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#1398145 - 03/17/10 09:09 PM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Ralph Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/01
Posts: 1298
Loc: Delaware (slower/lower)
It always amazes me how personally we respond to what we hear musically. For some reason sounds are very emotional. Some people love what they hear while others have an opposite reaction. I'm reminded of the fights and small riot that broke out during the premiere of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring". People can be as passionate about harmony as they are about political ideology. I'm not passing judgement on anybody, just making an observation.
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Do or do not. There is no try.

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#1398188 - 03/17/10 10:30 PM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: Bernhard Stopper]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3195
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: Bernhard Stopper
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

The title of the very first chapter in Owen Jorgensen's book tuning is: ET was not practiced on pianos in 1885

So, however Dvorak's piano was tuned, he obviously didn't have a fit about it as he wrote his compositions.


I don´t know how Jorgensen backed up this statement. In a reedition of Werckmeister´s "Musicalische Temperatur", (original 1691) by Rudolf Rasch from 1983, a quote of Rasch (p. 35):

"In the older works (1681-1691, to which "musicalische Temperatur" belongs) only unequal temperaments have been described explicitely. In the middle works (1697-1698) equal temperament has been mentioned as a possible solution, when all keys are to play an equal part in musical performance. Since this was not the case, Werckmeister prefers unequal temperament, because it favours the common, diatonic keys. In his late works, (1702-1707) Werckmeister is an unambigious propagator of equal temperament because it makes possible unlimited modulation and transposition as well as any enharmonic change of notes and intervals."


Bernhard, I will quote exactly what Jorgensen said about that with no comment from myself. The text below is verbatim. I added no emphasis that was not in the text already. I made not parenthetical comments. The spelling and punctuation are exactly as they appear in the text. While I am very tempted to comment, make emphasis and to use American spelling for a word or two, "ET" for every time "equal temperament" is mentioned and to use slightly different punctuation, the text below is exactly as it is in Owen Jorgensen's book.

I would only note at this point that Professor Jorgensen felt it important enough to make these among his very first statements in a book of nearly 800 pages. In other words, READ THIS!

From Owen Jorgensen's book, Tuning, the very same article that was quoted before ("ET was not practiced on pianos in 1885") From page 2:

Andreas Werkmeister and Jean-Phillipe Rameau were typical 17th and 18th Century theorists. Early in their lives and writings, they favored simple ratio harmonies, especially in the commonly used natural diatonic keys (the white keys of the modern piano). They promoted the accepted temperaments as used by keyboard musicians. Later in their lives, they became more philosophic and, as mature old men, they promoted the avant-garde notion that equal temperament should be applied on keyboard instruments.

It is important to realize that the leading proponents of equal temperament such as Mersenne, Werkmeister, Neidhardt, Rameau and Marpurg, were simply avant-garde theorists who were proposing a philosophic ideal. They furnished no tuning instructions containing the necessary information on where to listen for beating among nearly-coinciding harmonics, how fast each beating frequency should be, or the fact that any interval when played chromatically up the keyboard must increase gradually and evenly in beating frequencies. In other words, these theorists could not tune equal temperament by ear, but they could tune crude approximations of it on keyboards by copying tones from monochords. Practicing musicians rebelled strongly against this. They tuned by ear, and they did not want to sacrifice key-coloring. They voiced strong objections to the harsh thirds on the natural diatonic keys in these approximations of equal temperament.

The above named theorists published several books. Influenced by these, nineteenth- and twentieth-century historians (who had no experience or knowledge concerning the aural requirements for tuning equal temperament by ear and therefore could not distinguish between philosophic theory, temperament propaganda, and actual practice by musicians) published the false statement that J.S. Bach introduced equal temperament in keyboard practice in 1722 and that most musicians have been using it ever since. Even today, some uniformed writers state that J.S. Bach invented equal temperament. This erroneous information is often repeated by today's musicians.

When Alexander John Ellis conducted his research he discovered that mathematically exact equal temperament was not yet being practiced. He wrote in 1885 that equal temperament is what tuners at the present day intend to follow, though none of them absolutely succeed in so doing. Very few ears could be trusted to tune a succession of perfect Fifths and Fourths. For Major Thirds and minor Sixths there is no chance at all (except by a real piece of haphazard luck) to get even one interval tuned with absolute correctness by mere appreciation of ear....All attempts to tune by ear must have grievously failed...even the laborious and careful training of modern tuners for obtaining the very slightly altered Fifths and Fourths of equal temperament can only lead to absolute correctness by accident.

It takes a quick man three years to learn how to tune a piano well in equal temperament by estimation of ear.

The only satisfactory way, however, of tuning perfect and tempered intervals is by a fork tonometer.

About the so-called German equal temperament, Ellis wrote that there is a variety among the chords, and "Of course the temperament was never thoroughly equal."

