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#1478374 - 07/21/10 08:52 AM A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins...
Piano World Offline


Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5530
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (originally N...
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) July 20, 2010

A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins Shooting This Week


TUNERS - What's Your Take on This?
NOTE: Michael LaPointe has contacted me and mentioned he'd be very happy to entertain any Q&A about this project. If anyone is interested, please let me know, or just respond to this thread.


( Frank B.)

Appassionato: A Mathematical History of the Piano begins principal photography in Los Angeles, California, on July 17, 2010. Extensive in scope, the production will document experts from UCLA, USC, Yale University, Princeton University, and MIT.

Appassionato: A Mathematical History of the Piano is the story of the multiple failed approaches toward a unified piano tuning throughout the ages, and also the men (Galileo, Newton, Pythagoras, Bach) who tried to create a “perfect” musical harmony.

While some believe that music is the perfect art form and mathematics the perfect science; neither are. They harbor mysteries deeper than the caves of the human mind. Music and mathematics and the link between them raises important questions in our cultural evolution: What is harmony? Who gets to say what is pleasing to the ears and what is utter garbage? Why does music move us? How come mathematics is recognized as the perfect science; yet, many mathematicians realize there are anomalies layered throughout its structure?

Using a myriad of original interviews from the leading minds in the field, as well as reenactments and modern storytelling techniques, Appassionato: A Mathematic History of the Piano will be the most comprehensive documentary about the legacy between humanity, mathematics, and music.

The feature length documentary is an ode to pianos, music, math; and, the leaders of art and thought who dared to challenge notions of what is possible in our world.

The movie, helmed by Michael LaPointe, is gathering a diverse and talented group of professionals including sound designer/composer Rob Simon (Ambient Music Designer for Iron Man, The Unborn, The Wolfman) and Producer Cicely Gilkey who has helped produce all three seasons of the Madmen behind the scenes documentaries.

Additional information on Appassionato: A Mathematical History of the Piano can be found on the film's fundraising webpage: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/889010276/appassionato-a-mathematical-history-of-the-piano or Facebook page: facebook.com/appassionatothemovie



Edited by Piano World (07/21/10 10:57 PM)
Edit Reason: updated
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#1479261 - 07/22/10 03:04 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: Piano World]
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5483
sounds like he's going to go deep into some themes explored in GRAND OBSESSION. sounds terrific! i look forward to seeing it.
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now in paperback:


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#1479270 - 07/22/10 03:17 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: piqué]
Piano World Offline


Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5530
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (originally N...
:-)
I thought of Grand Obsession (along with you and Mark) when I first read about the documentary.

I'm hoping some of our tuner-techs and designers join in too.
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#1479817 - 07/23/10 11:17 AM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: Piano World]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4789
Loc: Bradford County, PA
I don't know. It is a dry subject to get into. I think they will have to play some games to make it interesting. Like how they changed the tone and not just the tuning of the harpsichord when demonstrating Well and Equal Temperaments in the clip. Not to mention can anyone really know how they tuned in Bach’s time? They may even have some kind of agenda and are willing to obscure the truth to make a point. But then isn’t that what most documentaries do?
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1480089 - 07/23/10 06:22 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: UnrightTooner]
Appassionato Movie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/21/10
Posts: 5
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Hey Jeff,
We did not change the tone of the Harpsichord in the clip. Eric, the professor in the clip, actually does go into great detail about the tuning in Bach's time but atlas, it would make the clip 5-10 minutes long and I wanted to just show a short piece from the shooting. There is no agenda other than trying to make a documentary about the subject.

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#1480350 - 07/24/10 03:55 AM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: Appassionato Movie]
Olek Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6373
Loc: France
Will that take in account the new approaches to tuning (dating +- 1985) by Cordier, Stopper, and now ALfredo capurso 'CHAS" ?
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#1480534 - 07/24/10 01:13 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: Olek]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1540
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
I guess the movie will be about temperament instead of pianos. After all pianos did not really exist before mid 18th century. But with "piano" in the title it will get a larger audience. Look forward to the result. Regarding Kamin's question, I hope the producers have a crackpot detector on call and will evaluate recent "innovations" critically.

