March 2017 update: browsers are gradually removing support for Java applets. This is because Java is a big security risk, like Flash. Right now, I don't see what alternative technology one could use to have something like the Java Tuner run inside a browser. Java itself however is not going away anytime soon as far as I know, so there is always the possibility of running the Java Tuner applet outside the browser. This is explained in the technical notes below.
2011 - New URL: (please update your bookmarks).


This Java applet demonstrates various historical tunings and temperaments and allows one to experiment with them. It was developed to accompany a text on Understanding temperaments, and is complemented by a set of MIDI files demonstrating various tunings and temperaments. Java is what made it worthwhile to develop this applet.

A new version, based on the JavaSound API in JDK 1.3, is now (Feb 2002) available. Works on recent browsers (eg. NN 6.x with Java 1.4). Also now available, same applet with more (custom) temperaments.

This current version (here) uses the* Java classes. Maybe it won't load (needs above classes); maybe the sound will be choppy; maybe it will be off pitch (e.g. NeXT has a rate of 8013 instead of 8000, about 3 cents sharp); and it might be a bit slow. A list of environments on which it works well is given below. Comments welcome: (some questions).

Last updates: june 2000 (MIDI input), april 2000 (various enhancements). Dec 2001: tuning (up/down arrow) now done on note pointed at, not main selection: better for tuning practice! Apr 2003: "minor" piece is in relative key, addition of "true pitch" to JavaSound version.

If Java were enabled on your browser, you would see something like the following:
Briefly: Arrows: (no modifiers) meta or alt
UP/DOWN: Adjust adjust note at cursor
± 1 cent; shift: ± 5 cents
adjust overall pitch
± 1 cent; shift: ± 5 cents
RIGHT/LEFT: Move move selected note(s)
± 5ths; shift: ± chromatic
rotate tuning/temperament
± 5ths; shift: ± chromatic
Click on note to select; shift-click to build interval/chord
If you wish to support this work, you can make a donation via PayPal.

Usage notes:

Examples and games:

Environments on which I believe the applet works decently:

I have personally run it on the following:

Future plans include turning this applet into a virtual instrument to practice tuning with (when Java Sound becomes available).

Related links:

Technical notes:

About the author:
[the author] My main work was software development (telephony signalling protocols) at Alcatel-Lucent; that's where I learned about µ-law. But, in a previous life, I was very much into (early) music, and also into tuning (as a semi-professional harpsichord tuner); this led me to a study of historical tunings and temperaments.

Copyright: Pierre Lewis,
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