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#1961461 - 09/20/12 08:41 AM Videos of modern pianos with perfect 5th unequal temperments
Unequally tempered Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/11/11
Posts: 149
Loc: UK
Hi!

There is a thread relating to recordings I have made with pianists playing older instruments with unequal temperaments. In contrast http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnYITP11UgQ is on a modern instrument.

I use a variation of Werkmeister III using a number of perfect fifths. This brings great stillness at certain times in which singular notes can sing out, quite literally as a violin vibrato or a singer.

The extent to which this sort of tuning works with the classical composers, now from years of experience, leads me to the conclusion that the composers were expecting such tuning systems to be used.

Best wishes,

David P


Edited by Unequally tempered (09/20/12 10:54 AM)
_________________________
_______________________________
David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
- East Grinstead, Sussex, UK -
- http://www.organmatters.com -
_______________________________
Restoring life to music . . . and music to life . . . and a good deal more!

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#1961891 - 09/21/12 01:12 AM Re: Videos of modern pianos with perfect 5th unequal temperments [Re: Unequally tempered]
Olek Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6360
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Unequally tempered
Hi!

There is a thread relating to recordings I have made with pianists playing older instruments with unequal temperaments. In contrast http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnYITP11UgQ is on a modern instrument.

I use a variation of Werkmeister III using a number of perfect fifths. This brings great stillness at certain times in which singular notes can sing out, quite literally as a violin vibrato or a singer.

The extent to which this sort of tuning works with the classical composers, now from years of experience, leads me to the conclusion that the composers were expecting such tuning systems to be used.

Best wishes,

David P



David, I appreciated some of those videos but dont understand why the temp is not given/explained a little.

I also dont understand why you need/use a machine, if you like what you hear you can just reproduce it by ear. Are you a tuner or more a musician ? of course 'acoustically pure 5th' are a big help and "easy"to tune, then when expanding the temp, why not doing so by ear ? It would be probably more musical, an other option could bee to have a tone production device and tune referring to it (if it can be considered viable ref)
I am afraid that the inconsistencies in piano tone are too much for the electronic equipment we have. Particularly in the basses it oblige to pitch/tune way too late, and the played note gives a different pitch impression.

That said if you use acoustically pure. 5th or 12 it helps partials to line up and the tone of those old pianos get more juice.

In fact I dont understand what you mean when you say you are cautious of what you do out of the temperament region.

If the temperament have a certain number of "pure" 5ths dont you mean to find them out of the temperament as well ?

Or is it impossible because of iH.

If someday I work to obtain historical temperaments, I believe that a tonal congruency may be expected, we may aim to the same relations between intervals in all octaves.

That said I find you are doing very well with the global resonance and harmoniousness of those old generous pianos wink


Edited by Kamin (09/21/12 03:56 AM)
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#1961998 - 09/21/12 09:32 AM Re: Videos of modern pianos with perfect 5th unequal temperments [Re: Olek]
Unequally tempered Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/11/11
Posts: 149
Loc: UK
Dear Isaac

Thanks for your comments.

I am having to be careful about disclosing exact details of the temperament I use as Adolfo Barabino has the moral right to the first bite of the cherry of commercial recordings using it. It's not uniquely mine and so particularly in the interests of art I encourage other tuners to experiment and, indeed, possible better solutions might emerge even though the one I have chosen seems to work rather well.

More than being an important clue, I'm sure that perfect fifths are a great help. Inharmonicities tend towards being sharp and so these go against flattened tempered fifths in producing a harmonious whole sound.

On the Grotrian Steinweg, the inharmonicities of the penultimate bottom octave are comparatively regular compared to many instruments I've come across:
A#1 ? 0.00 2.61 3.00 5.18 5.97 7.62 9.71 12.60 16.04
D2 ? 0.00 4.45 3.82 6.90 8.29 8.22 ? 14.64 18.10
E2 0.00 5.88 7.38 9.87 11.11 12.74 14.51 16.31 19.37 22.04
F#2 ? 0.00 ? 4.45 ? 8.31 ? 13.75 21.35 29.41
G#2 0.00 1.60 3.61 4.62 5.93 8.25 11.05 10.98 15.54 19.67
A2 0.00 1.43 2.16 2.99 4.54 5.78 8.62 ? 14.79 21.05

So we are looking at the third partial being around 3 to 5 cents sharp and the 5th partial to be a couple of cents sharper.

This means that stretching the fundamental bass a few cents lower brings the third and fourth partials into line with the temperament octave(s) (between middle C and tenor C tuned pure to temperament and the octave below similarly) and the 5th partial to be close to pure and according nicely with the third in a middle octave triad in all the keys where the thirds are better than in equal. This brings out a sweetness and resonance in instruments. However, I have found that old Bechsteins in particular have a well spread of all harmonics whilst more modern instruments appear to have the 5th partial significantly suppressed.

In http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnYITP11UgQ there are many examples of where the stillness leads to the calmness of these nocturnes otherwise constantly shimmering in equal temperament. At 06:07 and later 9:58 there are momentary chords where a third sings beautifully and likewise 10:23 and particularly at 10:53 11:24 and especially the extended note on 11:31 to 11:45. When the key changes in the next Nocturne the mood becomes significantly mysterious and darker.

These experiences are not unique to these Nocturnes.

When one has the priviledge of a third pedal with which to hold the notes aligned to partials of the bass notes one can tune the bass specifically to the centre in order to create these effects but otherwise a machine generated calculated stretch can be helpful.

Because inharmonicities of all instruments differ, there are no unique solutions common to tuning all pianos and each is different. Some behave better even with the temperament octave altered by machine stretch, and its in this that I have difficulties sometimes fighting the machine - and on a fresh piano that I have not tuned before it can take me an hour just on the 12 temperament octave notes to decide which way to go with that particular instrument. If one goes the wrong way, the key of C# major can be just too harsh, but otherwise it can be particularly beautifully "on edge".

The importance of using an unequal temperament is that it makes sense of teh classification of "home" and "remote" keys - those to which we go for special effect and the concert on Alderney particularly demonstrated just that.

It's for this reason that I have started this thread to encourage piano tuners to be adventurous, and to do so beyond the comfort zone.

I have been examining how tuning and accordance of the vibrations adds to and is part of the music. For me, the universal shimmering of equal temperament is not part of that and similarly I find the equal beating regimes a distraction that is not part of the language or meaning intended to be conveyed as part of the music.

Best wishes

David P
_________________________
_______________________________
David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
- East Grinstead, Sussex, UK -
- http://www.organmatters.com -
_______________________________
Restoring life to music . . . and music to life . . . and a good deal more!

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#1962208 - 09/21/12 05:29 PM Re: Videos of modern pianos with perfect 5th unequal temperments [Re: Unequally tempered]
Chris Leslie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/11
Posts: 455
Loc: Canberra, ACT, Australia
Originally Posted By: Unequally tempered

When one has the priviledge of a third pedal with which to hold the notes aligned to partials of the bass notes one can tune the bass specifically to the centre in order to create these effects but otherwise a machine generated calculated stretch can be helpful.

Using several centre pitches to tune bass notes from their harmonics is what I do. However, in many smaller pianos this can create noisy octaves in the lower bass, and less than ideal progression because of the variations in inharmonicities between strings. My opinion is that I would rather have a little octave noise in order to get bass intonation that sounds harmonious in the context of the whole piano.

Most pianos, nearly all uprights, will not have sostenuto pedal. But David, have you tried using the sustain pedal to hold centre notes on? There is a wash of sound from all the other open strings but I find that with practice I can hear through this, and I actually think it helps in some ways.

Also, having been disappointed with machine generated stretch, especially bass, have you tried to use your machine in direct tuning mode. By this, I mean setting the machine to listen to several centre notes that are harmonics of the bass note being tuned and tuning until the average lights "stop" (some will show slightly sharp or flat but you get the average). Curiously however, when I try this I am still not always satisfied with the intonation and would rather use my sense of pitch instead.

All of what I have said applies to the treble end as well.


Edited by Chris Leslie (09/21/12 05:33 PM)
_________________________
Chris Leslie
Piano technician
http://www.chrisleslie.com.au

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#1978282 - 10/25/12 12:03 AM Re: Videos of modern pianos with perfect 5th unequal temperments [Re: Unequally tempered]
Unequally tempered Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/11/11
Posts: 149
Loc: UK
Hi!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1z3o0x4dKJI is a new video by Adolfo Barabino to demonstrate how a brand new instrument can benefit from the application of an unequal temperament.

