Dave Keenan & Douglas Blumeyer's guide to RTT

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Or "D&D's guide" for short. In April 2021, Douglas Blumeyer first set out to study regular temperament theory (RTT), guided primarily by Dave Keenan, one of the co-founders of the modern RTT paradigm. Douglas (howdy partner!) came mostly with questions, and Dave (g'day mate!) mostly with answers, but nearly 2000 emails later (and not short ones either — we're estimating well over a million words exchanged here), our ratios of Q:A have gotten closer to unison by now (January 2023). The following series of articles distill the fruits of our protracted discussions down into what we hope you'll find to be a complex but refreshing brew of insights and solutions. For those already familiar with both microtonality and linear algebra, we have further distilled the first 6 articles of the guide down to 6 pages, in our conference paper entitled Regular Temperament Theory: Exploring the Landscape between JI and ETs with Linear Algebra.

Mapping demo2.png

In order to best help all of the different types of members of the regular temperament community, we have broken our series into three levels, according to both the complexity ceiling as well as the target audience. The basic level is targeted for musicians, the intermediate level is targeted for engineers, scientists, and mathematicians, and the advanced level is targeted for theoreticians.

  • Basic
  • Intermediate
    • 5. Units analysis: to look at temperament and tuning in a new way, think about the units of the values in frequently used matrices
    • 6. Tuning computation: for methods and derivations; learn how to compute tunings, and why these methods work
    • 7. All-interval tuning schemes: the variety of tuning scheme that is most commonly named and written about on the Xenharmonic wiki
  • Advanced

Other works

We also produced this related article, though we personally concluded that exterior algebra is not important to study as part of learning RTT:

Our RTT collaboration also led to the creation of this code library:

Our RTT collaboration has further led to creating or majorly contributing to the following RTT-related pages:

Several more RTT articles could be added to our series, such as ones to cover scales and chords and progressions, temperament complexity and badness and classification, lattices, timbre, and notation. But we will probably not get to this in our lifetimes.


We couldn’t have put together what we've got so far without a ton of help from people such as:

plus many more we can't all list. And while sadly both George Secor and Gene Ward Smith had passed away before we started this project, we owe a huge debt to both of them as well.

We take full responsibility for any errors or shortcomings of this work (in particular Douglas does, being the sloppier of us two, and — unfortunately for you, dear readers — also the one of us who has way more time on his hands and therefore the one who did the majority of the actual typing up of the final materials). Please do feel free to edit these articles yourself if you have something you'd like to correct, revise, or contribute. Otherwise, feedback to either of us directly is very welcome.

Happy tempering!