Kees

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#1480567 - 07/24/10 01:54 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: DoelKees]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20766
Loc: Oakland
For this sort of project, the crackpot detector is generally used to find material to put in, not to keep out.
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#1480568 - 07/24/10 01:55 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: Piano World]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19292
Loc: New York
I eagerly look forward to it.
Thanks for posting this!

(BTW......I assume I couldn't be the Mark you meant! Although if I were, I certainly wouldn't mind.) smile
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1480619 - 07/24/10 03:04 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: Mark_C]
Olek Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6373
Loc: France
Too funny : what is a crackpot ?

You know, Cordier is relatively common in France, and was even told in an university in Montpellier. Those symetrical concepts are valid to me, Chas bein slightly different because of the realisation method, and the goal (sort of self referred acoustic equilibrium).

those tunings generate all a particular resonant flow, and are playeable. The reference to circle of fifth remain, even if not as evident than in other methods.


Edited by Kamin (07/24/10 03:40 PM)
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#1480674 - 07/24/10 04:18 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: Olek]
Appassionato Movie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/21/10
Posts: 5
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Hey All,
To answer a few questions; yes, the movie is more about temperament. We feel that most people gravitate to ideas better if there is something specific they can latch onto visually and emotionally; hence, the use of piano over temperament in the title. I do plan on asking the piano technicians about Cordier, and will ask also about Stopper Scale and Capurso. Although I am not familiar with Capurso? So any enlightenment would be appreciated.

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#1480684 - 07/24/10 04:27 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: Appassionato Movie]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20766
Loc: Oakland
I suggest you start here.
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#1480899 - 07/24/10 11:22 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: Olek]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1540
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: Kamin

You know, Cordier is relatively common in France, and was even told in an university in Montpellier.

Pythagoras would have loved Cordier tuning; let the octaves deal with his comma!

Kees

Note added in edit: This is a nice page on the octave.


Edited by DoelKees (07/24/10 11:25 PM)

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#1480988 - 07/25/10 05:20 AM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: DoelKees]
Olek Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6373
Loc: France
Yes it satisfy the mind for that aspect, that said it is diversely appreciated. may be because it project the resonance very high in the spectra, may be because of the hyperactive double octave (probably not but I don't know)
Sure the orchestra find his justness easily.

Now what should be very interesting to study, is the natural settling form of those tunings/ All tunings find a path [acoustical ?) to a stability. (I of course don't talk of pin or wire settling, this is supposed to be done actively by the tuner, and if well done, it does not move)

An hypothesis is that the "CHAS" form (equilibrium 12/15) is a natural settling of a pure 12 [or eventually more stretched tuning as long as the 3:1 relation is not too much skewed)

That is more or less the way it is produced, with an appreciation of the soundboard - bridge motion when the unisons are tuned. When one think about it, the method is so imprecise that the reason why the final form install naturally is worth investigating (with Chadli experiments or similar ?)

On the paper, Chas sound a little difficult. but it rely on a natural geometric ratio, which is probably the one which is the most near of the usual theoretical ET.

I am looking forward to the progresses of the video !
Btw I have a few recordings of a tentative for Chas on Viennese Forte, a Pleyel pianino (1848) and other more modern instruments. but Alfredo Capurso may have more quality .recordings probably.

as probably Bernhard Stopper..

Best wishes







Edited by Kamin (07/25/10 08:56 AM)
Edit Reason: written on a cell phone
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#1481146 - 07/25/10 01:10 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: Olek]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1540
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: Kamin
the natural settling form of those tunings/ All tunings find a path [acoustical ?) to a stability. (I of course don't talk of pin or wire settling, this is supposed to be done actively by the tuner, and if well done, it does not move)

An hypothesis is that the "CHAS" form (equilibrium 12/15) is a natural settling of a pure 12 [or eventually more stretched tuning as long as the 3:1 relation is not too much skewed)

That is more or less the way it is produced, with an appreciation of the soundboard - bridge motion when the unisons are tuned. When one think about it, the method is so imprecise that the reason why the final form install naturally is worth investigating (with Chadli experiments or similar ?)


