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#2224253 - 02/01/14 03:45 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 676
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
As a happy proponent of ET, who is open to experimenting with HT, I have resisted for one sole reason:

You have to choose a key to be the most harmonious. This means the unrelated keys will be less harmonious. Great for creating dissonance as a piece moderates from and to the tonic.

But, what key do I choose? C major would seem to be most obvious.

But what about pieces written in other keys that did not intend to use the varying dissonance of a particular key to create intervalic dissonance?

As a composer in ET, I am happy rely on the harmonic dissonance created by tonal space, than hope the piano that my composition will be played on, will have a HT on it, and in the key I intended.

So, what is it? C major is the standard? Old music sounds better because it was composed in that temperament?

What about modern compositions in keys far from C major, that modulate away from F#, for example, designed to create more harmonic dissonance, but resulting less intervalic dissonance?

That just seems wrong and misguided, IMHO.

So, as I see it, the only people who would benefit from HT would be pianists who play classical only.

For the rest of us, ET would have to be the standard, no?

I know we have been going around and around on this question for ever it seems, but a quick survey of the music written while HTs were in vogue, shows a wide range of keys being used, far from C, Bach's B minor mass for instance. As a proponent of UTs, I would like to have you take advantage of the key colours and write a modern work in a UT of your choice. I play Gershwin, Rachmaninov, Debussy in Young. I, and my listeners, love it. They work well in ET also.

Edit: when you play a piece in a strong Well temperament, the keys have strong colours, so a composer chose to write in E or A major, for example, because of the brightness of the home key as compared to C. Moving away from E to the normal modulation points still causes an increase on tension. I am performing The Trout which is in A major and modulates all over the map, but the main theme is in D, a very calm key.

incidentally, i perform the Gershwin preludes in Young. They are in Bb, C#, and Eb.


Edited by prout (02/01/14 04:13 PM)

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#2224272 - 02/01/14 04:11 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: prout]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1065
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
As a happy proponent of ET, who is open to experimenting with HT, I have resisted for one sole reason:

You have to choose a key to be the most harmonious. This means the unrelated keys will be less harmonious. Great for creating dissonance as a piece moderates from and to the tonic.

But, what key do I choose? C major would seem to be most obvious.

But what about pieces written in other keys that did not intend to use the varying dissonance of a particular key to create intervalic dissonance?

As a composer in ET, I am happy rely on the harmonic dissonance created by tonal space, than hope the piano that my composition will be played on, will have a HT on it, and in the key I intended.

So, what is it? C major is the standard? Old music sounds better because it was composed in that temperament?

What about modern compositions in keys far from C major, that modulate away from F#, for example, designed to create more harmonic dissonance, but resulting less intervalic dissonance?

That just seems wrong and misguided, IMHO.

So, as I see it, the only people who would benefit from HT would be pianists who play classical only.

For the rest of us, ET would have to be the standard, no?

I know we have been going around and around on this question for ever it seems, but a quick survey of the music written while HTs were in vogue, shows a wide range of keys being used, far from C, Bach's B minor mass for instance. As a proponent of UTs, I would like to have you take advantage of the key colours and write a modern work in a UT of your choice. I play Gershwin, Rachmaninov, Debussy in Young. I, and my listeners, love it. They work well in ET also.



Thanks Prout.

But which key? And who will ever hear it as I intended it to sound unless they get their piano tuned in that UT?

Do you see my point?

There are a few techs here that are adamant, verging on, and passing rude, on occasion, in their compulsion and attack on ET. I just want to know if there are any other techs that find that kind of reverence misguided.

Keep in mind the real reason for post; incentive to experiment with HT.

So far, the only incentive I have, is that the department head at a university where I tune the pianos said "I guess so" when I asked if they wanted the harpsichord tuned, and did they want it tuned in a HT?

IOW, not much.

Thanks so much for the replies and please don't misinterpret my frustration with the piano (why couldn't the physics of music be more nice?) with the arrogance and flippancy that it seems to have when I reread it.

