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#1658127 - 04/11/11 09:18 AM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Ron Voy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 37
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT


[*]Piano previously tuned (only three weeks ago) by an aural tuner who uses a 4ths & 5ths sequence, condemns the use of non-equal temperaments but offers Reverse Well as his own version of ET. Gets mad when you tell him it is not ET but Reverse Well instead and says he has never heard of "Reverse Well".

[/list]

Bill, just so I understand your posts better, could you explain what you mean by "Reverse Well"? Thanks!

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#1658151 - 04/11/11 10:00 AM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Ron Voy]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3325
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: Ron Voy
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT


[*]Piano previously tuned (only three weeks ago) by an aural tuner who uses a 4ths & 5ths sequence, condemns the use of non-equal temperaments but offers Reverse Well as his own version of ET. Gets mad when you tell him it is not ET but Reverse Well instead and says he has never heard of "Reverse Well".

[/list]

Bill, just so I understand your posts better, could you explain what you mean by "Reverse Well"? Thanks!


Well, OK Ron, I have explained it so many times that I wonder why I would have to do it again. Rather than writing it all again, here is an article I wrote over 10 years ago from my old website archive:

Quote:
What the HE** is

rEvErSe wElL...?

It's The Most Common Error In Tuning These Days.

Because so many people have asked me both in public and private mail, I will try to explain the meaning of the term, Reverse Well thoroughly. First of all, I think it can be considered jargon. I don't think the term can be found in any published book but may be found in articles and yes, I have used it extensively on the Piano Technician's list called Pianotech.

To me, the term is self explanatory. It describes a backwards version of a typical Well-Tempered Tuning (WT) [often called Well-Temperament]. (See my article on The True Meaning of Well Tempered Tuning). I did not invent the term but it may have been just something I heard another member of my Piano Technicians Guild (PTG) Chapter say to describe the kinds of errors we were noticing that other tuners were making with a disturbing, consistent and uncomfortable frequency. The term began to be repeated and since I have used it a lot, others have used it too both on this List and elsewhere. It has for me until recently always been meant to identify a very commonly made error in tuning.

I recall someone mentioning something about DeMorgan and Reverse Well but I had never read section 128 in Professor Owen Jorgensen's book, "Tuning" which describes this temperament. To my surprise, it describes a mildly unequal temperament that is exactly backwards of most other 19th Century temperaments which usually adhere to historical precedents.

To understand what Reverse Well is, you have to know and understand Andreas Werkmeister's Rules for Well Tempered Tuning. In these rules, it states that the major 3rds must progress in their beat speeds not chromatically as they do in Equal Temperament (ET) but in an alignment with the Cycle of 5ths. Thus, 3rds of a typical WT would sound uneven but in a specific way. (See my article on Anreas Werkmeister's Rules for Well Tempered Tuning).

A Reverse Well Temperament would be one in which this pattern of unevenness is more or less the opposite. Here is a general description of the way 3rds sound in most any mild WT and the way a piano erroneously tuned in Reverse Well would sound:

***EBVT/REVERSE WELL

F3-A3:slow/fast

F3#-A3#:fast/slow

G3-B3:slow/fast

G#3-C4:moderately fast/gentle or slow

A3-C#3:moderate/fast

A#3(Bb3-D4):gentle/very fast

B3-D#4:very fast/very slow

C4-E4:gentle/exremely fast

C#4(Db4):very fast/very slow


One of the reasons I felt free to create my own WT is that Professor Owen Jorgensen RPT, in his fine book called "Tuning" (see link to a website that has a review of Review of Professer Owen Jorgensen's Book, "Tuning"), documented that it was commonplace, historically to alter the usual practices of the time and place according to one's own taste... I found that no historically documented temperament suited me, so I created my own from the accumulated knowledge I had.

When trying to create your own WT, you need to be aware of what are called "imbalances". That is, you cannot have a 3rd from the top of the Cycle of 5ths beat faster than a 3rd from the bottom or vice-versa. That would break the rules and as such, is considered improper and contrary to the whole logic of the very reason to tune this way.

When trying to understand why so many tuners who believe only in tuning ET actually have as a result a backwards version of a WT, I have always thought it had to do with two things: the order in which notes are tuned and a tendency that the late John Travis RPT had noted in his book, "Let's Tune Up", the "tendency to err towards the just 5th". Mr. Travis believed that most tuners would try to tune the 5ths a little too close to pure rather than leaving them tempered by the right amount to have a true ET.

Most WT's have a pattern that starts with C, then to F, Bb, Eb, Ab and Db, all as pure or nearly pure 5ths. Then, the rest of the 5ths, mostly among the white keys would have to be tempered more than for ET in order for the temperament to work out. When an aural tuner uses a pattern that starts with either A or C and makes the error of tuning the first half of the 4ths and 5ths too purely, those among the white keys instead of the blacks, then the rest of them, those among the black keys, must be tempered a little more than would be proper for ET.

