Quarter Tone Accidentals and Playback

I am using Dorico 3 Pro. I am required to notate quarter tones using the Stein-Zimmermann notation. I have tried creating a new tonality system with these and the standard accidentals and editing the default 24 ev set by changing the quarter tone accidental to Stein-Zimmerman. I encounter 2 problems. 1. The new accidentals do not play back at pitch. They play the note as if it had no accidental. 2. I usually cannot get the tonality system I have selected to work because as soon as I click on an accidental it defaults back to a different tonality system.

A. What VST are you using for playback, and does it support microtonal playback?
B. Have you definitely added a key signature holding your 24-EDO tonality system to the score?

I am using NotePerformer. I have added key signatures which are open but I am not quite sure whether I am doing this correctly.

NotePerformer does support microtonal playback, so that’s unlikely to be the problem.
The procedure for adding a microtonal key signature is as follows:

  1. Select the 24-EDO tonality system from the top of the Key Signatures, Tonality Systems and Accidentals section of the right panel.
  2. Select the key signature from the Key Signatures section (you can use the paddles to get zero accidentals).
  3. Click and drop onto the score.

Or, if you can’t abide by the red signpost stating that it’s C major:

  1. Select something on the page - the rest at the start of bar 1, typically.
  2. Select the 24-EDO tonality system as above.
  3. Type Shift-K open Enter.

This does work. What I have not succeeded in doing is making the custom set work. The edited 24 ev default set will play back in quarter tones now but the other one will not. It looks neater than the edited 24 ev set but I can live with the look of the edited set so long as it works.

Thanks for your help.

There’s probably some sort of a conflict in the Edit Tonality System dialog, but it’s difficult to troubleshoot without actually seeing it.
Maybe stick your tonality system into a project, with just a handful of notes on the page, then save that project, zip/compress it, and upload to this forum.

OK thanks. I will do that if I have any more needs with it but for the moment since I have a system that works I think I will just stick with it for now. There seem to be calibrations against the accidentals (1/12 for instance) in the dialogue where you add them into a set but I cannot change them. They are all set at 0/12. But I think this is a bit complicated for the moment and unless I have any further problems actually getting the notation up on the score and playing back I won’t take up any more of your time. Thanks for your help again.

I have discovered how you do all this for anyone else who is interested. To create a custom quarter tone (or other division of the octave in fact) tonality accidental set you have to, in the accidental panel use the + icon for new set. Then first set the divisions between each of the notes of the scale on the left - so from C to D is 4 (in quarter tones) and from E to F is 2 etc. and this will give a total of 24 when you have finished.

Then add each accidental separately from the relevant set. I was using standard 12 ev set for the usual accidentals and Stein-Zimmerman for the quarter tones. You have to set the pitch delta for each accidental before adding it to the set. These are already set in the default tonality sets but for a custom set you have to set them. These represent the number of divisions up or down as per the total you set at the beginning. So a delta of -1 is going to give a quarter tone flat in this case. The intervals represented by accidentals are not predefined.

It may also be necessary to set a custom blank key signature before returning to Write mode. You then save it all as default, OK it and in Write mode go to your new sound set, apply its custom (blank) key signature at whichever point you wish to begin writing in the score and it all should work and play back.