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#2101925 - 06/13/13 11:20 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Ed Foote]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2356
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
[quote=Emmery
As an analogy, I have 4 or 5 different eye glasses I wear that have various coatings, filters, prescriptions and tints on them. I do both day and night driving, competitive shooting in both bright sunlight and overcast conditions and numerous other tasks with varying conditions that would benefit from wearing one over the other. If I wore a bright amber high contrast lens on a bright day I would lose much of what I want to see in the same way as if I wore dark grey sunglasses at night. An UT basically does the same thing musically with pieces/key signatures that do not favour what it was intended to help. I would never dream of permanently having implant lenses in my eyes that addressed one condition, nor would I tune my home piano to address specific period pieces and have it muck up and cloud over the musical qualities of all the otherrs.


Greetings,
I think you have rebutted your own argument. On the one hand, you state that there is no universal pair of glasses that will do it all, yet attempt to say that ET will cover all the bases. One pair of glasses will not satisfy all your visual needs, why would one size third be optimum for all your musical needs?

Composers used different keys for different effects. You will never hear a funeral dirge composed in the key of C, nor a calm idyll composed in F#. Just like your lenses, the various keys are best suited for different musical expression, (see WTC). The UT is a harmonic tool box, offering various resources to the sensitive composer that knows how to best present a musical experience. It is far easier to compose with ET, since modulations don't make any difference other than pitch. Easier because of simplicity.

Using ET for everything is the equivalent of using a Crescent wrench instead of the individual sizes of tools. It works for everything but is optimum for nothing. Its use is for convenience, and that is all. It comes down to the difference between how music sounds and how music feels. Those of us that rely on the intellect pay more attention to the former, those that seek the emotional perspective will pay more attention to the latter.
Regards, [/quote]

Greetings Ed,
I would agree with your comparison of an adjustable wrench to a specific box end wrench, but you skirt around a very important point....a 3/8" box end wrench will not work at all on any other nut than the 3/8" one it was made for. Every piece written in a different key signature is a different sized nut, so to speak. An UT is not a complete set of box end wrenches, it is the same having a full set of wrenches, and most of them missing.

I have a pair of clear prescription glasses that will work universally in all conditions, this is the equivelant of ET. The other glasses I have to address certain conditions can easily be switched out in seconds. A temperament and tuning on a piano cannot be switched so easily on a moments notice. An UT is a pair of handcuffs that ties a musician to appropriate pieces the UT favours. UT's are simply not practical for musicians who do not want doors shut in their face when fully exploring all the keys the piano has to offer.

To put it in a nutshell, no self respecting mechanic has an incomplete set of box end wrenches in their tool box....and to the same degree, no self respecting musician has a temperament on their piano that does not address all the keys available to him on the piano.


Edited by Emmery (06/13/13 11:36 AM)
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#2101933 - 06/13/13 11:40 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Mark R. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 1933
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
To Ed Foote:

If it comes down to that: yes, I find dissonance "bad". In fact, I don't find even the ET M3 particularly beautiful. I agree with you, it's actually quite dissonant. What I dislike, is having to listen to M3s that are even wider than ET. What I like, is a tuning where such dissonance has been minimized.

Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
That is because you think/hear as a tuner and not as a musician.


Assume all you want, but you haven't a clue how I think/hear. My dislike of overly wide M3s, as I described to Ed above, is much, much older than any tuning I've ever done. I've only tuned some 20-odd pianos since I started in 2010, and one harpsichord in earlier years. In contrast, I've been making music in various degrees of (mostly im-)perfection since 1974, been aware of my pitch memory since about 1978 (but probably had it more or less from birth), been acutely aware of interval tempering and whether I like it or not since about 1984.

My value judgement on dissonance does not stem from any form of "tuner's hearing". To the contrary, I've made my tuning decisions (of recent years) based on my musical hearing preferences (developed over 30 years or more). Yes, I've tried EBVT-3, amongst others, but when I heard Ab major, I didn't want to continue playing. (Not to mention my favorite Christmas Chorale by JS Bach, in b minor, with its prominent F# dominant. To me, it was spoiled.)
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

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

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#2101947 - 06/13/13 12:26 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Mark R.]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
UTs on instruments with little or no iH work very well. Bach's WTC in a common UT of the time has wonderful variations in tension and relaxation according to the key. But, on the piano, keys far from the base key really start to scream when the iH is added.

