This is indeed difficult, but I have a solution. Pitch bend doesn’t always work well because you can hear a glitchy bend when it activates in a legato passage. I play Middle Eastern music and have given up on trying to do this with anything but proprietary solutions, like GPO (Or Kontakt) using .scl (like .tun) files, or the micro tuner insert with Steinberg VSTs.
Or, to get a clean sounding result in a generic midi file, I would use a track set to midi channel “any” and send notes, and other tracks and channels to send pitch bends to facilitate the microtunings.
Generally, for each scale:
- Create multiple midi tracks, one for the notes, and one for each microtone you need.
- Put them on separate channels, send all channels to a multitimbral instrument with the same instrument loaded on each channel.
- Set a pitch bend command for each channel except channel 1 (for my example)
So, for the Arabic mode Bayati which has a 1/4 flat on the 2 (E) and the 7 (B) ascending, and on 2 the descending. (more or less) I:
- Create a track for the note events set to channel “any”, and enter the scale.
- Create a track on Channel 2 or higher for pitch bend, and place the pitch bend value needed at the beginning of the track.
- Create further tracks on different channels for more microtonal adjustments
- On the track set to midi channel “any” edit the notes you wish to adjust so they are on the correct channels. In my example I edited the notes E and B to channel 2 and channel 3
Probably a good idea to add a midi reset message to the beginning of the file too.
Here is the result: (Forum does not allow mid files)