The chromatic scale’s 12 notes are ubiquitous in software and hardware instruments. Most electronic tools for music making have adopted this Western-centric scale and tuning system as a norm, and packaged it to the rest of the world. There are, of course, many ways of perceiving scale, harmony and tonal relationships, not to mention rhythm and instrumentation, rooted in different localized approaches and traditions. The risk is that, in being unrepresented by our tech tools, these cultural variations could give way to the musical hegemony of Western musical expectations and be lost forever.
Off the Grid brings together music makers Maya Shenfeld & Khyam Allami, Ableton music technology researcher Amaury Groc, and researcher & writer Frances Morgan to discuss the status quo in music tech, what we stand to lose if we don’t broaden our musical horizons, and the creative potential of non-western music systems.