This would result in an uneven pattern of beating for the 3rds which is exactly opposite of the way they should be for a WT, hence the term, "Reverse Well". Here is what Jean Jousse said in 1832 about what I and other members of my Chapter had also noted:



ET...has the following disadvantages: ... it cannot be obtained in the strict sense as may be proved, not only mathematically, but also by daily experience; therefore the best equally tempered instruments are still unequally tempered, and, what is worse, oftentimes in [the] wrong places.

(see "Tuning", page 417).

Since 1980 or so, the Piano Technicians Guild (PTG) Standardized Tuning Exam has made a Quantum leap in many tuner's ability to tune a true ET. Dr. Albert Sanderson RPT not only invented the first Electronic Tuning Device (ETD) that could really compensate for Inharmonicity to produce a true ET on the modern piano, he also identified the 4:5 Ratio of Contiguous 3rds to the aural tuning profession. Since the time this Standardized Exam was implemented, more and more aural tuners have been able to produce a true ET because more of them know all of the interval checks, the 4:5 ratio being the most important of all.

Still, many tuners have not yet taken this Exam and have not learned these advanced techniques. An aural tuner who relies mostly on 4ths & 5ths and does not distinguish the fine gradations in the beating of 3rds & 6ths can easily produce a Reverse Well temperament and not even be aware of that fact. This may be particularly true if the error that John Travis identified is also made.

I have heard many tuners express the phrase, "temperament doesn't matter", that good unisons and octaves are more important. This may be true to a certain extent but what can happen if there is an accumulation of errors, that is, one error compounding another, the end result in the temperament can be a very significant effect that was not intended and not recognized for what it is but which does have an effect on the music and the way a person might play the piano. This effect might well be opposite of the kind of effect expected when tuning a true WT. Imagine the skewed perception of music a person might have who spent a whole career of study on a piano consistently tuned in Reverse Well!

There have also been other instances of Reverse Well, done erroneously that I cannot explain. It can even happen when using an ETD. I have done it myself. Making an error while programming an ETD can just as easily happen as when tuning aurally. It takes very little error to produce an audible inequality in ET. Any accumulation of errors will result in some kind of deviant pattern. It is unfortunate that when errors are made, they so often are made in opposition to what might be considered a beneficial alternative.

There have been a few people who have timidly confirmed that they have also witnessed Reverse Well Tunings. Many of these people would only dare to say it in private mail. I have found it virtually everywhere I have looked, from New York to Los Angeles, from Montreal to Mexico City and everywhere in between. I have always known and witnessed that the very discussion of temperament tends to bring out strongly held beliefs and emotions.

Technicians should not take the mindset however that "everything I always believed in is now invalid". There is simply more to the entire story, that's all. How else could there be such a blatant contradiction as that of the DeMorgan Temperament? I have long contended that the study of HT's is important for all tuners, even those who wish to only tune ET. It is so that the tuner can really recognize errors and their effects and so the Reverse Well error can be avoided.

Bill Bremmer, Registered Piano Technician



Here is more information about what Well Tempered really means. It is not the same as Equal Temperament.

Quote:
The True Meaning of Well Tempered Tuning

Based in part upon an article from Professor Owen Jorgensen RPT's publication, THE EQUAL-BEATING TEMPERAMENTS-A HANDBOOK FOR TUNING HARPSICHORDS AND FORTE PIANOS

Andreas Werkmeister (1645-1706) was an organist, composer and theorist highly respected by his peers. He was northern Europe's most influential writer and theorist of the 17th & 18th Centuries. According to Werkmeister, Well-Tempered Tuning (also commonly known as "Well-Temperament") (WT) is a philosophy based on the expected Key Color from the Cycle of 5ths.

In his time, chord structures with the fewest sharps and flats were used the most, so he reasoned that they should sound the best at the expense of those with many sharps and flats. He maintained, however that even the harshest chord structures must still be reasonable sounding enough to be acceptable in performance.

This means that modulation and transposition are unrestricted as opposed to earlier kinds of temperaments where chords in key signatures with many sharps and flats were thought to be unplayably out of tune.

In Werkmeister's systems, all 24 major and minor keys are musically acceptable but not the same as one another. Each one is different from the others and the distinctions are intended to be heard when modulating. There must be Key Color changes during modulation and transposition. (See my article about "Key Color"). Rather than all chords sounding alike except for pitch, they must differ.

In Werkmeister's time, composers would most often cling to the key signatures with the fewest sharps and flats even though they had become adept at modulation. The influence of the earlier and very restrictive Meantone Temperaments (MT)was still very strong. Music in the simple keys, those with fewer sharps and flats, simply sounded better to composers such as Mozart and Haydn.

Well-Tempered Tuning (WT) is NOT the same as Equal Temperament (ET)as is so commonly believed. By its very nature and design, ET lacks all of the qualities known as Key Color even though many people still insist they hear something that they would call "Key Color". (See my article which explains what Key Color is). Equal Temperament (ET) may not be as commonplace today as one might assume. It is very difficult to truly effect. Even the slightest of errors renders a temperament unequal. Perhaps this "Key Color" that many say they hear really is there but not intentionally and not by design. In fact, it can easily be exactly opposite of what Werkmeister intended and people in his time knew. (See my article called, "What the HE** is Reverse Well?").

