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#2149952 - 09/14/13 10:25 AM Which Comes First the Chicken or the..........
Duane Graves Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/16/13
Posts: 32
Having a little fun with the "Subject Line" but, anyway, I am taking a course on piano tuning, I am curious and learning new things. In my course I'm studying chapter 3 which is titled "Unison Tuning & Octave Tuning". To me these are curious procedures and it is not the course's fault that I have questions like what I am going to ask it's me being new to piano tuning.

My question(s) for now are this: (1) what is the point of tuning the entire piano to note then doing a unison, an interval and then an octave check. Wouldn't that just put things out of tune again (remember I already tuned the entire piano)? (2) if these subsequent checks are standard procedure and perhaps necessary which do you do first the unison, interval, octave tuning THEN the entire piano or just the opposite? There is this phrase I see called "Equal Temperament" which I admit I am just slightly familiar with at this point and the definition of Eq.Temp. obviously does enter the equation here and I will learn that when the time comes but for now I think if you could answer somehow my questions in #1 & 2 that would be very interesting news to me....thank you, Duane.

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#2149961 - 09/14/13 10:44 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4187
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Sure thing Equal Temperament is when the egg comes out of the chicken equally on all sides.

And the chicken is happy too. So we have Equal Temperament all around. Who cares what the piano sounds like; maybe sounds kinda yolky without a lot of albumen.

Choosing to check the unisons first, then octaves, then intervals, the tuning can be made over easy rather than sounding poached.


Usually when tuning, most are doing octaves up or down. The intervals are used as checks as one tunes down the scale or up the scale. Adjustments and compromises are made during these checks. Unisons are tuned pure as you go or later because of muting them off with a strip or some other such method.

Then when the instrument is completed checks are done to eliminate any unwanted bumps or unevenness in the thirds sixths tenths. Like that. Often times more than one pass of tuning is required.

DonÔÇÖt worry about ET for the moment. Just get used to how things move with the hammer and how things can be changed.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#2149974 - 09/14/13 11:20 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1635
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Some of the home study tuning courses are rather generic. The procedure you describe probably works well if the piano is just barely out of tune. With experience, a couple of passes and that'll do it. Use the exact same procedure in a 50 ct pitch raise, and you'll be all day at it. Still, one has to begin somewhere. You haven't wasted your money. Learn the ABC's of tuning procedure first. As you become more familiar with the piano itself and especially how it reacts to your every move, and the rest will come later. A mentor is a big plus in learning how to tune in all of its complexities. The PTG encourages mentorism amongst its RPT members. That is a good place to start.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano TechnicŠ

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

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#2149989 - 09/14/13 11:40 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1635
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Yes, don't worry about ET too much at the moment. Though it is arguably the best place to start your education temperament wise, eventually you'll learn - especially if you hang around here - that it really means Extra Terrestrial. shocked


Edited by bkw58 (09/14/13 11:42 AM)
Edit Reason: clarity
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano TechnicŠ

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

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#2150227 - 09/14/13 07:44 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
The question really is, why must you learn to tune ET? Until everyone finally gets on the bandwagon and starts tuning the piano, and expecting the piano to be tuned the way it is meant to be tuned, that is, the way most composers and audiences heard pianos tuned when the music was written, we will still be 50 years behind organs, harpsichords and many orchestras.

What is the resistance to tuning a proper temperament? Does it come from the ignorance of the pianists (as a pianist, this is my first guess), or is the unwillingness of tuners to change?

I give you an example. I tuned my piano to Young 1700 a few weeks ago and my piano tuner/tech/cellist friend came over a few days ago to play cello with me. After one piece, he stopped and could not play anymore. He was blown away by the tuning. He said, it made my piano sound better, more rich, more satisfying than any concert grand he had heard over his long life of tuning only ET. He asked me to teach him how to tune Young 17999 aurally, I sent him tuning instructions, and this morning he called and was so excited about having tuned his first historical temperament.

The issue people, is that, when playing in an ensemble, the cello and piano in this case, he said it was so much easier to just play the music, make music, and not have to worry about tempering every bloody note to match ET.

I will never go back to ET.

So when is it going to change?

So when are you going to change?

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#2150242 - 09/14/13 08:04 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Mwm]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2042
Loc: Maine
Historical temperaments are OK, but 99% of your future clientele will expect equal temperament. OK, OK really ... 100% of them will want ET, so that's the one to learn.

You can explore unequal esoterica later if you desire.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#2150260 - 09/14/13 09:02 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Mwm]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1072
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted By: Mwm
The question really is, why must you learn to tune ET? Until everyone finally gets on the bandwagon and starts tuning the piano, and expecting the piano to be tuned the way it is meant to be tuned, that is, the way most composers and audiences heard pianos tuned when the music was written, we will still be 50 years behind organs, harpsichords and many orchestras.

What is the resistance to tuning a proper temperament? Does it come from the ignorance of the pianists (as a pianist, this is my first guess), or is the unwillingness of tuners to change?

I give you an example. I tuned my piano to Young 1700 a few weeks ago and my piano tuner/tech/cellist friend came over a few days ago to play cello with me. After one piece, he stopped and could not play anymore. He was blown away by the tuning. He said, it made my piano sound better, more rich, more satisfying than any concert grand he had heard over his long life of tuning only ET. He asked me to teach him how to tune Young 17999 aurally, I sent him tuning instructions, and this morning he called and was so excited about having tuned his first historical temperament.

The issue people, is that, when playing in an ensemble, the cello and piano in this case, he said it was so much easier to just play the music, make music, and not have to worry about tempering every bloody note to match ET.

I will never go back to ET.

So when is it going to change?

So when are you going to change?



This is a volatile subject full of adamant proponents on both sides.

When discussing subjective topics such as ET vs. WT, that have divergent opinions, I like to focus on the facts, in order to help bring the sides closer together.

So, as I see it, here are the facts:

1) Most pianos are tuned to ET, but none of my customers have every requested it, I just do it.

2) ET makes all keys equally out of tune. WT has some keys more out of tune than others.

3) Standard WT favours the key of C (clarification please), which means F# Major has faster beating intervals.

4) While historical piano compositions favoured C Major and related keys (because of the faster beating of unrelated keys like F# Major), modern composers use all 12 keys equally and do not consider the colour that WT would create. So, a jazz ballad in F# Major would have many fast beating M3s which would sound dissonant.

So, while WT has some slower beating M3s in C Major and related keys, and can sound very nice when playing music from the era when WT was popular, and from a composer that composed with WT in mind; ET is more versatile at playing all keys equally and not favouring any one key over another.