The great piano technician Alfred James Hipkins introduced the idea of equal temperament to the Broadwood factory in 1846. About the tuners then working for Broadwood, Ellis wrote,

Not one of the old tuners Mr. Hipkins knew (and some had been favourite tuners of Mr. James Broadwood) tuned anything like equal temperament....It is one thing to propose equal temperament, to calculate its ratios, and to have trial instruments approximately tuned in accordance with it, and another thing to use it commercially in all instruments sold.

Resistance to the universal adoption of equal temperament was not dead in 1885 when Ellis wrote, "Tuners of the piano sometimes still intentionally tune unequally, and hence make the effect of A and A-flat really very different."

[skipping to the end]

Before 1917, tempering was an art based on a keen sense of color awareness for each individual interval or chord on the piano. This color sense that was developed through environmental conditioning by listening to tunings and piano music during the nineteenth-century is now lost. Wise aesthetic decisions based on classical traditions are no longer being made. Indeed, such judgments are contrary to twentieth-century atonal philosophy.



_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1398206 - 03/17/10 11:03 PM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: Ralph]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3195
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: Ralph
It always amazes me how personally we respond to what we hear musically. For some reason sounds are very emotional. Some people love what they hear while others have an opposite reaction. I'm reminded of the fights and small riot that broke out during the premiere of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring". People can be as passionate about harmony as they are about political ideology. I'm not passing judgement on anybody, just making an observation.


Ralph, thanks for that comment. I really like the Rite of Spring and have performed in other works by Stravinsky that I hated at first but grew to like as I became better acquainted with them. It must be also taken into consideration that the startling dissonances in many of Beethoven's compositions were considered outrageous at the time by many.

In the art world, many of the greatest painters we cherish today were ridiculed and mocked in their time. Van Gough cut off his ear because of what people said about what he did. None of Cezanne's beautiful works remain in his native Aix-en-Provence. They were all considered to be trash.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1398351 - 03/18/10 05:05 AM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Mark R. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 1968
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Bill,

Apology accepted.

I am well aware that ensemble performing has no relation at all to keyboard tempering. (In fact, my earlier post only confirms this.)

As far as I can see, it was not I but you who made a connection between ensemble playing and keyboard tempering, by applying one of the characteristics of a well temperament (wide intervals in distant keys) to an orchestral composition (Largo from the New World):

Quote:
... the "Going Home" melody from Dvorak's 9th symphony ... belongs in the key that it was written and it was conceived as having wide intervals, not narrow.


Even if Dvorak's own piano was tuned to some well temperament, somehow I doubt that he conceived of a symphony orchestra playing the major thirds in Db major at something like 17 cents wide. Anyone can try this on a violin - suffice it to say, it sounds awful less-than-beautiful.

But I do realise that this line of argumentation is off-topic to this thread, which is about the enjoyment of EBVT III on a piano - hence I won't labor the point further.

Wishing all pianists many happy and musical hours - in whichever temperament you prefer.


Edited by Mark R. (03/18/10 06:11 AM)
Edit Reason: tempered my choice of words
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1398406 - 03/18/10 08:18 AM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: Mark R.]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4919
Loc: Bradford County, PA
I cannot believe that a composer would chose a key because it sounded one way on a keyboard and not care how it sounded when played by the orchestra.

I think keyboards have been tuned with the intent of ET, and close enough for practical purposes, for a long time and for good reason.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1398473 - 03/18/10 09:59 AM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Bernhard Stopper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/08
Posts: 211
Loc: Germany
I do not agree that Werckmeister was only a theorist. He made his life as an organist in Hasselfelde (1664), Elbingerode (1674) and in Halberstadt (1696).
It is also known from Bach that he had knowledge of Werckmeister´s writings. So i find Jorgensen´s statement "ET was not practiced on pianos in 1885" one hundred seventy years after Werckmeister´s ambiguous propagation of ET a quite daring one.

The preference of a part of the musicians for unequal temperaments (which is still existent until today) that was existent before ET propagation in that time was because of the purer sounding common keys and not because of colors (others call it out-of-tuneness) of the less used keys, as all writings from that time seem to indicate.








Edited by Bernhard Stopper (03/18/10 10:24 AM)
_________________________
Bernhard Stopper
www.piano-stopper.de

Salieri: "Mediocrities everywhere, now and to come: I absolve you all! Amen! Amen! Amen!"
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#1398483 - 03/18/10 10:30 AM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: Bernhard Stopper]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4919
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Mr. Stopper:

Please continue. This subject needs both sides presented.

I wonder how the tuners could have the ability to tune specific key colors, but not have the ability to tune a practical ET. It seems the ability needed to do the one would allow a tuner to do the other.