In my opinion all this talk about "acoustical equilibrium" etc is utter nonsense. The only stable tuning of a piano is when all strings are tuned to 0Hz. That is it's natural state.

Kees

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#1481154 - 07/25/10 01:19 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: DoelKees]
Olek Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6373
Loc: France
Why ? ask engineers . All pianos settle in a stable form, if they go out of tune it is because the tuning is not strong enough, because the pianist play too hard, because the moisture change the soundboard shape.

If not brutalized a tuning can hold for years...

Acoustical stability, is a very important concept, ask plane builders. I also have hard time to believe that, but it was confirmed.

A 0 Hz string ?



Edited by Kamin (07/25/10 01:27 PM)
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#1481160 - 07/25/10 01:30 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: Olek]
Olek Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6373
Loc: France
Setting a pin is yet an equilibrium question. I even wonder if the fact that when set actively (the tuning pin is made springy enough to hold the wire)the higher resonant frequency of the system does not help for stability.
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#1481167 - 07/25/10 01:38 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: Olek]
Olek Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6373
Loc: France
See : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7Bmj6Hwyxk

pin setting and other..

I liked your site, but did not find the modes explained (while it is not so important !) Live music is worth any piano tuning theory or practice !!
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#1481172 - 07/25/10 01:51 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: Olek]
Inlanding Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 1634
Loc: Colorado
The original pianos did not use felt hammers and did not have modern scales and more sophisticated components that are used to construct modern pianos, so what we do today must only simulate what might have happened in regards to tuning the original pianos. I am not sure, but I think the original Cristofori pianos had leather/paper hammers, used two strings in the compass which were made of some type of metal and the overall piano was constructed with slightly more than 4 octaves. My guess a tuning on a piano like that would have produced a much different sound than one on a modern piano.

I look forward to the documentary and hope that whatever historical reference regarding the evolution of tuning temperaments also incorporates the types of instruments (pianos) on which they were tuned and their evolution as well.

Glen
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#1481177 - 07/25/10 02:01 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: Inlanding]
Inlanding Offline
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Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 1634
Loc: Colorado
Thank you, Issac for demonstrating that aspect of pin-setting and tuning stability. Excellent video - you can hear the vibration quite clearly and the unison seems to favor sympathetic vibration quite nicely - long sustain.

Glen
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March piano audio
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A Bit of YouTube

PTG Associate Member

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#1481210 - 07/25/10 03:04 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins [Re: Appassionato Movie]
Bernhard Stopper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/08
Posts: 204
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: Appassionato Movie
Hey All,
I do plan on asking the piano technicians about Cordier, and will ask also about Stopper Scale and Capurso. Although I am not familiar with Capurso? So any enlightenment would be appreciated.


The fact that you want to ask other technicians about the work of three authors working on equal temperament improvements and not the authors directly (we are all three still alive), is very unusual for a scientific and objective documentation about theories and makes me assume that your motivation is not primarily to document objectively about equal temperament improvements, but may be rather another attempt to install unequal temperament as common standard until the 19th century. Your project thus has a documentation form i want my work not to be part of.

Bernhard Stopper




Edited by Bernhard Stopper (07/25/10 03:31 PM)
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#1481216 - 07/25/10 03:12 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: Olek]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1540
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: Kamin
See : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7Bmj6Hwyxk

pin setting and other..

I liked your site, but did not find the modes explained (while it is not so important !) Live music is worth any piano tuning theory or practice !!



I do not dispute that (thanks for all those video's on the subject, learned a lot from it).

I just think a stable tuning can be anything, it has nothing to do with the actual frequencies that the strings are tuned to (within say 5 cent or so).

