Just intonation

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In music, just intonation (sometimes abbreviated as JI) is any musical tuning in which the frequencies of notes are related by ratios of small whole numbers. Any interval tuned in this way is called a just interval. The two notes in any just interval are members of the same harmonic series.[1] Arbitrary frequency ratios such as 1024:927 are not generally said to be justly tuned.

Just intonation can be contrasted and compared with equal temperament, which dominates Western orchestras and default MIDI tuning. In equal temperament, all notes are defined as multiples of the same basic interval. Two notes separated by the same number of steps always have exactly the same frequency ratio. However, except for doubled frequencies (octaves), no other intervals are exact ratios of integers. Each just interval deviates a different amount from its nearest equally tempered interval.

Justly tuned intervals are either ratios, with a colon (for example, 3:2), or as fractions, with a solidus (3 ⁄ 2). For example, two tones, one at 300 Hertz (cycles per second), and the other at 200 hertz are both multiples of 100 Hz and as such members of the harmonic series built on 100 Hz.


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