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Topic Options
#1222586 - 06/25/09 12:13 PM Tuning your DP?
AT83 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/09
Posts: 20
Loc: ORD
I have started playing with the options in my Roland DP990. I see that in the Tuning settings there is an option to change the master tuning as well as the Temperament. My piano gives me 8 options for Temperament. I was just curious if others have these options, what they use, and why?

My options are:
Just (Major)
Just (Minor)
Arabic (not for me at all)

There is also the option of "stretched tuning." It defaults to ON but I tried it OFF and did not like it that way at all.

Let me know what you think. This all reminds me of the search for the perfect tuning in Grand Obsession, I just didn't know there were that many options in a DP.
Roland DP-990, AKG K501

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#1222602 - 06/25/09 12:49 PM Re: Tuning your DP? [Re: AT83]
Clavfan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/28/09
Posts: 21
Loc: Toronto

#1222629 - 06/25/09 01:54 PM Re: Tuning your DP? [Re: Clavfan]
AT83 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/09
Posts: 20
Loc: ORD
That certainly was an interesting read. I am more interested in what YOU use on your DP and why, even if you just use the factory default.
Roland DP-990, AKG K501

#1222676 - 06/25/09 03:15 PM Re: Tuning your DP? [Re: AT83]
Martin C. Doege Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/09
Posts: 448
Loc: Hamburg, Germany
I've tried the different historical temperaments, such as meantone and Werckmeister III, in Pianoteq yesterday, and maybe I'm tone deaf, but I couldn't hear an improvement (in the case of a Bach piece). Maybe the "purer" temperaments need something with lots of chords to sound noticeably better than ET. Or maybe it's because we've all been exposed to ET all our lives that we don't notice what a terrible compromise ET actually is... smile

A few months ago I read a very spirited defense of ET, which claimed that since frequencies are equally-spaced in log in ET, it is superior to other temperaments, because our senses work based on the log of values.
Yamaha P-85; Pianoteq Pleyel

#1222677 - 06/25/09 03:22 PM Re: Tuning your DP? [Re: AT83]
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4683
Loc: San Francisco
I think that stretch tuning is done in the treble because it becomes more difficult to hear differences as frequencies increase.

#1224209 - 06/28/09 09:53 PM Re: Tuning your DP? [Re: FogVilleLad]
derekp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/08
Posts: 106
Loc: Chicago Area
Here's a summary of tuning, and how our ears process frequency combinations (and why).
First, the same note in each octave doubles the sound frequency. Therefore, playing for example two A notes an octave apart gives you one out of every two sound waves on the higher note matching up with a sound wave on the lower note. So our ears/brains have little additional work to do to process the second note v.s. processing a single note, and therefore it is "pleasant". In an ideal "just" tuning method, the perfect 5ths (such as an A and a E note) produce frequencies in a 3/2 ratio, so that every third wave on the higher note peaks at the same time as every second wave on lower note. Again, not much work for the brain to do. Similar story with other note pairs that sound good together (such as a perfect fourth, a 4/3 ratio).

Unfortunately, due to the mathematics, you can only get every pair of fifths and fourths (along with other note pairs that produce simple ratios) to line up like this when you are tuning an instrument that has just one octave, assuming you divide your octave into 12 pieces. Once you play note pairs that straddle an octave boundary you end up with the higher note about a quarter step off (this is known as the Pythagorean Comma). So to remedy this situation, various tuning methods, known as temperaments, were developed to make various useful note pairs close to their golden ratios, but off just enough so that the errors within an octave add up to the amount of the Pythagorean comma, thereby making each octave exactly double the note in the previous octave.

Equal temperament divides things up so that the log of the frequency of each note is the same distance apart. This ends up causing most of the usable harmonic note pairs to still be close to where they should be, but some of them are off just enough to be noticeable. Whereas some of the historical temperaments made sure that common pairs were even closer to spot on in some keys, but a bit further off in other keys. Thus, transposing a piece using a historical temperament would end up changing the "color" of the piece quiet a bit.

Which brings us back to the main point of why you would want to use different temperaments. It is said that composers such as Bach deliberately wrote certain pieces in specific keys in order to bring out a specific color, or mood. Just like a minor triad sounds more somber than a the more cheerful major triads, some chords bring out various other moods in different keys on historical temperaments such as the various "well" temperaments. Thus, to get the proper emotion from music written at that time, you need to play them using the intended temperament. Hope this long-winded post answers your question.

Oh, and as to the relation to our ears processing sounds logarithmically, that only explains why notes whose logs are equally spaced sounds like the note itself is equally spaced, such as notes an octave apart sounding very similar to each other. But that has nothing to do with why certain chords sound good -- that is simply an artifact of the sound waves lining up as mentioned earlier.


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