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#1868761 - 03/26/12 01:27 PM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: UnrightTooner]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1101
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Ed:
<<Are you saying that it is appropriate to have a sustained Ab Major chord in WT?
Whoops! I misread and misplayed this piece. There are many Ab minor chords, but no Ab major chords.


There is that value thing again. "Appropriate"? Of course it is appropriate. As appropriate as the curves of a Henry Moore sculpture or Christo's pink wrapping. As appropriate as the vivid colors of the Sistine Chapel, or those screaming colors that Van Gogh painted with. This is art. It gives people a chance to find out if the know what they like, or like what they know. A Ab, either M or m is as appropriate as the huge smear of sound that Bach puts in his Toccata and Fugue D. You think Bach is afraid of dissonance? He uses it liberally.
How about considering the value of a very edgy, stimulative sounding passage? How about considering that Bach DID NOT think like you do. It could be !
I doubt seriously that you have listened to as much Bach on a WT as I have. It is common for listeners to hear only the difference between what they are used to and what they are hearing. And a considerable number, in which the OP seems to be included, cannot find any beauty in the clangorous contrasts. They prefer sameness, relying on intellectual response to create their beauty.
When the Sistine Chapel was first beginning to be cleaned of the centuries of grime and smoke residue, there were many that protested. They thought it more beautiful in the subdued, cloudy, state and that it should remain so. The vivid colors were too garish for a chapel. Never mind what the artist thought.......
I see a parallel in the temperament question. As we uncover the added dimension in the music that WT's create, we are confronted with music that is more than acoustic wallpaper. There is far more complexity in a WT, and the musical effect is likewise more complex. It becomes music that can more strongly affect our emotions, and some don't like that, at all.
Remain convinced, it doesn't do anybody else any harm.
Regards,

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#1868773 - 03/26/12 01:39 PM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: UnrightTooner]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Ed:

Then appreciation of Bach in WT is appropriate, but appreciation of Bach in ET is not?
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1868838 - 03/26/12 03:56 PM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: UnrightTooner]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3187
Loc: Madison, WI USA
I don't think anyone said that, Jeff. I have a vinyl disc set of WTC Book II that I used to enjoy many years ago, playing them over and over. I even used a snip for my telephone answering machine message. I don't have a turntable anymore but if I did buy one to play some of my old vinyl records, I probably would not play those.

I enjoyed them when I used to tune ET and thought like most other people do, that it was the only way to tune a piano. The recording industry almost entirely thinks the same way you do about the subject. To my knowledge, there are any number of WTC recordings, in whole or part played on the piano and all are in ET. There are only some more obscure recordings in a true WT on the harpsichord.

However, in 1989, I discovered the lost beauty and emotion that could be found in the Historical Temperaments and by that, I mean virtually any of the Cycle of 5ths based temperaments (and not Pythagorean or Just Intonation). It was, in fact, Dr. Trevor Stephenson (mentioned recently in another thread), who introduced me to that new beauty to be found in piano music. I never went back to ET ever since.

As for E-flat minor in a WT, that is the very darkest and moodiest key there is. If there were actually four sustained chords written in A-flat Major, it depends upon how they are voiced and how they are played in a WT. Certainly, an A-flat Major chord, played loudly right in the middle of the piano would sound a bit sour but a composer who actually wrote in A-flat did not write music for that key in that way.

Consider how Chopin often wrote in A-flat Major, for example. Of course, many people today only play that music in ET and furthermore believe that he wrote for ET. Those of us who have dug far deeper into the subject know that what Chopin was most likely used to was a 19th Century style WT. He actually chose that key for the vibrancy it afforded when playing widely voiced harmonies.

At the risk of being seen as "hijacking" this thread (which I am not attempting to do), I would offer the following recordings made in a small concert hall in suburban Milwaukee. It is a place where I have served as the sole technician for more years than I exactly remember but I have always been the sole technician to tune and service the restored 1877 Steinway Model D which is housed there.

I will avoid "promoting" the name of the temperament I customarily use; all of the regular readers know what it is. It is quite similar to many other of its period but also closely mimics an idea that Johann Georg Neidhardt conceived as early as 1724.

For the benefit of those who do not wish to download a zip file, I will post the four movements of Beethoven's A-flat Major Sonata, Op. 26 separately. One may listen or sample without downloading if one chooses.

Jeff, I know you may not want to at all, or may turn it off after two bars but some of the other respondents to this thread may actually be interested. Of particular note would be the third movement, Marcia Funebre in the key of E-flat minor (a topic recently brought up by the OP). That is a perfectly chosen and suitable key for WT for the mood of the movement. However, notice that it does modulate into less darkly colored keys. It is interesting to hear the contrasts between Major and minor in it.

I only wish I did have some examples of the WTC music actually played on the piano in a true WT but unfortunately, I do not. However, anyone who has studied this topic knows very well that other composers throughout the 18th and at least the early 19th Centuries were accustomed to the character (or "color") that WT afforded the various key signatures and chose to write in those keys because of the way they sounded.

Beethoven: Sonata in A-flat Major, Op. 26

1.Andante con Variazioni

http://www.box.com/s/91f43e6985184671b2f1

2. Scherzo: Allegro Molto

http://www.box.com/s/72a44f972c4f117f8213

3. Maricia Funebre

http://www.box.com/s/3437605daf08443f4747

4. Allegro

http://www.box.com/s/cb923715363c7e9150bb

Enjoy the Well-Tempered Clavier!
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1869030 - 03/27/12 12:22 AM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: UnrightTooner]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1657
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
I see. Your laziness must be on a higher moral plane than mine.

Moral?? Nothing to do with morals.

Forgive me for being blunt but it appears to me you want to form an opinion about the subject without being willing to educate yourself about it, despite help offered in good faith.

If I understand correctly you've also never heard a WT, let alone tuned it, which makes this thread amusing at best.

But I enjoy reading it, as I would enjoy a thread about how to tune a piano on a UFO if a technician was abducted.

Kees

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#1869088 - 03/27/12 05:32 AM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: UnrightTooner]
Mark R. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 1943
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Jeff,

Did you see my earlier response about BWV 854? I see nothing atonal about that modulation. The only "shell game" Bach plays (and a rather nifty one) is to move temporarily from B Major to B minor. The progression from bar 6 to 8 can just as well be played without the accidental d-naturals and g-naturals, i.e. in B major. The chord at the beginning of bar 8 [Edit: sorry, bar 7] is nothing more than the submediant (6th step) of the current key, i.e. G major in B minor (or G# minor in B major).

As far as your "tonal crisis" of F# dom7 vs. d-natural is concerned, keep in mind that F#7 is not only the dominant of B major, but just as much the dominant of B minor. At the risk of repeating myself: the functional/harmonic progression would be exactly the same without the g-natural and d-natural. The only "shell game" is flipping between the major and minor of the new key (B).

And as I also wrote earlier, an analogous progression, with a major-minor toss-up, happens in bars 20-22. The only difference here is that Bach delays the final resolution to E major by first moving from B7 (dominant) to C# minor (submediant) in bar 22: a so-called "Trugschluss" or "interrupted cadence".

Getting back to topic:

It could actually be argued that Bach temporarily switched to the minor keys (B minor in bars 6-8 and E minor in bars 20-22) because their submediants are major keys: G maj in bar 7 and C maj in bar 21, both of which sound more harmonious in a WT than in ET. Had he remained in the major keys (B maj in bars 6-8 and E maj in bars 20-22), then the submediants in bars 7 and 21 would be G# min and C# min respectively. Neither a WT nor an ET would provide contrast here. If (!!) contrast was what he was after, then the major-vs.-minor "shell game" works doubly well in, well, a WT.

So, if anything, I see the "shell game" as a smoking gun for WT, not for ET.


Edited by Mark R. (03/27/12 05:36 AM)
Edit Reason: given in post.
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

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

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#1869115 - 03/27/12 07:32 AM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: UnrightTooner]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Mark:

Yes, I did overlook your previous post. THANK YOU for bringing it up again.

When I wrote the analysis much was from memory of playing and listening the night before. Then the next day I looked over the score, without a keyboard available, to include the details. That night I played it again and realized much of what you said. If you change the accidentals it gives a better perspective. It still has an atonal/bitonal look and feel to me.

I do wonder about that aug chord, though. Another way to look at it is when the seventh step is raised a semitone, for either a harmonic or melodic minor scale, it creates an augmented chord from the third step. I just haven't noticed other composers using this. A dim7 chord is often used from the seventh step, though. Interesting that an aug and dim7 chord can go hand in hand...

Anyway, the analysis was more of an example than a proof of the type of thing that I am looking for. You are the only one that responded to it. smile

_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1869117 - 03/27/12 07:42 AM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: UnrightTooner]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Bill:

Yes, I think your post is OT. I am unable to make it clear the direction that I am looking. It does not have to do with history nor with just listening. The former is incomplete and unreliable, although how individuals put weight to what is published is revealing. The latter is too subjective and belongs in a new Topic.

I mentioned earlier in this Topic that I do suspect that Chopin wrote for WT. But I am convinced that Bach did not. Interesting that WTC in WT is not readily available.

I will try to listen to the posted recordings. I will probably not post about them. It would be enabling a highjack.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1869118 - 03/27/12 07:43 AM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: DoelKees]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
I see. Your laziness must be on a higher moral plane than mine.

Moral?? Nothing to do with morals.

Forgive me for being blunt but it appears to me you want to form an opinion about the subject without being willing to educate yourself about it, despite help offered in good faith.

If I understand correctly you've also never heard a WT, let alone tuned it, which makes this thread amusing at best.

But I enjoy reading it, as I would enjoy a thread about how to tune a piano on a UFO if a technician was abducted.

Kees


Doel:

You continue to be smug, snobbish and sarcastic about this Topic. That alone was enough to decide not to email you.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1869155 - 03/27/12 09:27 AM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: Withindale]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Ian:

As I said before:

Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Ian:

Please stop trashing this Topic with nonsense.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1869182 - 03/27/12 10:36 AM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: UnrightTooner]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3847
Loc: Rockford, IL
Jeff,

Did you happen to look at this link that Ian posted to the thread, above?:

Valuable nuances of tuning for Part I of J. S. Bach's »Das wohl temperirte Clavier« by Mark Lindley.

This website is very well written and constructed. The author does a very good job of laying basic ground work (most of which, I am sure, you already know) in order to begin to make his points and illustrate them. I would draw your attention to this page linked below, in particular, as it discusses BWV 854 in great detail, with audio-clip examples and the score, played on a modern piano:

Musical examples illustrative of unequal... a modern piano

On this page are notions such as this:

Quote:
In the unequal temperament, G♯ is tuned nearly the same as in equal temperament, then D♯ slightly higher (i.e. in relation to B and E; I think this begins to become perceptible in the last beat of Bar 2), then A♯ yet higher (in relation to F♯ and B), and finally E♯ yet higher (vis a vis C♯ and F♯); but the potentially noxious effect of this remarkably high E♯ is avoided by not having, in Bars 10–12, an acoustically prominent C♯-major triad:


You really might find it interesting! smile

Regards,
--Andy
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1869201 - 03/27/12 11:33 AM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: UnrightTooner]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1657
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner


You continue to be smug, snobbish and sarcastic about this Topic. That alone was enough to decide not to email you.

No personal insults on this forum, please.

Regarding your gracious reply to my offer to help: you are welcome.

I'm still not convinced you're not just posting mostly flamebait here. "If you're not tuning ET you are not a real piano technician" for example. Lol. Come on!

Kees

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#1869220 - 03/27/12 12:16 PM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: UnrightTooner]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Look in the mirror, Doel. Here is your first post on this Topic:

Originally Posted By: DoelKees
.....

I guess that finally settles a centuries old debate.

Kees


Sarcastic? YES!

I could look for where you made the smug comment about real musicians tune their own instruments, including piano.

And if anything, the inference about what temperament real tuners use is being made by WT snobs.

The idea of this Topic is to look at the music itself to determine what temperament Bach had in mind. It is not to put any preference over any other one as listening without analyzing will do. This continues to be an uphill battle.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1869224 - 03/27/12 12:26 PM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: Cinnamonbear]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
.....

On this page are notions such as this:

Quote:
In the unequal temperament, G♯ is tuned nearly the same as in equal temperament, then D♯ slightly higher (i.e. in relation to B and E; I think this begins to become perceptible in the last beat of Bar 2), then A♯ yet higher (in relation to F♯ and B), and finally E♯ yet higher (vis a vis C♯ and F♯); but the potentially noxious effect of this remarkably high E♯ is avoided by not having, in Bars 10–12, an acoustically prominent C♯-major triad:


You really might find it interesting! smile

Regards,
--Andy


Hard to know what to think. Maybe it is the translation from German. Ok, C#-major is not prominent in bars 10-12. So what? There are many chords that are not prominent in bars 10-12. I am not following him very well. It may be that he is trying too hard to prove a point rather than explain what there is to see.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

Top
#1869242 - 03/27/12 01:18 PM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: UnrightTooner]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3847
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
.....

On this page are notions such as this:

Quote:
In the unequal temperament, G♯ is tuned nearly the same as in equal temperament, then D♯ slightly higher (i.e. in relation to B and E; I think this begins to become perceptible in the last beat of Bar 2), then A♯ yet higher (in relation to F♯ and B), and finally E♯ yet higher (vis a vis C♯ and F♯); but the potentially noxious effect of this remarkably high E♯ is avoided by not having, in Bars 10–12, an acoustically prominent C♯-major triad:


You really might find it interesting! smile

Regards,
--Andy


Hard to know what to think. Maybe it is the translation from German. Ok, C#-major is not prominent in bars 10-12. So what? There are many chords that are not prominent in bars 10-12. I am not following him very well. It may be that he is trying too hard to prove a point rather than explain what there is to see.


I clipped the paragraph about BWV 854 as an example because in the last sentence it illustrates how a composition decision intersects with a temperament decision.

I think if you back up a bit, to where he explains which temperament he believes Bach preferred for the WTC, the discussion might make more sense. In fact, if you start at the beginning of the presentation, and skim all the stuff you know about fundamentals and partials and commas, etc., and focus on the places where he starts getting into the nitty gritty, it might make even more sense. The nitty gritty really gets nitty and gritty on p. 2 of the website, and that is where you can find his take on the Werckmeister quote you were after:

Quote:
Dr. Rudolf Rasch argues that Werckmeister in his last years (and therefore Bach) preferred Equal Temperament, but this argument is based on suppressing the fact that Werckmeister's strongest praise for Equal Temperament, which is to be found in Werckmeister's last book (published posthumously in 1707), is followed by an explicit statement that he still preferred a nuanced tuning.


I have a feeling that if you sit back and apply objectivity to Mark Lindley's presentation, you will find it to be a very even-handed treatment related to your question about Bach and ET.

Best,
--Andy
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1869246 - 03/27/12 01:25 PM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: UnrightTooner]
Phil D Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/10
Posts: 551
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
.....

On this page are notions such as this:

Quote:
In the unequal temperament, G♯ is tuned nearly the same as in equal temperament, then D♯ slightly higher (i.e. in relation to B and E; I think this begins to become perceptible in the last beat of Bar 2), then A♯ yet higher (in relation to F♯ and B), and finally E♯ yet higher (vis a vis C♯ and F♯); but the potentially noxious effect of this remarkably high E♯ is avoided by not having, in Bars 10–12, an acoustically prominent C♯-major triad:


You really might find it interesting! smile

Regards,
--Andy


Hard to know what to think. Maybe it is the translation from German. Ok, C#-major is not prominent in bars 10-12. So what? There are many chords that are not prominent in bars 10-12. I am not following him very well. It may be that he is trying too hard to prove a point rather than explain what there is to see.


http://www.sim.spk-berlin.de/3_exx_on_a_modern_piano_-_ii_1006.html

That part of the website was written by Mark Lindley, according to the first page, so I doubt it is translated from German at all!

If you really do want to get to the bottom of this, and do actually have an open mind to the possibility that you may be wrong, then I would read this website, or at least the page linked above, properly. It is carefully analysed, and full of those 'smoking guns' that you say you are looking for. The language is a little dense, and the performances a bit poor (a fact that he apologises for!), but there are side-by-side examples of pieces in the key they are written for, and transposed into an adjacent key, with analysis as to how this effects the feel of the piece in a WT. And numerous examples of how choices have been made in the phrase structure and the chord structures based upon the relative tempering of the different chords. I'd say it is precisely the analysis you've been hoping not to find! So are you going to give it your full attention, or are you going to brush it off, and so confirm that there's absolutely no point in trying to engage you in this discussion?

Edit: Not saying you will or should agree with the analysis, but this guy at least engages the material on the level you are looking for, so what he says deserves a close look.


Edited by Phil D (03/27/12 01:40 PM)
_________________________
Phil Dickson
The Cycling Piano Tuner

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#1869250 - 03/27/12 01:33 PM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: UnrightTooner]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Andy:

Well here is one interesting quote: "Several 20th- and 21st-century writers on tempered tuning whose research has not included playing the music in different temperaments have argued that Bach is most likely to have performed in equal temperament."

I may not be in bad company.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1869251 - 03/27/12 01:40 PM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: UnrightTooner]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1657
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Andy:

Well here is one interesting quote: "Several 20th- and 21st-century writers on tempered tuning whose research has not included playing the music in different temperaments have argued that Bach is most likely to have performed in equal temperament."

I may not be in bad company.

I think those writers are bad company. smile

Kees

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#1869253 - 03/27/12 01:47 PM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: Phil D]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Phil D
.....

So are you going to give it your full attention, or are you going to brush it off, and so confirm that there's absolutely no point in trying to engage you in this discussion?


A gauntlet has been thrown! smile

Not sure when I (or should I designate a second...) will get to it. In the mean time, consider what I have already pointed out along these lines: No.9 prelude.

And does a phrase sounding worse in another key really mean that it was written for WT? I would say no. It might have just been written that way, perhaps out of habit. I bet any Stephen Foster song would sound better in a close key than in a distant key in WT. Despite his songs still being popular, I don't think he had the musical depth to take advantage of tonal shading. But if a piece sounded better in ET, what would that mean? It could mean that it was written for ET -OR- it could mean I have tin ears.

Do you see the potential problems with subjective listening? Especially when the comparison is between different keys in the same temperament.

[Edit:] Oh! That is the same site Andy posted. I have already started looking at it and made some comments. Here's another: He came up with his own temperament to use, to prove a point he is making. Why couldn't I do the same thing? Like, come up with a temperament where ET always sounded better? Better to me anyways...


Edited by UnrightTooner (03/27/12 02:15 PM)
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1869275 - 03/27/12 02:49 PM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: UnrightTooner]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3187
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Andy:

Well here is one interesting quote: "Several 20th- and 21st-century writers on tempered tuning whose research has not included playing the music in different temperaments have argued that Bach is most likely to have performed in equal temperament."

I may not be in bad company.


Obviously, this was a case of the blind leading the blind. Yes, that is what nearly any publication says. I quoted you several sources already. It is what is taught in our music education curricula! If false information is repeated long and often enough, people accept it as fact. It is not the only example of what was long held to be a truth later being corrected.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1869289 - 03/27/12 03:24 PM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: UnrightTooner]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3187
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Thanks for posting that website, Andy. This quote jumped out at me as being particularly significant:

Quote:
The performer can use nicely this aspect of the tuning. The "extra" bit of tempering in the E♭ triad adds a slight dose of emphasis at Bar 2 which helps (a) to keep the music driving forward and thus (b) to prevent the sequence from sounding merely academic.