Cheers,
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2224275 - 02/01/14 04:19 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 676
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
As a happy proponent of ET, who is open to experimenting with HT, I have resisted for one sole reason:

You have to choose a key to be the most harmonious. This means the unrelated keys will be less harmonious. Great for creating dissonance as a piece moderates from and to the tonic.

But, what key do I choose? C major would seem to be most obvious.

But what about pieces written in other keys that did not intend to use the varying dissonance of a particular key to create intervalic dissonance?

As a composer in ET, I am happy rely on the harmonic dissonance created by tonal space, than hope the piano that my composition will be played on, will have a HT on it, and in the key I intended.

So, what is it? C major is the standard? Old music sounds better because it was composed in that temperament?

What about modern compositions in keys far from C major, that modulate away from F#, for example, designed to create more harmonic dissonance, but resulting less intervalic dissonance?

That just seems wrong and misguided, IMHO.

So, as I see it, the only people who would benefit from HT would be pianists who play classical only.

For the rest of us, ET would have to be the standard, no?

I know we have been going around and around on this question for ever it seems, but a quick survey of the music written while HTs were in vogue, shows a wide range of keys being used, far from C, Bach's B minor mass for instance. As a proponent of UTs, I would like to have you take advantage of the key colours and write a modern work in a UT of your choice. I play Gershwin, Rachmaninov, Debussy in Young. I, and my listeners, love it. They work well in ET also.



Thanks Prout.

But which key? And who will ever hear it as I intended it to sound unless they get their piano tuned in that UT?

Do you see my point?

There are a few techs here that are adamant, verging on, and passing rude, on occasion, in their compulsion and attack on ET. I just want to know if there are any other techs that find that kind of reverence misguided.

Keep in mind the real reason for post; incentive to experiment with HT.

So far, the only incentive I have, is that the department head at a university where I tune the pianos said "I guess so" when I asked if they wanted the harpsichord tuned, and did they want it tuned in a HT?

IOW, not much.

Thanks so much for the replies and please don't misinterpret my frustration with the piano (why couldn't the physics of music be more nice?) with the arrogance and flippancy that it seems to have when I reread it.

Cheers,

No problem at all Mark. I do get your point and I have great respect for your multiple talents and recognize that ET is most common and your best chance of having a piece heard close to the way you hoped it to be heard.

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#2224285 - 02/01/14 04:49 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: prout]
alfredo capurso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/10/07
Posts: 1059
Loc: Sicily - Italy
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
As a happy proponent of ET, who is open to experimenting with HT, I have resisted for one sole reason:

You have to choose a key to be the most harmonious. This means the unrelated keys will be less harmonious. Great for creating dissonance as a piece moderates from and to the tonic.

But, what key do I choose? C major would seem to be most obvious.

But what about pieces written in other keys that did not intend to use the varying dissonance of a particular key to create intervalic dissonance?

As a composer in ET, I am happy rely on the harmonic dissonance created by tonal space, than hope the piano that my composition will be played on, will have a HT on it, and in the key I intended.

So, what is it? C major is the standard? Old music sounds better because it was composed in that temperament?

What about modern compositions in keys far from C major, that modulate away from F#, for example, designed to create more harmonic dissonance, but resulting less intervalic dissonance?

That just seems wrong and misguided, IMHO.

So, as I see it, the only people who would benefit from HT would be pianists who play classical only.

For the rest of us, ET would have to be the standard, no?

I know we have been going around and around on this question for ever it seems, but a quick survey of the music written while HTs were in vogue, shows a wide range of keys being used, far from C, Bach's B minor mass for instance. As a proponent of UTs, I would like to have you take advantage of the key colours and write a modern work in a UT of your choice. I play Gershwin, Rachmaninov, Debussy in Young. I, and my listeners, love it. They work well in ET also.


I think you are right, Prout: "...while HTs were in vogue", composers would use a "wide range of keys".