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#2101949 - 06/13/13 12:27 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Emmery]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1091
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: Emmery

To put it in a nutshell, no self respecting mechanic has an incomplete set of box end wrenches in their tool box....and to the same degree, no self respecting musician has a temperament on their piano that does not address all the keys available to him on the piano.


Well, you may believe that, but the facts in front of me prove this statement totally wrong. I have numerous professional musicians in my clientele, (including 2 Steinway artists), that have been profoundly influenced by an introduction to WT. These musicians have little use for ET, other than 20th century music. These jazz, country, and classical pianists have found all sorts of improvement in the sound and response of their pianos when I have shifted them out of ET. If you want to argue for a toolbox of all the same size wrenches, go ahead, but it has little pertinence to the world I live in.

For many, there is a great difference between unequal and restrictive, but since it is an esthetic difference, some listeners will not realize it. The fact is that the size of an ET third was derived by dividing an octave into an easy to handle number of notes, (a number determined by the number of fingers we have), not by its musical quality.
Regards,


Edited by Ed Foote (06/13/13 12:29 PM)

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#2101963 - 06/13/13 12:55 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Ed Foote]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: Ed Foote

...The fact is that the size of an ET third was derived by dividing an octave into an easy to handle number of notes, (a number determined by the number of fingers we have), not by its musical quality.
Regards,

How many fingers do you have? I have 10. I admit my knowledge of musical history and anatomy is limited.


Edited by Mwm (06/13/13 12:59 PM)

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#2101967 - 06/13/13 12:59 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Loren D]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2356
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Ed, I'm thinking that yourself and these artists have mangaged to convince yourselves that there is some kind of parallel temperment dimension out there which does not follow the fixed rules of the science of sound. Those of us in the know on this understand that within the fixed confine points of an octave, you cannot venture away from ET tuning to better favour an interval, without the opposite effect on other interval(s) connected to that adjusted note. It is possible to split the bias of it amongst more intervals but then the UT becomes more and more restrictive in freedom to venture to other keys. Its a lose/lose situation for 99.9% of technicians and musicians out there, and that is the reality of UT's. The arguement stands that if the adjustment is not so much that it makes the one unacceptably/noticably worse, then the adjustment is not enough to make the other acceptably/noticably better.

Incidently, I was discussing with an otchestra conductor the other day the issue of the pianos tuning not precisely matching a fixed pitch instrument when one ventures away from A440. All I could say is be thankfull that ET minimizes this....imagine if its tuned in EBVT3 and you played C4, you would have the pianos unusual tuning working against you and then add almost 4 cents difference on top of that.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#2101973 - 06/13/13 01:13 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Loren D]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7211
Loc: Rochester MN
Emmery,

Please ask that conductor if he believes that his orchestra plays in ET. Have you ever heard one that does? Have you ever had the opportunity to hear a vocal ensemble singing in ET?

It just doesn't happen.

BTW - Orchestral instruments and the voice are not fixed pitch instruments.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2101978 - 06/13/13 01:22 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Emmery,

Please ask that conductor if he believes that his orchestra plays in ET. Have you ever heard one that does? Have you ever had the opportunity to hear a vocal ensemble singing in ET?

It just doesn't happen.

BTW - Orchestral instruments and the voice are not fixed pitch instruments.

Non keyboard Instrumentalists and singers pull their pitches into just intonation. In general, they hate, but accept, as a necessary evil of the job, playing closer to ET in order to match a piano.

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#2101980 - 06/13/13 01:24 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Mwm]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7211
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Emmery,

Please ask that conductor if he believes that his orchestra plays in ET. Have you ever heard one that does? Have you ever had the opportunity to hear a vocal ensemble singing in ET?

It just doesn't happen.

BTW - Orchestral instruments and the voice are not fixed pitch instruments.

Non keyboard Instrumentalists and singers pull their pitches into just intonation. In general, they hate, but accept, as a necessary evil of the job, playing closer to ET in order to match a piano.

I know that. You know that. I'm sure Emmery's conductor knows it too. Does Emmery?
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2101982 - 06/13/13 01:28 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Loren D]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Even though I am a huge advocate of UTs, I am not convinced about its utility on a piano, simply because I have not experienced it and my wife doesn't want me to change our piano into something like EBVT III because of all the transposed pieces of her students.

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#2102034 - 06/13/13 03:18 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Emmery]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1091
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: Emmery
Ed, I'm thinking that yourself and these artists have mangaged to convince yourselves that there is some kind of parallel temperment dimension out there which does not follow the fixed rules of the science of sound. Those of us in the know on this understand that within the fixed confine points of an octave, you cannot venture away from ET tuning to better favour an interval, without the opposite effect on other interval(s) connected to that adjusted note. It is possible to split the bias of it amongst more intervals but then the UT becomes more and more restrictive in freedom to venture to other keys. Its a lose/lose situation for 99.9% of technicians and musicians out there, and that is the reality of UT's. The arguement stands that if the adjustment is not so much that it makes the one unacceptably/noticably worse, then the adjustment is not enough to make the other acceptably/noticably better.

Incidently, I was discussing with an otchestra conductor the other day the issue of the pianos tuning not precisely matching a fixed pitch instrument when one ventures away from A440. All I could say is be thankfull that ET minimizes this....imagine if its tuned in EBVT3 and you played C4, you would have the pianos unusual tuning working against you and then add almost 4 cents difference on top of that.


Greetings,
That is not the way it works, at least, not here at Vanderbilt.

Last point first: string players have often commented on how easy it was to play with a Coleman 11, one well known violinist on tour specifically told me that it was the first time he could remember of that "all the overtones lined up perfectly". He did not know the piano was tuned in any particular way, he and his pianist simply chose it out of the line-up, leaving behind a perfectly good ET and a subtle Victorian era quasi ET (Moore and Co.) The performance was of Carl Maria Von Weber's concerto for piano and violin, all sorts of key changes, modulations, etc.

Unfettered by expectations, his musical sense took control and I listened to it,(not being a real fan of violins, I was half expecting to snooze, until I noticed that they had chosen the Coleman), with a new appreciation of control. In a number of places, he and the piano took turns heading up or down the scale, and the intonation between the two was impeccable. I heard comments in the hall, afterwards to that effect, so I wasn't deluding myself in this single-blind event.

Rene Fleming, without knowing anything was "abnormal", specifically told the Dean that she just loved rehearsing and performing with the piano, saying how comfortable it was to sing with.

A full Young temperament, with its 21 cent F#, went in front of the Vandy orchestra for a concerto (Beethoven's III). The artist, Enid Katahn. The conductor, and the head of the brass dept. told me later that they had never heard the kids play so in-tune.
Audra McDonald performed here with the Moore and Co. behind her and I was told was "well pleased" with the piano.

Any of these could be discounted as an anomaly, but the pattern speaks for itself. None of these were tuners, they were all musicians, and none of them had been told that the pianos were not in ET. It makes me wonder why an ear has trouble with a 18 cent third, when the needs of the music call for that tonality, and much music does. I wouldn't want every third to be that wide, I don't like meantone, where they are all pure, but I have come to recognize that the width of the third is a musical value, and different musical "meanings" can best be expressed in this or that level of color.

There is also the psycho-physiological aspect of contrast, I mentioned it earlier. When every third is the same, the brain no longer processes it as a factor in response, there is no new information and our conscious mind becomes inured to the dissonance. When that width is a variable, there is a part of the pitch processing center that is stimulated to cause responses, such as changes in heart rate, pupil dilation, etc. There is more brain activity involved in dealing with contrasting values than there is in hearing only one. It is not unlike the stone mason that ,while build a natural stone wall, is dealing with complexity that a brick layer doesn't have to bother with.
It is like a composer making decisions on how to modulate, and where the home key is, and how to leave it and come back to it in small enough steps so that the listener's emotional state isn't interrupted, but, rather, manipulated into as high a degree of involvement as possible. In ET, there need be no consideration of step size, making it easier to make music. If simplicity is the goal, ET is the answer.

Using ET for everything composed on the piano, though is, imho, a mistake, since I am one of those that feels that ET does more damage to Bach, Beethoven, etal., that a WT does to Debussy, Rachmaninoff, etc.

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#2102323 - 06/14/13 07:29 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Mwm]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4907
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted By: Emmery
Every other non ET is a compromise.

It is ET which is the compromise. You seem to need a lesson in the history of Western music.

Careful now. Every temperament on a 12 tone per octave keyboard is a compromise of some kind versus just intonation.


The twelfth root of two is not a compromise, it is a number. But if we take into account inharmonicity, the resulting stretch can be a compromise, but need not be. Pure twelfths can be used to avoid any compromise whatsoever. But some people like prints rather than plaids. That is what we are really talking about here, preference.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#2102383 - 06/14/13 09:34 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: UnrightTooner]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1619
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted By: Emmery
Every other non ET is a compromise.

It is ET which is the compromise. You seem to need a lesson in the history of Western music.

Careful now. Every temperament on a 12 tone per octave keyboard is a compromise of some kind versus just intonation.


The twelfth root of two is not a compromise, it is a number. But if we take into account inharmonicity, the resulting stretch can be a compromise, but need not be. Pure twelfths can be used to avoid any compromise whatsoever. But some people like prints rather than plaids. That is what we are really talking about here, preference.



Exactly.

If I may digress for a moment.

Why did the art and science of piano tuning arrive at such a widely accepted temperament to begin with - one that has stood an exceedingly long test of time? There may be several reasons, but the only one that really "adds up" is this: For the typical family, it provided an agreeable basis for all of their music. Dad played Bach; Mom, Beethoven; Junior, Brahms; Little Sally, a little bit of everything. Piano teachers? Ditto.
One piano accommodating a wide range of interests.


I don't know about the rest of the tuners that post here, but this arena generated most of my "tuning income." Inasmuch as I had neither the time nor working capital to change tradition, I went with what worked the best for the most.

For many reasons - growing interest in period instruments, et al. - variety in temperaments have gained in popularity in certain quarters. Times change. Needs change. This is perfectly fine. Such has certainly found a niche. To one degree or another, some techs desire to be in that niche. This is perfectly fine as well.

There is really no "right" or "wrong" here. Different temperaments are meeting the needs of different "temperaments."
As stated above: "But some people like prints rather than plaids. That is what we are really talking about here, preference. "
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano Technicę

"Not to know what took place before you were born is to remain forever a child." - Cicero

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#2102546 - 06/14/13 03:27 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Ed Foote]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Ed,
You write well and passionately about how it is possible to marry the sound of a piano well with other instruments by using carefully chosen UTs. Thanks for that insight. I hope to hear live someday an example, and I may force my wife to allow me to move our piano to Young, or do you think Coleman 11 would be less jarring for her singing work? The problem is that she does a large amount of late 19th C through modern song as well as the standard vocal rep.
Thanks again for your thoughts.


Edited by Mwm (06/14/13 03:34 PM)

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#2102548 - 06/14/13 03:34 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: UnrightTooner]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted By: Emmery
Every other non ET is a compromise.

It is ET which is the compromise. You seem to need a lesson in the history of Western music.

Careful now. Every temperament on a 12 tone per octave keyboard is a compromise of some kind versus just intonation.


The twelfth root of two is not a compromise, it is a number. But if we take into account inharmonicity, the resulting stretch can be a compromise, but need not be. Pure twelfths can be used to avoid any compromise whatsoever. But some people like prints rather than plaids. That is what we are really talking about here, preference.

I guess we will have to agree to disagree. The twelth root of two is a compromise choice, made by tuners using math, to divide up the notes on a 12 tone keyboard. Those pitches do not match the natural harmonic series that arise from a plucked string or blown pipe. Listen to a natural trumpet. Just intonation is the only non compromise. Tune ET on pianos if you want - I do - and I hate it.

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#2102558 - 06/14/13 03:53 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Mwm]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21250
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: Mwm

I guess we will have to agree to disagree. The twelth root of two is a compromise choice, made by tuners using math, to divide up the notes on a 12 tone keyboard. Those pitches do not match the natural harmonic series that arise from a plucked string or blown pipe...


The plucked string and blown pipe are subject to a number of other effects that make them diverge from the theoretical natural harmonic series, some of which can be controlled, and some cannot.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2102580 - 06/14/13 05:45 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: BDB]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
You are correct, but as an ideal (thought experiment), given total constraints on the other variables (tension shift with plucking, wind pressure variation with pitch changes), they do produce pure harmonic structures, which the piano cannot, being limited by 12 notes per octave and iH.

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#2102586 - 06/14/13 06:12 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Mwm]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1091
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: Mwm
I hope to hear live someday an example, and I may force my wife to allow me to move our piano to Young, or do you think Coleman 11 would be less jarring for her singing work? The problem is that she does a large amount of late 19th C through modern song as well as the standard vocal rep.
Thanks again for your thoughts.


Greetings,
I think the first step should be the least alteration. Big thirds 15 cents or under.

It seems that the step between ET and the mildest UT is the biggest step of all. Something about leaving a specific "sound" behind. When it loses that seamless texture, the sound "feels" differently. Even though pianists have listened around the tuning, they rarely can point to anything that they hear as changed, but they do say that the instrument certainly has a new feel. It isn't a pitch thing, it is a relationship thing.

The distance from that to the next stronger temperament might be greater, numerically and harmonically, but emotionally, it will have lost the newness, that first kiss is usually the most memorable one, (and the first slap, as well). A pianist familiar with these tunings has said, flatly, that "you can play it harshly or you can play it expressively". The pianist can make more use of the texture if they understand what it does to the harmonic qualities, but we don't throw babies in the deep end, first, so i think it is better to leave the familiar in the smaller steps.

The Young has a 21 cent third at the F#, that is the historical limit to most of the UT's I have seen or heard, as such, it is the extreme. Keep that particular spice for a later introduction.

All normal UT's have about the same shape, just varied steps and evenness of progression. As the tempering gets more and more "colorful", we all reach a point where it calls attention to itself. It is this point that I use to define "out of tune". When the listener becomes more aware of the tuning than the music, even for a split second, the piano is out of tune. This means Dr. John's piano can have well-tempered unisons and I wouldn't notice. His music is, with the help of that loose piano, taking control of my full attention. Listening to a Brahms intermezzo, I don't wanna hear no meowing unisons, at all!
Regards,

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#2102592 - 06/14/13 06:31 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: BDB]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7211
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: BDB
The plucked string and blown pipe are subject to a number of other effects that make them diverge from the theoretical natural harmonic series, some of which can be controlled, and some cannot.

The natural harmonic series is not the least bit theoretical. Hence the term "natural." On fixed pitch instruments, tunings are based on the theory of what sounds best when confronted by a mathematical impossibility.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2102611 - 06/14/13 07:42 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1917
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
... On fixed pitch instruments, tunings are based on the theory of what sounds best when confronted by a mathematical impossibility.


Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted By: Emmery
Every other non ET is a compromise.

It is ET which is the compromise....


Is ET based on a theory of what sounds best or is it just the generally accepted compromise?
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2102617 - 06/14/13 07:46 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Loren D]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7211
Loc: Rochester MN
All temperaments are a compromise.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2102633 - 06/14/13 08:41 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1917
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
All temperaments are a compromise.

Sure, but what is a good example of a theory of what sounds best?

Even it was just a form of words, it would be interesting to know what you had in mind.

You get ET if you take the view that all notes are created equal but I am not so sure the notes themselves are always happy with that sort of democracy.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2102648 - 06/14/13 09:22 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Loren D]
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
Bottome line is that even musician's ears have grown accustomed to the equal temperment. It's what's acceptable. It is tried and proven.
_________________________
Making the world a better sounding place, one piano at a time...

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#2102650 - 06/14/13 09:27 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Loren D]
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
Monkeying around with equal temperment seems poinless is all I'm saying
_________________________
Making the world a better sounding place, one piano at a time...

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#2102672 - 06/14/13 10:27 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: BDB]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

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

I guess we will have to agree to disagree. The twelth root of two is a compromise choice, made by tuners using math, to divide up the notes on a 12 tone keyboard. Those pitches do not match the natural harmonic series that arise from a plucked string or blown pipe...


The plucked string and blown pipe are subject to a number of other effects that make them diverge from the theoretical natural harmonic series, some of which can be controlled, and some cannot.

I erred when I said plucked string. I meant to say bowed string.

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#2102675 - 06/14/13 10:37 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Ed Foote]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Thanks Ed. My wife (a singer) and I have performed French lute songs on clavichord at 392 using 1/4 comma meantone, and Jacquet de la Guerre on harpsichord at 415 using Kirnberger. Wonderful resonance. I agree a gentle UT on the piano shift first would be wise. I just would eventually like to try Young.

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#2102677 - 06/14/13 10:43 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Withindale]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
All temperaments are a compromise.

Sure, but what is a good example of a theory of what sounds best?

Even it was just a form of words, it would be interesting to know what you had in mind.

You get ET if you take the view that all notes are created equal but I am not so sure the notes themselves are always happy with that sort of democracy.

Listen to The King's Singers, or a good barbershop quartet. They sing in just intonation. THAT is what tuning should be. It is IMPOSSIBLE, on an acoustic piano (it is on a digital piano) to achieve just intonation. Every tuning of a piano is a compromise from just intonation. You need to understand that just intonation means that the interval CE in Cmajor sounds different from the interval CE in Fmajor.

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#2102684 - 06/14/13 11:00 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Withindale]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7211
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
All temperaments are a compromise.

Sure, but what is a good example of a theory of what sounds best?

Even it was just a form of words, it would be interesting to know what you had in mind.

You get ET if you take the view that all notes are created equal but I am not so sure the notes themselves are always happy with that sort of democracy.

Ian, it is not a form of words, it is a fact. You don't get a tidy, whole number (not a fraction) of pitch Hz, when you try to divvy up the "space" into 11 subdivisions between a perfect octave.

Let me say, again, all temperaments are unequal due to the laws of physics. Even though one carries the title of ET, it doesn't mean that it is. "Temperaments" are nothing but names which are applied to the many solutions of the quandary of how to tune a fixed pitch instrument in a 12 tone scale.

Our tonal structure (Western) is derived from the formalized singing of chant. The ear perceives in what we label as Just Intonation, and that is the basis of the structure as we define it. Most music historians/musicologists believe that plain song, at the infancy of polyphony, was the ear perceiving harmonic structure due to echo/resonance. A huge event was the codification of the major and minor third. To this day, it is the anguish of piano tuners. (Blame it on the Renaissance.)

Have you ever noticed, at a ball game during the singing of the National Anthem, thousands of untrained singers will sing in parallel fifths? Hmmm. The eardrum responds to the natural laws of physics and we recreate them with voice. We learn to "identify" consonance, dissonance and what we term as perfect intervals. The un-schooled ear will often confuse octaves and fifths. We identify a lack of dissonance quite naturally.

As far as temperaments, to the ear, it is nothing more than preference. To a tuner, it is what they have been trained to do and what is the most comfortable for them to recreate with consistency.

So, what do I prefer? A superb tuning in whichever temperament is selected. My own pianos are not tuned in ET, though they differ from each other in their "non-equality." That is due to my tuners being able to "listen" to what works best on each of the pianos.

Uniformity seems to be one of the hallmarks of our times.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2102687 - 06/14/13 11:06 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Mwm]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7211
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: Mwm

I guess we will have to agree to disagree. The twelth root of two is a compromise choice, made by tuners using math, to divide up the notes on a 12 tone keyboard. Those pitches do not match the natural harmonic series that arise from a plucked string or blown pipe...


The plucked string and blown pipe are subject to a number of other effects that make them diverge from the theoretical natural harmonic series, some of which can be controlled, and some cannot.

I erred when I said plucked string. I meant to say bowed string.

Plucked or bowed makes no difference. They still follow the laws of physics. Temperaments are theoretical, physical properties are not. The first law of physics is that there is always an exception due to interactive and combinative physical properties.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2102718 - 06/15/13 12:43 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Minnesota Marty]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21250
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted By: BDB
The plucked string and blown pipe are subject to a number of other effects that make them diverge from the theoretical natural harmonic series, some of which can be controlled, and some cannot.

The natural harmonic series is not the least bit theoretical. Hence the term "natural." On fixed pitch instruments, tunings are based on the theory of what sounds best when confronted by a mathematical impossibility.


Whereas on instruments which are not fixed pitch, tunings are based on whatever pitch the player is able to make them play at the moment. That, in turn, makes the temperament arbitrary.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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