Owen Jorgensen often used the first two preludes of the WTC to illustrate the effects of WT. The first prelude in C Major sounds smooth and harmonious when played in the correct key signature. It sounds dissonant and the modulations work in reverse to their intent when played in C# Major.

The second piece, written in C# Major is fast and flighty with no sustained harmony. It has a brilliant sound to it. When played in C Major, it sounds dull; the life taken out of it.

If either is played in ET, all of those effects are diminished and it makes no difference at all if either is transposed or not.

Now, tell me, Jeff, why do you get to cite songwriter Stephen Foster and consider it not to be off topic but if I show how something Beethoven wrote in A-flat Major and E-flat minor, both keys that you felt would sound inappropriate in a WT, it is off topic? You said the discussion is to be specifically about Bach and the WTC music. What does Stephen Foster have to do with it?

I suggest that you declare yourself correct in this matter, Jeff. After all, the title of the topic says you have already made up your mind. You can write a book just like Stuart Isacoff did and throw in tons of "research" to impress everybody and support the theory that most people already believe and have long accepted as fact anyway.

If you don't want to write a whole book, write an article for Keyboard Magazine. Isacoff publishes it, so he'll love you for it.

If ET was known in Bach's time, why couldn't they tune it then as they do now? No reason whatsoever. So, if they could, they must have. You can find endless amounts of published material from many kinds of sources. Almost any concert pianist believes it. How can anyone dispute a professional like that? I'll bet nearly any music professor anywhere, randomly chosen will tell you, "Yes, you're right".

The only people who will not agree with you are a few kooks on here who write about things most of the rest of the list never reads because they think you're right too. The only music educators who will disagree with you are the very few who have looked into obscure publications and found out what most people never wanted to know.

Whatever anyone who does not agree with you says, it won't change your mind. If the material offered you is too long and complex, you will not read it but you will turn to some other source that supports your point of view and quote that.

Out of all that has been written here, nothing has been nor will be accomplished.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1869425 - 03/27/12 08:25 PM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3847
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Thanks for posting that website, Andy. [...]


Hey, guys... For the record, Ian (Withindale) is the one who first brought this website to our attention in this thread. I am very grateful for that contribution, too. Thanks, Ian!!!

Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Andy:

Well here is one interesting quote: "Several 20th- and 21st-century writers on tempered tuning whose research has not included playing the music in different temperaments have argued that Bach is most likely to have performed in equal temperament."

I may not be in bad company.


Jeff, that sentence concludes the section on ET, and is both a transition into the explanation and exploration of the various historical temperaments of Bach's time, and, a statement of contrast by the author, Mark Lindley, who, in the following sections, demonstrates by careful historical research and reasoning, the suggestion of a WT that he can defend as being like one that Bach may have used for WTC, and who is playing in this temperament to show what it does, because composition and its effects in performance cannot be separated. It is also a challenge statement of a sort. In the rhetoric of a persuasive essay, it is what is known as the practice of addressing and acknowledging opposing arguments. In the rhetoric of a dissertation, it is what is known as the practice of demonstrating your scholarship. In the rhetoric of a compare and contrast essay, it is what is known as a springboard.

It is far from being Lindley's thesis statement.

There is a lot to be learned about how Equal Temperament was regarded during Bach's time in this and the other links that Ian and I provided. But if all you are looking for is agreement for your proposition, you may be hard pressed to find it among those who have given the topic a rigorous look.

Regards,
--Andy
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1869446 - 03/27/12 09:09 PM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3847
Loc: Rockford, IL
P.S., Jeff,

I really think you should give Dietrich Bartel a phone call or an e-mail. His number is in the link to his university bio that I posted earlier.

If you won't, I will.
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

Top
#1869551 - 03/28/12 12:45 AM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: UnrightTooner]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1657
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Is there objective evidence in Bach's WTC that he wanted it to be played on a tuned instrument, or would it be ok to play it on any barroom (Bierhalle at the time) junker?

