Custom musical scales

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Some soft synths include the possibility to alter the scale to be played with the controller, beyond the omnipresent equal 12 step scale. But it would be more convenient to do it at the host level, so it does not rely on particular synths, since most of them do not include scale customizing capabilities. Considering the already available Cantabile MIDI filters, it’d be nice to be able to alter the scale at that point. A simple way to implement it would be through the use of Scala .scl files.

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Wondering if this could be accomplished by appending a MIDI Pitch Bend message to each pitch. The pitch bend amount would be a bias from ET (Equal Temperament)

I guess for octave-repeating scales there would be 12 specific pitch bias amounts, but it could change (radically?) if the scale/temperament was not octave repeating. In the latter case, each incoming midi note would need another note and a pitch bend amount.

Is this pitch bend idea the right approach to alternate temperaments??


the only way to do this at a host level would be via individual pitch bend messages ahead of every note. This would only work for monophonic instruments with standard MIDI, not for chords. For chordal play, you’d need an MPE-capable instrument that can have note-specific putch bend.

There is a plugin for custom scales - check this out:

But overall, this is a lot of fiddling, fraught with complications and risks - better to address custom scales at the level of tone generation within the plugin, IMO




I also had seen this product because I follow DMG plugins. It acts as a master plugin that defines the tuning and plugins that are compatible with the system all can cue off of it’s settings.

it has a free version



Yes, my suggestion is for monophonic playing

Maybe this Microtuner VST could help: I haven’t tried it but from reading the manual it might be worth looking at.

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Interesting @bojo. It does look a bit old and rather experimental … but maybe worth a try at that price ($0).

BTW, welcome to the Cantabile forum … you’ll find folks extremely helpful and supportive here …

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I downloaded it, but it was not recognized by Cantabile. Please tell me if you are luckier

Guess I was luckier :-). It is 32 bit only plugin so you have to load it into 32 bit Cantabile (x86). It seem to work Ok. I connected onscreen keyboard to Microtuner Midi In and Microtuner Midi Out to Impulse VST synth Midi In. Then I loaded one of the supplied tunnings.

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You can run 32 bit plugins in x64 hosts using João Fernandes’ jbridge which is officially supported by Cantabile. It works for VST2 only.

How to: