Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Gifts and supplies for the musician
SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
Ad (Piano Sing)
How to Make Your Piano Sing
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pianoteq
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
Who's Online
120 registered (accordeur, Anita Potter, Anne'sson, A Guy, ando, 36251, 39 invisible), 1670 Guests and 29 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Pianos
Page 3 of 6 < 1 2 3 4 5 6 >
Topic Options
#2102784 - 06/15/13 05:13 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Mwm]
Withindale Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 2047
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
All temperaments [on fixed pitch instruments] are a compromise.

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

Yes, that is the point. C and F take a different view of what sounds best and would tune the other notes differently. ET based on the twelfth root of two, or the nineteenth root of three to allow for inharmonicity, may be least likely to offend with some dissonant interval or other. That principle makes ET generally acceptable, but it is scarcely a good enough theory of what sounds best to persuade C and F to agree on that compromise.

If I were C or F, I'd be pragmatic and go along with a tuning such as Marty describes:

Originally Posted By: Marty
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.


Edited by Withindale (06/15/13 06:34 AM)
Edit Reason: breakfast intervened
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

Top
(ad PTG 757) The Value of PTG Membership
The Value of a PTG Membership
#2102791 - 06/15/13 05:56 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
The first law of physics is that there is always an exception due to interactive and combinative physical properties.


I'm not sure what "first law of physics" you're referring to, but in my years of studying physics (including acoustics, harmonic and non-harmonic oscillators) at university, I've never heard of such a statement - least of all under the guise of "the first law of physics".
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.
LinkedIn profile
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

Top
#2102798 - 06/15/13 06:45 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Loren D]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
I wonder if pianos have not yet enough tendency to just intonation since the iH level is enough, so if that is the goal he problem would be more to avoid overpassing it than the opposite.

Now one can make a tuning without any correction of frequencies but it will not sound very nice.
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


Top
#2102819 - 06/15/13 08:37 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Olek]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: Olek
I wonder if pianos have not yet enough tendency to just intonation since the iH level is enough, so if that is the goal he problem would be more to avoid overpassing it than the opposite.

Now one can make a tuning without any correction of frequencies but it will not sound very nice.




It is the issue of inharmonicity that has caused me to ask so many questions here at PW on temperaments and UTs versus ETs. When tuning other instruments with no iH or that have short sustain, UTs sound much better than ET, since the purity of the intervals in the close keys sound so wonderful. But with the very long sustain on the piano, it seems that any temperament the tuner chooses to use will be heavily modified by his/her attempts to align the partials in a manner that makes a nice sound.

Top
#2102834 - 06/15/13 09:31 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Mwm]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1228
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: Mwm

It is the issue of inharmonicity that has caused me to ask so many questions here at PW on temperaments and UTs versus ETs. When tuning other instruments with no iH or that have short sustain, UTs sound much better than ET, since the purity of the intervals in the close keys sound so wonderful. But with the very long sustain on the piano, it seems that any temperament the tuner chooses to use will be heavily modified by his/her attempts to align the partials in a manner that makes a nice sound.


Greetings,
It depends on what you call "nice". If we oversimplify it to "consonance is good, dissonance is bad", we are either going to be disappointed by any piano tuning, or we are going to have to stop listening to what is really there. There is no way to tune a piano without dissonance, so all we can do is handle it in different ways. I think of it as salt, some like none, others put it on everything, while others, yet, prefer its tang to be selectively applied, leaving opportunity for both sweetness and edge. Great cuisine often mixes dissimilar tastes, why not great composition?

Purity is beautiful, but I, for one, lose interest when everything is consonant. As Plutarch said, "Music, to create harmony, must investigate discord". Meantone is attractive, but without some contrast or color, the music begins to lose its grip on my attention. It is so sedative that I begin to zone out. The same effect comes from ET, to me. There is no consonance, and it is stimulative, everywhere, all the time. Ear fatigue follows. This is why I like a tuning that encompasses some of both. Judging from the music, I think composers did, too.

