NanoTone Synth 3 is out! 7-limit harmonics and more!

Same Old New Thing

New update! NanoTone Synth 3 is out, now with 7-limit comparisons, larger fonts and an easy-to-navigate menu.

I think this update is long overdue... I've been wanting to give NanoTone Synth a proper menu since its first release in 2016.

Adding 7-limit comparisons turned out to be one the easier things about this update... I've also realized there's little to no benefit going further (11-limit comparisons, etc) unless I were to get "Compare to any-TET" working. Which I doubt will happen, as I mention below.

HTML5 is Cursed

I had a few issues with the browser version... apparently pitch shifting doesn't normally work in HTML5 exports of GM:S, and I'm not 100% sure why it works in NanoTone Synth at all. I've finally got the HTML5 version working again, a few weeks after releasing the Windows version... but it's taken a lot of time, energy, and maybe some black magic too.

After various discussions with fellow game developers, I realize I'm not the only one who thinks HTML5 export in GM:S is cursed. So while I managed to get this version working... it's likely the final update I'll have for NanoTone Synth. At least the browser version.

Features That Elude Me

There are a few features I've wanted to implement and haven't been able to. Some features I should've added from the start, while others seem mathematically beyond me.

The ability to compare any two temperaments ("Compare to any-TET") is one feature I'd love to add, but just seems a bit out of reach. Because of the way I coded NanoTone Synth around 12-TET, it uses constants related to 12-TET rather than variables that can be swapped out for any other temperament. Any attempt I make at changing this just breaks NTS, rather than giving me the intended outcome. It's pretty frustrating tbh.

Another feature that doesn't seem to fit NTS's code is changing keys... I wish I had thought to add this one in the initial stages of coding. Of course, the thought experiment of "how do I program a tuner for microtonal software?" is one that leaves my head spinning. Are we talking 12-TET, or any temperament here?

Someday, I will likely return to add a simple option to change keys... I'm just too tired right now, and I'm not currently using the software for myself.


One feature I've wanted to add (that may carry over into other software) is a fretboard with microtonal harmonics. I wanted to add multiple ways of displaying microtonality in NTS, rather than just the circular harmonic structure. I think a fretboard could be particularly helpful for fretless bass players like myself.

Since most people still play instruments based on frets and keyboards, I feel like these are useful visual aids that I've not been able to implement here. I've also agonized over thoughts of a "superkeyboard" for a while, but I could never devise one that isn't visually overwhelming.

I wanted to add a "History" section for famous musicians who've pushed the envelope with microtonality (Zhu Zaiyu, Nicola Vicentino, Ivan Wyschnegradsky, Wendy Carlos, Harry Partch, etc)... but I'm tired, and I don't want to deal with the HTML5 version breaking on me again.


So yeah... I think I'm winding down this project for good. I've brought NTS to a place where I'm comfortable, and now I want to apply these ideas to some other music software.

Also, I simply need more hands-on experience with microtonal music, before I can meaningfully expand upon microtonal software like this. With its walls of stats, NTS is a bit too abstract for my tastes.

This gets more traffic than any of my other projects... which is cool. If you've been using the software and want to support the developer, please consider donating. Thanks for reading. :)


NanoTone Synth 3.exe 2 MB
Mar 25, 2021
NanoTone Synth 3 Play in browser
Apr 09, 2021

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