Something to ponder.

Don't be mad at me Jeff.

Kees

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#1869579 - 03/28/12 02:17 AM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1657
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
I only wish I did have some examples of the WTC music actually played on the piano in a true WT but unfortunately, I do not.

Here are some amateur recordings. This is a temperament I tuned aurally to make the piano exhibit similar key differences as a harpsichord in a 1/6' temperament. Consequently the piano temperament is much stronger, pretty much 1/4' based with wide fifths in the remote keys a la Rameau.

Kees

Top
#1869657 - 03/28/12 07:46 AM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
.....

Now, tell me, Jeff, why do you get to cite songwriter Stephen Foster and consider it not to be off topic but if I show how something Beethoven wrote in A-flat Major and E-flat minor, both keys that you felt would sound inappropriate in a WT, it is off topic? You said the discussion is to be specifically about Bach and the WTC music. What does Stephen Foster have to do with it?

.....


I could have used early Beatles instead of Stephen Foster. I was pointing out the difficulty in taking music and trying to show that it was written for a specific temperament. I was not trying to prove anything by listening, which I see as a big problem.

For instance, I was going through the Mark Lindley article. When I listened to No. 1 in WT it sounded very dull to me. It did not have the richness of ET in the major chords. It was like drinking distilled water. So why couldn't I put these sort of comparisons in an article and proclaim that it is proof that Bach wrote in ET? Because it would not prove anything more than Mark Lindley's article: "This is what Bach did because I like it." I am trying to get beyond that. Your comment about chromatic elements not being specific to ET is an avenue that I am grateful you brought up. I am still mulling it over.

I will address a similar problem with looking at historical evidence in a post to Doel.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

Top
#1869678 - 03/28/12 08:33 AM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: DoelKees]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
.....

I'm still not convinced you're not just posting mostly flamebait here. "If you're not tuning ET you are not a real piano technician" for example. Lol. Come on!

Kees


If that is how some perceive the purpose of this Topic, I can understand their aggressive behavior.

I was thinking more about the "historical context" angle of the WT/ET debate. It reminds me of Bible-thumper/Bible-basher debates. This sort of debate is only possible if orthodoxy is key to the argument: "The the important thing is to be correct, the correct way is the way it was done back then, so the important thing is the historical record."

And the subjective listening debate can be even worse. It can be like a cult. "Oh, if you only heard it like I hear it - then you would know. Music is universal. There is an unawakened part of you that will respond when you hear it in the temperament it was meant to be played in. You will understand after you have been initiated. Here are some recordings. If you listen to them without prejudice, you will see what I mean. (And if you don't see what I mean then you must hold some prejudice. Perhaps you need to be de-programmed.)"

I am hoping that at least you and I can put these aside, Doel. The historical record doesn't seem to be all that complete. And, even if it was, there nothing "wrong" about a person enjoying any music in any sort of tuning including out-of-tune tuning. That is what The Music Man is all about.

So to recap how I am looking at this, considering historic context is too dogmatic and listening is too subjective. That leaves objective analysis of the scores. (Maybe other things are left, too. I just can't think of any.) But I do not see a problem in using historical documents or listening to bring up questions and then attempting to answer them with analysis.

What I am pondering now is the different ways to try to answer these historical and listening questions. Does having an understanding of what ET is without written instructions of how to tune it indicate that a functional ET could have been tuned or not? Or, does showing that passages make sense only in ET mean that it must not have been written for WT?

As an analogy, I see WTC like Ansel Adams prints. I do not think they would look better by adding color. But this is subjective. Imagine if hundreds of years from now all color photographs had faded to black and white, and the history of photography was unclear. What elements in the prints themselves would indicate whether they were meant to have color or not?
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

Top
#1869713 - 03/28/12 10:04 AM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: Cinnamonbear]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
.....

Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Andy:

Well here is one interesting quote: "Several 20th- and 21st-century writers on tempered tuning whose research has not included playing the music in different temperaments have argued that Bach is most likely to have performed in equal temperament."

I may not be in bad company.
.....

It is far from being Lindley's thesis statement.

.....

I know that, but I have no obligation to agree with Lindley. As I have explained in the few previous posts, I think analysis of the scores is necessary to make an objective decision. If a good, objective analysis was made, then I consider that I would be in good company with my views.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

Top
#1869756 - 03/28/12 11:37 AM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
.....

Out of all that has been written here, nothing has been nor will be accomplished.


Ya' know what Bill?

I have to remind myself to not take what you say very seriously and to avoid any deep discussions with you. You deliberately misquote people. This also shows that you are arguing from a weak position, otherwise there would be no need to resort to such tactics.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

Top
#1869763 - 03/28/12 11:53 AM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: UnrightTooner]
Phil D Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/10
Posts: 551
Loc: London, England
Lindley's article does express some subjective views. The calmness of some chords and intervals, the 'spiciness' of others. It would be good to get away from these, but as has been repeatedly asserted, that is impossible. The avoidance of a prominent tonic major third in C# major could just be how the music is written. The unusual voicing of the final chord of the B major could just be a choice of the composer. But there are a lot of these examples.

You seem to be adamant that it is possible to be objective about these analyses, but this is akin to saying that you can analyse a sentence in the bible and come to an objective meaning to what it said. Or any book, or historical source of any kind, in which the originator is dead.

The only way to reduce the subjectivity of these analyses would be to use statistics. Pointing out one example of a leading tone not resolving when it could, and saying this is because the pitch isn't very high in the temperament so the impetus doesn't lead upwards, is conjecture. It can never be totally convincing in isolation. But he doesn't use these examples in isolation.

First off, he starts of the articles with primary sources outside the music to give a historical context. If you can give primary sources that support your idea that ET was the intention, then you need to give them. This is called academic rigour, and without it you are just bleating in the wind.

Second of all, he doesn't give isolated examples. He gives numerous examples of the same type, in different places. The avoidance of a leading tone in one key is contrasted with the prominence of the leading tone in another key in another piece. Major triads are avoided in remote keys, and dwelled upon in closer ones.

Final chord voicing really shows what I'm getting at. Lindley picks out the B major final chord. Having the major third between the two lowest voices is something I have learnt to avoid whenever I have composed music, because it sounds muddy. But here it is, with a very open voicing of the top three voices. I can't think of any examples why this voicing would be appropriate. It does seem a natural consequence of the preceding movement of the different voices, sure, but the choices leading up to that final voicing could have been made way earlier than the preceding few bars, so that it seems natural. (Bach was a great composer, after all!)
And then the voicing of the C major chord is completely different. Acres of space in the bottom voices, and a very close voicing in the top. You say it sounds sterile, well I'd hazard that it'd sound even more sterile with the same voicing as the B major. The CE third would be at a standstill, the open fifth and 4th also. He has a minor third there, with a pronounced beat, and the major sixth also has a beat.
And then in the C# major prelude, the final voicing is very similar to the B major. The small intervals are in the bass voices, and the upper voices have an open chord. This creates a noticeable beating, but not a buzzing, which is in keeping with the fast sixteenth-note rhythm (as it is in the B major).

Perhaps it would be beneficial to compare the voicing of all the final chords of all the preludes. Then you might be onto something - that kind of correlation, or lack of, would be well on the way to a piece of objective evidence. I believe Lindley's essay contains a lot of very good evidence, and there are no examples that just sit on their own, and so can be dismissed the way you have done. But if you want real objective evidence, then there needs to be something systematic to it. Analysing the final chords of all of the preludes would allow statistical element that is missing.

Looks like another gauntlet to me!
_________________________
Phil Dickson
The Cycling Piano Tuner

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#1869768 - 03/28/12 12:00 PM Re: I've made up my mind about Bach's WTC and ET [Re: Phil D]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1657
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
I don't understand the point of your long post, Deutschle.

Kees

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