I applaud your passion for WT. You will have many friends who share your views, and many who disagree.

A more versatile approach is to understand the music that will be played on, and the musician that will be playing, the piano, and be able to accommodate requests for ET and WT.

(In 14 years of tuning, I have only had one request for HT, and that was from a guy who thought it would help prevent cancer. I know WT would sound more pure with music from that era, but tuning a piano like that, would mean modern music would not sound right in all keys.)
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2150278 - 09/14/13 10:33 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Thanks Mark for your views. Having played an extensive range of repertoire from pre-Bach to late 20th century classical music and jazz, I can tell you that it is a wonderful experience to hear the differences among the keys. While I can't comment on key choices by late 20th century composers, it is apparent when playing early 20th century composers and before, that they chose the keys in which they wrote to make use of the beat rates of the various intervals. Debussy sounds fabulous in Db, which is a very shimmering key. Gershwin is amazing in the same key. All of Beethoven, every key, is incredible. Chopin has never sounded better. And Prokofiev, my god, he was a genius at using key colour. It is all there for the pianist, who has the courage to go against the lowest common denominator approach to music.

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#2150280 - 09/14/13 10:42 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
Bosendorff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 262
Just finished tuning my grand tonight. I use ET because I need to improve gradually about stretching octaves, tuning unisons and so on. I'm no expert but enjoy tuning my own piano even if it takes me much longer than a pro. When I feel more confident, I will try to use a mild UT. I actually use UTs since many years on my digital piano. But of course, it's another story on an acoustic because of inharmonicity. I suppose that because of the stretching needed to accommodate inharmonicity, any UT that needs to widen intervals more than something like 5 or 6 cents could easily end up sounding pretty harsh (this is not so much a problem on a digital piano since the samples' partials don't interact, etc.).

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#2150429 - 09/15/13 08:08 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Bosendorff]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: Bosendorff
Just finished tuning my grand tonight. I use ET because I need to improve gradually about stretching octaves, tuning unisons and so on. I'm no expert but enjoy tuning my own piano even if it takes me much longer than a pro. When I feel more confident, I will try to use a mild UT. I actually use UTs since many years on my digital piano. But of course, it's another story on an acoustic because of inharmonicity. I suppose that because of the stretching needed to accommodate inharmonicity, any UT that needs to widen intervals more than something like 5 or 6 cents could easily end up sounding pretty harsh (this is not so much a problem on a digital piano since the samples' partials don't interact, etc.).

You raise a very valid point regarding stretching when using a UT. I have struggled to maintain the shape of my chosen UT while not compromising the octaves too much. This works well from A0 through about A6. The overall stretch at the bottom is much less (10-12 cents versus ~25 cents). The top also has less stretch. I found the best compromise was to use either 16:1 or 8:1 octaves for the lower two octaves, depending on which partial was beating loudest.

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#2150627 - 09/15/13 04:31 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Mwm]
terminaldegree Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2631
Loc: western Wisconsin
Originally Posted By: Mwm
It is apparent when playing early 20th century composers... that they chose the keys in which they wrote to make use of the beat rates of the various intervals. Debussy sounds fabulous in Db, which is a very shimmering key. Gershwin is amazing in the same key. And Prokofiev, my god, he was a genius at using key colour. It is all there for the pianist, who has the courage to go against the lowest common denominator approach to music.


Could you please cite what predominating temperament Prokofiev's, Gershwin's, and Debussy's pianos were tuned with, and be specific about the source of that information?

I'm not trying to start a fight- I just want to see the facts behind your opinion.

I visited a piano store a couple times that's known for using something other than ET on the floor. On one hand, it was an interesting experience. On the other hand, I felt I couldn't evaluate the tone of the instruments fairly because I was distracted by the key "coloration" of the unequal temperament.
_________________________
Pianist, teacher, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Casio px-200, Bechstein A190 #192939 @ home
Steinway A #585209, B #416809 @ work
Schimmel 130T #339100, on loan

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#2150752 - 09/15/13 08:01 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: terminaldegree]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Start with Rollingball.com

It provides, based on Jorgensens magnum opus, "Tuning", a timeline of temperaments in use and the timelines of composers. This is just one source for temperaments in use at a given time. You will find that Rachmaninoff, Stravinski, Prokofiev, Debussy, Satie, Ravel, Gershwin, and Schoenberg all lived at a time when Victorian Well and Quasi-equal temperaments were being used. If I remember correctly, the mathematics for ET were not worked out until the second decade of the 20th century.
Hope this helps. Please, please play for a week in Young 1799. You won't regret it.

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#2150803 - 09/15/13 08:59 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
terminaldegree Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2631
Loc: western Wisconsin
Perhaps this is the educator in me talking, but this website doesn't give enough information to glean a definitive answer on any level. The temperaments were being used primarily where and by whom? The chart is somewhat misleading because they show the composers' entire lifespans, which isn't the same as the time periods they were active as composers and musicians.

Are you referencing Young 1799 as the temperament that Debussy, Prokofiev, or Gershwin had on their piano when they were composing? I have not knowingly played on a piano in this temperament, though I have concertized on an older Broadwood in an unequal temperament once and sometimes practiced on a modern piano that was regularly tuned in an UT while I was in grad school (the techs did this to a piano or two from the inventory, for fun).


Edited by terminaldegree (09/15/13 09:00 PM)
Edit Reason: typo
_________________________
Pianist, teacher, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Casio px-200, Bechstein A190 #192939 @ home
Steinway A #585209, B #416809 @ work
Schimmel 130T #339100, on loan

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#2150864 - 09/15/13 10:06 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: terminaldegree]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: terminaldegree
Perhaps this is the educator in me talking, but this website doesn't give enough information to glean a definitive answer on any level. The temperaments were being used primarily where and by whom? The chart is somewhat misleading because they show the composers' entire lifespans, which isn't the same as the time periods they were active as composers and musicians.

Are you referencing Young 1799 as the temperament that Debussy, Prokofiev, or Gershwin had on their piano when they were composing? I have not knowingly played on a piano in this temperament, though I have concertized on an older Broadwood in an unequal temperament once and sometimes practiced on a modern piano that was regularly tuned in an UT while I was in grad school (the techs did this to a piano or two from the inventory, for fun).

As with any history, unless you were there, what we have is published treatises of the day, anecdotal writings, knowledge of conventions of the time, technological advances, including the mathematics necessary to define those advances, and conjuecture, based on, in this case, the choice of keys for the compositions written by the composers in a given era. It is therefore, a best guess. What can be said with conviction however, is that they did not play in ET. You do not play in ET, no one plays in ET, since, on the piano, it is an impossible goal. You might be surprised to learn that newly built organs are designed around an UT, usually Werckmeister III, a temperament around Bach's time, and no one, in their right mind, attempts to tune a harpsichord or a clavichord today in ET. I know this from living in the world of HP for forty plus years. It has been an epiphany for me to discover that a piano, an instrument I have played for fifty-eight years, always tuned in some attempt at ET, can actually be tuned in a WT, and sound vastly superior.

Sorry, I forgot to answer your question. I use Young 1799, as it is a beautifully designed WT. It is usable for any repertoire. I cannot say whether or not it was used by late 19th, early 20th century composers.


Edited by Mwm (09/15/13 11:14 PM)

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#2151097 - 09/16/13 08:06 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1923
Loc: Suffolk, England
Mwm

Do you know of any recordings of scales, intervals, chords, etc. that bring out the differences between the keys of a WT?
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2151124 - 09/16/13 08:48 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
Bosendorff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 262

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#2151126 - 09/16/13 08:49 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Withindale]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1102
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Mwm

Do you know of any recordings of scales, intervals, chords, etc. that bring out the differences between the keys of a WT?


Greetings,
Yes, you can go on to CDbaby and enter the name "Katahn". I have a pair of CD's on there that use temperaments. On the "Six Degrees" recording, which uses six tunings for six different pieces, there is a free, three-way, comparison of temperaments used for a Mozart fantasia. I have, in the past, had trouble keeping the three tracks listed as free, seems that the CDbaby people aren't used to things being given away. At least one of them should be gratis at any one time. You can hear the same piano, same pianist, same microphones, etc. in WT, ET, and MT. ( Some have even preferred the MT version, accepting the jarring dissonance as the price to be paid for pure thirds!).

Anyhow, for the commercially able, the "Pathetique" on the Beethoven recording was done on a Werckmeister style of tuning that provides a full 21 cent comma for the middle section's Ab passages. It is tempered as far as keyboards were normally tuned, and represents the extreme for use of dissonance. We thought, "It's the Pathetique, let's go for the deepest pathos we can". It is pretty tense,but does set quite a stage for the rest of the sonata.
Regards,


Edited by Ed Foote (09/16/13 08:50 AM)

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#2151211 - 09/16/13 10:55 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Bosendorff]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: Bosendorff

Thanks Bosendorff for the links.

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#2151218 - 09/16/13 11:06 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Mwm]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7275
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Start with Rollingball.com

It provides, based on Jorgensens magnum opus, "Tuning", a timeline of temperaments in use and the timelines of composers. This is just one source for temperaments in use at a given time. You will find that Rachmaninoff, Stravinski, Prokofiev, Debussy, Satie, Ravel, Gershwin, and Schoenberg all lived at a time when Victorian Well and Quasi-equal temperaments were being used. If I remember correctly, the mathematics for ET were not worked out until the second decade of the 20th century.
Hope this helps. Please, please play for a week in Young 1799. You won't regret it.


Hello thanks for chiming in. I never heard Debussy stated something about Young. References please.

I somewhat suspect that part of the UT use is there to distract the mind on a less than ideal tuning. But I heard interesting exemples at the piano, rare, but really.

Now Et is used for "portability" if that word is OK.

It can be made interesting and it can be made dull and unfocused.

As UT certainly.

To me that's the egg, but it is just me.
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2151223 - 09/16/13 11:12 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Ed Foote]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

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

Do you know of any recordings of scales, intervals, chords, etc. that bring out the differences between the keys of a WT?


Greetings,
Yes, you can go on to CDbaby and enter the name "Katahn". I have a pair of CD's on there that use temperaments. On the "Six Degrees" recording, which uses six tunings for six different pieces, there is a free, three-way, comparison of temperaments used for a Mozart fantasia. I have, in the past, had trouble keeping the three tracks listed as free, seems that the CDbaby people aren't used to things being given away. At least one of them should be gratis at any one time. You can hear the same piano, same pianist, same microphones, etc. in WT, ET, and MT. ( Some have even preferred the MT version, accepting the jarring dissonance as the price to be paid for pure thirds!).

Anyhow, for the commercially able, the "Pathetique" on the Beethoven recording was done on a Werckmeister style of tuning that provides a full 21 cent comma for the middle section's Ab passages. It is tempered as far as keyboards were normally tuned, and represents the extreme for use of dissonance. We thought, "It's the Pathetique, let's go for the deepest pathos we can". It is pretty tense,but does set quite a stage for the rest of the sonata.
Regards,

Thanks Ed for your contribution to the UT movement. I actually prefer the MT version of the Mozart as well.

I find is so strange that, in an artitstic field such as music, there is such a resistance to trying anything new (or in this case old). Does everybody eat at McDonalds now, and not create interesting and different meals at home? No matter how one looks at it, ET is McDonalds - comfort in knowing that the tuner, player, listener will not be disturbed from their safe, average, experience.

From an artistic and from a mathematical perspective, ET is the Lowest Common Denominator - the smallest interval is exactly the same size for all intervals - How boring!

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#2151240 - 09/16/13 11:35 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Olek]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: Olek
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Start with Rollingball.com

It provides, based on Jorgensens magnum opus, "Tuning", a timeline of temperaments in use and the timelines of composers. This is just one source for temperaments in use at a given time. You will find that Rachmaninoff, Stravinski, Prokofiev, Debussy, Satie, Ravel, Gershwin, and Schoenberg all lived at a time when Victorian Well and Quasi-equal temperaments were being used. If I remember correctly, the mathematics for ET were not worked out until the second decade of the 20th century.
Hope this helps. Please, please play for a week in Young 1799. You won't regret it.


Hello thanks for chiming in. I never heard Debussy stated something about Young. References please.

I somewhat suspect that part of the UT use is there to distract the mind on a less than ideal tuning. But I heard interesting exemples at the piano, rare, but really.

Now Et is used for "portability" if that word is OK.

It can be made interesting and it can be made dull and unfocused.

As UT certainly.

To me that's the egg, but it is just me.

Bonjour Isaac,

I wondered when you would join the conversation. It is to you, that I owe my thanks for helping me learn how to set the pins, and achieve beautiful unisons. It has taken me nearly a year of practicing on my piano to do that, and I have a long way yet to go.

Now that I can achieve a stable tuning, and, having learned how to listen to the partials, especially in the high treble ( your youtube video on tuning the high treble really helped me- merci beaucoup), I felt confident to tune a WT. I chose Young because of its symmetry. I did not say that Debussy had his piano tuned in Young, only that I enjoy the sound of Debussy, when played in Young.

For example, in Young, Bb Major is a calm key. Book 1, prelude 1, Danseuses de Delphes is so calm and serene. Prelude 8, La fille aux cheveux de lin, in Gb Major is so shimmering with its 21 cent wide M3. My musician friends, when hearing these two pieces, played slowly so they can hear the sonority of the piano in those keys, are astounded. They thought that the wide thirds would be jarring, and they are, in the right, or wrong, context. But, used by Debussy, they are wonderful.

I agree with you about ET being portable, but keep in mind that in the 18th and 19th centuries, UTs were portable, within in a much smaller radius, as well. I have heard gorgeous ET tunings that really bring out the synergetic potential of the instrument. A well tuned WT does that as well, and provides the performer and the listener with a hint of what the composer heard.

Regards.

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#2151318 - 09/16/13 01:36 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1635
Loc: Conway, AR USA


"~Equal Temperament.~--Equal temperament is one in which the twelve fixed tones of the chromatic scale are equidistant. Any chord will be as harmonious in one key as in another.

"...it is only within the last half century that the system of equal temperament has been universally adopted..."

J Cree Fischer was a piano technician, teacher and author. He wrote the above in 1907. Accordingly, "within the last half century" would place the universal adoption of ET among piano tuners from 1857-1907.

It is called, "Equal Temperament," not "Perfect Temperament."
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano TechnicŠ

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

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#2151387 - 09/16/13 03:44 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1923
Loc: Suffolk, England
Thank you, Ed, for pointing us to Enid Katahn's recordings, and yes, thank you Bosendorff for the links, especially David Pinnegar's harpsichord.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2151406 - 09/16/13 04:03 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Withindale]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1923
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Do you know of any recordings of scales, intervals, chords, etc. that bring out the differences between the keys of a WT?

Mwm,

Could I persuade you to record something really simple in several keys in Young's temperament?

The point of the exercise is, as suggested, to bring out the differences rather than elicit preferences.

I don't know what would work best but what I have in mind is a Grade 1 student discovering key colors.

David Pinnegar was part way there in Bosendorff's Link 1 but it needs to be on a modern piano and maybe a basic sequence repeating round the circle of fifths.

_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2151443 - 09/16/13 04:55 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: bkw58]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7275
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: bkw58


"~Equal Temperament.~--Equal temperament is one in which the twelve fixed tones of the chromatic scale are equidistant. Any chord will be as harmonious in one key as in another.




With nevertheless a little changeduring the cycle of 5 ths due to the acceleration of beats.SO an harmonic progression is yet creating some effect. It is not just as it all tonalities would sound the same.
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2151713 - 09/16/13 11:43 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: bkw58]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: bkw58


"~Equal Temperament.~--Equal temperament is one in which the twelve fixed tones of the chromatic scale are equidistant. Any chord will be as harmonious in one key as in another.

"...it is only within the last half century that the system of equal temperament has been universally adopted..."

J Cree Fischer was a piano technician, teacher and author. He wrote the above in 1907. Accordingly, "within the last half century" would place the universal adoption of ET among piano tuners from 1857-1907.

It is called, "Equal Temperament," not "Perfect Temperament."


I have two copies, for some reason, of Fischer's book on tuning. His method of tuning (he actually gives three methods) is based on narrow fifths tuning and pure octaves throughout the compass of the piano. He knows nothing of inharmonicity, though he speaks of the need to carefully tune the high treble, as people have a tendency to tune them too flat. While it is possible to tune an reasonable ET using his method, which requires many "going back and correcting intervals", his method will produce a very odd sounding piano if, as he implies, one tunes only 2:1 octaves. I doubt seriously that he tuned what he preached.


Edited by Mwm (09/17/13 10:17 AM)

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#2151715 - 09/16/13 11:46 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Withindale]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Do you know of any recordings of scales, intervals, chords, etc. that bring out the differences between the keys of a WT?

Mwm,

Could I persuade you to record something really simple in several keys in Young's temperament?

The point of the exercise is, as suggested, to bring out the differences rather than elicit preferences.

I don't know what would work best but what I have in mind is a Grade 1 student discovering key colors.

David Pinnegar was part way there in Bosendorff's Link 1 but it needs to be on a modern piano and maybe a basic sequence repeating round the circle of fifths.


Yes, it is my intention to do so using simple chord progressions, arpeggios, and snippets of music that highlight the tension in the far keys and the calmness of the close keys, all relative to C of course.

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#2151847 - 09/17/13 03:52 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Mwm]
Mark R. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 1943
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Originally Posted By: Mwm
no one, in their right mind, attempts to tune a harpsichord or a clavichord today in ET.


Thank you, I feel so much better now that an Authority on the Matter has told me that not only am I a coward, but I've lost my right mind. (Will just have to use the left one, then.)

Peace to you, too.
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

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

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#2152011 - 09/17/13 10:11 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Mark R.]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
Originally Posted By: Mwm
no one, in their right mind, attempts to tune a harpsichord or a clavichord today in ET.


Thank you, I feel so much better now that an Authority on the Matter has told me that not only am I a coward, but I've lost my right mind. (Will just have to use the left one, then.)

Peace to you, too.


I have finally realized, after many years of misapprehension, that ET stands for "Establishment Tuning".

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#2152024 - 09/17/13 10:27 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Mwm]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: Mwm
I have finally realized, after many years of misapprehension, that ET stands for "Establishment Tuning".

grin - I love it!
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2152032 - 09/17/13 10:37 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted By: Mwm
I have finally realized, after many years of misapprehension, that ET stands for "Establishment Tuning".

grin - I love it!

Thanks. A momentary reprieve from my apparent senility. I must copy it to the analogous thread.

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#2152065 - 09/17/13 11:10 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21307
Loc: Oakland
While UT stands for "untuned."
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Semipro Tech

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#2152081 - 09/17/13 11:29 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: BDB]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: BDB
While UT stands for "untuned."


I prefer to think of it as Unexcelled Tuning.

We should start a thread - What do UT, WT, ET stand for?

Unbelievable Tuning

Worst Tuning (ever!) the teenagers judgement of things

Everyman's Tuning

to name a few.




Edited by Mwm (09/17/13 11:33 AM)

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#2152129 - 09/17/13 12:24 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Mark R.]
OperaTenor Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2379
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
Originally Posted By: Mwm
no one, in their right mind, attempts to tune a harpsichord or a clavichord today in ET.


Thank you, I feel so much better now that an Authority on the Matter has told me that not only am I a coward, but I've lost my right mind. (Will just have to use the left one, then.)