But also, wasn't it Werckmeister that prescribed the rules for Well Temperament which supposedly were then followed? Why wouldn't his later call for ET also be followed?
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1398541 - 03/18/10 11:43 AM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: UnrightTooner]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4919
Loc: Bradford County, PA
All:

I was just taking a close look at "quasi-ET" tunings on the Rollingball site. I think it would really be splitting hairs to say that most of these are not as good an aural ET as is tuned nowadays. I take it that many of these were derived from tuning instructions. And as all tuners know there is always room for aural adjustments regardless of the sequence. And if any of these were actually measured from tunings, how accurate was the measurement?
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1398545 - 03/18/10 11:46 AM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: UnrightTooner]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21431
Loc: Oakland
Tuning might have been measured using equipment like this. The accuracy would still be limited to one's ability to hear the differences.
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Semipro Tech

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#1398546 - 03/18/10 11:48 AM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: UnrightTooner]
pppat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/08
Posts: 1195
Loc: Jakobstad, Finland
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Mr. Stopper:

Please continue. This subject needs both sides presented.

I wonder how the tuners could have the ability to tune specific key colors, but not have the ability to tune a practical ET. It seems the ability needed to do the one would allow a tuner to do the other.


Jeff,

I'm just trying to be logical here. Key coloring was probably involuntarily applied first: the common keys were given priority, and then - to make the math work - the distant keys got whatever crumbs they could get.

From there, this must have been gradually refined to a pretty nice balance with C in the middle and the distant keys not as harsh as before. Thus, I find it fully possible that the art of key coloring could exist without ET.
_________________________
Patrick Wingren, RPT

Senior Lecturer (jazz piano, composition, music theory, conducting) @ Novia University of Applied Sciences, Jakobstad, Finland
- - - -
Dedicated to learning the craft of tuning. Getting better.

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#1398554 - 03/18/10 12:03 PM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: pppat]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4919
Loc: Bradford County, PA
BDB:

Interesting... Since they are not electronic, they could be used during a PTG exam. And if they are accurate enough to determine a tuning is not ET, then they should be accurate enough to pass a PTG exam. Anybody think it would work?

Pat:

OK, the art of key coloring could exist without ET, but I still think the ability required to do the one would be the same as the ability required to do the other. I think that when the desire for ET existed, the ability was already there, although the ability to explain how to do it may not have been. I cannot explain what a properly tempered 5th sounds like, but I can tune them.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1398609 - 03/18/10 01:27 PM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: UnrightTooner]
Bernhard Stopper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/08
Posts: 211
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner


I wonder how the tuners could have the ability to tune specific key colors, but not have the ability to tune a practical ET. It seems the ability needed to do the one would allow a tuner to do the other.

But also, wasn't it Werckmeister that prescribed the rules for Well Temperament which supposedly were then followed? Why wouldn't his later call for ET also be followed?


Good arguments. The tuners of this time were probably able to do ET in the same grade of quality as they were able to tune unequal temperaments. Werckmeister speaks of shortening every fifth by a 1/12 of the comma. This was done by tuning an octave first, and fitting the fifths iteratively inside the octave. Werckmeister also described that beats are to be progressive. ET is not less a historical tuning as the well temperaments, already known and probably in use since the time where those many variants of well temperament came up.







Edited by Bernhard Stopper (03/18/10 01:35 PM)
_________________________
Bernhard Stopper
www.piano-stopper.de

Salieri: "Mediocrities everywhere, now and to come: I absolve you all! Amen! Amen! Amen!"
(Amadeus, the movie)

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#1398733 - 03/18/10 03:55 PM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: Bernhard Stopper]
Jake Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/17/09
Posts: 577
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Interesting to see those resonators. But their pitch isn't given, although one of them does allow itself to be tuned.

I remember reading that sets of forks were also used, along with glasses filled to resonate at the freqs of specific partials. My impression is that there was one for each note, at least for the middle of the piano. Surely there are some sets of those forks around--what were their pitches?

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#1398766 - 03/18/10 04:44 PM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: UnrightTooner]
pppat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/08
Posts: 1195
Loc: Jakobstad, Finland
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner

Pat:

OK, the art of key coloring could exist without ET, but I still think the ability required to do the one would be the same as the ability required to do the other. I think that when the desire for ET existed, the ability was already there, although the ability to explain how to do it may not have been. I cannot explain what a properly tempered 5th sounds like, but I can tune them.


Yes, Jeff, that sounds logical too smile

It was probably a matter of taste, and choosing to make a sacrifice - the remote keys were not used as much as the common keys (they still aren't), so instead of having everything sounding a little out of tune they gave priority to the common keys.

With 'a little out of tune' I mean ET, as perceived then. Nowadays our ears are used to it. Time and taste changes, as does the music.