There are classical passages where the quiver in the melodic line is more expressive than it would be if rendered purely. Perhaps it is the 10th, or 17th in a highly tempered key that gives that vocal vibrato effect. I can't quote the pieces, but I hear this in numerous places when listening to Brahms, or Schubert. Beethoven likes to crash contrasts together, etc. The right key, in the right temperament, can present this musical quality in a way that it would not otherwise be heard. Resolving from a very tense triad to a very consonant one creates a sense of resolution that isn't obtainable without harmonic contrast. I hear evidence that the composers thought so , too.

Dissonance has its place; anytime we hear composers writing minor 2nds, we can be assured that they were seeking a dissonant quality to their sound. What was Bach doing in the Tocatta in D? Regardless of temperament, huge smears of dissonance were there for a reason. So, composers were not afraid of it, and, I think, made use of it.

I also don't think that the presence of inharmonicity is of much importance in the choice of temperament, since the difference between ET and UT dwarfs any effect that inharmonicity has on the overall sound. Particularly with the larger pianos. I have stretched and compressed these tunings to slight comment from artists, but the alteration of the temperament is much more profound.
Regards,

Top
#2102850 - 06/15/13 10:24 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Mark R.]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
The first law of physics is that there is always an exception due to interactive and combinative physical properties.


I'm not sure what "first law of physics" you're referring to, but in my years of studying physics (including acoustics, harmonic and non-harmonic oscillators) at university, I've never heard of such a statement - least of all under the guise of "the first law of physics".

I was being entirely facetious for those who always find an exception to any rule. They are rife at PW.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

Top
#2102853 - 06/15/13 10:45 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Ed Foote]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Ed,
I agree that playing only in useable meantone keys is a bit too relaxing. I think Bach, in his WTC, was probably using a just barely non-wolf WT that allowed him to find huge variation in key colour. The way in which he wrote the different preludes, in particular, seems to indicate he was enjoying exploring the tensions of the traditionally remote keys.

Thanks for your comments on the small effect of iH on the various temperaments. I have increased hopes of trying a UT soon.

Cheers

Top
#2102858 - 06/15/13 11:01 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty

I was being entirely facetious for those who always find an exception to any rule. They are rife at PW.


Ah, yet another humor failure on my part. Apologies!
(In bed with unequally tempered tonsils.)
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.
LinkedIn profile
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

Top
#2102864 - 06/15/13 11:22 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Minnesota Marty]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1813
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
The first law of physics is that there is always an exception due to interactive and combinative physical properties.


I'm not sure what "first law of physics" you're referring to, but in my years of studying physics (including acoustics, harmonic and non-harmonic oscillators) at university, I've never heard of such a statement - least of all under the guise of "the first law of physics".

I was being entirely facetious for those who always find an exception to any rule. They are rife at PW.



Yes. I'd like to lock the QP Box and throw away the key. smirk
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com/

Top
#2102870 - 06/15/13 11:29 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Withindale]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21810
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: Withindale
...ET based on the twelfth root of two, or the nineteenth root of three to allow for inharmonicity...


The nineteenth root of three is purely arbitrary, and has nothing to do with inharmonicity, which varies from note to note. If you are allowing for inharmonicity, equal temperament is based on a relationship of intervals, not on any mathematical ratio.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#2102897 - 06/15/13 12:57 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: BDB]
Withindale Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 2047
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: Withindale
...ET based on the twelfth root of two, or the nineteenth root of three to allow for inharmonicity...

The nineteenth root of three is purely arbitrary, and has nothing to do with inharmonicity, which varies from note to note. If you are allowing for inharmonicity, equal temperament is based on a relationship of intervals, not on any mathematical ratio.

Quite so, but I'd note that a temperament based on twelfths must build in some stretch as the nineteenth root of three (1.059526) is slightly greater than the twelfth root of two (1.059463).
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

Top
#2102898 - 06/15/13 01:01 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Mwm]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: Olek
I wonder if pianos have not yet enough tendency to just intonation since the iH level is enough, so if that is the goal he problem would be more to avoid overpassing it than the opposite.

Now one can make a tuning without any correction of frequencies but it will not sound very nice.




It is the issue of inharmonicity that has caused me to ask so many questions here at PW on temperaments and UTs versus ETs. When tuning other instruments with no iH or that have short sustain, UTs sound much better than ET, since the purity of the intervals in the close keys sound so wonderful. But with the very long sustain on the piano, it seems that any temperament the tuner chooses to use will be heavily modified by his/her attempts to align the partials in a manner that makes a nice sound.


I dont know, iH is low enough in mediums to allow all kind of temperaments, but as soon as the treble is met , the piano seem to allow for some "double" pitch.

SO there is a clear tendency to enlarged intervals that do not beat, where on an organ they would be unaudible.

Anyway, before any of those enlightements the managment of the attack and the one of the decay are necessary.
They give by themselves so much musicality, that looking for specific temperaments seem to be unnecessary at that point.
I simply follow the piano and tune musically.

Some methods allow to work the partials match more preciselty ; other seem to regulate the beats created by partial match in a smooth progression.

I seem to believe that a 3d way exists, if you mostly consider energy and activity of the intervals, the tuning take in account voicing, and probably the tempering is installed by itself.

That last "organic" method allow to tune quietely, diorectly in the musical result.
Of course one may have a good pattern to follow, and know well the lower and higher limit allowed in intervals managment.

I have not enough experience in UT to talk about them on pianos, I heard some light UT that where sounding well, not better than a standard tuning, somply well.

Also tuning with the tone so much under developed that harmony loose meaning anyway. That is what made me cautious about that UT "movement" initially and make me unable to appreciate them (while I had fun with samples at the organ and harpsichord and readings on the subject)

If the piano have to be tuned as if it was a barocco era instrument, better use directly the original one, in my opinion.
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


Top
#2102907 - 06/15/13 01:46 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Withindale]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21810
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: Withindale
...ET based on the twelfth root of two, or the nineteenth root of three to allow for inharmonicity...

The nineteenth root of three is purely arbitrary, and has nothing to do with inharmonicity, which varies from note to note. If you are allowing for inharmonicity, equal temperament is based on a relationship of intervals, not on any mathematical ratio.

Quite so, but I'd note that a temperament based on twelfths must build in some stretch as the nineteenth root of three (1.059526) is slightly greater than the twelfth root of two (1.059463).


That is numerology, not science.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#2102924 - 06/15/13 02:20 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: BDB]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: Withindale
...ET based on the twelfth root of two, or the nineteenth root of three to allow for inharmonicity...

The nineteenth root of three is purely arbitrary, and has nothing to do with inharmonicity, which varies from note to note. If you are allowing for inharmonicity, equal temperament is based on a relationship of intervals, not on any mathematical ratio.

Quite so, but I'd note that a temperament based on twelfths must build in some stretch as the nineteenth root of three (1.059526) is slightly greater than the twelfth root of two (1.059463).


That is numerology, not science.


Dividing a P12 into 19 equal parts (e.g. Stopper's OnlyPure) is just as much an ET as dividing a P8 into 12 equal parts. It's just that the former (19 equal semitones in a pure 12th) is a little more stretched than the latter (12 equal semitones in a pure octave).

Whence the assertion that this is numerology, not science?
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.
LinkedIn profile
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

Top
#2102927 - 06/15/13 02:25 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: BDB]
Withindale Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 2047
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: Withindale
...ET based on the twelfth root of two, or the nineteenth root of three to allow for inharmonicity...
The nineteenth root of three is purely arbitrary, and has nothing to do with inharmonicity, which varies from note to note. If you are allowing for inharmonicity, equal temperament is based on a relationship of intervals, not on any mathematical ratio.
Quite so, but I'd note that a temperament based on twelfths must build in some stretch as the nineteenth root of three (1.059526) is slightly greater than the twelfth root of two (1.059463).
That is numerology, not science.

All of which brings us back full circle to:

Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty

It is ET which is the compromise....
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....
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

Top
#2102973 - 06/15/13 04:21 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Withindale]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: Withindale

All of which brings us back full circle to:

Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty

It is ET which is the compromise....
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....

