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#2050150 - 03/18/13 09:52 AM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: Mwm]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2372
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Thank you! Thank you! Thank for the advice!

Edit: I hadn't thought of the necessity for transposition and equivalent harmonization. I'm not even going with a QE... I'm going with ET.

ET it is!

Thanks,
-Joe


I read the OP before I read any of the replies.



Good choice, Joe! smile


I hope I didn't insult you. I'm sure you you make "the rough places plain".


Not at all, and thanks for the compliment! wink
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2050152 - 03/18/13 09:58 AM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: rxd]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2372
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: rxd
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor

I only tune aurally, and I've noticed my stretch has gotten smaller over time, and my customers have been happier as a result. Aside from the Shout House, the vast majority of my customers are professional musicians; my peers. Every single one of them seems to prefer a more sterile octave these days. One of my customers is the Theodore Geisel Director of Outreach at the San Diego Opera. One day, when I showed up to tune, he came out the front door, threw his arms around me, and thanked me for making him fall in love with playing the piano again (he has the Baldwin SF-10 that was repeatedly breaking the highest wound string), and he's had the best in the area take of his piano before I came along. A lot of my fellow singers I tune for teach, and maybe that's why they prefer the more technically accurate tunings. :shrug:


This is very interesting. Perhaps room size may have affect the acceptability of wider octaves. I think a "stage tuning" will want wider octaves than a "room tuning."
Edit: Maybe some ETD's are more biased towards doing stage tunings.


The time is now ripe to discuss this.

When I first started work for a manufacturer of fine pianos as a concert tuner, I was given two basic house style instructions. They were to add half a beat to each treble octave and to tune the bass sharp. He had been taught that 50 years before. A fine piano with depth of tone will accept this. A cheap or worn out piano with thin tone sounds sharp in the bass already and so I can see where this stretching in both directions came from. That, plus excessive dependence on theory over practice.

I also knew at the time, about another fine company who also narrowed the two octave bearings area. This came in useful for Wurlitzer spinets ( I worked later for a dealer who had a two hundred of these constantly coming in and out as rentals) I found that slowing down all the major thirds more than normal in and around the scale area made things work out better in the whole piano. I wouldn't dream of tuning the lower half of one of these spinets electronically.

I'm only talking of 2:1 octaves.

The drunken warble in the 10ths and 17ths between the bass and tenor in an overly stretched piano is unacceptable to musicians who have to adjust their own tuning to one note or the other in any size room. 10ths in the middle register that are stretched too much just sound downright comical.

In a song cycle like Wintereisse where there are contexts where any unnecessary movement in the piano chords would disturb the stillness. The way of minimising movement in any key is to very judiciously narrow the tenor and bass octaves in ET even more than I usually do. The pianos I tune most are chosen and tone regulated for exceptional depth of tone and are 9' so they allow me to do this as long as I keep an ear on the 5ths and their compounds. Looking through the score, the chords at those moments are voiced (in the sense that a pianist or composer gives voice to a chord) to let this work.

Anybody wishing to follow up on Bill's statements about transposition would be enlightened to search: Gerald Moore unashamed accompanist side two, on uTube. He gives several examples from the piano accompaniments of how transposition can kill the music.

String players are aware that the interval from the viola C string to the violin E string is intolerable. Of course, they avoid open strings but one famous cellist showed me how "sharp" he tuned his low C for quartet work. It worked nicely with the 9' piano that I had just tuned.


I think this boils down to whether the piano is being used as a solo performance instrument, or as an ensemble or teaching tool. A different approach is required for each, i.e., prominence vs. blend.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2050156 - 03/18/13 10:01 AM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: daniokeeper]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
OperaTenor,

Talking UTs, QETs, and ETs sure rouses the Hoi Polloi. (I use that term in the most strict sense.)

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#2050160 - 03/18/13 10:06 AM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: Mwm]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: Mwm
OperaTenor,

Talking UTs, QETs, and ETs sure rouses the Hoi Polloi. (I use that term in the most strict sense.)



That is to say, each one thinks they have the e pluribus unum.

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#2050161 - 03/18/13 10:08 AM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: Mwm]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20780
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: Mwm
OperaTenor,

Talking UTs, QETs, and ETs sure rouses the Hoi Polloi. (I use that term in the most strict sense.)



If you were using the term in the strictest sense, either "the" or "Hoi" is redundant.

More likely, when people around here start talking temperaments, sense goes out the window.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2050167 - 03/18/13 10:28 AM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: BDB]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: Mwm
OperaTenor,

Talking UTs, QETs, and ETs sure rouses the Hoi Polloi. (I use that term in the most strict sense.)



If you were using the term in the strictest sense, either "the" or "Hoi" is redundant.

More likely, when people around here start talking temperaments, sense goes out the window.


You are quite correct. The "the" is redundant. I suppose I am e pluribus anus.

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#2050212 - 03/18/13 12:11 PM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: daniokeeper]
Olek Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6390
Loc: France
RXD that was very interesting to listen.

here is the link :


DO some of you notice how the CG 5th is large ?. i listened again and find that the F4 G4 tone seem enlarged (out of the G4 being a little more bright than other notes)

Also noticeable at 5:50 and after, with G2 A3 (small)

That sound typical to me, G and C being the last notes tuned when a A fork is used, that is where I find most compromising done; at the same time the old method using a C fork may leave the tuner with a tendency to allow a cleaner 5th ther, the same as the A-E when a A fork is used (often find that A-E 5th left a tad cleaner)

When the first octave is short, I noticed it is difficult to avoid some 5th sounding a bit sour, not impossible, just difficult)

At some point the enlarging of the octave is a facility, giving larger 5ths at the expense of faster 3ds, allowing the FBI to be easier to be progressive (I suspect that the more you keep the first octave compact, the more you will have differences in 3ds progression if the 5ths are homogeneous, and the more you will have 5 th size differences if the 3ds are kept progressive - and that is only because the iH is not as progressive as we expect.

The 5ths motion is more noticeable so the tuners may have a tendency to forget a little about perfect progression of M3 in the temperament, knowing all that could be re conciliated when tuning higher.

I suggest also that enlarged 5 th sound more similar one another in the ear of the listener, hence the success of those enlarged first octave.

It may also allow the resonance to jump more easily at the 2 nd octave level, and enlight then that region, ,by evidence an effect that may please the piano tuner, and the pianist if he plays alone.

Just to say I agree with RXD, octaves are 2:1 in my ear, even if that mean that no partial is being heard more tan another, they have to help the 2:1 relation in any case.


Edited by Olek (03/18/13 01:53 PM)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2050218 - 03/18/13 12:21 PM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: daniokeeper]
RonTuner Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1581
Loc: Chicagoland
Re: Electronic tuning device octave size(s)

Just a reminder, we're all expected to be in control of the machine... Except for OnlyPure and Dirk's, all platforms allow for user control of the central octave and stretch. Some are easier than others...

I do know that Verituner programmer has told me that he hears back from most purchasers that they just put it in "Average" and are happy with the results.

No traditional aural skills are really required, just take charge of all of the A's from bottom to top and adjust the machine to place them in an "ear pleasing" position - just as an instrumentalist or singer would do. This first step makes a big difference in how the piano will sound. Go ahead and start them where the machine places them, then subtly adjust to see if you can make a better single, double or triple octave...