The concept of Equal Temperament is as old as the ancient Chinese civilization, centuries before the establishment of the Common Era. 15th Century lutes were known to use it. It was tried but rejected many times throughout Western (occidental) music history because of its dissatisfying sound and lack of Key Color.

Even as late as 1879, William Pole wrote,

"The modern practice of tuning all organs to Equal Temperament (ET) has been a fearful detriment to their quality of tone. Under the old tuning, an organ made harmonious and attractive music, which was a pleasure to listen to. Now, the harsh thirds, applied to the whole instrument indiscriminately, give it a cacophonous and repulsive effect."

It was until well into the 20th Century when the teachings of the 19th Century scientist, mathematician and theorist (but NOT musician), Hermann Helmholtz and the well respected teacher of Piano Tuning & Technology (but again, NOT musician), William Braide White took preponderance over conventional wisdom that Equal Temperament (ET), as a concept began to be accepted. Unfortunately, neither Helmholtz nor White were able to provide the information and techniques necessary to truly effect ET for most practitioners. An error in Groves Dictionary of Music [that some say must have been intentional]is also thought to have contributed to the commonly believed misconception that Well-Tempered Tuning and Equal Temperament are synonymous. THIS IS NOT TRUE. The two terms are, in fact, mutually exclusive. Many history, culture and science books have repeated this error.

William Braide White contributed to this confusion by representing that there were only two possible tuning systems: Meantone and ET. While he "tipped his hat", so to speak to Meantone, saying that it was beautiful in its own way for early Music in his widely read book on Piano Technology, "Piano Tuning and Allied Arts", he deliberately ignored the infinite number of tuning systems found among the milder Meantones, the Modified Meantones (a separate class unto themselves)and the vast array of Well-Tempered Tunings at one's disposal to assert that only Equal Temperament (ET) would satisfy the demands of all music heard today.

White "proves" his case quite convincingly by omitting the now obvious fact that Meantone and ET are at complete opposite ends of an infinite spectrum. The unfortunate result is that nearly everyone believed in White's erroneous teachings and as a consequence, a large part of the art of tuning was nearly lost. It was only late in the 20th Century when through research, the true meaning of Well-Tempered Tuning and all of the possibilities it implies came to light.

Jorgensen says unashamedly that today's custom of performing J. S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier [Music]in ET is ridiculous because the [very] purpose of [those compositions] was to demonstrate the Key Color changes from one [kind of harmony] to the next in a Well-Tempered Tuning system. Yet, of all the many recordings by the many artists of this music on the modern piano, and even those on the Harpsichord, I know of not a single one made in a true Well-Tempered Tuning.

I did, however once read in the promotional writing for another such recording in the ubiquitous ET, the very same MISINFORMATION about how Bach had invented ET, wrote the Well-Tempered Clavier music to demonstrate how great it is and how it has been "...universally accepted ever since (sic)." I cancelled my subscription to that Record Club with a letter explaining exactly why but have only received offers to rejoin ever since, never hearing of a new recording on the modern piano of Bach's Music for the Well-Tempered Clavier in a true Well-Tempered Tuning.

The basic theory and practice of Werkmeister's ideas form the foundation for the creation of my new temperament for the modern piano, the Equal Beating Victorian Temperament (EBVT). There are other ideas included from the little known class of temperaments called the Modified Meantones and the unique effects of the principle known as Equal Beating but the EBVT adheres to Werkmeisters principles while at the same time being a tuning system acceptable and applicable to the modern piano and for virtually all of the music usually played upon it. Please see the separate page for Werkmeister's often referred to "Rules for Well Tempered Tuning".


Bill Bremmer, Registered Piano Technician



Finally, here are the list of rules for Well Temperament. Imagine everything the opposite of what it says here and that would be, "Reverse Well".

Quote:
Andreas Werkmeister's Rules for Well-Tempered Tuning

From the publication by Professor Owen Jorgensen RPT, "Tuning the Historical TemperamentsBy Ear" (pages 246-7).

1. Each tonality or key center should sound differently and should have its own distinct color characteristics or "Affekt". This is in direct opposition to the ideals of Equal Temperament (ET) in which all tonalities [or keys]have the same identical and neutral color except for the increasing [(ascending)] or decreasing [(descending)] beat speeds of the Major thirds (M3rds) according to the position within the scale. The purpose of Well-Tempered Tuning is to allow harmonic color change through modulation and in a distinct alignment with the Cycle of 5ths].[.

2. The same as in ET, one must be able to modulate freely in all possible keys without experiencing any unacceptable, out-of-tune (or "Wolf") sounds. Thus, all 12 tones may be used enharmonically which is impossible in the class or restricted temperaments including Just Temperaments (JT) and Meantone Temperaments (MT).