After all of the various convolutions, my statement remains that all temperaments applied to fixed pitch instruments are compromises and the named Equal T isn't equal at all.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

Top
#2103107 - 06/15/13 11:31 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Mark R.]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21810
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: Withindale
...ET based on the twelfth root of two, or the nineteenth root of three to allow for inharmonicity...

The nineteenth root of three is purely arbitrary, and has nothing to do with inharmonicity, which varies from note to note. If you are allowing for inharmonicity, equal temperament is based on a relationship of intervals, not on any mathematical ratio.

Quite so, but I'd note that a temperament based on twelfths must build in some stretch as the nineteenth root of three (1.059526) is slightly greater than the twelfth root of two (1.059463).


That is numerology, not science.


Dividing a P12 into 19 equal parts (e.g. Stopper's OnlyPure) is just as much an ET as dividing a P8 into 12 equal parts. It's just that the former (19 equal semitones in a pure 12th) is a little more stretched than the latter (12 equal semitones in a pure octave).

Whence the assertion that this is numerology, not science?


The number is arbitrary. If you cannot divide an octave into 12 equal parts for some reason, you cannot divide a 12th into 19 equal parts for the same reason. So you are making up a number and endowing it with some mystical property.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#2103198 - 06/16/13 06:38 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Withindale Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 2047
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
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.

After yesterday's diversions, Marty, I'd like to comment on your post about theories of what sounds best. Let's pass on all the stuff about numbers and the laws of physics and accept pianos for the instruments they are.

Thanks for reminding us that it's our ears telling us what sound best. I think that will do for theory in this discussion which, therefore as a result of the way our ears work, is about the consonance of intervals, starting from the octave.

Reading your description of your pianos again, are you saying that the basic temperament is ET, which is how I took it at first, or a UT?

I think it is now pretty much established that the most consonant tuning is an approximation to ET; the "non-equality", as you put it, depending on the actual sounds of the piano. Last year's paper describing the application of Shannon's principles of communication to an upright piano showed that.

That paper also indicated that there is no single best tuning. There are many high points in a hilly landscape, providing plenty of scope for choosing the best panorama.

The conclusion is a tuning is a tuning provided, in your words, it is a superb one. The story would end there in uniformity if such tunings are to be the only "hallmarks of our times".

The paper mentioned that the result tended to just intonation when the number of intervals were restricted to certain keys, but I suspect you would come up with a range of WTs when you ascribe different weights to the keys round the circle of fifths.

My guess is that the result will be something like EBVT III when you impose beat relationships on the intervals.

Vive la différence.


Edited by Withindale (06/17/13 07:29 AM)
Edit Reason: a detail
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

Top
#2103200 - 06/16/13 07:02 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Loren D]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2175
Loc: Maine
With apologies to the math-whiz techs, I'm afraid all the numbers thrown up about tuning are lost on me. I'm impressed, and gratified that there are geniuses in the profession. I'm even slightly envious, but I plod on listening to the individual musical voice of the piano and tuning accordingly.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

Top
#2103213 - 06/16/13 08:26 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Loren D]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1771
Loc: London, England
I can't help wondering what to do if the pianos' musical voice keeps on demanding that it be tuned in reverse well????
_________________________
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
#2103235 - 06/16/13 09:56 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: David Jenson]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: David Jenson
With apologies to the math-whiz techs, I'm afraid all the numbers thrown up about tuning are lost on me. I'm impressed, and gratified that there are geniuses in the profession. I'm even slightly envious, but I plod on listening to the individual musical voice of the piano and tuning accordingly.

Herein lies the problem for me as a pianist and would be tuner. Many posters imply (and I agree) that each piano asks to be tuned in a particular way each time it is tuned. That would imply a single unique un-equal, non-named Temperament. But, it would also appear that one can set a named Temperament of choice in the middle register, and then listen to the piano for the required stretch in the remainder. Am I missing something here?