Are you able to reproduce the exact temperament (not to mention the whole tuning) that Bach had had in his mind (or ears?), when He composed that amazing piece? And the choir (?), do you think singers will have ever been able to refer to a specific temperament? Hmmm.., I doubt it. I tend to think that Bach already had tonal proportions in mind.

You mention "key colours" (a bit of a cliché?), and I have to say that a hierarchical approach to chords and intervals would (IMO) be much more hygienic.

Nevertheless, let us listen to a recording of one of your favorites in Young. Debussy?

Regards, a.c.
.
_________________________
alfredo

Top
#2224292 - 02/01/14 05:16 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: alfredo capurso]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 676
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
As a happy proponent of ET, who is open to experimenting with HT, I have resisted for one sole reason:

You have to choose a key to be the most harmonious. This means the unrelated keys will be less harmonious. Great for creating dissonance as a piece moderates from and to the tonic.

But, what key do I choose? C major would seem to be most obvious.

But what about pieces written in other keys that did not intend to use the varying dissonance of a particular key to create intervalic dissonance?

As a composer in ET, I am happy rely on the harmonic dissonance created by tonal space, than hope the piano that my composition will be played on, will have a HT on it, and in the key I intended.

So, what is it? C major is the standard? Old music sounds better because it was composed in that temperament?

What about modern compositions in keys far from C major, that modulate away from F#, for example, designed to create more harmonic dissonance, but resulting less intervalic dissonance?

That just seems wrong and misguided, IMHO.

So, as I see it, the only people who would benefit from HT would be pianists who play classical only.

For the rest of us, ET would have to be the standard, no?

I know we have been going around and around on this question for ever it seems, but a quick survey of the music written while HTs were in vogue, shows a wide range of keys being used, far from C, Bach's B minor mass for instance. As a proponent of UTs, I would like to have you take advantage of the key colours and write a modern work in a UT of your choice. I play Gershwin, Rachmaninov, Debussy in Young. I, and my listeners, love it. They work well in ET also.


I think you are right, Prout: "...while HTs were in vogue", composers would use a "wide range of keys".

Are you able to reproduce the exact temperament (not to mention the whole tuning) that Bach had had in his mind (or ears?), when He composed that amazing piece? And the choir (?), do you think singers will have ever been able to refer to a specific temperament? Hmmm.., I doubt it. I tend to think that Bach already had tonal proportions in mind.

You mention "key colours" (a bit of a cliché?), and I have to say that a hierarchical approach to chords and intervals would (IMO) be much more hygienic.

Nevertheless, let us listen to a recording of one of your favorites in Young. Debussy?

Regards, a.c.
.

No chance of reproducing Bach's temperament(s). We can only guess. What we can do is to find a temperament that creates consonance when consonance is logically indicated in the music, and dissonance when it is indicated. It should be, and can be the case, that a chord played in the tonic of a key is more consonant than a chord played in the third or seventh of a key for example.

I am sorry, but I don't understand the term hierarchical in reference to the quality (I presume) of chords or intervals.

I'll try to record and post some works when I finally rid myself of my flying job. I only have time to practice for about two concerts a year.

Top
#2224299 - 02/01/14 05:34 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: prout]
alfredo capurso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/10/07
Posts: 1059
Loc: Sicily - Italy
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
As a happy proponent of ET, who is open to experimenting with HT, I have resisted for one sole reason:

You have to choose a key to be the most harmonious. This means the unrelated keys will be less harmonious. Great for creating dissonance as a piece moderates from and to the tonic.

But, what key do I choose? C major would seem to be most obvious.

But what about pieces written in other keys that did not intend to use the varying dissonance of a particular key to create intervalic dissonance?

As a composer in ET, I am happy rely on the harmonic dissonance created by tonal space, than hope the piano that my composition will be played on, will have a HT on it, and in the key I intended.

So, what is it? C major is the standard? Old music sounds better because it was composed in that temperament?

What about modern compositions in keys far from C major, that modulate away from F#, for example, designed to create more harmonic dissonance, but resulting less intervalic dissonance?

That just seems wrong and misguided, IMHO.