<off my soapbox>

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

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


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#2050244 - 03/18/13 01:20 PM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: OperaTenor]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1680
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Originally Posted By: rxd
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor

I only tune aurally, and I've noticed my stretch has gotten smaller over time, and my customers have been happier as a result. Aside from the Shout House, the vast majority of my customers are professional musicians; my peers. Every single one of them seems to prefer a more sterile octave these days. One of my customers is the Theodore Geisel Director of Outreach at the San Diego Opera. One day, when I showed up to tune, he came out the front door, threw his arms around me, and thanked me for making him fall in love with playing the piano again (he has the Baldwin SF-10 that was repeatedly breaking the highest wound string), and he's had the best in the area take of his piano before I came along. A lot of my fellow singers I tune for teach, and maybe that's why they prefer the more technically accurate tunings. :shrug:


This is very interesting. Perhaps room size may have affect the acceptability of wider octaves. I think a "stage tuning" will want wider octaves than a "room tuning."
Edit: Maybe some ETD's are more biased towards doing stage tunings.


The time is now ripe to discuss this.

When I first started work for a manufacturer of fine pianos as a concert tuner, I was given two basic house style instructions. They were to add half a beat to each treble octave and to tune the bass sharp. He had been taught that 50 years before. A fine piano with depth of tone will accept this. A cheap or worn out piano with thin tone sounds sharp in the bass already and so I can see where this stretching in both directions came from. That, plus excessive dependence on theory over practice.

I also knew at the time, about another fine company who also narrowed the two octave bearings area. This came in useful for Wurlitzer spinets ( I worked later for a dealer who had a two hundred of these constantly coming in and out as rentals) I found that slowing down all the major thirds more than normal in and around the scale area made things work out better in the whole piano. I wouldn't dream of tuning the lower half of one of these spinets electronically.

I'm only talking of 2:1 octaves.

The drunken warble in the 10ths and 17ths between the bass and tenor in an overly stretched piano is unacceptable to musicians who have to adjust their own tuning to one note or the other in any size room. 10ths in the middle register that are stretched too much just sound downright comical.

In a song cycle like Wintereisse where there are contexts where any unnecessary movement in the piano chords would disturb the stillness. The way of minimising movement in any key is to very judiciously narrow the tenor and bass octaves in ET even more than I usually do. The pianos I tune most are chosen and tone regulated for exceptional depth of tone and are 9' so they allow me to do this as long as I keep an ear on the 5ths and their compounds. Looking through the score, the chords at those moments are voiced (in the sense that a pianist or composer gives voice to a chord) to let this work.

Anybody wishing to follow up on Bill's statements about transposition would be enlightened to search: Gerald Moore unashamed accompanist side two, on uTube. He gives several examples from the piano accompaniments of how transposition can kill the music.

String players are aware that the interval from the viola C string to the violin E string is intolerable. Of course, they avoid open strings but one famous cellist showed me how "sharp" he tuned his low C for quartet work. It worked nicely with the 9' piano that I had just tuned.


I think this boils down to whether the piano is being used as a solo performance instrument, or as an ensemble or teaching tool. A different approach is required for each, i.e., prominence vs. blend.


Well, this is a thread about a teaching instrument which, ideally, should be as close as possible to a typical accompanying performance instrument. While we might not be able to run to a 7' or 9' grand, at least we can get a typical tuning right. I hope it goes without saying that an unequal temperament is not typical.

A solo performance pIano is, by it's very nature prominent, it's the only instrument up there!!! Perhaps you are thinking concerto, in which case the piano has to, in turn, blend and also be prominent at different tImes. How do you reconcile that from a tuning point of view?


Edited by rxd (03/18/13 01:22 PM)
_________________________
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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#2050246 - 03/18/13 01:21 PM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: daniokeeper]
Olek Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6390
Loc: France
I believe (?) that this ETD focus for octaves, doubles triples, etc is what makes the primary modification of priorities and make the tuner miss the point a little

Probably the logical underlying the precedent generation of ETD put too much weight on octaves, while not saying so.

It is also fairly possible that the compromising created by the iH curve upper and lower the temp octave is modifying the progressiveness of M3ds too much (the speed raise too fast within the octave, in my ear, often.

It is not surprising that the "listening" done by the ETD is not the same than the one of the human, in the end.

So the model proposed could be possibly ameliorated, based on a different theory, it would be nice if the VT100 have progressed, as it was promising, with real time partial analysis, but it seem to stay fixed with the original functions.

I am unsure that tuning all A's by ear would allow to compute a better tuning, the notes take their "meaning" or "color" when there are enough other notes yet tuned.
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2050759 - 03/19/13 11:10 AM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: daniokeeper]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Bill Bremmer quoted from the EVBT III thread:

GP, I would suggest not transposing anything except for a few examples to prove that the original key signature is correct. I truly believe that all music has been composed in the correct key signature. Whatever character it has in that key signature was meant to be. Can anyone play and record the "Going Home" melody from Dvorak's 9th symphony in the correct key of D-flat in the EBVT III? GP, would you have that in your library somewhere? Nobody could ever convince me that any orchestra ever played that in strictly ET intervals. If you could find it, GP, playing (and recording) it in D-flat and then in C Major (and/or D Major) may prove something. It belongs in the key that it was written and it was conceived as having wide intervals, not narrow.

I'll get back to any more comments or questions that I can, as I can, sorry if I missed yours, it was not intentional.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

Please forgive me, as I am new to the forum posting business, if I have transgressed in quoting from another thread, but Bill Bremmer, advocate of EVBT III, a fine temperament, states above that pieces should not be transposed from their original key. Being the case that transposition is necessary on a daily basis for singing teachers, the only logical outcome for this thread would be for voice teachers, who allow their students to use transposed music, to have their pianos tuned in ET.


Edited by Mwm (03/19/13 11:11 AM)

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#2051121 - 03/20/13 12:14 AM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: daniokeeper]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3038
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Mwm,

I'm afraid you're getting way ahead of your knowledge and experience. With no more to go on but a single anecdotal experience, your advice to a technician regarding whether or not to use a non-equal temperament was "Don't do it!"

I hope you don't mind if I don't personally take your advice since I have been doing just that for the past 24 years and have made my living as a professional piano technician doing what you say in effect, wouldn't work, couldn't work and shouldn't be tried. You're not the first to blurt out such advice. Thousands have preceded you. None of their advice was given any consideration either.

Nor have any of the warnings about the dire consequences of what would surely happen if one dared to take such a foolish risk. I just brush such comments away as if they were dust.

The reason is because I do have a long history of experience with this topic and I happen to know what I am talking about. 9 out of 10 aural tunings performed up until perhaps 1990 to 2000 but surely even a large percentage of them even today are not ET at all but a backwards version of a Well Temperament. If all of the dire consequences of straying just one iota from the almighty ET were true, then those very consequences would have happened to 9 out of 10 people who ever tried to tune a piano. Obviously, they did not.

Yes, a key signature is important. It is chosen for a reason. Music is meant to be performed in the key in which it was written. We had a very long discussion about that "Going Home" melody. I discussed it with a very fine piano technician who is also a professor of piano performance.

Our conclusion was that it is a C Major type melody and must have originally been composed on a piano in a Well Temperament in that key. However, it was transcribed and transposed for wind instruments as part of a symphony. Wind instruments happen to intone better in the flat keys than the sharp keys. (Strings are the opposite). Wind instruments do not have the same requirement for temperament as the piano does, nor the need to stretch the octaves. Both wind and string players of high caliber often comment about their inability to resolve completely their intonation with a piano tuned in ET and for good reason: it fights them every step of the way.

I am also a vocalist and have studied voice for some 35 years. Of course, vocal material sometimes needs to be transposed to suit a vocalist's range. If the material being studied is from the 17th or 18th Centuries, ET was NEVER the temperament used at the time that music was written. NEVER!

So, to play that music on a modern piano in ET is automatically altering it from the way it was intended to sound. Yes, if you play music that is drastically altered from the way it was intended to sound and move it up or down a half step or an augmented 4th or any other random interval, it will still sound just as drastically altered by the same amount. Therefore, the supposed advantage of ET.