I'm not sure what acoustical equilibrium is in the aircraft industry, but whatever it is I think there are enough differences between airplanes and piano's that such concepts do not readily carry over. Or have you tuned aircraft? smile

Kees

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#1481249 - 07/25/10 04:06 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: Appassionato Movie]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1540
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Hope the movie will have time to mention split key keyboards.
There is one on the Stanford campus (Fisk-Nanny organ), I'm sure you can film there.
The organ has a giant lever to switch between 1/5' meantone and a well-temperament.

Kees

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#1481562 - 07/26/10 03:36 AM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: DoelKees]
Appassionato Movie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/21/10
Posts: 5
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Hello Kees,
Thanks for the heads up; we will be in that area and the Fisk Nanney organ sounds very interesting!
Berhard, if I am not mistaken you live in Germany? Although, it would be great to go to Europe, it just is not possible for the documentary. I will honor your request and not mention you in the documentary.

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#1481577 - 07/26/10 04:46 AM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins [Re: Appassionato Movie]
Bernhard Stopper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/08
Posts: 204
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: Appassionato Movie

Although, it would be great to go to Europe, it just is not possible for the documentary.


What confirms me about your priorities.
Anyway, your respect for my request is very much appreciated.

Bernhard Stopper
_________________________
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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#1481666 - 07/26/10 09:42 AM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: Piano World]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3036
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Appasionato, I wonder if you would be interested in the Equal Beating Victorian Temperament which I have developed now for 18 years? It began as a quest to tune a very mild Well Temperament for which there were no good aural tuning instructions. Although there was a considerable trial and error involved in putting into writing just how it could be tuned and replicated, the final version did come about in 2007.

What you may find of interest in that final version is that it is virtually identical to the Circulating Temperament Number 2 that Johann George Neidhardt designed in 1724. It is documented in the book by Murray Barbour that BDB suggested.

Contemporary piano technicians and/or mathematicians tend to think in monolithic terms about how the 12 tone scale should be divided: equally. There is a popular book on that subject which I will not name here that in my view, mixes valid research with supposition and substitution of temperament designs which were clearly not equal but called them “equal” anyway just to support the notion that equal Temperament (ET) is now, always was and always will be the only way to temper a scale.

Furthermore, there have been many on-going discussions which are active presently about how the octaves of a piano should be tuned. The more the subject is discussed, the less agreement there is upon what the solution is or should be. The reason for that is simple: it is a dilemma for which there is no perfect solution, only one compromise or another which is deemed to be the best by whoever advocates it at any particular time.

I believe I have found a compromise both in temperament and octave stretch that lends a powerful and beautiful effect to all music played upon the piano. It is a regular and daily practice for me as a piano technician. The compromise in temperament restores the “color” to the key signature that is lost and neutralized by ET. The choice of equal beating intervals both within the temperament and among the octaves provides a canceling effect which effectively suppresses the “noise” caused both by the Pythagorean comma and inharmonicity. I have found a way to turn these two foes against each other to create a sound from the piano that to most people is more interesting and engaging than standard practice.

Recently, I returned to the home of “Grandpianoman”, a long time participant in the tuner-technician forum. He is a professional, classically trained musician who became interested in tuning his own Mason & Hamlin grand piano which has dual player systems (the original one that plays paper rolls and a modern one that plays CD’s). He had taken me up on my offer to come to his home in Portland, OR to tune the piano for him and provide the electronic data for the results so that he could replicate the tuning thereafter. He has been more than thrilled with the results and therefore a very long discussion has ensued.

I suggest you take a listen to this recording of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition:

http://www.box.net/shared/51dnxxpqb1

(You do not have to download the file just to listen).

While because of the equipment failure of the primary recording device, the backup device was used, the recording is still quite good. The pianist is a professional and knows the music well. However, being also a fine organist, he tends to use the sustain pedal sparingly.

The music has all of the elements alluded to in the film clip: from very soft, single note playing to widespread use of the entire keyboard, rumbling Bass to piercing treble. You will be able to hear the effects of “key color” in the modulations that would be absent and neutralized in a standard practice tuning.