Peace to you, too.


I only just opened this thread, now to see this one is chock full of ignorant insults, too.

Go out and earn an honest living taking care of other people's pianos, then get back to us on your pet theory, Mwm.
_________________________
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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#2152142 - 09/17/13 12:37 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
I know when I'm not wanted. Time to sign out and close this thread.

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#2152148 - 09/17/13 12:43 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Mwm]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1635
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: bkw58


"~Equal Temperament.~--Equal temperament is one in which the twelve fixed tones of the chromatic scale are equidistant. Any chord will be as harmonious in one key as in another.

"...it is only within the last half century that the system of equal temperament has been universally adopted..."

J Cree Fischer was a piano technician, teacher and author. He wrote the above in 1907. Accordingly, "within the last half century" would place the universal adoption of ET among piano tuners from 1857-1907.

It is called, "Equal Temperament," not "Perfect Temperament."


I have two copies, for some reason, of Fischer's book on tuning. His method of tuning (he actually gives three methods) is based on narrow fifths tuning and pure octaves throughout the compass of the piano. He knows nothing of inharmonicity, though he speaks of the need to carefully tune the high treble, as people have a tendency to tune them too flat. While it is possible to tune an reasonable ET using his method, which requires many "going back and correcting intervals", his method will produce a very odd sounding piano if, as he implies, one tunes only 2:1 octaves. I doubt seriously that he tuned what he preached.


Good morning, Mwm:

Long ago, my copy of JCF went into the abyss of books loaned never to be seen again. Fortunately, the entire text is available free in PDF.

Most of us read piano technology texts written 100+/- years ago with certain reservations. JCF is no exception. However, the point in citing him has more to do with history. Here his understanding may not be so easily challenged.

1. At the very least, JCF both understood and taught the rudiments of Equal Temperament. Whether or not he practiced it successfully in business is unknown. Will leave speculation on this point to the ghost of H. L. Mencken. I do know that some modern piano techs have used modified forms of JCF quite successfully.

2. JCF writes from a vantage that we do not enjoy: The world of piano tuners leading up to ca.1907, the year his second edition was published at Philadelphia. From a rather comprehensive perspective, he places a universal acceptation of Equal Temperament among piano tuners from 1857 to 1907. Moreover, he expresses surprise that it had taken that long - implying an even earlier period wherein the theory was in its formative stage.

The extent of his "piano universe" is, of course, arguable.


Edited by bkw58 (09/17/13 02:35 PM)
Edit Reason: typo
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano TechnicŠ

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

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#2152151 - 09/17/13 12:49 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: BDB]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1102
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: BDB
While UT stands for "untuned."


ah, the debate. If our design had been such that we had 10 fingers per hand, we would, without a doubt, be using 19-ET.

Untuned?
It depends on what a person calls "in tune". Some prefer that the interval size, and step size, be determined by a mathematical equality. This value is dependent on mechanical parameters, (the number of keys a human can realistically manipulate), and the attraction we have for the octave. Thus, the harmonic quality of the instrument is fixed by the number of digits we possess, not by what happens between our eardrum and inner brain.

The opposing argument is that the sensual qualities of varying sizes of interval have musical values, and used to bolster whatever musical attempt is being made to hit an emotional target, add a significant psycho-emotive aspect to music's attraction. There is no math that is applicable to this approach, it being based on sensual judgements rather than intellectual.

There is little argument that tempering is detuning, if we are to take purity as the clinical definition of "in tune". So, ET and WT's are both, clinically, out of tune, hence there is no reason for one or the other to be hurling impugnment.

However, if we define "out of tune" as the condition in which a tuning calls attention to itself, we can look at the ET/WT debate with the subjective character of the proponents illuminating their positions. As a working tuner, I think there are things that call attention to themselves all the time, but musicians and music lovers don't listen like tuners.

Bach, at one time, sounded fine to me on an ET piano. Then I heard his music on a piano tuned in a WT and the added complexity left the ET versions sounding sterile and boring to me. My attraction for ET has not returned.
Same goes for most other music prior to Chopin, for me. The constant haze of 13.7 cent thirds sounds like someone left the vibrato on, for everything, everywhere. The constant, unrelenting stimulation of this tuning makes everything in it sound edgy, yet, others don't hear it, at all.

For the listener who isn't sensitive to harmonic values, the sameness is the only thing that sounds in tune. When all thirds are the same width, the brain stops registering dissonance or consonance, even though we are exquisitely equipped to discern these qualities. Without an appreciation for the coherent, temperament defined, build-up and resolution of musical tension in modulation, there can be no value given to inequality, so of course, a tuning that has none suffers no loss for these ears. It is just as impossible for them to hear the composer using the textural qualities of a WT to create greater emotional impact as it is for some people to discern the hidden image in the computer-generated 'MAGIC EYE" pictures. They will swear there is NO picture in there.

When such a desensitivity occurs, there will be a special status bestowed on ET as an ideal, the one "in tune" tuning. Never mind that it is less complex, less emotionally affective,(dissonance/consonace is proven to actively alter emotions), and offers no explanation why the composers chose the keys that they did, (this is key to understanding the effects of WT). Its attraction has less to do with music and more to do with comfort. I will mention that the passage that got more positive review than any other on our "Beethoven in the Temperaments"CD was the Pathetique., with its 21 cent thirds in the harmony. That surprised even me, as I had thought that going to the full syntonic extreme would be too radical for many. go figure...
Regards,

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#2152163 - 09/17/13 01:01 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
OperaTenor Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2379
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Hi Ed,

In these last couple of rancorous threads, I don't think anyone has advocated ET as the only "in-tune" tuning (unless I missed a post somewhere); it is merely being held up as the universally-accepted standard, and what most professionals use to tune in the course of their everyday work. That is not to say that UT's are bad and should never be used. The vitriol came up when, after being asked to support his assertion that Young 1799 is absolute best tuning in the universe, Mwm responded by insulting all of the professionals in the room.

I give my customers what they ask for, be it ET or a UT.
_________________________
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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#2152164 - 09/17/13 01:02 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Mwm]
OperaTenor Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2379
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: Mwm
I know when I'm not wanted. Time to sign out and close this thread.


You are free to go and mope, if that's what floats your boat. FYI, it's not you that's not wanted, it's your insults.
_________________________
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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#2152224 - 09/17/13 02:35 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Ed Foote]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
Some prefer that the interval size, and step size, be determined by a mathematical equality. This value is dependent on mechanical parameters, (the number of keys a human can realistically manipulate), and the attraction we have for the octave.