Sometimes I've been contemplating that the quite obvious lack of direction in modern classical music might have something to do with equal temperament. Or maybe that ET reflects our time in a logical way. Where to go now, after tonality has been smashed, twisted, and broken down - starting somewhere around Wagner, culminating in the atonal period of the mid 20th century?

Fact is that from somewhere around 1950 and onwards, the core of the classical music scene has been nourishing from an era that is long gone. I don't think anything similar has happened to this extent earlier in the history of classical music.

Well, somebody might come up with something smile Personally I think rhythm might be the thing that will lead the classical music into a new era, I think I see some hints in that direction.



Edited by pppat (03/18/10 04:55 PM)
_________________________
Patrick Wingren, RPT

Senior Lecturer (jazz piano, composition, music theory, conducting) @ Novia University of Applied Sciences, Jakobstad, Finland
- - - -
Dedicated to learning the craft of tuning. Getting better.

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#1398767 - 03/18/10 04:48 PM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: BDB]
pppat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/08
Posts: 1195
Loc: Jakobstad, Finland
Originally Posted By: BDB
Tuning might have been measured using equipment like this. The accuracy would still be limited to one's ability to hear the differences.


BDB: cool gear! Kind of an orthodox flavor to them? Or is it just me... we DO live close to Russia... grin

Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner

Interesting... Since they are not electronic, they could be used during a PTG exam. And if they are accurate enough to determine a tuning is not ET, then they should be accurate enough to pass a PTG exam. Anybody think it would work?


Jeff, I think that if you'd bring that set into the testing room, they'd pass you quickly, just to get you out of there. Then they'd go to a group therapy session!


Edited by pppat (03/18/10 04:55 PM)
_________________________
Patrick Wingren, RPT

Senior Lecturer (jazz piano, composition, music theory, conducting) @ Novia University of Applied Sciences, Jakobstad, Finland
- - - -
Dedicated to learning the craft of tuning. Getting better.

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#1398779 - 03/18/10 05:00 PM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: pppat]
Jake Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/17/09
Posts: 577
Loc: Atlanta, GA
I found the pitches of one set of forks, but they're not just for pianos, apparently. They're in Ellis' "The History of Musical Pitch" (1880) on page 300 of the Journal of the Society of Arts. It's online and the pdf can be downloaded. No time to compare the charts to ET right now, though, and his discussion includes some problems with the forks, which he discusses as one way in which pitch could be measured:

http://books.google.com/books?id=hnkWAAAAYAAJ&lpg=PA294&ots=swO3NYamM9&dq=ellis%20%22history%20of%20Musical%20pitch%22&pg=PA305#v=onepage&q=&f=false

See also the discussion of ET on page 336.

By the way, in which of Ellis' works are the actual charts of Broadwood tunings given? Maybe in a later version of this essay?



Edited by Jake Jackson (03/18/10 07:09 PM)

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#1398830 - 03/18/10 06:38 PM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: Jake Jackson]
Jake Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/17/09
Posts: 577
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Here's one of Ellis' original charts, again in the JOSA, on page 489. (May be easier download the pdf and then search for Ellis or Broadwood.) These differ, I think, from the charts we've seen. They are attempts at ET done by Broadwood tuners. The first four are piano tunings. This is his essay "On the Musical Scales of Various Nations" (1885). Bagpipes, too!"

http://books.google.com/books?id=qSsFAAAAQAAJ&dq=%22Journal%20of%20the%20society%20of%20arts%22%201880%20ellis&pg=PA501#v=onepage&q=ellis&f=false

(I don't have the Jorgensen book, so I don't know the exact source of the charts referenced there.)

(The reference to tuning glasses of water to the partials is from Ellis, too, in his "Notes of Observations on Musical Beats.")


Edited by Jake Jackson (03/18/10 07:11 PM)

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#1399100 - 03/19/10 07:21 AM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: pppat]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4919
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: pppat
.....

Sometimes I've been contemplating that the quite obvious lack of direction in modern classical music might have something to do with equal temperament. Or maybe that ET reflects our time in a logical way. Where to go now, after tonality has been smashed, twisted, and broken down - starting somewhere around Wagner, culminating in the atonal period of the mid 20th century?

Fact is that from somewhere around 1950 and onwards, the core of the classical music scene has been nourishing from an era that is long gone. I don't think anything similar has happened to this extent earlier in the history of classical music.

Well, somebody might come up with something smile Personally I think rhythm might be the thing that will lead the classical music into a new era, I think I see some hints in that direction.



Pat:

I am going to muse a little bit. This may lead things back to the original topic.

Personally, I prefer the piano as a solo instrument. Neither the tone nor the tuning really meshes with other instruments. I suppose it is good for accompanying vocal groups if the arrangement keeps the piano in the background. And a really good jazz ensemble is OK, if the instrumentalist can play in tune.

My background is in low brass. I remember knowing how a piece would sound because of the key signature – the more flats the mellower it sounded. Others did not notice this. I now understand why this is. It does not have anything to do with Well Temperament, but perhaps it was the intent of the composer. It has to do with brass instruments being, really, valved bugles. A major triad formed naturally with the 4th, 5th and 6th partials is pure. But a major triad unnaturally formed by using valves from the 5th, 6th and 8th partials has an extremely wide major 3rd. But there can be clashes of intonation with the woodwinds and also between brass instruments in different keys. So I do not think either ET or WT is played by instrumentalists, anyway.

As far as where music, classical or otherwise, is going I would say it is following the money. There have been some fantastic scores written for movies. Sure, a lot of the Disney stuff is sappy, but at least it has a melody you can remember!
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1399140 - 03/19/10 09:00 AM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: UnrightTooner]
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2338
Loc: Portland, Oregon
I am trying my best to stabilize these 2 treble sections...they are still not quite right yet. In any case, here is Il Postino again, this time fresh off the 5th tuning....such beautiful sounds from this EBVT III. Also included here, is a crazily fun Medley of Fox Trots from the 1920's...and to think they danced to this music!!

1. Il Postino played on the LX (5th tuning) using Mid2Piano CD software into the LX emulation, in EBVT III http://www.box.net/shared/0dy30iqc8g

2. Original Ampico Roll--"Fox Trot Medley No.4", Recording Without Words For Dancing--Played by Harry Shipman and Victor Lane in EBVT III (4 hand piano arrangement) http://www.box.net/shared/50fv8hy7ob

1. I Still Get a Thrill
2. I'll Be Blue Just Thinking Of You
3. Good Evenin'
4. My Bluebird Was Caught In The Rain

3. Original Ampico Roll--"It's DeLovely" by Cole Porter, played by Frank Milne on the Ampico, in EBVT III http://www.box.net/shared/4zr3jdyj6a

Here is an interesting comparison...the same roll, "It's DeLovely" back in May, 2009. The tuning is from my RCT, #5 stretch...the tempo is bit slower. Very different overall effect between ET and EBVT III. http://www.box.net/shared/t8bg6keqa1



Edited by grandpianoman (03/19/10 10:43 AM)

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#1399169 - 03/19/10 09:49 AM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: Grandpianoman]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3195
Loc: Madison, WI USA
GP, thanks, it is getting better all the time! I love the contrasts I hear in the modulations. They sound right and purposeful to me. They provide for a momentary departure and a return that would be neutralized by ET.

I like anything by Cole Porter! I recall singing it in a small ensemble during the show, "Anything Goes". I also recall sending Owen Jorgensen the score to "For Thine is a Lovely Face" from "Kiss Me, Kate" after rehearsing it with the local opera company in the original EBVT. As I recall, it is written in five flats and I noted at the time how well the well tempering worked with the mood of that song.

Recently, I tuned the piano in the EBVT III on stage for a Cole Porter review where the piano was center with a small orchestra which included strings, winds, a harp and a celeste. I attended the show that evening mostly because I like Cole Porter music but also to see and hear how the piano worked with the ensemble. Not only was there not a problem, the ensemble playing was stunningly in tune! I had taken the time to really customize the tuning of the Kawai grand that was used. The singers were great and the pianist who knew me thanked me for the "great piano sound" (as he put it) afterward.

In 2002, I played the character, Anselmo in The Man of La Mancha and tuned the piano in the EBVT III for all of those rehearsals (often freshening it up right before each rehearsal). I relished in the dark moods of many of the songs that were in 5-7 flats, such as "One Pair of Arms is Like Another". Yet, for the solo I sang, "Little Bird" which was in G Major, the mood was appropriately sweet.

I had the same experience twice with Man of La Mancha helping the on stage guitarist who had little experience tune his guitar. In a previous production of that show with the opera company, the on stage guitarist obviously didn't know how to tune his own instrument very well but I stepped in to fix that problem and used the well temperament for guitar that I came up with and tuned the guitar for him back stage shortly before he performed that number each time.

I had spoken of this on Pianotech way back then and some people found it unbelievable that an opera company would hire a guitarist that didn't know how to tune the guitar. Sometimes, it is a matter of who they can get and the other skills that person may have and it is only assumed that a guitarist would know how to tune his guitar.

In the second show, it was a matter of not having to hire a guitarist just for one number because one of the actors could manage to play the simple chords that were required. He also had a very poor concept of how to tune the instrument but I programmed my SAT for the well tempered guitar tuning, showed him how to use it and I had a perfectly tuned guitar in equal beating well temperament to sing with each time.

I could cite song after song, show after show of examples where the EBVT or EBVT III was used to tune the piano for all of the rehearsals and how the choice of key signature was appropriate each time. There never was an instance where it was not.

GP, any luck finding the "Going Home" melody by Dvorak in your library?
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1399480 - 03/19/10 06:46 PM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2338
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hi Bill,

Thanks for the positive comments on my tuning...It's not easy to get a 'broadcast' quality tuning to sound perfect. Lol...I am so particular now about unisons.

I too hear the differences in the modulations. That's one of the reasons I like your EBVT III.

I have more rolls of Cole Porter and also, Irving Berlin..will post a few more later.

Interesting story about your Cole Porter experience....being a pro-musician myself, I find it hard to believe that other musicians, pianists etc, would not enjoy your EBVT III. Once one hears it, going back to ET, something is missing. To my ear, you have combined the best of ET, and added another dimension to the sound.

I am looking forward to Nick's recording, and Patrick's!

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#1399499 - 03/19/10 07:20 PM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: Grandpianoman]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3195
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Thanks GP, any musicians any pianists I have ever tuned it for have very much enjoyed it. Granted, you can't please everybody all the time. Piano technicians sometimes are very sensitized to anything but the most perfected ET. That can lead to propaganda for and against it on both sides, so let's be fair. Let's go with the music itself.

We all know that music in the simpler keys can sound improved with a WT. But I am particularly interested in demonstrating that music in the remote keys, those where a WT is theorized to not be acceptable can also be enhanced. So, any of these great melodies you can find in a remote key, such as "If I loved you" from Carousel by Rodgers and Hammerstein would be particularly effective.

It will be naturally pleasing to hear some items in the simple diatonic keys but the more you can find with complex harmonies in the remote keys and multiple modulations, the better. It is all music and it will all work in the tuning I provided you.

That one roll you have of Rachmaninoff playing the "Flight of the Bumble bee" is great too. It shows off the great regulation you have and the lightning fast repetition your piano is capable of.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1399769 - 03/20/10 02:48 AM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2338
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Agreed....to each his own! smile

I just looked it up in my Ampico Catalog, someone DID make "Going Home" on the Ampico...I have to see if I have it.

I have come up with a few Ampico rolls that should be very interesting for their key signatures. The Dohnanyi selections, played by him, are very unusual...they are not that well known, but are very beautiful never the less, and in EBVT III, a very mystical and magical effect is heard. The harmonies are just fantastic...listen to the long glisando with the dampers up around 3:15 secs into Rhapsody selection.

It still amazes me that they had this technology back in the early 1920's, and were able to produce music like this...the people must have been in awe when they watched and listened to the reproducing player piano.

I have an original Rachmaninoff playing "Flight of the Bumblebee"!...this is something else, short but sweet. I recorded it in 2 different speeds, one as marked on the roll, the other, a bit slower.

If your have a pair of headphones, these mp3 files will sound great.

Debussy's "Nocturne in D Flat".....beautiful...albeit, some of the bass notes are not spot on, but you can hear the effect that EBVT III has in this key. The ending is exquisite.

Had to record one Fox Trot amongst all this classical music...."By the Waters of the Minnetonka"...played by Zez Confrey...what a FUN piece of music...zany!!

These recordings are all working off my 5th tuning...they are not all perfect.....I tried to clean up all the unisons between each take...was almost successful...there is one treble section that keeps going out..that's the section down from the very top....I wonder if some type of string "seating" would help...have been reading about this on the Wapin forum. The rest of the piano is much more stable. Enjoy, GP smile


1. Recut Ampico Roll, "Music of the Spheres" from "Wintereigen" by Ernst Von Dohnanyi, Played by E.V.Dohnanyi, on the Ampico in EBVT III http://www.box.net/shared/b5fvvv7tbn

2. Recut Ampico Roll, "Rhapsody" Op 11, No 2 by E.V.Dohnanyi, played by E.V. Dohnanyi on the Ampico in EBVT III http://www.box.net/shared/xnojy1dxnj

3. Original Ampico Roll, "Nocturne in DFlat" by Debussy, Played by Julius Chaloff on the Ampico in EBVT III

4. Original Ampico Roll, "Flight Of The Bumblebee" played by Sergei Rachmaninoff on the Ampico in EBVT III (tempo as marked on the roll) http://www.box.net/shared/srj7d2kdsf

5. Original Ampico Roll, "Flight Of The Bumblebee" played by Sergei Rachmaninoff on the Ampico in EBVT III (slower tempo) http://www.box.net/shared/yrn32tluiz

6. Original Ampico Roll, "Hungarian Rhapsody No.10" by Liszt, played by Hans Barth on the Ampico, in EBVT III http://www.box.net/shared/ft2bs71are

7. Original Ampico Roll, "By The Waters Of The Minnetonka", Fox Trot, played by Zez Confrey on the Ampico, in EBVT III http://www.box.net/shared/iu43uh3lrf





Edited by grandpianoman (03/20/10 05:15 AM)

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#1399875 - 03/20/10 10:03 AM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: Grandpianoman]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3195
Loc: Madison, WI USA
GP, thanks but the one I wanted to hear the most, the Debussy, you did not provide a hot link for. The Hungarian Rhapsody sounds the most in tune.

I am not sure whether string seating would help the stability or not. The action itself will make the strings go quite flat. What you really don't want to do is damage either the strings and especially not the bridge. I have never done that on any piano in many years. I have a special tool for it but I don't carry it with me. I don't even think about it. It can be a case of if a little does some good, would more be better? Definitely not if it damages something.

The tuning instability you are experiencing is disappointing. We know that the player systems drive the hammers much harder than most pianists actually play. This could be causing the strings to ride up somewhat on the bridge pins. That would be a reason to seat the strings, of course. But being that you have a Wapin bridge, that may complicate matters. I'm afraid I cannot give you good advice on that. Yours was the first piano I ever saw with one!

If there is anyone reading who has some experience with string seating on a Wapin bridge, I hope they will provide some input. Otherwise, I would suggest consulting directly with the Wapin installer.

There is another thought that came to mind. Pitchlock string couplers: http://www.pitchlock.com/pages/primary_pages/couplers.html

Since you already have so many innovations on your piano, why not another? From what I understand about the Pitchlock string couplers, their primary function is to keep unisons in tune longer. They also will solve false beat problems and solve mismatched wound string problems.

I have a kit that I bought from the innovator, Scott Jones but I have never used them, so I also have no experience with how well they work. Some of your treble notes do have some false beats although they were not bad. String seating can also cure false beats.

What always scared me about the Pitchlock couplers is how anyone would go about tuning unisons that have them. From what I understand, you have to tune the first string a "little" sharp. There is already that problem in getting the whole unison to "hang on" to the program pitch. It is impossible to give a specification about how much a "little" means.

It might be a good idea if you could find a technician that could do three things for you: seat the strings, get the piano back in tune according to the program (using either Tunelab or RCT), install the Pitchlock string couplers and tune the piano according to program with them installed. You would want to observe how the technician tunes with the string couplers installed.

Anyone else think this may help?
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1399889 - 03/20/10 10:44 AM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Nick Mauel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/05/08
Posts: 789
Loc: Sarasota and Naples, FL
I am tuning more pianos this weekend at my store using the EBVT III and will report back. I am also going to tune one in a customer's home and gauge the reaction. I don't have it down yet without using notes, so I'm afraid of looking like a beginner following notes for temperament. In my store nobody is watching me.
_________________________
Nick's Piano Showroom
Naples, Fort Myers, & Sarasota, FL
New Estonia, Mason & Hamlin, Baldwin, Brodmann & Ritmuller
239-206-4541 direct line
www.nickspiano.com

Concert Piano Technician, Dealer, and Pianist

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#1399894 - 03/20/10 10:52 AM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: Nick Mauel]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3195
Loc: Madison, WI USA
LOL, Nick, I can remember having a sheet of temperament instructions in front of me and a customer staring at me. Good luck!
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1399950 - 03/20/10 12:10 PM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
RonTuner Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1652
Loc: Chicagoland
I've got a few pitchlock installs under my belt - it may help, but makes tuning more of an adventure! The best way I've found via machine (like GP would have to do) is to tune the locked strings "open". That is, with the two strings singing adjust by cracking the unison and shifting back and forth until the display is dead on. Then the third string is no problem. It does "dull" the tone just a tiny bit. Since GP never has to deal with major pitch adjustments, it might be something to try.

Ron Koval
chicagoland
_________________________
Piano/instrument technician
www.ronkoval.com
@ronkoval

my piano videos:
http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=drwoodwind


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#1400141 - 03/20/10 05:41 PM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: RonTuner]
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2338
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Bill, thanks for the advice...this pitchlock and string seating may be something to look into going forward. Ron, thanks for your advice as well.

Another thought, this could be my hammer technique. In the future, I may have a tuning done by a pro, to see if there is any more stability than I am getting now.

Sorry about the link to the Debussy...here it is:

Original Ampico Roll, "Nocturne in D Flat" by Debussy, played by Julius Chaloff on the Ampico, in EBVT III http://www.box.net/shared/lz04xurktr



Edited by grandpianoman (03/20/10 07:41 PM)

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#1400195 - 03/20/10 07:18 PM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: Grandpianoman]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3195
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Thank you for the Debussy, GP! Even though the tuning is not pristine, the music is delicious! It is in a key that is supposed to not work and that is what thrills me because it clearly does. The modulations provide for stunning texture.