3. During modulation through a series of 4ths or 5ths, the color changes of the "Affekts" must be consistent and even.

From a detailed study and evaluation of the beat speeds of Major 3rds and other qualities of all of the most prominent, historically documented Well-Tempered Tunings, (WT) the following rules for creating a WT are evident:

The Rules:

1. The 12 semitones of the octave must NOT be of the same, exact size.

2. No 5th, minor sixth (m6th) or minor third (m3rd) should be wider than just [(pure or beatless)].

3. No 4th, Major sixth (M6th) or Major third (M3rd) should be narrower than just [(pure or beatless)].

4. No Major or minor 3rd and no Major or minor 6th should be tempered from Just Intonation [(meaning pure or beatless)] by more than the value of one Syntonic Comma [(21.5 cents or a very rapid, borderline "sour" sounding beat)]. [The ET M3rds are all supposed to be 14 cents wide of Just Intonation].[( A moderate but fairly active sound)].

5. No 4th or 5th should be tempered more than half the value of the Syntonic Comma [(11 cents, which would be a moderately pulsing beat, quite noticeably more active than the nearly still adjusted for Inharmonicity) 5ths of ET. [(11 cent tempered 5ths are fairly rare and extreme. The typical WT tempered 5th averages 4 cents.)] [The ET 4ths & 5ths are all tempered by 2 cents, theoretically but are usually reduced to between 1.7 and 1.9 cents narrow.

Some Technicians even advocate an extremely stretched out version of ET where the 5ths are apparently pure or beatless but the 4ths beat noticeably and the M3rds are widened to about 16 cents, a very tart sounding interval. Tuning this way does produce a kind of clarity and melodic quality which may benefit many kinds of 19th Century Romantic styles as well as complex 20th Century styles but becomes fairly offensive to most 17th and 18th Century writing. Thus, it cannot be considered an "improvement" to ET or over any other style of temperament].

6. No Octave should be tempered from Just Intonation (JI). [Today, it is well known that with the Modern Piano, a Just Octave (truly pure or beatless) is not really possible. This is because of the important factor called "Inharmonicity", unknown in Werkmeister's time and not applicable to the organ or early keyboard instruments. See my article called, "How to Tune Tempered Octaves"].

7. No M3rd should be smaller or closer to JI than the 3rd, C-E.

8. The 3rd, F-A must be the same size or larger than C-E.

9. The 3rd, Bb-D must be the same size or larger than F-A and C-E.

10. The 3rd Eb-G must be the same size or larger than Bb-D.

11. The 3rd Ab-C must be the same size or larger than Eb-G.

12. The 3rd Db-F must be the same size or larger than Ab-C. Also, Db-F must be the same size or larger than B-D#. (Db-F may be the same size, smaller or larger than Gb-Bb. No other M3rds may be larger than Db-F and Gb-Bb.)

13. The 3rd Gb-Bb must be the same size or larger than Ab-C.

14. The 3rd B-D# must be the same size or smaller than F#-A#.

15. The 3rd E-G# must be the same size or smaller than B-D#.

16. The 3rd A-C# must be the same size or smaller than E-G#.

17. The 3rd D-F# must be the same size or smaller than A-C#. Also, D-F# must be larger than C-E.

18. The 3rd G-B must be the same size or smaller than D-F#.

19. The 3rd C-E must be the same size or smaller than G-B.

20. No Minor 3rd (m3rd) should be larger or closer to Just Intonation (JI)[pure or beatless]than the m3rds E-G or A-C. There may be necessary exceptions but it is definitely preferable for the m3rd AC to not be larger or closer to JI than E-G. To actually have E-G larger than A-C is considered a fine accomplishment.

21. The m3rd D-F must be the same size or smaller than A-C. ALso, D-F must be smaller than E-G.

22. The m3rd G-Bb must be the same size or smaller than D-F.

23. The m3rd C-Eb must be the same size or smaller than D-F.

24. The m3rd F-Ab must be the same size or smaller than C-Eb. Also, F-Ab must be the same size or smaller than Eb-Gb. (F-Ab may be the same size, smaller or larger than Bb-Db. No other m3rds may be smaller than F-Ab or Bb-Db.

25. The m3rd Bb-Db must be the same size or smaller than C-Eb.

26. The m3rd Bb-Db must be the same size or smaller than C-Eb.

27. The m3rd G#-B must be the same size or larger than D#-F#.

28. The m3rd C#-E must be the same size or larger than G#-B.

29. The m3rd F#-A must be the same size or larger than C#-E.

30. The m3rd B-D must be the same size or larger than F#-A.

31. The m3rd E-G must be the same size or larger than B-D.

32. The following tonalities [keys]should be more brilliant or richer [have faster beating Major or minor 3rds] than the same [keys] in ET:

F minor, Ab Major, Bb minor, Db Major, Eb minor, F# [or Gb]Major, G# minor, B Major.

33. The following tonalities [keys] should be less brilliant, plainer or milder [have slower beating Major or Minor 3rds] than the same [keys] in ET:

E minor, G Major, A minor, C Major, D minor, F Major.

