One of Omnisphere’s versatile features is its ability to utilize different tunings, which includes historical temperaments, microtonal scales, and user-created temperaments as well. Omnisphere can import any .TUN scale file.
Each Part can have a single Scale active at one time. Up to eight different Scales can be simultaneously loaded in a Multi (one per Part).
Each tuning lists the number of notes per octave. For example, if you select “Pelog 7-tone,” the octave will repeat every eighth half-step.
NOTE: The common reference for all of the alternate tunings is that Middle C (C3 or C4 on your controller) will always be the same, no matter what Scale is loaded.
The temperaments that are included with Omnisphere are:
These ten scales are from African mallet idiophones and lamellaphones (commonly called kalimbas or moires), which feature metal tines that are plucked with the finger. Tunings with the suffix “AD” mean the notes are mapped in an Ascending/Descending arrangement.
- Amandinda 240 cent – A whole-step scale in 240 cent steps instead of 200 cent steps.
- Amandinda AD – The same scale, mapped in both directions.
- Balafon 7-Tone
- Charimba AD – 5-Tone scale, ascending and descending
- Kunaka 7-Tone – Named for mbira virtuoso John Kunaka
- Likembe 14-Tone
- Metepe Tuning AD
- Metepe Tuning
- Sanza 7-Tone
- Sanza 8-Tone
The first two Arabic scales were created in the first century by Persian philosopher Abu Nasr al-Farabi and are still used in modern Arabian music. Sabbagh tuning is designed for the Oud (a lute-like instrument) and the fourth one is a common Turkish 24-note scale.
- Al-Farabi 17-Tone
- Al-Farabi 19-Tone
- Sabbagh 7-Tone
- Turkish 24-Tone
These scales are used in Indonesian Gamelan music. A Gamelan is an ensemble comprised of metallic percussion, strings, horns and vocals. These scales work well with metallic, bell-like sounds.
- Degung 5-tone
- Jemblung 5-tone
- Pelog 7-tone
- Pelog and Slendro (Pelog on the white keys and Slendro on black)
- Slendro 5-tone
- Udan 12-tone
These are mostly octave-based scales, where attempts were made to resolve the inherent “un-pure” nature of the 12-tone scale. As a result, some intervals and chords sound quite pure and others are more dissonant. The dissonant notes are sometimes called “Wolf tones.”
- Kirnberger II – Named for Johann Kirnberger, a student of Bach.
- Meantone Half – Created in the 15th century, and utilized by J.S. Bach, among others. It arose from an attempt to create purer thirds by sacrificing the purity of the fifths.* Olympos 5-tone – An ancient Greek pentatonic scale.
- Pythagorean – Named for Pythagoras and based on perfect fifths. It has been used since 3500 BC. There are two 17-tone versions and a 12-tone version.
- Silbermann – Named for Gottfried Silbermann, a 16th century keyboard builder.
- Werkmeister – Named for Andreas Werkmeister, the composer who created it in the late 1600s.
Most of these scales were taken directly from the some of the Soundsources from Omnisphere’s Core Library. By loading one of the following tunings to the corresponding Soundsource, you’ll be able to play it with its original tuning. All of the Kalimba tunings use “Ascending/Descending mapping.
- Blue Nile Alimba
- Bottlecap Zimbira
- Bright Marimbula
- Ceramic Kalimbadrum
- Coffee Can Kalimba
- Dark Zimbira
- Double Gourde Kalimba
- Electric MBira
- Hohner Guitaret
- Kalimba-African AD
- Kalimba-Western AD
- Purple Rain Alimba
- Resonator Zim’bira
- Rhumba Box
- Ruby Moon Bass Alimba
- Sizzle Gourd Kalimba
- Small Gourd Kalimba
- Tanzanian Bird Kalimba
- Wood Key Marimbula
These scales add additional microtonal steps from just under an octave to as many as 48 tones per octave.
- 11-Tone – One octave less one semitone
- 13-Tone – One octave plus a semitone
- 17-Tone – One octave and a fourth
- 19-Tone – One octave and a fifth
- 24-Tone – Two octaves
- 31-Tone – Two octaves and a fourth
- 48-Tone – Four octaves
These alternative scales were created within the last one hundred and fifty years.
- Bohlen-Pierce – A 13-tone scale named for Heinz Bohlen and John Pierce
- Darreg Genus – A 9-tone scale named for Ivor Darreg, creator of the first re-tunable synthesizer in the 1950s.
- Ellis – A 24-tone scale named for Alexander Ellis and Hermann von Helmholtz, influential scientists of the late 1800s.
- Partch 29-tone – Henry Partch, an American composer of the 20th century. Partch created many alternate tunings, such as 43-tone, 37-tone and this 29-tone scale.* Carlos Scales – Synthesis pioneer Wendy Carlos created these five scales. The first three are microtonal and the last two are 12-tone scales.
- Carlos Alpha 18-tone
- Carlos Beta 22-tone
- Carlos Gamma 35-tone
- Carlos Harmonic C
- Carlos Super Just C
- Equal Temperament – the default tuning for most of Western culture (and for Omnisphere as well).
Since the tines on mbiras and kalimbas are not typically arranged from low to high, but rather are mixed in various ways, the best way to simulate the playing of these instruments on a standard keyboard is to arrange the tuning in both directions from Middle C. These tunings are designed to be played only on the white keys. Some of the African scales and all of the Kalimba scales use this Ascending/Descending arrangement.
As you can see in the Rhumba Box example below, that instrument has seven tines, the lowest tine in the center. The Ascending/Descending tunings are mapped from low to high on the white keys (black keys are unmapped) and the middle note of the ascending scale is mapped to C60. The note order is then reversed in each direction.
NOTE: In Ascending/Descending tunings the notes do not necessarily correspond to the key number to which they are mapped; they are simply grouped as they were tuned on the original instrument.