List of approaches to musical tuning

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Musical tuning can be approached in many different ways. Here are some of the currently-established theories and approaches:

Subjective processes

The following approaches describe the subjective exploration process or its representations rather than its objective, audible result:

  • Empirical: This is a form of hands-on field research as opposed to a form of acoustical or scale engineering, where tunings are specifically derived from listening and playing experiments carried out in the pitch continuum.
  • Pretty Pictures that represent scales in one way or another
  • Notation (pretty pictures for the purpose of writing music down)
  • Nominal-Accidental Chains A common approach to notation
  • The notion of a Scalesmith who builds scales, with various methods, perhaps for single occasions
    • Mathematically based scales
    • Acoustically-based scales (resonant frequencies of performance space, for example)
    • Scale transformation and stretching
    • Counter-intuitive, random, arbitrary scales