Are there any piano technicians maintaining Steinways in concert halls who can tune to an unequal temperament for him for concerts?

The other day, playing among friends at a dinner party on a lovely Pleyel that I tuned, a guest asked him "is this music meant to make one cry?" . . .

In Equal Temperament as conventionally tuned, it does not.

Adolfo wants to bring this element into his concerts but cannot because of the resistance of tuners embracing anything beyond 12th comma meantone

Best wishes

David P
_________________________
_______________________________
David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
- East Grinstead, Sussex, UK -
- http://www.organmatters.com -
_______________________________
Restoring life to music . . . and music to life . . . and a good deal more!

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#1978292 - 10/25/12 12:56 AM Re: Videos of modern pianos with perfect 5th unequal temperments [Re: Unequally tempered]
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2245
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hello David,

I have enjoyed listening to your videos. This is particularly beautiful, not only in the temperament, but in the playing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1z3o0x4dKJI

I am always open to new temperaments. Can you post the 12 offsets for this temperament so that I may try this on my piano using an ETD?


Ahh...I did not see your previous answer about posting the figures for this temperament. Perhaps at some point in the future, Mr. Barabino will allow it to be published.


Edited by Grandpianoman (10/25/12 01:03 AM)
Edit Reason: added paragraph

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#1978775 - 10/26/12 04:31 AM Re: Videos of modern pianos with perfect 5th unequal temperments [Re: Grandpianoman]
Unequally tempered Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/11/11
Posts: 149
Loc: UK
Quote:
I have enjoyed listening to your videos. This is particularly beautiful, not only in the temperament, but in the playing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1z3o0x4dKJI

I am always open to new temperaments. Can you post the 12 offsets for this temperament so that I may try this on my piano using an ETD?


Ahh...I did not see your previous answer about posting the figures for this temperament. Perhaps at some point in the future, Mr. Barabino will allow it to be published.


Hi!

On the basis that I'm not always available for tuning for his concerts and that venues are rightfully cautious about random piano technicians tuning their pianos, if Adolfo http://www.adolfo-barabino.com/ is engaged for a concert I am always willing to give tuning details to the local tuner.

Standard equal temperament is a harmonic fudge, causing the instrument well tuned merely to shimmer with considerable variations allowable taking inharmonicities into account. The art is to achieve a balance so that nothing sticks out, the point of saying this is that really nothing is "in tune" as the absolute a lay person assumes, which is why tuning with a straightforward Korg instrument tuner will not give the best effect.

In tuning pianos with any of the temperaments based on numbers of perfect fifths, I usually aim to tune the octave between middle C and treble C (C3C4) straight to temperament and similarly the octave below from tenor C to middle C. For years I used successfully straight tuning of C4C5 but at the A if using a tuner setting it 1Hz more giving 882 in that octave and going up to the further A where one can add another 1Hz to A440, so now giving 1764Hz to that octave and above. In the tenor C octave by straight tuning I mean aiming to keep the temperament relationships with the perfect fifths, aurally tuning the octave to the middle C octave by ear, or machine if speed requires, but below this inharmonicities bring about a juggling act that differ from instrument to instrument so much. One has to balance the close octaves with harmonics in the central C3C4 octave and a couple of years back I did a tediously clumsy (apologies) video about this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjhNt-ZksVw

The delight of perfect fifths is that the resonances that occur on the harmonic series of the strings bring the whole instrument into resonance, often causing a chord to sound as one sound in which no intervening note is identifiable and from which a singing third can stand out, which is audible in the "Chopin Alderney" video on YouTube. With Arvo Peart that Adolfo was performing the other night a piece with sustained trance-forming bass notes accompanied by notes in the high treble and occasional references to notes in the middle octave gave rise to extra sympathetic middle octave notes adding themselves through without having needed to be played.

The beauty of these temperaments with perfect fifths is worthy of more general experiment and, if you want a performer who understands how to handle the results, one who has his home instrument tuned in such a way will make maximum impact in performance.

From a practical point of view, conventional ET tuning without landmarks leads more to every string being moved on every thorough tuning - and resulting instability.

Provided one is happy to accept an instrument in a 439-442 range rather than seeking an absolute A440, a temperament with perfect fifths has relational landmarks so that one can identify among the trichords and among the fifths those strings which have not moved and do not need to be retuned. Keeping an increasing number of strings unmoved in a tuning leads to increasing stability.

Of instruments that I have tuned on tour for Adolfo, my experience has been that of local tuners not having focussed on a regime of stability for an instrument, so causing them to be called in very frequently to tune the piano. Sounds like good business . . . but actually not because an acoustic piano then becomes not only an unreliable but an expensive pet, leading more and more to people such as hotels and schools going to electric instruments, bad business. In contrast, if a tuning regime leads to maximum stability so that the instrument sounds good with less frequent tunings, then an acoustic instrument is seen to be more affordable.

It's for this raft of reasons that perfect fifths tunings have a lot going for them.

In the 1950s edition of Grove, it was pointed out that in Bach's day, tuning was either Meantone in which not all keys could be played or a good tuning in which all keys could equally be played. So what was known as equal temperament still allowed home keys to be tuned more pure than remote keys, giving each a character. Unfortunately for the past 100 years equal temperament has become taken too literally with regard to equality of intervals rather than equality of facility of playing in different keys in contrast to Meantone as the converse.

I would love to tune the studio piano for the BBC Radio 3 "In Tune" programme. It would make the music so much more interesting and beautiful. Does anyone have the ear of Sean Rafferty?

Best wishes,

David P
_________________________
_______________________________
David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
- East Grinstead, Sussex, UK -
- http://www.organmatters.com -
_______________________________
Restoring life to music . . . and music to life . . . and a good deal more!

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#1979990 - 10/29/12 07:35 AM Re: Videos of modern pianos with perfect 5th unequal temperments [Re: Unequally tempered]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4789
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Unequally tempered
.....

The extent to which this sort of tuning works with the classical composers, now from years of experience, leads me to the conclusion that the composers were expecting such tuning systems to be used.

Best wishes,

David P


Please don't think this post is a slam or rant. It is just a pertinent thought.

When I think of unevenly tempered fifth, I think about how they sound when I tune and compare them. The standard rules of counterpoint forbit parallel fourths or fifths. When I hear them in music that I play, my brain cries "Foul!" and it makes it more difficult for me to learn. I have to willfully make a harmonic error. But sometimes even Bach uses them...

Anyway, I have looked for evidence in how music was written for what temperament it might have been meant for. Thinking about it, the forbidding of parallel fourths and fifths makes sense if these intervals are unevenly tempered.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1980819 - 10/31/12 05:49 AM Re: Videos of modern pianos with perfect 5th unequal temperments [Re: Unequally tempered]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1680
Loc: London, England
My own vanity on parallel 5ths is that they suddenly invoked organum (no, no, no, Madame, he said organum) which, while quite cool now in some circles, would have suddenly sounded hokey and unsophisticated and totally out of character in the classical era.

Similarly, the sudden introduction of severely distorted 10ths as at 1.27-8 in the first recording, particularly when preceded by beautifully played harmonies of far less extreme tempering. (the previous occurrences of this Db chord, while noticeable, we're more cunningly hidden by the playing.

If the Steinway B in studio 80a had an interval tuned in this manner, it woul be noticed immediately by the producers of 'in Tune' not to mention the unsuspecting pianist about to broadcast live to the whole world and his brother. Heads would roll even before 'Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells' had dipped his pen in the vitriol.

It introduces a note of comedy into the proceedings and no singer would suddenly use a vibrato of that speed on one isolated note unless they were making a comedic reference to the C melody saxophone of the 1920's.

Perhaps the choice of temperament or its execution outside the bearings is to be questioned. (the old tuners used to narrow the bearing (temperament) octaves and certainly not stretch the bass any more than reasonable 5ths, 12ths, 10ths and17ths will allow). It entail very fine tuning but taking care in the long steels when using this temperament might just bring it back into the realms of artistic acceptability.

If you wish to promote this on 'in Tune', send a very short segment to the producers at broadcasting house (W1a 1aa). Since it is a magazine style program, a pre recorded segment might be of interest to them. Make sure you use a very high quality instrument and be aware that the other significant concern of producers, other than our friend in Tunbridge Wells is the 'listener who just tuned in.'


Edited by rxd (10/31/12 06:35 AM)
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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