Hermode Tuning

Hermode Tuning automatically controls the tuning of electronic keyboard instruments (or the Logic Pro software instruments) during a musical performance. In order to create clear frequencies for every fifth and third interval in all possible chord and interval progressions, a keyboard instrument would require far more than 12 keys per octave. Hermode Tuning can help with this problem: it retains the pitch relationship between keys and notes, while correcting the individual notes of electronic instruments, ensuring a high degree of tonal purity. This process makes up to 50 finely graded frequencies available per note, while retaining compatibility with the fixed tuning system of 12 notes per octave.

Frequency correction takes place on the basis of analyzed chord structures. The positions of individual notes in each chord are analyzed, and the sum of each note’s distance to the tempered tuning scale is zeroed. In critical cases, different compensation functions help to minimize the degree of retuning, at the expense of absolute purity, if necessary. For example:

  • The notes C, E, and G form a C Major chord.

  • To harmonically tune these, the third (the E) needs to be tuned 14 cents higher (a cent is 1/100th of a tempered semitone) and the fifth (the G), needs to be 2 cents higher.

It should be noted that Hermode Tuning is dynamic, not static. It is continuously adjusted in accordance with the musical content. This is done because, as an alternative to tempered, or normal, tuning, fifth and third intervals can also be tuned to ideal frequency ratios: the fifth to a ratio of 3:2, the major third to 5:4. Major triads will then sound strong. With clean (scaled) tuning, Hermode Tuning changes the frequencies to values that are partly higher or partly lower.