Hermode tuning

Is hermode tuning global and affect all tracks?
Do all vst3 support it or just steinberg’s?


Aloha m,

I like it and use it on quite a few projects.

Once you turn it on, choose a style and amount (in ‘Project Set-up’)
you can then apply it to individual tracks.

Good Luck!

I have done a bit of reading on hermode tuning, but still don’t understand … Why would someone use this?

To get away from the beatings heard in intervals on instruments equal temperament. Like you play and hold the B with your index finger on the second string 12th fret and then play an A on third string 14th fret and slowly bend the A up to a B. Yeah, that Hendrix sound! More obvious with distortion. These beatings occur in equal tempered tunings although more subtle, but not as much in Hermode tuning. Hermode is closer to the overtone series found in nature.

Not for everybody, especially those happy and used to being able to play in any key modulating to any other key without the sky falling down in their heads. If you’re not sure what you’re doing in Hermode it can sound brutally wrong! :sunglasses: But I guess you can be obsessed by it for various reasons if you find the sound interesting enough. I tried it, smiled a little but since then I’ve subconsciously postponed any further testing to … the future haha. It sounds cool but a lot of things sound cool …

This just in:
and this:

Thanks Ulf! Keyboard player here. Though I could hear the difference between standard and HMT in the Steinberg vid, I’m not really sure what to listen for in the first vid.

I guess if I have to ask why I’d want to choose it, is not for me, right? Pretty sure I wouldn’t recognize it without an a/b.

But at least I know a little bit more!

So here’s a question … Do singers sing in HMT?

And maybe related, is that why when pitch shifting/correcting a vocal note, dragging it straight to “0 cents” usually doesn’t work as well as being off a bit (since the scale grid in VariAudio is not HMT based)?

Thanks for any thoughts …

My $.02:

A group of singers would certainly sing in just intonation, that is the barbershop quartet sound. But if you introduce tempered instruments, they will adjust for that.

Hermode tuning is not done by humans, it’s a computer thing. Read this essay by its inventor: http://sethares.engr.wisc.edu/paperspdf/hermode.pdf

In brief, Hermode Tuning is a means for computer sequencers to play in Just Intonation. It adjusts the pitches to account for every new note that is introduced into a chord. This is closer to how a string, brass, or woodwind quartet of humans would play, than

Pianos and other tuned percussion instruments (marimba, xylophone etc.) are tuned to equal temperament, generally speaking. So musicians performing on instruments without this limitation will automatically adjust their own pitch to accommodate the tempered instrument.

Listen to this passage in just intonation: https://youtu.be/d2I1zNw2w-c?t=27s
Compare it to the same passage in equal temperament: https://youtu.be/d2I1zNw2w-c?t=8m14s

To answer your other question, Alexis, 0 cents is the note in equal temperament.

It would be interesting to know whether Cubase’s HMT takes that 0 and retunes it if you activate HMT on that track. Have you tried?

Thx for the explanation! I didn’t appreciate what it was saying the first two times I read through it, but this amazing link http://www.kylegann.com/tuning.html then made it seem completely natural.

By the way, I’m referring to your post being understandable now. It was almost complete incomprehension of sethares’s paper that led to my first post. I think I’ll have a fighting chance of understanding now, but my brain is fried and also real life beckons!

Finally, I’ve come to realize that some people feel quite strongly that equal temperament is very bad. From the same link I have above, this gent would seem to just about (pun intended :slight_smile:) time the onset of the western world’s morale and spiritual decline to the exact moment music left Just intonation behind for equal temperament:

… our (Equal temperament) tuning is responsible for much of our cultural psychology, the fact that we are so geared toward progress and action and violence and so little attuned to introspection, contentment, and acquiesence. Equal temperament could be described as the musical equivalent to eating a lot of red meat and processed sugars and watching violent action films. The music doesn’t turn your attention inward, it makes you want to go out and work off your nervous energy on something …

Haven’t tried, but I might guess it depends on what other notes have been played?

As an aside to this, early home computers operated at low clock frequencies and as a result, the musical intervals generated were mathematically incorrect, resulting in the “game console” sounds which in turn have formed the basis for current EDM.

In an nutshell, it’s possible to calulate the frequencies (pitch) of the notes of a scale to harmonize perfectly but that will only work in one key. Change key with that “perfect” tuning and it will sound wrong. Bach wrote the "Well-Tempered Clavier in part to demonstrate this … back then, there were various methods to tune a piano/harpsichord, and only if one adopted a method similar to the one Bach used would all the pieces (which are in all keys, major and minor) sound correct.

Looooove this topic.

Do you hear what I hear? :slight_smile:


Hello . The Autistic Pianist-With-Synaesthesia here .
I didn’t really appreciate all this until I took up double bass in my 50s . Now I find equal temperament a bit ugly . The colours in pure tuning are more saturated for me .

An example ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2I1zNw2w-c

An explanation and a guide from the string world ;