It was a single take and therefore has a few wrong notes here and there, especially in the loud and difficult parts where all ten fingers are used, so bear that in mind, please. If this were a recording intended for commercial distribution, it would have been done in a studio and those flaws would have been corrected.

I would just like you and your partners in this project to give this recording and audition. It is a fine example of what can be drawn from the piano using a specific choice of compromises. If you are then interested in exploring further what I have to offer, I would be willing first to contribute monetarily to your project. Secondly, I have ties to Los Angeles and visit there frequently. You may want to have me tune a fine piano in a recording studio and have artists and engineers consider the results. I could provide my own transportation and lodging for that.

If you find these results to be of interest, a further mathematical analysis of what Neidhardt theorized nearly 300 years ago would be in order. Also, just what does happen acoustically and mathematically when equal beating intervals are deployed? There is a film producer in Los Angeles whose name I will not mention here but who has experienced and embraced my work in his home. He has very valuable skills, expertise and experience with just the kind of project you are working on. His contributions could be of considerable value to you.

Please give the link an audition and feel free to audition other links posted on the “My piano in the EBVT III” thread. Compare the recording of Mussorgsky’s “Pictures…” with any other commercially released CD of the same music, if you will. Is there an enhancement or does the piano just sound “out of tune” by today’s standards and the opinions of artists and professional recording engineers?

That is for you and your group to decide. You will see that there has been much heated discussion pro and con about both temperament and octave stretching. That is to be expected. Piano technicians tend to hold very strongly to the set of ideas which they have developed. What matters most however is not what any piano technician thinks about the way he or she may tune a piano or the way anyone else may tune but how that work is perceived by the artists, producers and recording engineers.

I look forward to your comments, whatever they may be.

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

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#1481845 - 07/26/10 01:58 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: Appassionato Movie]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1540
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: Appassionato Movie
Hello Kees,
Thanks for the heads up; we will be in that area and the Fisk Nanney organ sounds very interesting!

If you're in the Bay area anyways; there are quite a few organs in unequal temperament over there. Berkeley (forgot the name), Lutheran church Palo Alto, and more. I know an organist there that plays them all (and refuses to play ET organs). Send me a personal message if you want his contact info. He'll be thrilled to show/tell you more.

Kees

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#1482293 - 07/27/10 07:12 AM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: Appassionato Movie]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4789
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Appassionato Movie
Hey Jeff,
We did not change the tone of the Harpsichord in the clip. Eric, the professor in the clip, actually does go into great detail about the tuning in Bach's time but atlas, it would make the clip 5-10 minutes long and I wanted to just show a short piece from the shooting. There is no agenda other than trying to make a documentary about the subject.


I know what I heard. I didn't expect that anyone went to the trouble of changing the tone of the harpsichord itself when just a twist of a mixing knob will do it. I suspect the pitch was raised, also.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1482823 - 07/27/10 10:34 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: UnrightTooner]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1540
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Originally Posted By: Appassionato Movie
Hey Jeff,
We did not change the tone of the Harpsichord in the clip. Eric, the professor in the clip, actually does go into great detail about the tuning in Bach's time but atlas, it would make the clip 5-10 minutes long and I wanted to just show a short piece from the shooting. There is no agenda other than trying to make a documentary about the subject.


I know what I heard. I didn't expect that anyone went to the trouble of changing the tone of the harpsichord itself when just a twist of a mixing knob will do it. I suspect the pitch was raised, also.

Strangely the WT version is played at A=440, but the ET version at A=415 with reverb added. Just a test shooting of course...

Kees

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#1482839 - 07/27/10 11:02 PM Re: A New Documentary About the Piano and Mathematics Begins... [Re: DoelKees]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1540
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
For this project to be funded they need to have $2000 pledged by September. I signed up with $15 which gives me a DVD of the movie when it comes out. No money will be charged to your credit card if the project is not funded. They are at $1615 already.

(Hint.)

Kees

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