Complete freedom to modulate, complete freedom to transpose and complete freedom to have all music in a Major key sound as if it were in A Major, no matter which key it is in and all music in a minor key to sound like it is in C minor, no matter which key it is in. Complete freedom to modulate for no reason at all and to have no distinction and to experience no tension and relief because of the modulation. Every valley is exalted and the rough places made plain. All music is put on tranquilizers.

Editions of vocal music do NOT come in increments of a half step and certainly do not have editions transposed up or down and augmented 4th. The transpositions are to keys with at least similar tone color, not to keys which would be expected to be inappropriate. You need to understand what Well Temperament actually is to know what I mean by this.

Music is intended to have some kind of emotion from tranquility to rage. From solemnity to depression. ET robs virtually all music of some of the extremes it was meant to have. That cannot be disputed. It does. If that is the way you prefer to hear the music, with all the edges rounded off, then you are entitled to your opinion and preference. But don't tell me that I have to give all of my clients what your preferences are. I prefer to find out what my clients want to hear and provide it.

The fact is that we did try that "Going Home" melody in both C Major and D-flat Major on a piano tuned in the EBVT III (with, I might add, very highly stretched octaves). When it was played in D-flat Major, nobody had a fit. Nobody tore their hair out. Nobody's skin crawled. Nobody's blood curdled. Nobody put their foot down. Nobody got angry about it. The cast iron frame did not rupture. The bridges didn't split. The soundboard didn't crack. The strings didn't break. Nobody was sued. Nobody lost their job. Nobody was blacklisted. Nobody came to the conclusion that we then had to tune every piano in ET so that there would be no distinction between C Major and D-flat Major.

If we had then tuned the piano in ET, it would not have meant that suddenly the music sounded "right" in C Major. It would have changed it and not for the better. If we had done that and then played it in D-flat Major, it would have sounded the same as it did in C Major, not right, altered from the way it should sound but just a half step higher.

The way it was, in the EBVT III, the melody played in D-flat Major did not sound unpleasant nor was it unusable in any way. It just did not have the sonority that it should have.

You don't get something for nothing. To put all music on the modern piano in ET, you lose something by doing that. If you make every octave on the piano sound completely pure, then octave-fifths, double octaves and triple octaves will be narrow. The high end of the piano will sound flat and the low end will sound sharp.

If you stretch the central octaves of the piano so that all of the 5ths sound pure, you will make all harmony sound tart, like a balloon that has been filled to the point where it will burst. You may gain one kind of brilliance and clarity in one context but in other contexts, you will create a very unsatisfactory sound.

No matter what you do, the ultimate tuning for any piano must be some kind of compromise or another. Perhaps the best kind of compromise is a very complex set of compromises which defies a simple explanation and certainly defies any seemingly logical mathematical solution.

Here is that "Going Home" melody played the way I tuned the piano that day. Those of us who were there, all professional musicians and piano technicians enjoyed it that way. I don't expect everyone to agree. I would expect some people to say they don't like it and they would never tune a piano that way. However, I am not going to change what I do based upon what any technician on this forum may say. I go by the response of my clients. I give them what appeals to them and they pay me to come back and do it for them time and again.

"Going Home" melody played in the EBVT III on a Mason & Hamlin RBB:
https://www.box.com/shared/on0hs9rhcv
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2051155 - 03/20/13 02:59 AM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: daniokeeper]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1680
Loc: London, England
We have memtioned the wisdom or not of transposition, Perhaps we should discuss the wisdom of piano transcriptions.

Maybe if it were played in a less banging style it would be more convincing . That piano sounds as though it would still sustain, maybe even better, if it were played in a less vulgar style. It is too big a contrast from the orchestral version we all know.
This recording does nothing to further the cause. Between the tension in the playing and the tension in the temperament it conveys absolutely nothing of Dvorák's original intent.

Examples like this will earn unequal temperaments the reputation of being the temperaments of insensitive musicians and we wouldn't want that, would we?


Edited by rxd (03/20/13 04:40 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.



Top
#2051158 - 03/20/13 03:02 AM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: rxd]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2372
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: rxd
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Originally Posted By: rxd
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor

I only tune aurally, and I've noticed my stretch has gotten smaller over time, and my customers have been happier as a result. Aside from the Shout House, the vast majority of my customers are professional musicians; my peers. Every single one of them seems to prefer a more sterile octave these days. One of my customers is the Theodore Geisel Director of Outreach at the San Diego Opera. One day, when I showed up to tune, he came out the front door, threw his arms around me, and thanked me for making him fall in love with playing the piano again (he has the Baldwin SF-10 that was repeatedly breaking the highest wound string), and he's had the best in the area take of his piano before I came along. A lot of my fellow singers I tune for teach, and maybe that's why they prefer the more technically accurate tunings. :shrug:


This is very interesting. Perhaps room size may have affect the acceptability of wider octaves. I think a "stage tuning" will want wider octaves than a "room tuning."
Edit: Maybe some ETD's are more biased towards doing stage tunings.


The time is now ripe to discuss this.

When I first started work for a manufacturer of fine pianos as a concert tuner, I was given two basic house style instructions. They were to add half a beat to each treble octave and to tune the bass sharp. He had been taught that 50 years before. A fine piano with depth of tone will accept this. A cheap or worn out piano with thin tone sounds sharp in the bass already and so I can see where this stretching in both directions came from. That, plus excessive dependence on theory over practice.

I also knew at the time, about another fine company who also narrowed the two octave bearings area. This came in useful for Wurlitzer spinets ( I worked later for a dealer who had a two hundred of these constantly coming in and out as rentals) I found that slowing down all the major thirds more than normal in and around the scale area made things work out better in the whole piano. I wouldn't dream of tuning the lower half of one of these spinets electronically.

I'm only talking of 2:1 octaves.

The drunken warble in the 10ths and 17ths between the bass and tenor in an overly stretched piano is unacceptable to musicians who have to adjust their own tuning to one note or the other in any size room. 10ths in the middle register that are stretched too much just sound downright comical.

In a song cycle like Wintereisse where there are contexts where any unnecessary movement in the piano chords would disturb the stillness. The way of minimising movement in any key is to very judiciously narrow the tenor and bass octaves in ET even more than I usually do. The pianos I tune most are chosen and tone regulated for exceptional depth of tone and are 9' so they allow me to do this as long as I keep an ear on the 5ths and their compounds. Looking through the score, the chords at those moments are voiced (in the sense that a pianist or composer gives voice to a chord) to let this work.

Anybody wishing to follow up on Bill's statements about transposition would be enlightened to search: Gerald Moore unashamed accompanist side two, on uTube. He gives several examples from the piano accompaniments of how transposition can kill the music.

String players are aware that the interval from the viola C string to the violin E string is intolerable. Of course, they avoid open strings but one famous cellist showed me how "sharp" he tuned his low C for quartet work. It worked nicely with the 9' piano that I had just tuned.


I think this boils down to whether the piano is being used as a solo performance instrument, or as an ensemble or teaching tool. A different approach is required for each, i.e., prominence vs. blend.


Well, this is a thread about a teaching instrument which, ideally, should be as close as possible to a typical accompanying performance instrument. While we might not be able to run to a 7' or 9' grand, at least we can get a typical tuning right. I hope it goes without saying that an unequal temperament is not typical.

A solo performance pIano is, by it's very nature prominent, it's the only instrument up there!!! Perhaps you are thinking concerto, in which case the piano has to, in turn, blend and also be prominent at different tImes. How do you reconcile that from a tuning point of view?