I mean the following seriously: GP, I know you will be busy with work next month, so any more tinkering with your piano other than what you can do for yourself could wait until May when maybe you have some money to spend on it. Why not invite Ron Koval out the same way you invited me, a short weekend trip. He could take an evening flight from O'Hare, work Saturday and either retuen that evening or the next day.

I know Ron as a very capable technician who could handle the string seating problem if there is one. He could install the Pitchlock devices and show you how you wing-wang the unisons into tune according to the program. Ron can load the data into his Verituner (remember about partial selection!) and can prove to himself that stored data for a particular piano works! I think Ron is also familiar with the RCT. Who knows, maybe I would want to come out again too and learn something for myself.

GP, be sure to watch the video of how the Pitchlock couplers work. They can serve to make quick unison touch up easier because you would only need to tune the third open string to the coupled unison until the whole piano needs retuning. You could keep the tuning fresher sounding more easily and quickly that way. You have a beautiful set of Bass strings, no mismatches but I also think that the couplers would keep your wound strings in more solid unisons longer too.

I don't remember about the duplex scale of your piano but apparently the couplers can clean up a "dirty" duplex too. One of the most exquisite pianos I have ever tuned is the Fazioli which has an easily tunable duplex. Some pianos are deliberately built with a wacky duplex. That "dirty" sound of random resonances is meant to be appealing. On the other hand, the sound I get when I have all the harmonics lined up both in the speaking lengths and the duplex side of the bridge is nothing short of stunning! It is so pleasing to the ear to hear those faint harmonics and resonances gel together! I have never heard the "pipe organ effect" like I have on the Fazioli. I would swear I was in a giant cathedral and the organ is playing, not the piano! The sustain on the Fazioli is so long, its scale design so perfect and its duplex system so cooperative that it produces this holy grail sound.

I think that may be possible with your piano too. The sustain is excellent. You have come so far with it but the quest for perfection never ends. Two heads are always better than one, so if Ron and I can get together on taking your piano to yet a new height, I would be game for it. I can review your tuning program and make slight adjustments to it. I know Ron has a good ear and we can both listen and determine the compromise for each note according to the plan and make any fine adjustments we deem appropriate. He can learn once and for all, in person, what I do with the octaves and maybe find out if there is a practical way to manipulate the Verituner to do that. I hope the sostenuto pedal works, because I would definitely need it.

After all, the entire program is in whole and half cents. I normally work that way for my own sanity but surely, it means there is room for some tiny improvements, tenths of cents, but when you're going for true perfection, every tenth counts.

So, GP and Ron, give it some thought and let me know. So far, this has been the most interesting and fascinating tuning project I have ever worked on but it can be done one better.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1400221 - 03/20/10 08:06 PM Re: My Piano in EBVT III [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2338
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Bill and Ron, that sounds like a great idea! Let me look at my schedule, then we can all work something out.

Thanks for the pitchlock info..I took a look and listen on their website....it makes sense. Probably the best thing is to first diagnose the stability issue, then go from there.

I don't know why this is....My RCT has your exact EBVT III figures, as well as the my Iphone Tunelab, I've double-checked them twice. As I tuned the piano this last time, I had both machines going to see how they agreed. The RCT, for most of the piano except for the treble sections, was telling me that the notes were too sharp when Tunelab was telling me the notes were correct. The last appx. 3 octaves, the RCT pretty much agreed with the Tunelab....strange.

I agree, the Debussy is beautiful in EBVT III, even with the uneven tuning. The harmony is magical.

Randy, my rebuilder, seems to think that the tuning is unstable mostly due to my constantly, over the last 3 years, changing things, the Wapin and now the pounding down of the 2 treble sections, and my hammer technique. I have tuned several friends pianos, and they don't go flat like mine. However, they don't have 2 player systems that are giving daily concerts, LOL~!

Here is what I have noticed these last 5 tunings since you left, and even before your arrival, since I received the piano in 2007......when I go back to tune the whole piano, the upper 2 treble sections are the worst. The very top treble is not nearly as bad as the section below it. In fact, that top section is quite stable in unisons and pitch.

The section that is a problem, between D#5-G6, that section constantly goes flat first before any other section, and the unisons drift out first there before any other section....that's why we pounded down the pins, thinking that would help. For example, after tuning from bass to treble, that problematic area, after 1 or 2 pieces that really pound the piano, that section is already somewhat flat! Then slowly, the more the piano is played, the whole piano starts to drift flat, it never seems to go sharp.

Bill, this whole experience has been great for me as well...hearing the piano in your EBVT III tuning has been very rewarding, and I look forward to continuing on the road to sonic perfection!


Edited by grandpianoman (03/20/10 08:57 PM)

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