NI Massive VSTi.

    Check out these great tracks from one of the most talented audio artists working in the field of xenharmonic and microtonal music composition.

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    This is a piece written during May 2003 (re-mastered on 4/14/2013) and is dedicated to the memory of Gianluigi Gasparetti (1958–2013), who tragically passed away this week; far too early in his quite young creative life. He was also widely known around the world as the Italian Ambient/Soundcape artist Oöphoi.

    Oöphoi was among my favorite artists from any genre or style and one who has created a vast discography of some of the most beautiful and organic minimalist soundscape and drone music of anyone working in this field of artistic endeavor. Although it was never explicitly stated that he systematically worked with alternative intonation systems, even a cursory listen to his output will reveal that the music is often working with textures, drones and melodic materials that are far from the pitch-grid of the familiar Western 12-tone-equal-temperament. It is clear by inference and association that he was aware of just intonation, from both his interaction with Robert Rich (just intonation composer and co-inventor of the MIDI Tuning Standard) and that he published a widely distributed Ambient music journal called Deep Listenings, from a phrase coined by American New Music and just intonation composer Pauline Oliveros.

    Although this amazing artist was taken from us far to early in his creative life, we are fortunate that he leaves us with a vast catalog of records to explore in the future; a worthy pursuit for anyone curious about one of the seminal figures in the field of drone-based minimalism of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

    This composition; a small gesture of remembrance and thanks to an artist who has been an occasional inspiration to my own work since I first learned of his amazing artistry in the early 2000s, is an excerpt from the longer version of the piece that is, in its entirety, 23:26 long, and is created using a heptatonic 23 limit just intonation microtuning.

    Download the full length composition using the below links:

    [92 MB]

    [89 MB]

    MP3 (320 kps stereo)
    [54 MB]

    Many kind thanks for taking the time to listen,


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    Visitors may recall a past post about about video artist/composer Jeffrey Plaide, who has been featured twice on one of my personal favorite new-media sites, Triangulation Blog.

    Access these articles here:

    Jeffrey Plaide |  07 February 2012
    Jeffrey Plaide |  26 November 2012

    As previously mentioned, the artist occasionally uses the Xen-Arts, Xenharmonic FMTS VSTi in his work, as is the case with the below two recent video works:

    The Fear of Webs and Other Faceless Anomalies

    Haunted Moon Ancient Humana

    Very impressive video art. Check it out!

    [For those interested in such matters, at some point, hopefully before this year is out, an update to Xen-FMTS, will become available. When completed and tested, this new iteration to version 2 will take the instrument to completely new levels of possibility for microtonal and xenharmonic sound-design and spectral-microtuning. In the meanwhile, I'm actively focused on both solo and collaborative recording projects which will also be available in upcoming months. Stay microtuned to Xen-Arts for all of these potentially exciting developments.]

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  • 07/01/14--16:11:
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