My point was that as a solo performance instrument, a UT is probably not only acceptable, but desired; as many advocates of UT's here claim, it can bring the most out of the instrument. Also, perhaps the repertoire calls for it.

If I was king of the world, a piano being used with other instruments would be tuned to ET unless specifically requested otherwise, because, as you say, it has to blend, even if it's only occasionally.

For teaching voice, as a singer, I would prefer my piano, which for this purpose is a teaching tool and nothing more, to have ET with minimal stretch.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
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#2051211 - 03/20/13 07:11 AM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: daniokeeper]
Olek Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6390
Loc: France
That BB could be better tuned in any case whatever temperament is used, but ET bring some consonance in a more homogeneous way that tend to enrich the instrument at large (hopefully wink

Finding how to have singing pianos by playing with temperament can be a huge trap, in my opinion.

Most ET we hear in recordings of the 60's (and late as well in the end) are not ET in the sense of the ETD tunings anyway, but the tone itself is worked to be gentle, consonant and pleasing not hard immediate and short.

Then the musician have a better palette of tonality. (and the voicer is not obliged to kill the attack)

When I first met Fabbrinni, the reputed concert tuner from Italy, and noticed he use a 4th and 5th temperament, he just stated that he leaned to tune that way with his father, that was the first time I discovered that musically attention to those intervals was more important than having the perfect ladder of 3ds (while both are possible by evidence)

So I understand how, after having used tunings focusing on those M3 for years, the tuner is amazed to discover the singing quality of 5ths that was left aside in the process).

The ladder of 3ds is technically correct, perfect as a trick to even a few notes in the original octave, and may limit the mistakes on 5th, but what I have noticed is it was often used in an enlarged first octave context, meaning the temperament was stretched, while the next part of the tuning focused correctly on 5ths and 4ths when the job was done by a good tuner.


It just could left in the end one octave which is less congruent than the others, in the full middle of the instrument.

The opposite is just to use enlarged octaves above the temperament.

trick, and tips, due to the initial defect of the goal description.

Some tunings are then just better for some sort of harmony, and less for others .

One can even consider the tuning to be something separated from the instrument's own justness, and obtain some sort of "white sheet" very playeable and comforteable for the pianist.

The instrument own voice could even be too present (colored tuning) in some other situation.

We have a whole range of possibilities between both, while I will certainly not pretend mastering that range of possibilities or using them purposely, I believe it can be the case due to type of process employed, room acoustics, voicing, and the quality of the tuners sleep the night before.

(not to forget the age of the captain)



Edited by Olek (03/20/13 07:29 AM)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2051323 - 03/20/13 12:08 PM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Mwm,

I'm afraid you're getting way ahead of your knowledge and experience. With no more to go on but a single anecdotal experience, your advice to a technician regarding whether or not to use a non-equal temperament was "Don't do it!"

I hope you don't mind if I don't personally take your advice since I have been doing just that for the past 24 years and have made my living as a professional piano technician doing what you say in effect, wouldn't work, couldn't work and shouldn't be tried. You're not the first to blurt out such advice. Thousands have preceded you. None of their advice was given any consideration either.

Nor have any of the warnings about the dire consequences of what would surely happen if one dared to take such a foolish risk. I just brush such comments away as if they were dust.

The reason is because I do have a long history of experience with this topic and I happen to know what I am talking about. 9 out of 10 aural tunings performed up until perhaps 1990 to 2000 but surely even a large percentage of them even today are not ET at all but a backwards version of a Well Temperament. If all of the dire consequences of straying just one iota from the almighty ET were true, then those very consequences would have happened to 9 out of 10 people who ever tried to tune a piano. Obviously, they did not.

Yes, a key signature is important. It is chosen for a reason. Music is meant to be performed in the key in which it was written. We had a very long discussion about that "Going Home" melody. I discussed it with a very fine piano technician who is also a professor of piano performance.

Our conclusion was that it is a C Major type melody and must have originally been composed on a piano in a Well Temperament in that key. However, it was transcribed and transposed for wind instruments as part of a symphony. Wind instruments happen to intone better in the flat keys than the sharp keys. (Strings are the opposite). Wind instruments do not have the same requirement for temperament as the piano does, nor the need to stretch the octaves. Both wind and string players of high caliber often comment about their inability to resolve completely their intonation with a piano tuned in ET and for good reason: it fights them every step of the way.

I am also a vocalist and have studied voice for some 35 years. Of course, vocal material sometimes needs to be transposed to suit a vocalist's range. If the material being studied is from the 17th or 18th Centuries, ET was NEVER the temperament used at the time that music was written. NEVER!

So, to play that music on a modern piano in ET is automatically altering it from the way it was intended to sound. Yes, if you play music that is drastically altered from the way it was intended to sound and move it up or down a half step or an augmented 4th or any other random interval, it will still sound just as drastically altered by the same amount. Therefore, the supposed advantage of ET.

Complete freedom to modulate, complete freedom to transpose and complete freedom to have all music in a Major key sound as if it were in A Major, no matter which key it is in and all music in a minor key to sound like it is in C minor, no matter which key it is in. Complete freedom to modulate for no reason at all and to have no distinction and to experience no tension and relief because of the modulation. Every valley is exalted and the rough places made plain. All music is put on tranquilizers.

Editions of vocal music do NOT come in increments of a half step and certainly do not have editions transposed up or down and augmented 4th. The transpositions are to keys with at least similar tone color, not to keys which would be expected to be inappropriate. You need to understand what Well Temperament actually is to know what I mean by this.

Music is intended to have some kind of emotion from tranquility to rage. From solemnity to depression. ET robs virtually all music of some of the extremes it was meant to have. That cannot be disputed. It does. If that is the way you prefer to hear the music, with all the edges rounded off, then you are entitled to your opinion and preference. But don't tell me that I have to give all of my clients what your preferences are. I prefer to find out what my clients want to hear and provide it.

The fact is that we did try that "Going Home" melody in both C Major and D-flat Major on a piano tuned in the EBVT III (with, I might add, very highly stretched octaves). When it was played in D-flat Major, nobody had a fit. Nobody tore their hair out. Nobody's skin crawled. Nobody's blood curdled. Nobody put their foot down. Nobody got angry about it. The cast iron frame did not rupture. The bridges didn't split. The soundboard didn't crack. The strings didn't break. Nobody was sued. Nobody lost their job. Nobody was blacklisted. Nobody came to the conclusion that we then had to tune every piano in ET so that there would be no distinction between C Major and D-flat Major.

If we had then tuned the piano in ET, it would not have meant that suddenly the music sounded "right" in C Major. It would have changed it and not for the better. If we had done that and then played it in D-flat Major, it would have sounded the same as it did in C Major, not right, altered from the way it should sound but just a half step higher.

The way it was, in the EBVT III, the melody played in D-flat Major did not sound unpleasant nor was it unusable in any way. It just did not have the sonority that it should have.

You don't get something for nothing. To put all music on the modern piano in ET, you lose something by doing that. If you make every octave on the piano sound completely pure, then octave-fifths, double octaves and triple octaves will be narrow. The high end of the piano will sound flat and the low end will sound sharp.

If you stretch the central octaves of the piano so that all of the 5ths sound pure, you will make all harmony sound tart, like a balloon that has been filled to the point where it will burst. You may gain one kind of brilliance and clarity in one context but in other contexts, you will create a very unsatisfactory sound.

No matter what you do, the ultimate tuning for any piano must be some kind of compromise or another. Perhaps the best kind of compromise is a very complex set of compromises which defies a simple explanation and certainly defies any seemingly logical mathematical solution.

Here is that "Going Home" melody played the way I tuned the piano that day. Those of us who were there, all professional musicians and piano technicians enjoyed it that way. I don't expect everyone to agree. I would expect some people to say they don't like it and they would never tune a piano that way. However, I am not going to change what I do based upon what any technician on this forum may say. I go by the response of my clients. I give them what appeals to them and they pay me to come back and do it for them time and again.

"Going Home" melody played in the EBVT III on a Mason & Hamlin RBB:
https://www.box.com/shared/on0hs9rhcv


Hi Bill,

I don't mind at all if you don't take my advice. It is my belief that all people, technicians and non-technicians should have the benefit of divergent points of view. Some of those points of view may be based on ignorance, and some are based on experience. I generally agree with just about everything you wrote above. I have spent 40 years working and performing in early music performance practice, so I know about UT, WT, and ET. However, my application of UT and WT has, until now, been limited to instruments whose minimal or non-existent inharmonicity did not get in the way of the approach to tuning the instrument. Now that I have the time and inclination to work with my own piano, I want to explore all these divergent points of view.

Nevertheless, unlike the harpsichord, on which it is difficult to do a convincing performance of a concerto by Ravel or Rachmaninoff, the piano is called upon to play everything from parallel organum to prepared piano works and beyond. Ultimately, the music must come from the performer. Another thread on PW had a video of Valentina Lisitsa playing an out of tune upright at a tube in London. Not bad music making. You can make Bach musical on the kazoo if a musician is playing it. My point is, as a performer, I don't think much about the tuning or temperament of the instrument when performing. I don't think much about the tuning or temperament when I listen to the piano, only the music. I have listened to many of the variant tunings posted here and I think, this was nice, that was nice, but the music or lack of music always gets in the way of actually hearing the temperament. I never, ever want to reach the point that the sound of the tuning gets in the way of my enjoyment of the music.

Yes, I agree that ET, or what passes for ET, could be construed as lacking colour. Does that mean that Yousuf Karsh's black and white portraits are any less poignant for not having colour? I don't think so. The emotion comes from the performer, not the tuner.

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#2051578 - 03/20/13 08:45 PM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: daniokeeper]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1056
Loc: PA
Just a follow up:
The decision was made by the client to only use ET.

Thank you all for the help and advice.

Btw, I just thought I'd add something to this discussion. Not all UTs are about key color/contrast. There are some, like the 1/10 CM that are extremely close to ET anyhow. Then ,there are others like the Neidhart and the Moscow's EBPT, as well as the Quasi-Equal temperaments that were developed when trying to create ET. The term UT covers a lot of area. smile
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#2051604 - 03/20/13 09:56 PM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Mwm,

I'm afraid you're getting way ahead of your knowledge and experience. With no more to go on but a single anecdotal experience, your advice to a technician regarding whether or not to use a non-equal temperament was "Don't do it!"

I hope you don't mind if I don't personally take your advice since I have been doing just that for the past 24 years and have made my living as a professional piano technician doing what you say in effect, wouldn't work, couldn't work and shouldn't be tried. You're not the first to blurt out such advice. Thousands have preceded you. None of their advice was given any consideration either.

Nor have any of the warnings about the dire consequences of what would surely happen if one dared to take such a foolish risk. I just brush such comments away as if they were dust.

The reason is because I do have a long history of experience with this topic and I happen to know what I am talking about. 9 out of 10 aural tunings performed up until perhaps 1990 to 2000 but surely even a large percentage of them even today are not ET at all but a backwards version of a Well Temperament. If all of the dire consequences of straying just one iota from the almighty ET were true, then those very consequences would have happened to 9 out of 10 people who ever tried to tune a piano. Obviously, they did not.

Yes, a key signature is important. It is chosen for a reason. Music is meant to be performed in the key in which it was written. We had a very long discussion about that "Going Home" melody. I discussed it with a very fine piano technician who is also a professor of piano performance.

Our conclusion was that it is a C Major type melody and must have originally been composed on a piano in a Well Temperament in that key. However, it was transcribed and transposed for wind instruments as part of a symphony. Wind instruments happen to intone better in the flat keys than the sharp keys. (Strings are the opposite). Wind instruments do not have the same requirement for temperament as the piano does, nor the need to stretch the octaves. Both wind and string players of high caliber often comment about their inability to resolve completely their intonation with a piano tuned in ET and for good reason: it fights them every step of the way.

I am also a vocalist and have studied voice for some 35 years. Of course, vocal material sometimes needs to be transposed to suit a vocalist's range. If the material being studied is from the 17th or 18th Centuries, ET was NEVER the temperament used at the time that music was written. NEVER!

So, to play that music on a modern piano in ET is automatically altering it from the way it was intended to sound. Yes, if you play music that is drastically altered from the way it was intended to sound and move it up or down a half step or an augmented 4th or any other random interval, it will still sound just as drastically altered by the same amount. Therefore, the supposed advantage of ET.

Complete freedom to modulate, complete freedom to transpose and complete freedom to have all music in a Major key sound as if it were in A Major, no matter which key it is in and all music in a minor key to sound like it is in C minor, no matter which key it is in. Complete freedom to modulate for no reason at all and to have no distinction and to experience no tension and relief because of the modulation. Every valley is exalted and the rough places made plain. All music is put on tranquilizers.

Editions of vocal music do NOT come in increments of a half step and certainly do not have editions transposed up or down and augmented 4th. The transpositions are to keys with at least similar tone color, not to keys which would be expected to be inappropriate. You need to understand what Well Temperament actually is to know what I mean by this.

Music is intended to have some kind of emotion from tranquility to rage. From solemnity to depression. ET robs virtually all music of some of the extremes it was meant to have. That cannot be disputed. It does. If that is the way you prefer to hear the music, with all the edges rounded off, then you are entitled to your opinion and preference. But don't tell me that I have to give all of my clients what your preferences are. I prefer to find out what my clients want to hear and provide it.

The fact is that we did try that "Going Home" melody in both C Major and D-flat Major on a piano tuned in the EBVT III (with, I might add, very highly stretched octaves). When it was played in D-flat Major, nobody had a fit. Nobody tore their hair out. Nobody's skin crawled. Nobody's blood curdled. Nobody put their foot down. Nobody got angry about it. The cast iron frame did not rupture. The bridges didn't split. The soundboard didn't crack. The strings didn't break. Nobody was sued. Nobody lost their job. Nobody was blacklisted. Nobody came to the conclusion that we then had to tune every piano in ET so that there would be no distinction between C Major and D-flat Major.

If we had then tuned the piano in ET, it would not have meant that suddenly the music sounded "right" in C Major. It would have changed it and not for the better. If we had done that and then played it in D-flat Major, it would have sounded the same as it did in C Major, not right, altered from the way it should sound but just a half step higher.

The way it was, in the EBVT III, the melody played in D-flat Major did not sound unpleasant nor was it unusable in any way. It just did not have the sonority that it should have.

You don't get something for nothing. To put all music on the modern piano in ET, you lose something by doing that. If you make every octave on the piano sound completely pure, then octave-fifths, double octaves and triple octaves will be narrow. The high end of the piano will sound flat and the low end will sound sharp.

If you stretch the central octaves of the piano so that all of the 5ths sound pure, you will make all harmony sound tart, like a balloon that has been filled to the point where it will burst. You may gain one kind of brilliance and clarity in one context but in other contexts, you will create a very unsatisfactory sound.

No matter what you do, the ultimate tuning for any piano must be some kind of compromise or another. Perhaps the best kind of compromise is a very complex set of compromises which defies a simple explanation and certainly defies any seemingly logical mathematical solution.

Here is that "Going Home" melody played the way I tuned the piano that day. Those of us who were there, all professional musicians and piano technicians enjoyed it that way. I don't expect everyone to agree. I would expect some people to say they don't like it and they would never tune a piano that way. However, I am not going to change what I do based upon what any technician on this forum may say. I go by the response of my clients. I give them what appeals to them and they pay me to come back and do it for them time and again.

"Going Home" melody played in the EBVT III on a Mason & Hamlin RBB:
https://www.box.com/shared/on0hs9rhcv


As a counter to the "Going Home' melody above, I offer the following short excerpt, played in D flat major, from the New World Symphony of Antonin Dvorak that I recorded this afternoon on my M&H BB in Dirk's Tuner stretched ET. The piano lid is fully open, and the mic is placed inside the piano to capture all of the sound, including pedal movement, hammer noise, and, of course, all the inharmonicity and out of tuneness of my attempt at ET. This is one take, no editing, no processing.

https://www.box.com/s/c5mhpzytqtobdz8hurjd

Cheers.

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#2051765 - 03/21/13 06:44 AM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: daniokeeper]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3038
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Thanks for that. I will be away in Los Angeles for 7 days. I tuned the ET via Marpurg for the Opera rehearsals on Monday and again yesterday for a client with a Steinway M who prefers ET. I am hoping to get some nice recordings of it at Grandpianoman's in May.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2051769 - 03/21/13 06:57 AM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: daniokeeper]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3038
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Just a follow up:
The decision was made by the client to only use ET.


Oh sure. I think of this as analogous to the currently used term, "Low Information" voter. "You wouldn't want one of those Mean tone tunings, would you? Isn't Well-tempered tuning the same as ET? It says so in several books I have read. Oh, it isn't? You mean it's unequal?" Then a gripping fear of howling wolves and blood curdling dissonances sets in. "No, I think I would only want ET so I can play in all the keys, besides, one of my students has perfect pitch, so an unequal temperament would drive him crazy."

I have heard all of this many times over and from many different people. This is how people are kept from knowing the enjoyment of how music was actually meant to be heard. The ironic part about it is that so many people who believed for their entire lives that what they were hearing as ET was in fact a backwards version of a WT.

In any case, I wouldn't worry too much about the choice from a voice teacher who has a piano which is so substandard. Keep the other options in mind for the times when choices really do matter.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2051944 - 03/21/13 01:02 PM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Phil D Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/10
Posts: 551
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Just a follow up:
The decision was made by the client to only use ET.


Oh sure. I think of this as analogous to the currently used term, "Low Information" voter. "You wouldn't want one of those Mean tone tunings, would you? Isn't Well-tempered tuning the same as ET? It says so in several books I have read. Oh, it isn't? You mean it's unequal?" Then a gripping fear of howling wolves and blood curdling dissonances sets in. "No, I think I would only want ET so I can play in all the keys, besides, one of my students has perfect pitch, so an unequal temperament would drive him crazy."

I have heard all of this many times over and from many different people. This is how people are kept from knowing the enjoyment of how music was actually meant to be heard. The ironic part about it is that so many people who believed for their entire lives that what they were hearing as ET was in fact a backwards version of a WT.

In any case, I wouldn't worry too much about the choice from a voice teacher who has a piano which is so substandard. Keep the other options in mind for the times when choices really do matter.


This is massively presumptuous! How do you know she made the decision through ignorance? Especially as Joe said previously

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
I hadn't thought of the necessity for transposition and equivalent harmonization. I'm not even going with a QE... I'm going with ET.


Which suggests the decision was a collaboration, not a default.
_________________________
Phil Dickson
The Cycling Piano Tuner

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#2051948 - 03/21/13 01:12 PM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: Phil D]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1056
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Phil D
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Just a follow up:
The decision was made by the client to only use ET.


Oh sure. I think of this as analogous to the currently used term, "Low Information" voter. "You wouldn't want one of those Mean tone tunings, would you? Isn't Well-tempered tuning the same as ET? It says so in several books I have read. Oh, it isn't? You mean it's unequal?" Then a gripping fear of howling wolves and blood curdling dissonances sets in. "No, I think I would only want ET so I can play in all the keys, besides, one of my students has perfect pitch, so an unequal temperament would drive him crazy."

I have heard all of this many times over and from many different people. This is how people are kept from knowing the enjoyment of how music was actually meant to be heard. The ironic part about it is that so many people who believed for their entire lives that what they were hearing as ET was in fact a backwards version of a WT.

In any case, I wouldn't worry too much about the choice from a voice teacher who has a piano which is so substandard. Keep the other options in mind for the times when choices really do matter.


This is massively presumptuous! How do you know she made the decision through ignorance? Especially as Joe said previously

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
I hadn't thought of the necessity for transposition and equivalent harmonization. I'm not even going with a QE... I'm going with ET.


Which suggests the decision was a collaboration, not a default.


These are multi-generational music teachers. I did suggest various UT's after making that post. But, the client wanted ET.

"Mine is not to question why... "
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#2055355 - 03/27/13 09:41 PM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: Phil D]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3038
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: Phil D

This is massively presumptuous! How do you know she made the decision through ignorance?


Oh, you're right! I forgot the most classic quote of them all: "Wouldn't an unequal temperament tend to throw the singers off?
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2058229 - 04/02/13 10:07 AM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
alfredo capurso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/10/07
Posts: 1054
Loc: Sicily - Italy
Originally Posted By: Phil D
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Just a follow up:
The decision was made by the client to only use ET.


Oh sure. I think of this as analogous to the currently used term, "Low Information" voter. "You wouldn't want one of those Mean tone tunings, would you? Isn't Well-tempered tuning the same as ET? It says so in several books I have read. Oh, it isn't? You mean it's unequal?" Then a gripping fear of howling wolves and blood curdling dissonances sets in. "No, I think I would only want ET so I can play in all the keys, besides, one of my students has perfect pitch, so an unequal temperament would drive him crazy."

I have heard all of this many times over and from many different people. This is how people are kept from knowing the enjoyment of how music was actually meant to be heard. The ironic part about it is that so many people who believed for their entire lives that what they were hearing as ET was in fact a backwards version of a WT.

In any case, I wouldn't worry too much about the choice from a voice teacher who has a piano which is so substandard. Keep the other options in mind for the times when choices really do matter.


This is massively presumptuous! How do you know she made the decision through ignorance? Especially as Joe said previously

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
I hadn't thought of the necessity for transposition and equivalent harmonization. I'm not even going with a QE... I'm going with ET.


Which suggests the decision was a collaboration, not a default.


Hi Bill,

Perhaps you do not remember the historical process, "they" really wanted to enjoy music for how they meant music to be "heard".

You wrote: ..."The ironic part about it is that so many people who believed for their entire lives that what they were hearing as ET was in fact a backwards version of a WT."...

Even more ironic about it is that, still in these days, you suggest and try to teach a quasi-ET which is closer to a WT than to a modern ET. And yet you lament that many people think "Well-tempered tuning" be "the same as ET".

..."In any case, I wouldn't worry too much about the choice from a voice teacher who has a piano which is so substandard. Keep the other options in mind for the times when choices really do matter."

Personally, I would respect voice teachers as well, no matter what piano they can afford; the problem here would not be the piano, Bill, but poor tunings based on wrong teachings; call them WT or quasi-ET, it becomes only secondary.

Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Originally Posted By: Phil D

This is massively presumptuous! How do you know she made the decision through ignorance?


Oh, you're right! I forgot the most classic quote of them all: "Wouldn't an unequal temperament tend to throw the singers off?


I do not know anymore if your comment comes from ignorance, arrogance or bad faith.

Regards, a.c.
.
_________________________
alfredo

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#2058554 - 04/03/13 04:52 AM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: daniokeeper]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1056
Loc: PA
Being an insomniac, I woke up thinking about this issue of how much of problem tuning in an mild alternative temperament would really cause.

The largest offset for EBVT3 is at C with a difference of 3.8 cents. Most of the offsets are around or less that 1 cent. http://www.billbremmer.com/ebvt/ebvt_iii.jpg

The theoretical frequency for C4 is 261.63 Hz. The theoretical frequency for C#4 is 277.18 HZ. http://www.phy.mtu.edu/~suits/notefreqs.html This is a difference (rounded up) of about 16 Hz. This is close enough for this discussion.

There are 100 cents per half-step (as we all know smile ) So, at C4 to C#4 there are 100 cents to 16 Hz, or 16 Hz divided up by 100 cents. I suspect there would have to be a greater difference between ET and EBVT3 to cause a significant beat when a singer is singing unisons with the piano... especially when you consider that the lower on the keyboard you go, the less of a difference in Hz there will be in each half-step. Of course, the higher you go, the more Hz per cent.

These offsets do affect the harmonization of the keyboard, especially the RBIs (which is, after all, the whole point of using them). But, are they really that significant when the keyboard is being used for voice? Especially when you consider the various octave stretching style variations between tuners.

I am referring to the very mild UTs here, not the strong ones.
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#2058614 - 04/03/13 09:31 AM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: daniokeeper]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1680
Loc: London, England
In this particular case, using a small piano, whether you tune the fundamentals electronically and let the inharmonics fall where they may, or tune the inharmonics the usual way and let the fundamentals fall where they may, won't you end up with many of the attributes of a mIld UT anyway? At least in the lower half of this spinet.

Once it is accepted that a true ET is a distant, if not unobtainable goal, a tuner with even only a very basic understanding of UT's and experience of spinets should have no trouble constructing a presentable mild UT out of the anomalies that are Inherent in spinets anyway.

It might prove to be just about as truly equal as a typical Winter spinet can hope to be tuned.
_________________________
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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#2058751 - 04/03/13 02:10 PM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: rxd]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1056
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: rxd
In this particular case, using a small piano, whether you tune the fundamentals electronically and let the inharmonics fall where they may, or tune the inharmonics the usual way and let the fundamentals fall where they may, won't you end up with many of the attributes of a mIld UT anyway? At least in the lower half of this spinet.

Once it is accepted that a true ET is a distant, if not unobtainable goal, a tuner with even only a very basic understanding of UT's and experience of spinets should have no trouble constructing a presentable mild UT out of the anomalies that are Inherent in spinets anyway.

It might prove to be just about as truly equal as a typical Winter spinet can hope to be tuned.


An absolutely brilliant observation! smile
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#2060240 - 04/06/13 08:22 AM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: daniokeeper]
alfredo capurso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/10/07
Posts: 1054
Loc: Sicily - Italy
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Being an insomniac, I woke up thinking about this issue of how much of problem tuning in an mild alternative temperament would really cause.


I hope you already know about the dozens of theoretical "mild alternative" temperaments that have been proposed in the last three hundred years, and I hope you know what the original problem was and how we ended up with the so called "compromise".

And in case you do not know about that very long story, if you are a piano tuner, perhaps you can see that all those temperaments have ruled only 12 semitones, i.e. the octave compass, which is about one seventh (1/7) of the notes we tune.

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
The largest offset for EBVT3 is at C with a difference of 3.8 cents. Most of the offsets are around or less that 1 cent. http://www.billbremmer.com/ebvt/ebvt_iii.jpg

The theoretical frequency for C4 is 261.63 Hz. The theoretical frequency for C#4 is 277.18 HZ. http://www.phy.mtu.edu/~suits/notefreqs.html This is a difference (rounded up) of about 16 Hz. This is close enough for this discussion.

There are 100 cents per half-step (as we all know smile ) So, at C4 to C#4 there are 100 cents to 16 Hz, or 16 Hz divided up by 100 cents. I suspect there would have to be a greater difference between ET and EBVT3 to cause a significant beat when a singer is singing unisons with the piano... especially when you consider that the lower on the keyboard you go, the less of a difference in Hz there will be in each half-step. Of course, the higher you go, the more Hz per cent.

These offsets do affect the harmonization of the keyboard, especially the RBIs (which is, after all, the whole point of using them). But, are they really that significant when the keyboard is being used for voice? Especially when you consider the various octave stretching style variations between tuners.

I am referring to the very mild UTs here, not the strong ones.


Yes, two relevant issues for all, piano tuners, musicians and singers: on the one hand "the harmonization of the keyboard", on the other hand "the various octave stretching style variations between tuners".

Now I myself may be able to answer your indirect question above (...how much of problem...) but, before we go on, I need to ask you: would you heartily like harmonizing the keyboard? Or, you'd rather get by with what you are able to do already?

And, do you think singers would like an harmonized keyboard?

Regards, a.c.
.
_________________________
alfredo

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#2060657 - 04/07/13 07:05 AM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: rxd]
alfredo capurso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/10/07
Posts: 1054
Loc: Sicily - Italy
Originally Posted By: rxd
In this particular case, using a small piano, whether you tune the fundamentals electronically and let the inharmonics fall where they may, or tune the inharmonics the usual way and let the fundamentals fall where they may, won't you end up with many of the attributes of a mIld UT anyway? At least in the lower half of this spinet.

Once it is accepted that a true ET is a distant, if not unobtainable goal, a tuner with even only a very basic understanding of UT's and experience of spinets should have no trouble constructing a presentable mild UT out of the anomalies that are Inherent in spinets anyway.

It might prove to be just about as truly equal as a typical Winter spinet can hope to be tuned.


@ ..."In this particular case, using a small piano...(snip)...won't you end up with many of the attributes of a mIld UT anyway? At least in the lower half of this spinet."...

I am not sure, rxd, perhaps that depends on what "...mild..." means for you; and it may depend on the way "you tune" and where you let the "fundamentals fall"; and we would still be left with the upper half of the spinet (?).

@ ..."Once it is accepted that a true ET is a distant, if not unobtainable goal, a tuner with even only a very basic understanding of UT's and experience of spinets should have no trouble constructing a presentable mild UT out of the anomalies that are Inherent in spinets anyway."...

Yes, perhaps we ought to check your premise first, ..."Once it is accepted that a true ET is a distant, if not unobtainable goal...".

I hope you understand, now that I hear of a nigh-infinite array of ETs I would love to hear a sample of what you call a "true ET", RBIs, chromatic 4ths, 5ths, octaves, 12ths and 15ths, from C3 to C6.

Also, are you saying that "anomalies that are Inherent in spinets" help for "constructing a presentable mild UT"? I would actually think the opposite: anomalies inherent in spinets may turn ET into something different but (hopefully) presentable, call it whatever you like. In other words, considering anomalies, I would have one more reason for choosing the cleanest and most resonant tone/whole geometry.

@ ..."It might prove to be just about as truly equal as a typical Winter spinet can hope to be tuned."

Yes, (if I understand correctly) here I would agree, I too always try to tune as "truly equal" as any piano can hope to be tuned.

Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Mwm,

I'm afraid you're getting way ahead of your knowledge and experience. With no more to go on but a single anecdotal experience, your advice to a technician regarding whether or not to use a non-equal temperament was "Don't do it!"

I hope you don't mind if I don't personally take your advice since I have been doing just that for the past 24 years and have made my living as a professional piano technician doing what you say in effect, wouldn't work, couldn't work and shouldn't be tried. You're not the first to blurt out such advice. Thousands have preceded you. None of their advice was given any consideration either.

Nor have any of the warnings about the dire consequences of what would surely happen if one dared to take such a foolish risk. I just brush such comments away as if they were dust.

The reason is because I do have a long history of experience with this topic and I happen to know what I am talking about. 9 out of 10 aural tunings performed up until perhaps 1990 to 2000 but surely even a large percentage of them even today are not ET at all but a backwards version of a Well Temperament. If all of the dire consequences of straying just one iota from the almighty ET were true, then those very consequences would have happened to 9 out of 10 people who ever tried to tune a piano. Obviously, they did not.

Yes, a key signature is important. It is chosen for a reason. Music is meant to be performed in the key in which it was written. We had a very long discussion about that "Going Home" melody. I discussed it with a very fine piano technician who is also a professor of piano performance.

Our conclusion was that it is a C Major type melody and must have originally been composed on a piano in a Well Temperament in that key. However, it was transcribed and transposed for wind instruments as part of a symphony. Wind instruments happen to intone better in the flat keys than the sharp keys. (Strings are the opposite). Wind instruments do not have the same requirement for temperament as the piano does, nor the need to stretch the octaves. Both wind and string players of high caliber often comment about their inability to resolve completely their intonation with a piano tuned in ET and for good reason: it fights them every step of the way.

I am also a vocalist and have studied voice for some 35 years. Of course, vocal material sometimes needs to be transposed to suit a vocalist's range. If the material being studied is from the 17th or 18th Centuries, ET was NEVER the temperament used at the time that music was written. NEVER!

So, to play that music on a modern piano in ET is automatically altering it from the way it was intended to sound. Yes, if you play music that is drastically altered from the way it was intended to sound and move it up or down a half step or an augmented 4th or any other random interval, it will still sound just as drastically altered by the same amount. Therefore, the supposed advantage of ET.

Complete freedom to modulate, complete freedom to transpose and complete freedom to have all music in a Major key sound as if it were in A Major, no matter which key it is in and all music in a minor key to sound like it is in C minor, no matter which key it is in. Complete freedom to modulate for no reason at all and to have no distinction and to experience no tension and relief because of the modulation. Every valley is exalted and the rough places made plain. All music is put on tranquilizers.

Editions of vocal music do NOT come in increments of a half step and certainly do not have editions transposed up or down and augmented 4th. The transpositions are to keys with at least similar tone color, not to keys which would be expected to be inappropriate. You need to understand what Well Temperament actually is to know what I mean by this.

Music is intended to have some kind of emotion from tranquility to rage. From solemnity to depression. ET robs virtually all music of some of the extremes it was meant to have. That cannot be disputed. It does. If that is the way you prefer to hear the music, with all the edges rounded off, then you are entitled to your opinion and preference. But don't tell me that I have to give all of my clients what your preferences are. I prefer to find out what my clients want to hear and provide it.

The fact is that we did try that "Going Home" melody in both C Major and D-flat Major on a piano tuned in the EBVT III (with, I might add, very highly stretched octaves). When it was played in D-flat Major, nobody had a fit. Nobody tore their hair out. Nobody's skin crawled. Nobody's blood curdled. Nobody put their foot down. Nobody got angry about it. The cast iron frame did not rupture. The bridges didn't split. The soundboard didn't crack. The strings didn't break. Nobody was sued. Nobody lost their job. Nobody was blacklisted. Nobody came to the conclusion that we then had to tune every piano in ET so that there would be no distinction between C Major and D-flat Major.

If we had then tuned the piano in ET, it would not have meant that suddenly the music sounded "right" in C Major. It would have changed it and not for the better. If we had done that and then played it in D-flat Major, it would have sounded the same as it did in C Major, not right, altered from the way it should sound but just a half step higher.

The way it was, in the EBVT III, the melody played in D-flat Major did not sound unpleasant nor was it unusable in any way. It just did not have the sonority that it should have.

You don't get something for nothing. To put all music on the modern piano in ET, you lose something by doing that. If you make every octave on the piano sound completely pure, then octave-fifths, double octaves and triple octaves will be narrow. The high end of the piano will sound flat and the low end will sound sharp.

If you stretch the central octaves of the piano so that all of the 5ths sound pure, you will make all harmony sound tart, like a balloon that has been filled to the point where it will burst. You may gain one kind of brilliance and clarity in one context but in other contexts, you will create a very unsatisfactory sound.

No matter what you do, the ultimate tuning for any piano must be some kind of compromise or another. Perhaps the best kind of compromise is a very complex set of compromises which defies a simple explanation and certainly defies any seemingly logical mathematical solution.

Here is that "Going Home" melody played the way I tuned the piano that day. Those of us who were there, all professional musicians and piano technicians enjoyed it that way. I don't expect everyone to agree. I would expect some people to say they don't like it and they would never tune a piano that way. However, I am not going to change what I do based upon what any technician on this forum may say. I go by the response of my clients. I give them what appeals to them and they pay me to come back and do it for them time and again.

"Going Home" melody played in the EBVT III on a Mason & Hamlin RBB:
https://www.box.com/shared/on0hs9rhcv


Hi Bill,

I don't mind at all if you don't take my advice. It is my belief that all people, technicians and non-technicians should have the benefit of divergent points of view. Some of those points of view may be based on ignorance, and some are based on experience. I generally agree with just about everything you wrote above. I have spent 40 years working and performing in early music performance practice, so I know about UT, WT, and ET. However, my application of UT and WT has, until now, been limited to instruments whose minimal or non-existent inharmonicity did not get in the way of the approach to tuning the instrument. Now that I have the time and inclination to work with my own piano, I want to explore all these divergent points of view.

Nevertheless, unlike the harpsichord, on which it is difficult to do a convincing performance of a concerto by Ravel or Rachmaninoff, the piano is called upon to play everything from parallel organum to prepared piano works and beyond. Ultimately, the music must come from the performer. Another thread on PW had a video of Valentina Lisitsa playing an out of tune upright at a tube in London. Not bad music making. You can make Bach musical on the kazoo if a musician is playing it. My point is, as a performer, I don't think much about the tuning or temperament of the instrument when performing. I don't think much about the tuning or temperament when I listen to the piano, only the music. I have listened to many of the variant tunings posted here and I think, this was nice, that was nice, but the music or lack of music always gets in the way of actually hearing the temperament. I never, ever want to reach the point that the sound of the tuning gets in the way of my enjoyment of the music.

Yes, I agree that ET, or what passes for ET, could be construed as lacking colour. Does that mean that Yousuf Karsh's black and white portraits are any less poignant for not having colour? I don't think so. The emotion comes from the performer, not the tuner.


Mwm, I understand what you say and I (sincerely, as a sort of survey) would like to know up to which point, as an artist, your ear would confirm your feelings. For instance, does the tuning below get in the way...?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Gl64LXryFS8

Thank you and regards, a.c.
.
_________________________
alfredo

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#2060698 - 04/07/13 09:46 AM Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher [Re: daniokeeper]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1680
Loc: London, England
Alfredo, the one time that you quote me In full, you still take two words only and ask a question based on those two words. You ask for an sample of what I call a true ET when I had just got thru describing it as a distant, if not unattainable goal. My answer has to be, "so would I". I would like to think that our digital friends could electronically give us ET to as many decimal places as they can muster but it does 'nt seem to be a priority with them.

I didn't say that the anomalies in a small piano would automatically form a presentable UT but that an experienced and knowledgeable tuner can utilise them to advantage to make a harmonious whole but, as you say, it doesn't matter what we call it, we both mean something similar. There were a couple of other places where you start off thinking the opposite to me but by the end of your paragraph, you restate much of what I said in your own words. Is that intentional?

I can't get into the academics of small pianos, just so's the 'bleat rate'(sic) of the more resonant intervals does'nt sound too comical.


Edited by rxd (04/07/13 10:03 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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