Top
#2103273 - 06/16/13 11:16 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Mwm]
Withindale Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 2047
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: David Jenson
With apologies to the math-whiz techs, I'm afraid all the numbers thrown up about tuning are lost on me. I'm impressed, and gratified that there are geniuses in the profession. I'm even slightly envious, but I plod on listening to the individual musical voice of the piano and tuning accordingly.

Herein lies the problem for me as a pianist and would be tuner. Many posters imply (and I agree) that each piano asks to be tuned in a particular way each time it is tuned. That would imply a single unique un-equal, non-named Temperament. But, it would also appear that one can set a named Temperament of choice in the middle register, and then listen to the piano for the required stretch in the remainder. Am I missing something here?

What the numbers tell you is that you can tune a piano in many ways. Some will be better than others but there is no indication that any single temperament or tuning is best. Quite the contrary.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

Top
#2103298 - 06/16/13 12:06 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Loren D]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1771
Loc: London, England
Many of the pianos I tune have been tuned only a matter of hours before by me or one of my colleagues and the implied terms of our jobs are equal temperemt within specific pitch parameters. All this is decided by musicians, conductors, soloists, producers, chief concert techs. It would be incredibly arrogant of me to go against these decisions no matter how clever I think I am. It is simply not my decision to make.
If the piano meets these parameters, I am quite at liberty to walk away having done nothing. This, however is rarely the case, there is always some slight drift.

Yes, the piano dictates to us all quite precisely the way the treble lines up and I and my colleagues are in agreement and accept each others work as it stands. We are, however, completely at liberty to subtly change the character of the piano by the way we choose to tune the area we call the "long steels", (the octave below the temperament octave). Without getting pretentious about this, a quick glance at the programme or listening to the player if they are still playing when I arrive will give a hint but I am tuning according to the program, not what the piano is "telling me". That would be almost like saying I do what the voices in my head are telling me.
The long steels are the most flexible part of the piano and are the first notes to drift so they always need some attention anyway.

Having said that, the way the covered strings are tune depends on how they were wound so it could be said the piano is telling me but it is really the string winder that is dictating the parameters and, depending how old the piano is, quite possibly from beyond the grave!!!

As someone in these pages said a couple of years ago, don't anthropomorphise pianos, they hate it when you do that.
_________________________
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
#2103313 - 06/16/13 12:46 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Withindale]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Reading your description of your pianos again are you saying that the basic temperament is ET, which is how I took it at first, or a UT?

Ian,

All three are non-ET. I am not sure of the exact names of the temperaments on the 'M's,' but the 'C' is EBVT-III. The big differences I hear are the ways the temperament scales evolve as they expand from the temperament octave on each piano. My conjecture is that is where "listening to the piano" comes into play. I have my 'C' tuned with the temperament octave set from A-4 rather than middle C. That makes a huge difference, and is really evident in the voice of the larger piano.

I have wondered, though never tried, if there would be a difference if the temperament octave were centered on A-3 rather than A-4? Maybe some of our esteemed professionals could venture an opinion?

BTW - All three of my pianos are tuned to A-442.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

Top
#2103346 - 06/16/13 01:35 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Loren D]
Phil D Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/10
Posts: 551
Loc: London, England
It's a bit disturbing with people talking about just intonation, that nobody mentions the commas. The pythagorean comma, and the syntotic comma, being the driving force between finding suitable keyboard temperaments. Those are the source of the need to compromise intervals. Just the fact that twelve times 3/2 is not the same as seven times two is problematic.

Edit: 3/2 to the twelfth is not the same as two to the seventh. Thanks, BDB. Also, my last sentence was nonsense anyway.


Edited by Phil D (06/16/13 03:04 PM)
_________________________
Phil Dickson
The Cycling Piano Tuner

Top
#2103351 - 06/16/13 01:55 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Loren D]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21810
Loc: Oakland
Should be 3/2 to the 12th is not 2 to the 7th.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#2103358 - 06/16/13 02:11 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1228
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
I have my 'C' tuned with the temperament octave set from A-4 rather than middle C. That makes a huge difference, and is really evident in the voice of the larger piano.