Untrue - The twelve tone scale, in western musical development, preceded any keyboard instruments. I has nothing to do with the number of fingers available to a human creature.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2152285 - 09/17/13 04:08 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1923
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
The twelve tone scale, in western musical development, preceded any keyboard instruments.

Marty,

At least for my benefit, because I really don't know, when did sharps and flats (e.g. D sharp and E flat) coalesce before the present keyboard appeared?


Edited by Withindale (09/17/13 04:46 PM)
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2152331 - 09/17/13 05:23 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
Hi Ian,

The premise of the circle of fifths, and music theory, is the codification of what had developed from chants in use during the eighth century. As you are well aware, the tablature was totally different and a sharp or flat didn't even exist.

To answer your question, I'll have to do some digging through reference materials to find the earliest reference of when accidentals appeared in notation. I'll let you know.

Currently I'm in Chicago and I will need to have access to my library to do a little research. My expertise is more in the early Baroque, rather than the pre- and renaissance eras.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2152348 - 09/17/13 05:45 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Ed Foote]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21307
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
Originally Posted By: BDB
While UT stands for "untuned."


ah, the debate. If our design had been such that we had 10 fingers per hand, we would, without a doubt, be using 19-ET.

Untuned?
It depends on what a person calls "in tune". Some prefer that the interval size, and step size, be determined by a mathematical equality. This value is dependent on mechanical parameters, (the number of keys a human can realistically manipulate), and the attraction we have for the octave. Thus, the harmonic quality of the instrument is fixed by the number of digits we possess, not by what happens between our eardrum and inner brain.

The opposing argument is that the sensual qualities of varying sizes of interval have musical values, and used to bolster whatever musical attempt is being made to hit an emotional target, add a significant psycho-emotive aspect to music's attraction. There is no math that is applicable to this approach, it being based on sensual judgements rather than intellectual.

There is little argument that tempering is detuning, if we are to take purity as the clinical definition of "in tune". So, ET and WT's are both, clinically, out of tune, hence there is no reason for one or the other to be hurling impugnment.

However, if we define "out of tune" as the condition in which a tuning calls attention to itself, we can look at the ET/WT debate with the subjective character of the proponents illuminating their positions. As a working tuner, I think there are things that call attention to themselves all the time, but musicians and music lovers don't listen like tuners.

Bach, at one time, sounded fine to me on an ET piano. Then I heard his music on a piano tuned in a WT and the added complexity left the ET versions sounding sterile and boring to me. My attraction for ET has not returned.
Same goes for most other music prior to Chopin, for me. The constant haze of 13.7 cent thirds sounds like someone left the vibrato on, for everything, everywhere. The constant, unrelenting stimulation of this tuning makes everything in it sound edgy, yet, others don't hear it, at all.

For the listener who isn't sensitive to harmonic values, the sameness is the only thing that sounds in tune. When all thirds are the same width, the brain stops registering dissonance or consonance, even though we are exquisitely equipped to discern these qualities. Without an appreciation for the coherent, temperament defined, build-up and resolution of musical tension in modulation, there can be no value given to inequality, so of course, a tuning that has none suffers no loss for these ears. It is just as impossible for them to hear the composer using the textural qualities of a WT to create greater emotional impact as it is for some people to discern the hidden image in the computer-generated 'MAGIC EYE" pictures. They will swear there is NO picture in there.

When such a desensitivity occurs, there will be a special status bestowed on ET as an ideal, the one "in tune" tuning. Never mind that it is less complex, less emotionally affective,(dissonance/consonace is proven to actively alter emotions), and offers no explanation why the composers chose the keys that they did, (this is key to understanding the effects of WT). Its attraction has less to do with music and more to do with comfort. I will mention that the passage that got more positive review than any other on our "Beethoven in the Temperaments"CD was the Pathetique., with its 21 cent thirds in the harmony. That surprised even me, as I had thought that going to the full syntonic extreme would be too radical for many. go figure...
Regards,



What I meant was that just about every time someone claims to have tuned a "perfect" unequal temperament, there are bad unisons and octaves, and yet somehow I am supposed to come to some conclusion about the temperament from that. Well, the conclusion that I have come to is that most people who claim to tune to some unequal temperament do not tune worth a sou, let alone tune to any temperament.

If you want to sell me on the advantages of one temperament versus another, first show me that you can tune well enough that talking to you about temperament makes sense at all.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2152391 - 09/17/13 07:10 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: BDB]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: BDB
If you want to sell me on the advantages of one temperament versus another, first show me that you can tune well enough that talking to you about temperament makes sense at all.

If you want to sell me on the advantages of one temperament versus another, first show me that you can hear well enough that talking to you about temperament makes sense at all.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2152766 - 09/18/13 06:01 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Mwm]
Mark R. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 1943
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
Originally Posted By: Mwm
no one, in their right mind, attempts to tune a harpsichord or a clavichord today in ET.


Thank you, I feel so much better now that an Authority on the Matter has told me that not only am I a coward, but I've lost my right mind. (Will just have to use the left one, then.)

Peace to you, too.


I have finally realized, after many years of misapprehension, that ET stands for "Establishment Tuning".


I have tried a number of well temperaments, both on our harpsichord and on one of our pianos. And yes, I did play on them for some time before making up my mind. I did not like the results.

So, while "establishment" appears to be quite a derogatory term in your vocabulary, for my part, I am quite happy to practise "establishment tuning" at this stage of my tuning career. For an autodidact, there is lots to learn from the establishment.

That being said, I fully plan to put my one piano back into a WT. I'm not opposed to them in principle. I just take exception to being called loony-toony for putting an ET (or my best shot at it) on a harpsichord.
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

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

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#2152822 - 09/18/13 08:27 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1635
Loc: Conway, AR USA

Don't quite know what to make of this latest donnybrook. First the piano, and now the harpsichord. Seems like nothing will escape the foray.

The William Dowd Concert French Double was prepped in Equal Temperament countless times for solo, chamber and orchestral performances. For years. No complaints whatsoever. Not from the Maestro who, himself, both conducted and played all the Brandenburg concertos in one stellar performance. Not from numerous guest harpsichordists who always seemed delighted for the piano tech to tune for rehearsals and performances in their stead. Not from the orchestra. Not from entertainment reviews. Standing ovation speaks for itself.

The only complaints received are here. After the fact. From those who heard not.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano TechnicŠ

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

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#2152926 - 09/18/13 11:14 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: bkw58]
OperaTenor Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2379
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: bkw58


The only complaints received are here. After the fact. From those who heard not.