34. The following tonalities [keys] are sometimes found to be quite similar to the same [keys] in ET:

C# minor, E Major, F# minor, A Major, B minor, D Major, G minor, Bb Major, C minor, Eb Major.

35. Breaking any of the above 34 rules ruins the evenness of Key Color progression and the position of C Major as the tonal or Key Color center. To do so may introduce unnecessary harshness [or produce the error known as Reverse Well, the opposite of the intended effect].

Bill Bremmer, Registered Piano Technician

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

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#1658228 - 04/11/11 11:57 AM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Sam Casey]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21939
Loc: Oakland
From what I have read of Mr. Bremmer's discussion of "reverse well temperament," it would be a well temperament in which C is not the key which has fifths which are closest to being pure. Other than that, they would have to follow a smooth progression along the circle of fifths in the same manner as the traditional well temperament. In other words, it would be a transposition of well temperament.

If you were to use that definition, if a singer transposes a song by half a step, the accompanying well tempered instruments in C would be in reverse well temperament while playing in B or C#. This undoubtedly happened during the era when well temperaments were used, so a reverse well temperament would not have been such a bad thing.

In practice, every YouTube recording that have been cited as an example of "reverse well temperament" was just out of tune, with unisons bad enough that one could not tell whether there was any intention of tuning any specific temperament.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1658376 - 04/11/11 05:11 PM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Sam Casey]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2070
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
I refurbished my Ibach's fallboard decal. The brass letters were originally finished together with the fallboard, but the varnish had started to chip off in some spots. And even where the varnish was still (apparently) intact, the brass had become dull and bluish underneath. So I carefully scratched the old varnish off the brass letters (my fingernail worked best, after some trial and error), then polished the letters with brass polish.

That came out rather nicely. OK, the matt varnish in-between the brass letters is now rather shiny, in contrast with the rest of the fallboard, but the lettering looks attractive again.
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.
LinkedIn profile
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1658456 - 04/11/11 06:57 PM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: BDB]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3325
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: BDB
From what I have read of Mr. Bremmer's discussion of "reverse well temperament," it would be a well temperament in which C is not the key which has fifths which are closest to being pure.


One has to know what a well temperament actually is in order to recognize a backwards version of it.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1658457 - 04/11/11 07:00 PM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Sam Casey]
JMichaelWilson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/01/09
Posts: 101
Loc: Tennessee, USA
I tuned a Spinet piano in a Senior Citizen's Center. There was a 5-6 person "domino game" going on right behind me and a lady working on a quilting frame across the room. Interesting to say the least!
_________________________
Tuner/Technician

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#1658822 - 04/12/11 08:04 AM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Ron Voy]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4988
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Ron Voy
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT


[*]Piano previously tuned (only three weeks ago) by an aural tuner who uses a 4ths & 5ths sequence, condemns the use of non-equal temperaments but offers Reverse Well as his own version of ET. Gets mad when you tell him it is not ET but Reverse Well instead and says he has never heard of "Reverse Well".

[/list]

Bill, just so I understand your posts better, could you explain what you mean by "Reverse Well"? Thanks!


Ron:

I am not going to say that this error does not happen. I do question that it is much more common or more disagreeable than other errors.

But I do not want to get stuck on this. Since you are interested in using a 4th and 5th sequence, let me suggest a small variation to Dr. White’s sequence that makes this, and other errors, very obvious. Include A#3 after tuning F3. Then when the all important ninth note is tuned, in this case F#3, there will be three chromatic major thirds to listen to: F3-A3, F#3-A#3, and G3-B3. The upper and lower M3s are on each side of C in the circle of fifths, and the middle M3 is opposite C in the circle of fifths. By making sure that these three M3s beat progressively faster (unless there is a jump in the scaling…) and the tests involving other notes (C4, D4 and E4) are also correct, there can be no possibility that the temperament is unequal.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1658842 - 04/12/11 09:37 AM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Sam Casey]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3325
Loc: Madison, WI USA
That is as good a suggestion as any, Jeff and thanks for it. Anything that would help a tuner actually be able to hear that chromatic thirds actually progress would be helpful. Contiguous thirds also need to progress properly too.

Please remember that this thread is about what happened on a particular day. I have always said that I have encountered reverse well more times than I would expect or care to. I don't go looking for it; it's just there. Last weekend was just another such instance. I also wrote about other problems that I saw with an expensive, top of the line piano which I would not expect to find but did.

What I find disturbing about reverse well is not so much that errors were made in the temperament but that these errors are so specifically and consistently a backwards version of a well temperament. Well temperaments are never transposed. To suggest that someone may do that for a reason implies to me a lack of understanding as to why a well temperament would be chosen.

Therefore, I consider any incidence of reverse well to be an error and I know how and why the error is made. Not very long ago, there was a video of someone making those very errors while announcing that he was tuning ET. That is what gets me about the whole thing: someone firmly believes he is tuning ET who would never consider tuning a well temperament but ends up tuning a backwards version of one and doesn't seem to even realize it.

Debate or discussion of how frequent or infrequent this kind of error is made and why it is made is a fair topic but if it is to be explored further, it would be better done in a thread on that topic, not in this one.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1658862 - 04/12/11 10:06 AM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4988
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
.....

Debate or discussion of how frequent or infrequent this kind of error is made and why it is made is a fair topic but if it is to be explored further, it would be better done in a thread on that topic, not in this one.


I agree that this would best be in a seperate Topic, but that is not what you did. I do not see anyone else being so sensitive to this error.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1659198 - 04/12/11 09:21 PM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Sam Casey]
Eric Gloo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1266
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
This evening I made reminder calls for tomorrow's appointments. One woman said she'd have to reschedule, as her college-age son, who would be letting me in, is not speaking to her at the moment. She feared he would not be there, just to make her mad. This is a new customer, too. Fortunately, this opened up a slot for a long-time customer who called last week for an ASAP tuning.
_________________________
Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York

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#1659202 - 04/12/11 09:27 PM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Eric Gloo]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Tuned five today. Four of them were between three churches. The last one was a private residence; a late 70's Winter console that was last tuned in '89. Had to raise that one around 75 cents.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1659222 - 04/12/11 10:07 PM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Sam Casey]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21939
Loc: Oakland
Tuned the night club piano that I have been tuning for about 30 years. I talked to one of the few employees who has been going there longer than I. I tuned it not to long ago, so it just needed a bit of touch-up, but I decided to touch-up the voicing as well, which got me to finally tightening up the capstans that were loose. I wrote down which they were, but I could find them because I could turn them with my fingers.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1659270 - 04/13/11 12:41 AM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Sam Casey]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3325
Loc: Madison, WI USA
At my first appointment today, I successfully spliced a wound string in the speaking length on a Yamaha U1 that is used by professional string players. The string had broken during routine playing and therefore broke at the termination point.

This kind of repair has often come into question about whether it can be done successfully. I have done it many times in the past. The key to having the repaired string match the other unison string in tone is that about 1/4 inch of winding must be removed. The extra mass of the knot perfectly compensates for the loss of winding. The removal of the winding is necessary to make the knot. The end of the winding that was shortened should be crimped against the core wire swage.

The first loop in the the remnant must be made extra large in order for it to pass over the portion of the string with a winding. That accounts for the small extra spur seen in the photo below. That spur could have been clipped off after tension was applied to the string but that would have required loosening the string after pulling it to proper tension and that is a risk in itself, so it was not taken.

The result was a repair that is stable upon completion with two full coils and a small hook to prevent any beckett slippage. The tone of the repaired string matches perfectly with the other unison. This is a permanent repair unless someone decides at a later point to replace the repaired string with all of the consequences of doing that.

Here is a cellphone photo of the repaired string:



*******************************

Later in the day, I had the pleasure of meeting a local composer who wanted me to tune his Mason & Hamlin model A piano in 1/4 Comma Meantone Temperament. I happily obliged but ran out of time to really perfect it before I had to go tune two other pianos. I returned later to finish a completely aural 1/4 Comma Meantone tuning and had a long discussion with the composer after many musical examples were played.

I believe this to be a sign of what some people have always predicted: an eventual return to the temperament that had prevailed longer than any other in music history. This composer writes film soundtrack type music and delights in the contrasts that occur between complete consonance and stark dissonance. I listened for another few hours as he played and delighted in in the sheer power that his piano now had in contrasting harmony.

Madison, Wisconsin has long been the home for such music innovation and I am glad I live here to be a technician that can serve it.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1659284 - 04/13/11 01:20 AM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1766
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Later in the day, I had the pleasure of meeting a local composer who wanted me to tune his Mason & Hamlin model A piano in 1/4 Comma Meantone Temperament. I happily obliged but ran out of time to really perfect it before I had to go tune two other pianos. I returned later to finish a completely aural 1/4 Comma Meantone tuning and had a long discussion with the composer after many musical examples were played.

I'd be interested how you extended the temperament octave.
Did you preserve the perfect M3's?

Kees

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#1659301 - 04/13/11 03:44 AM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Sam Casey]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2070
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Bill,

Congratulations on the splice. To my mind, one option for removal of the long spur under tension would be to cut it off using a miniature cutting disc on a Dremel tool. Those discs, if handled properly (*), make very neat cuts! And a Dremel tool (with diverse tips and attachments in a small carry case) is neither a bank-breaker, nor is it too bulky to carry. It can come in handy for cutting, grinding, polishing, etc. - for example, I've used mine for polishing damper spoons using a miniature felt buffing wheel, which worked really well: it was fast (I'm a slow worker, and even I had 67 spotless spoons after 20 minutes), easy, and mess-free, because it wasn't necessary to use any polishing compound. Just a quick vacuum afterwards, to remove the white felt dust.

2 cents...