Greetings,
If the difference is huge, it must be easy to describe is some detail. What is the difference that that different temperament octaves make?
Regards,

Top
#2103372 - 06/16/13 02:54 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Loren D]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Hi Ed,

Words still become a problem with sonic descriptions. From your past postings, I understand that you appreciate the 'color' of different keys which develop from non-ET tunings. Imagine the colorations of the different keys with C as the center of the temperament octave. C-Major is the 'still' key. Now shift those same offsets centered from A. Suddenly C-Major is a very different beast.

Orchestra musicians are totally focused on A being the center of the universe. It's the string thing. Just conjecture, but could Well Temperament, if we even know what it really is, be thought of as coming from A rather than C? Familiar key color is drastically changed. Some good, some bad, but all different to the ear.

I didn't hear these things until I requested that the temperament be centered from A on one of my pianos. Needless to say, this was new to my tuner also, and he really tried to talk me out of it. As a reference, he used the A-442 tuning fork that I keep in my flute case. The results were very audible.

Since then, I have performed the Beethoven Concerto No. 4 (G-Major) in Prague and the tuner also tempered from A. Unlike the rushed rehearsal/performance schedule in the US, in Eastern and Northern Europe, you actually have the chance to work with and get to know the tuners. This tuner indicated that with a Wind Ensemble, he sets the temperament from Bb.

You might give it a try and find out the differences that you hear as you play in different keys. It becomes a very different world in the Chopin Etudes and the WTC.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

Top
#2103382 - 06/16/13 03:20 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Marty,
Regarding the temperament centre choice, my reading of history seems to indicate that C has been the centre for most UTs and WTs, hence the preponderance of music written in keys closely related to C (G, D, Am ). If they had been centred on A, the majority of works would have been written in A, E, B and F#m.

You raise an interesting point. I will ask the tuner for Tafelmusik, who tunes Valotti, what centre he uses. The orchestra tunes on A, but the continuo strings tune each string to the corresponding organ or harpsichord note.

When I get up the courage to change my piano from quasi-ET to a well, I will centre it on C.


Edited by Mwm (06/16/13 03:51 PM)

Top
#2103422 - 06/16/13 04:48 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Loren D]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Mwm,

The preponderance of compositions in the keys you list is the ease of performance, rather than tuning temperament. It's where beginning students start, and for the overwhelming majority of pianists, it is still the comfort zone. G-Maj. and F-Maj. are the second easiest keys and they are pretty far from C.

I mean, ya know, who wants to bother to comprehend double sharps and flats and play those key signatures with lots of stuff that looks scary anyway. Then there is the problem of starting a scale on a black key! Egad-fingering! It's just plain easier for all but advanced players.

The whole temperament thing leads one to become a mindless mass of quivering gelatin with the realization that D#-Major should sound different from Eb-Major. But, alas, the best that can be done is a non-equal temperament. ET sucks the life out of what little remains.

Do you have any sources citing the references to C as the historical temperament center? I would love to do further reading.

Cheers,
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

Top
Page 3 of 6 < 1 2 3 4 5 6 >

Moderator:  Piano World 
What's Hot!!

Trade Regrets:
Barry "Bear" Arnaut

(ad) Yamaha
Yamaha
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
(ad) Piano Music Sale - Dover Publications
Piano Music Sale
Sheet Music Plus (125)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Kawai CA95 - Any Firmware Updates
by McBuster
11/23/14 10:45 AM
Mozart sonata k.333, Mark C?
by Pover
11/23/14 09:54 AM
100 years old and music keeps her active
by Rich Galassini
11/23/14 07:45 AM
At 100 years old, she says music keeps her well
by Rich Galassini
11/23/14 07:36 AM
Chopin waltz in E minor (Op. Posth.) or Op.70/1
by Works1
11/23/14 06:22 AM
Forum Stats
77013 Members
42 Forums
159289 Topics
2339907 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
Gift Ideas for Music Lovers!
Find the Perfect Gift for the Music Lovers on your List!
Visit our online store today.

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission