Microtone

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The Microtone is an interval measure that is sufficiently precise for all thinkable musical and music-science purposes. Besides its high accuracy, it is of a high neutrality since it favors neither twelve-tonality nor even the octave.

One actual microtone (1µt) would be defined as one millionth of the tone:

Intervals in comparison
Name Size in cent
Ton (=9/8) 203.91000173077
Millitone 0.20391000173077
Mikcotone 0.00020391000173077

The Microtone Challenge

A microtone is indeed a very small interval: 4904 microtones make one cent, and 5884949 an octave.

Two sounds different only by 1µt produce a very slow beat; depending on the frequency one have to wait more or less to recocnize it. The beat frequency is

  • at the upper limit of the hearing range (20 kHz) 7 minutes
  • in the range of the highest acoustic sensibility (4 kHz) 35 minutes
  • at the lower limit of the hearing range (16 Hz) 7 days

Given this, will it be ever possible to make a microtone experience at all?