Another well said, Bob.
_________________________
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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#2152965 - 09/18/13 12:15 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7275
Loc: France
But, standing ovation mean that the audience have enough to be sitting, mostly !!! wink
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2153205 - 09/18/13 05:55 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: OperaTenor]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1635
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Originally Posted By: bkw58


The only complaints received are here. After the fact. From those who heard not.



Another well said, Bob.



Thanks, Jim smile
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano TechnicŠ

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

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#2153208 - 09/18/13 05:58 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Olek]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1635
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Olek
But, standing ovation mean that the audience have enough to be sitting, mostly !!! wink



LOL! Thanks, Isaac.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano TechnicŠ

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

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#2154102 - 09/19/13 10:59 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
I can tune the paino any way the customers wants. If you want 3 chords to sound pretty as all get out, and the rest sound like crap. I can do that. Just tell me what key you want to play in
_________________________
Making the world a better sounding place, one piano at a time...

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#2154105 - 09/19/13 11:04 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
RonTuner Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1629
Loc: Chicagoland
Gary, your ignorance on the subject of temperaments other than ET is showing again...

Ron Koval
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#2156167 - 09/23/13 12:55 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Duane Graves
Having a little fun with the "Subject Line" but, anyway, I am taking a course on piano tuning, I am curious and learning new things. In my course I'm studying chapter 3 which is titled "Unison Tuning & Octave Tuning". To me these are curious procedures and it is not the course's fault that I have questions like what I am going to ask it's me being new to piano tuning.

My question(s) for now are this: (1) what is the point of tuning the entire piano to note then doing a unison, an interval and then an octave check. Wouldn't that just put things out of tune again (remember I already tuned the entire piano)? (2) if these subsequent checks are standard procedure and perhaps necessary which do you do first the unison, interval, octave tuning THEN the entire piano or just the opposite? There is this phrase I see called "Equal Temperament" which I admit I am just slightly familiar with at this point and the definition of Eq.Temp. obviously does enter the equation here and I will learn that when the time comes but for now I think if you could answer somehow my questions in #1 & 2 that would be very interesting news to me....thank you, Duane.


The word check in this context means to merely see if you got it right. It shouldn't entail retuning any of the piano.
The order that you do things in depends on the method that you use. Some use a temperament strip and tune all the centre strings of each unison and then tune all the outside strings with the strip out. Others tune each unison of each note as they go so the tune the notes, then the octaves and then the unisons.

If you check thoroughly as you go there should be no need to change anything since the every note on the piano is interdependent on the rest, as you so rightly say.

One important thing to look out for, on the subject of checking, there is a tendency in new tuners and some who should know better, to tune the interval or octave with a much lighter touch that they use to tune the unison with the result that the whole unison finishes up flat. They are beating up their own tunings. It is well to check that when a whole unison is tuned that it is still in tune with the rest of the piano. This happens whether you go by completing each unison as you go or if you use a strip.

The best cure for this is to learn to set a string and pin so that it stays in tune under all circumstances. Tuners for years have talked about setting the pin and completely ignoring setting the string along its entire length. You can set a pin really well but if there slack in the length of wire between the pin and the speaking length. Tuners were taught to beat on pianos mainly as a test that all the action parts were sound. Pounding is not necessary. I let the player do all my test blows. What I am saying is, don't become dependent on beating the strings into tune, there'll always be some who can hit those notes with more practiced concentrated power than almost any tuner.

So, whichever method you use, check as you go.



Edited by rxd (09/23/13 12:58 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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#2156198 - 09/23/13 01:56 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7275
Loc: France
"tune the string on all its lenght"

As if no bearing points exists (which is more easily said than done).

A blow is useful to be sure but not always.
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2156214 - 09/23/13 02:41 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
Somewhere in one of these divided threads about ET I mentioned that it's very likely ET got its foothold in 1853 when three of the great manufacturers were founded It makes sense when designing a new scale to have an even progression at least in the design.

Here's a bit more living history....
Almost 50 years ago I tuned many ancient Bl├╝thners and Bosendorfers that had an amazing depth of tone and resonance. They had been on the tuning rounds for generations. The smaller (5-6 foot) pianos in particular were resonant in a way we don't hear today. I do know that in the early days of recording, they had to use uprights with the hammers shaved down because the resonance would make the needle jump in the soft wax they used in those days.

The resonance was such that the major 3rds and major 6ths really drew attention to themselves. I had been taught on joining the company to use minimal stretch on the treble and to narrow the scale and tenor octaves. The depth of tone was such that sharpness in the bass was not an issue, the bass still sounded low if anything, even though it was measurably sharp. Modern commercial piano tone will not accept this, the bass sounds sharp even when it is inordinately stretched. of course iH was known in those days.

I found that narrowing the middle slowed down these intervals in a way that they no longer called attention to themselves in the musical texture.

Though I had studied UT's before then because there were harpsichords on my rounds but it was not an option because there would be some intervals that we're really fast and draw even more attention to themselves. These were commercial tunings

Just an idea. These pianos have been long since rebuilt. I came across one Bl├╝thner that the customer was unhappy with because all the hammers had been replaced and it had lost it's resonance and depth. I did the tone regulation techniques taught to me from those days and the depth and resonance came back. The customer was happy but I knew there was more resonance in that piano but the new hammers were not allowing it to flower. More depth came back as I continued to tune and service it over the years.

Modern concert pianos here are selected for their depth of tone when new which develops over time and appropriate servicing. The resonance I remember was not as pronounced in the larger pianos but we can still narrow the tenor octaves and reduce the speed of all the 3rds and 6ths without making it sound sharp or compromising the fifths too much.

I posit that it is over stretching and poor tone quality that leads people away from ET as is is commonly practiced today.

I remember working for a M&H dealer in the 70's. My first job in the 'States. The pianos needed a lot of work but great depth of tone and brilliance could still be had from them. Imagine my dismay when I went to a convention and all the pianos on the M&H stand had been brightened so much as to destroy any depth they had.

I listen to harpsichord music almost entirely for about 25 days of early music festivals dotted about the year and delight in the way a harpsichord tone quality can accept rapid beating thirds and gradually get more in tune as the music resolves into the home keys or mother keys as one of my jazz friends would have it.

All my business today is ET. That's just the way it is. Left to my own devices I will use some of UT's subtleties in tunings that I'm solely responsible for but I share a lot of tuning duties with other tuners simply for convenience of scheduling so on those pianos I am bound by convention and convenience. (so are the pianos). They can be doing duty with one style one day and the opposite end of the style spectrum the next. It has to be one size fits all establisent tuning. The advantage of this is that all the staff tuners can really refine our practical experience of ET because on every tuning, the basics are already solidly in place. We get the satisfaction of doing one thing really really well and making life easy for each other and any soul who wants to play our pianos in the meantime. Not many tuners get to experience teamwork like this. We essentially tune for each other. I feel priveliged to be part of and surounded by such expertise.

I'm just trying to find a middle ground here and some understanding of how this situation came about. There's really no need for this acrimony. Share the road with other drivers. We're all going different places.
_________________________
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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#2160654 - 10/01/13 11:18 PM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Duane Graves]
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
After you tune your temperment of choice, let me hear all 12 chords(not just the "pretty ones".) Seriously, if there is a better temperment that makes all the keys sound awesome, I am open to change!
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Making the world a better sounding place, one piano at a time...

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#2160699 - 10/02/13 01:36 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: rxd]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7275
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: rxd

Here's a bit more living history....
Almost 50 years ago I tuned many ancient Bl├╝thners and Bosendorfers that had an amazing depth of tone and resonance. They had been on the tuning rounds for generations. The smaller (5-6 foot) pianos in particular were resonant in a way we don't hear today. I do know that in the early days of recording, they had to use uprights with the hammers shaved down because the resonance would make the needle jump in the soft wax they used in those days.

The resonance was such that the major 3rds and major 6ths really drew attention to themselves. I had been taught on joining the company to use minimal stretch on the treble and to narrow the scale and tenor octaves. The depth of tone was such that sharpness in the bass was not an issue, the bass still sounded low if anything, even though it was measurably sharp. Modern commercial piano tone will not accept this, the bass sounds sharp even when it is inordinately stretched. of course iH was known in those days.

I found that narrowing the middle slowed down these intervals in a way that they no longer called attention to themselves in the musical texture.

Though I had studied UT's before then because there were harpsichords on my rounds but it was not an option because there would be some intervals that we're really fast and draw even more attention to themselves. These were commercial tunings

Just an idea. These pianos have been long since rebuilt. I came across one Bl├╝thner that the customer was unhappy with because all the hammers had been replaced and it had lost it's resonance and depth. I did the tone regulation techniques taught to me from those days and the depth and resonance came back. The customer was happy but I knew there was more resonance in that piano but the new hammers were not allowing it to flower. More depth came back as I continued to tune and service it over the years.



I posit that it is over stretching and poor tone quality that leads people away from ET as is is commonly practiced today.



I listen to harpsichord music almost entirely for about 25 days of early music festivals dotted about the year and delight in the way a harpsichord tone quality can accept rapid beating thirds and gradually get more in tune as the music resolves into the home keys or mother keys as one of my jazz friends would have it.




Interesting historical description I also find the tone of pianos was so different some time ago.

The common mistake I see on Bluthner is not buying appropriate hammers, the ones they have today are good, while certainly more on the power side than they where.

I believe part of the tone was lost with modern steel quality, and possibly recycling, hence beginning of the 60-70's years.

When Poehlmann was stopped too.

Then take in account that the basses tend to get warmer on older panels, also.
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2160714 - 10/02/13 02:51 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Olek]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Olek
Originally Posted By: rxd

Here's a bit more living history....
Almost 50 years ago I tuned many ancient Bl├╝thners and Bosendorfers that had an amazing depth of tone and resonance. They had been on the tuning rounds for generations. The smaller (5-6 foot) pianos in particular were resonant in a way we don't hear today. I do know that in the early days of recording, they had to use uprights with the hammers shaved down because the resonance would make the needle jump in the soft wax they used in those days.

The resonance was such that the major 3rds and major 6ths really drew attention to themselves. I had been taught on joining the company to use minimal stretch on the treble and to narrow the scale and tenor octaves. The depth of tone was such that sharpness in the bass was not an issue, the bass still sounded low if anything, even though it was measurably sharp. Modern commercial piano tone will not accept this, the bass sounds sharp even when it is inordinately stretched. of course iH was known in those days.

I found that narrowing the middle slowed down these intervals in a way that they no longer called attention to themselves in the musical texture.

Though I had studied UT's before then because there were harpsichords on my rounds but it was not an option because there would be some intervals that we're really fast and draw even more attention to themselves. These were commercial tunings

Just an idea. These pianos have been long since rebuilt. I came across one Bl├╝thner that the customer was unhappy with because all the hammers had been replaced and it had lost it's resonance and depth. I did the tone regulation techniques taught to me from those days and the depth and resonance came back. The customer was happy but I knew there was more resonance in that piano but the new hammers were not allowing it to flower. More depth came back as I continued to tune and service it over the years.



I posit that it is over stretching and poor tone quality that leads people away from ET as is is commonly practiced today.



I listen to harpsichord music almost entirely for about 25 days of early music festivals dotted about the year and delight in the way a harpsichord tone quality can accept rapid beating thirds and gradually get more in tune as the music resolves into the home keys or mother keys as one of my jazz friends would have it.




Interesting historical description I also find the tone of pianos was so different some time ago.

The common mistake I see on Bluthner is not buying appropriate hammers, the ones they have today are good, while certainly more on the power side than they where.

I believe part of the tone was lost with modern steel quality, and possibly recycling, hence beginning of the 60-70's years.

When Poehlmann was stopped too.

Then take in account that the basses tend to get warmer on older panels, also.


Some years ago I changed the depth on a new Bl├╝thnere 9' to 10mm (the old standard) for an artist. The improvement in tone (to me)was remarkable. A year or so later I had occasion to do some extensive tone regulation on it and the old Bl├╝thner sound as
I remembered it emerged. The piano got sold immediately after so I didn't get to experience that sound in a large hall.

I also had a similar experience with a 1980's 6'3 in a private home and a modern 6.3 in a private club here.

It seems that age and use do have an influence. I have more success with pianos that have been allowed to develop a crisp attack. The demands of today's playing requires a clean starting transient.
_________________________
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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#2160741 - 10/02/13 05:38 AM Re: Which Comes First the Chicken or the.......... [Re: Olek]
phacke Offline

Gold Supporter until November 11 2014


Registered: 10/18/12
Posts: 470
Loc: CO, USA
Originally Posted By: Olek


I believe part of the tone was lost with modern steel quality, and possibly recycling, hence beginning of the 60-70's years.


I see this come up now and again. I wonder what the evidence for this is.
_________________________
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Steinway YM (1933)
...Working on:
G. F. Hńndel: Suite in G minor (HWV 452)
J. S. Bach, Sonata No. 1 in B minor (BWV 1014) duet with violin

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