A SMALL subset of “microtonal” musicians composes using special scales with many notes per octave, at non-standard intervals. Their godfather is Ervin Wilson, who spent several decades researching microtonal scales based on numeric and geometric relationships between frequencies. Marcus Satellite’s Wilsonic for iPad (iOS 8.1 or later, www.marcussatellite.com) now gives you the easiest way to explore and record three of Wilson’s complex tuning systems.
1. Choose a design from the Design menu; touching the design or keyboard at the bottom plays the notes in one of three simple timbres: Sine, Saw Lo-Pass, or Saw.
2. Each design has decimal multipliers, interval numbers, or sliders that will change the tunings, number of notes per octave, interval lengths, etc. You don’t need to know music theory or complex math to find something intriguing; just mess around. The visual feedback of the app makes it fun to try things based on shape.
3. When you find a tuning you like, go to the Favorite menu to save the tuning. You can then email Scala files (.scl) or sync them to your Documents from the Favorites panel. Scala files encode musical tunings that you can upload to compatible software and hardware instruments to play your Wilsonic scales on a more sophisticated sonic palette.
4. You can also record Wilsonic’s audio into iPad apps compatible with Inter- App Audio or Audiobus-compatible apps such as GarageBand.
Tune into the iTunes App Store to find Wilsonic for $2.99..