TonesInTune is a tool that adds a new dimension to computer music:
it re-introduces dynamic intonation, a key feature of most acoustic music instruments, from string and wind to the singing voice.

Dynamic intonation ─ i.e. adapting the musical pitch according to the harmonic context ─ is a key feature of most acoustic music. Vocalists and musicians playing wind and string instruments spend a lifetime in striving for the optimal intonation in harmony with other instruments. This harmony is hardly ever equal tempered.

Currently, almost all computer music is blindly produced in equal temperament, i.e. a 12-tone-scale with equidistant halftone steps. Dynamic intonation as a means of expression is neglected because of lack of support in computer music software. This situation changes with the advent of TonesInTune ─ an add-in to Microsoft Excel that allows musical events such as notes to be embedded in a spreadsheet.

Spreadsheets are the most successful GUI paradigm to allow non-programmers to build complex structures of dependencies. This fits extremely well with musical properties such as pitch, loudness, duration, and timbre having relative significance: notes are always interpreted according to musical context. Embedding musical events in a spreadsheet gives the benefit of several general features of spreadsheets:

  • Users don't need to be expert programmers in order to build complex musical structures.
  • The structure of musical compositions can be reflected within a well-known and efficient GUI paradigm.
  • Relations between musical events are handled in a well-arranged manner.
  • Musical structures can be populated quickly using copy-and-paste.

Furthermore, an intuitive trial-and-error approach can be used because TonesInTune enables instant listening through MIDI devices.

New features in TonesInTune version 2.0:

  • Music-related spreadsheet functions: fromCent, toCent, keyName, keyNumber, and keyToPitch.
  • Optional horizontal event-layout.
  • Spreadsheets can be populated with musical events from a MIDI file.