* "Steady hand, no pressure, lotsa revs."
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.
LinkedIn profile
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1659375 - 04/13/11 09:05 AM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: DoelKees]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3325
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Later in the day, I had the pleasure of meeting a local composer who wanted me to tune his Mason & Hamlin model A piano in 1/4 Comma Meantone Temperament. I happily obliged but ran out of time to really perfect it before I had to go tune two other pianos. I returned later to finish a completely aural 1/4 Comma Meantone tuning and had a long discussion with the composer after many musical examples were played.

I'd be interested how you extended the temperament octave.
Did you preserve the perfect M3's?

Kees


Thanks for the idea, Mark. I do have a Dremel tool but it never occurred to me to use it for that.

Kees,

I used the method that has been discussed on here which Bernhard Stopper uses and Patrick calls the "Harvey Chord". That is, to play simultaneously the octave, 4th and 5th below the note being tuned and find the "sweet spot" where beating is minimized.

This works up to or about F5 after which time only the octave and octave-5th need be played. Obviously, the exception is with the "wolf" 5th. For the intervals where the M3 is pure, a variation of the "Harvey Chord" can be used. A minor triad in second inversion an octave below the note being tuned is played. For example, to tune G5, play G3, C4 and E-flat 4 together. G5 will sound best when the beating is minimized between all notes. You can't really hear whether a M3 is pure or not into the 5th octave and beyond but the M10's remain pure.

Ironically, the same basic method used for extending the octaves in ET or any other temperament worked for 1/4 Meantone. The extra tempering of the fifths prevented me from making the octaves as wide as I usually do.

The piano took on a completely different character which was a shock both to my ears and the composer's at first but in very little time, we both grew accustomed to the sound. He started out playing some J.S. Bach Partitas. The odd intervals sounded "twisted" to me at first, like the distorted images of a Salvador Dali painting.

None of those pieces were written in the remote keys but they did hit on many of the peculiar sounding small minor thirds. We discussed whether this material had been part of what Bach had customarily played in Meantone or whether it would have been what he used later with a Well Temperament. It works either way but of course, the effect is quite different in Meantone. Both of us quickly became accustomed to that sound and found it appealing. Somehow, it just seemed "right" in its own way.

It was interesting to me to note that a composer who writes mostly avant-guard, dissonant type, ambient sounding, film soundtrack mood type music often studies J.S. Bach. Another such composer who lives in Madison does likewise.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1659703 - 04/13/11 08:21 PM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Sam Casey]
Les Koltvedt Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 3195
Loc: Canton, MI
I had a couple of hours, one on one with LaRoy Edwards today...:)
_________________________
Les Koltvedt
LK Piano
Servicing the S. Eastern Michigan Area
PTG Associate

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#1659705 - 04/13/11 08:25 PM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Sam Casey]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
4 tunings, one of them a pitch raise. Also had to tie a bass string and do some Dampp-Chaser maintenance. All in all a good day. smile
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1659706 - 04/13/11 08:26 PM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Sam Casey]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3899
I tuned a "Steinway" .....at least the fallboard said "Steinway". Too bad the plate said "Winter Musette". grin grin ha ha
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#1659767 - 04/13/11 10:49 PM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Sam Casey]
RonTuner Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1677
Loc: Chicagoland
We hosted some of the city-wide choral competitions today. I went over the SF 10 onstage and the 6' Baldwin in the choir room before anyone got there. Then I got to sit in the auditorium and listen to many different levels of choirs. (and a chance to evaluate the piano too!)

Gotta make time for some extra voicing on the stage piano soon... It is so valuable to hear the piano away from the bench, with an audience in the seats.

Ron Koval


Edited by RonTuner (04/13/11 10:49 PM)
_________________________
Piano/instrument technician
www.ronkoval.com
@ronkoval

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


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#1659789 - 04/13/11 11:27 PM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Sam Casey]
pppat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/08
Posts: 1195
Loc: Jakobstad, Finland
Ron, how did it all turn out with your working situation - are you ok as of now?
_________________________
Patrick Wingren, RPT

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

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#1659905 - 04/14/11 06:57 AM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Sam Casey]
RonTuner Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1677
Loc: Chicagoland
Thanks for remembering - went back full time late November. A lot of scrambling to catch up on all the undone fall work!

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

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


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#1659971 - 04/14/11 09:56 AM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Sam Casey]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3325
Loc: Madison, WI USA
I had an accidental fall yesterday and managed to re-injure my right rotator cuff! This is a serious impairment for me. I will have to determine today how much I can do and what I cannot do from now on. Since I had a previous such injury, it is not likely that it can ever recover.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1659972 - 04/14/11 10:01 AM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Sam Casey]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4988
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Bill:

So very sorry to hear this! Ouch! Wish I could do something for you. frown
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1659977 - 04/14/11 10:07 AM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
I had an accidental fall yesterday and managed to re-injure my right rotator cuff! This is a serious impairment for me. I will have to determine today how much I can do and what I cannot do from now on. Since I had a previous such injury, it is not likely that it can ever recover.


Geez Bill, that's terrible! frown Hope you're feeling better soon.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1660212 - 04/14/11 06:07 PM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Sam Casey]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3325
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Thanks for the messages, Jeff and Loren. I still managed to tune 3 pianos today. My arm felt better after a while. It is clear that I injured the shoulder and the rotator cuff but I don't think, at least at this point that I tore it completely.

I learned from past experience that even with a completely torn rotator cuff, I could get around the problem so those techniques kicked in immediately. The deltoid muscle can take over. However, I simply tried not to use my right arm the way I did when I had the injury in June of 2000 and again after surgery nearly a year later. I did not have the option, as a self employed person to simply take 6 months to recover. I had to keep working.

At this point, I don't believe I tore the rotator cuff completely but it is clear that I injured it. Insurance considers that as a "pre- existing condition" and will not cover a new injury. I just have to wait and see if I can have use of the rotator cuff after I give it time to heal.

My fore arm and hand work normally. I tried to tune just one string with my left hand and quickly gave up on that. I am a right handed person, so I could no more tune a piano with my left hand than I could write a paragraph or even sign my name with my left hand. I can and did, however use my left hand for the many reaching tasks that are involved in tuning. I can use my right hand and fore arm normally if I can brace my elbow or keep my elbow against my torso.

The alternative techniques eat up time and the whole experience is tiring, so I came home after three tunings and called in sick to music rehearsal this afternoon. We are doing Mendelssohn's "Elijah" April 30 and May 1. Today was to be the first rehearsal with orchestra. This will be my 5th time singing this oratorio, so I already know the music practically by memory. I did not audition this time to be a soloist, having done so in past years. My voice is changing from Tenor to Baritone, so I skipped trying to compete for any solo parts this time to allow others who are well qualified to have a chance.

Jeff, I especially appreciate you compassion and sympathy at this time. I am looking forward to doing what I can, even if I only have half a right arm that works.

Watch this You Tube video of a conductor who has two healthy rotator cuffs! When I see it, the first thing I think of is how easily the conductor could rip both of them!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkOiKy6sXfM

You may also like the heavy brass instruments which are not usually included in an orchestra, let alone the orchestra pit for an opera.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1660449 - 04/15/11 04:49 AM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2070
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Interesting video!

I like the remarks at the end:

[Conductor]"Ja, 's ist schon... also näher!"
[Stage/recording director] "Kurze Pause."

"Yes, it's already... well, closer."
"A short break."
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.
LinkedIn profile
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1660856 - 04/15/11 06:39 PM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Sam Casey]
RonTuner Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1677
Loc: Chicagoland
Oh Bill.... what a pain! I've got a partial tear in my right rotator, but with some exercises have been able to remain functional. Lefty IS hard to learn, especially for "mature" techs! Hang in there, be creative and hopefully you can adapt to this challenge.

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

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


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#1662924 - 04/19/11 12:42 PM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Sam Casey]
Les Koltvedt Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 3195
Loc: Canton, MI
So Bill, hows the shoulder doing?

Yesterday worked on a older Bechstein and then a Henry Miller...quite the range. lol
_________________________
Les Koltvedt
LK Piano
Servicing the S. Eastern Michigan Area
PTG Associate

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#1662981 - 04/19/11 02:09 PM Re: So, what did you do today? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 440
Loc: new york city
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT


My fore arm and hand work normally. I tried to tune just one string with my left hand and quickly gave up on that. I am a right handed person, so I could no more tune a piano with my left hand than I could write a paragraph or even sign my name with my left hand.


Bill,

Very sorry to hear of your injury...Wishing you a complete recovery...

I am right-handed and have never been what I would consider ambidexterous, but last summer I was inspired to learn how to tune grands left-handed in the high treble, as I observed this technique done by Ori Bukai, the owner of the Allegro Piano stores in Stamford, CT and NYC. I'm sure there a fair number of techs that can do this, but it is not commonplace.

I practiced this new technique on four or five grands a day, several days a week, until I didn't have to think about it anymore and it became second nature. That probably took about 3 months, but I was getting decent results within a week or two.

There are several advantages to mastering this technique; one of which is that in a piano store, the grands are often lined up next to each other and there is usually no room to stand to the side of the piano at the high treble. The tech can also remain seated for the entire grand tuning. Another advantage is that I've found I can use a shorter extension and a head with a more horizontal angle (I use a custom Charles Faulk 12" lever with a 5-degree head and only a 1/2 inch extension) and now I never have to think about clearing plate struts at any point on the piano - even grands that have tall struts like the Bluthner models. Yet another advantage is that you give your striking hand some rest for about 1/4 of the tuning.

I still haven't worked on tuning verticals left-handed but I'm sure it is doable with practice. I also recall some techs that post here that can tune verticals with either hand. It may be easier to learn this technique on grands when sitting as you use the stretcher as an arm support to pivot, although the impact lever might work for you left-handed on verticals.

If you decide to try it, just be very patient with yourself, and before long it might be as easy as tuning right-handed. It felt completely alien at first, but my effort paid off...Good luck!
_________________________
Keyboardist & Composer, Piano Technician
www.jamescarney.net
http://jamescarneypianotuning.wordpress.com/

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