Analytical comparison table of all 100+ Menu tunings: notes, intervals, Hz, string tensions, etc. Help peer-review my DIY science!
Why spreadsheet? Unlike melodies, tunings are hard to compare on the fly. While melodies can just be played alongside each other, the tuning equivalent typically requires too much peg-twirling to be very useful. Thus, this zone invites more abstract analytic methods: many surprising similarities will only reveal themselves this way…
(key fields explained below)
Help improve my analysis and spot more hidden inter-tuning similarities – shapes, ranges, harmonies, interval runs, mirror-flips, anything! Commentable table here & general feedback here. Everything credited.
• BASIC INFO •
Entered manually: I fill in the yellow fields, and the rest are auto-generated
[# = special fields: e.g. counts, ranges, shapes]
- Name: I’ve gone for the most common and/or pleasing (see individual tuning pages for discussion)
- Notes: Un-octaved note names, with all sharps converted to flats for consistency [# = how many different notes?]
- Twists: Semitones ± EADGBE for each string (i.e. what to change each by from Standard) [# = open range in semitones]
• GENERATED VALUES •
Calculated automatically: practical info designed for use on tuning pages
Pattern: Fretting sequence from 6>1str (relative, i.e. irrespective of transposition). Calculated via the intervallic fields below:
- Take EADGBE‘s defaults for all open strings (0|5|10|15|19|24)
- Modify with the tuning’s Alteration values (e.g. -2|0|0|0|-2|-2)
- Find differences for all adjacent string-pairs (e.g. 7>5>5>2>5)
- Add 12 to all negative values (to cover banjo-style re-entrants)
- Append, adding full stops to define start/end (for ctrl-F’ing)
- Take EADGBE‘s open-string defaults to 3 s.f. (82.407 | 110.000 | 146.832 | 195.998 | 246.942 | 329.628)
- Input Alterations (A) into the equation: (2^(A/12)) * [Default Hz]
- Print results, eliminating decimal places (enough detail already!)
String tension: Estimates for steel-string acoustic (in lb). Calculation:
- Select string set: I’ve modelled on medium-heavies – most altered tunings are slacker, so I string a little thicker (inch thicknesses for D’Addario’s classic EJ17 Phosphor Bronzes are: .013 | .017 | .026 | .035 | .045 | .056)
- Take the Unit Weights (UW), listed in D’Addario’s manufacturing data (as lb per linear inch: 0.00003744 | 0.00006402 | 0.00013640 | 0.00025365 | 0.00041751 | 0.00063477)
- Take the target Frequencies (F) of each string (calculated above)
- Take the guitar’s Scale Length (L) in inches (most common: 25.5)
- Input the values into the equation: UW*((2*SL*F)^2) / 386.4
Tension change (%): Relative to EADGBE (assuming no restring: hence a few absurd values). Calculation:
- Take the string tensions in lb (calculated above for each tuning)
- Take the equivalent EADGBE tension values (above: 29.02 | 34.01 | 36.81 | 35.27 | 26.28 | 27.38)
- For each string, find the % difference between them [Or, given the limited alteration possibilities, you can just memorise these:]
• OTHER FIELDS •
Assorted info: e.g. calculation steps, search indices, group & tag sets, etc.
Intervallic: mapping the semitonal structure of the open strings
- Semitones from E6str: How far above lowest note of Standard?
- Semitones from [n]6str: How far above this tuning’s open 6str?
- Pattern (absolute): Number of semitones to next string down
- Pattern (positive): All negative values +12 (for re-entrants)
Search indices: reformattings to optimise sorting & searching
- Notes: Appended like ‘.D-A-D-G-A-D.’ (full stops allow for defining start/end proximity in ctrl-F search strings)
- Alterations: Appended like ‘.-2|0|0|0|-2|-2.’ (pipe delimiters added to differentiate from other numerical sequences)
- Harmony: Split like ‘D’ / ‘sus4’ (to enable separate sorting – and again, root choice is a somewhat subjective area)
Groupings: some auto-flagged, others manual (also see the Full Tag List)
- Categories: some general groupings (as per the Menu) – Standard, Drop, Open, Interval, Global, Artist, Misc.
- Tags (auto): ALL, 2-note, 3-note, 4-note, 5-note, 6-note, Major triad, Minor triad, Narrow, Non-taut, Re-entrants, Standards, Superlow, Wide, Twists:1, Twists:2, Twists:3, Twists:4, Twists:5, Twists:6,
George Howlett is a London-based musician, writer, and teacher (guitars, sitar, tabla, & santoor). Above all I seek to enthuse fellow sonic searchers, interconnecting fresh vibrations with the voices, cultures, and passions behind them. See Home & Writings, and hit me up for Online Lessons!
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