So, as I see it, the only people who would benefit from HT would be pianists who play classical only.

For the rest of us, ET would have to be the standard, no?

I know we have been going around and around on this question for ever it seems, but a quick survey of the music written while HTs were in vogue, shows a wide range of keys being used, far from C, Bach's B minor mass for instance. As a proponent of UTs, I would like to have you take advantage of the key colours and write a modern work in a UT of your choice. I play Gershwin, Rachmaninov, Debussy in Young. I, and my listeners, love it. They work well in ET also.


I think you are right, Prout: "...while HTs were in vogue", composers would use a "wide range of keys".

Are you able to reproduce the exact temperament (not to mention the whole tuning) that Bach had had in his mind (or ears?), when He composed that amazing piece? And the choir (?), do you think singers will have ever been able to refer to a specific temperament? Hmmm.., I doubt it. I tend to think that Bach already had tonal proportions in mind.

You mention "key colours" (a bit of a cliché?), and I have to say that a hierarchical approach to chords and intervals would (IMO) be much more hygienic.

Nevertheless, let us listen to a recording of one of your favorites in Young. Debussy?

Regards, a.c.
.

No chance of reproducing Bach's temperament(s). We can only guess. What we can do is to find a temperament that creates consonance when consonance is logically indicated in the music, and dissonance when it is indicated. It should be, and can be the case, that a chord played in the tonic of a key is more consonant than a chord played in the third or seventh of a key for example.

I am sorry, but I don't understand the term hierarchical in reference to the quality (I presume) of chords or intervals.

I'll try to record and post some works when I finally rid myself of my flying job. I only have time to practice for about two concerts a year.


..."No chance of reproducing Bach's temperament(s). We can only guess. What we can do is to find a temperament that creates consonance when consonance is logically indicated in the music, and dissonance when it is indicated. It should be, and can be the case, that a chord played in the tonic of a key is more consonant than a chord played in the third or seventh of a key for example...."

So, depending on "the tonic", you would expect a temperament that sounds more "consonant"? Which interval (in that "tonic") should be more consonant, M3s? m3s? 5ths? 6ths?

I understand you are pretty busy now, so, no rush... take your time and thank you.
_________________________
alfredo

Top
#2224321 - 02/01/14 06:13 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: alfredo capurso]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 676
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
As a happy proponent of ET, who is open to experimenting with HT, I have resisted for one sole reason:

You have to choose a key to be the most harmonious. This means the unrelated keys will be less harmonious. Great for creating dissonance as a piece moderates from and to the tonic.

But, what key do I choose? C major would seem to be most obvious.

But what about pieces written in other keys that did not intend to use the varying dissonance of a particular key to create intervalic dissonance?

As a composer in ET, I am happy rely on the harmonic dissonance created by tonal space, than hope the piano that my composition will be played on, will have a HT on it, and in the key I intended.

So, what is it? C major is the standard? Old music sounds better because it was composed in that temperament?

What about modern compositions in keys far from C major, that modulate away from F#, for example, designed to create more harmonic dissonance, but resulting less intervalic dissonance?

That just seems wrong and misguided, IMHO.

So, as I see it, the only people who would benefit from HT would be pianists who play classical only.

For the rest of us, ET would have to be the standard, no?

I know we have been going around and around on this question for ever it seems, but a quick survey of the music written while HTs were in vogue, shows a wide range of keys being used, far from C, Bach's B minor mass for instance. As a proponent of UTs, I would like to have you take advantage of the key colours and write a modern work in a UT of your choice. I play Gershwin, Rachmaninov, Debussy in Young. I, and my listeners, love it. They work well in ET also.


I think you are right, Prout: "...while HTs were in vogue", composers would use a "wide range of keys".

Are you able to reproduce the exact temperament (not to mention the whole tuning) that Bach had had in his mind (or ears?), when He composed that amazing piece? And the choir (?), do you think singers will have ever been able to refer to a specific temperament? Hmmm.., I doubt it. I tend to think that Bach already had tonal proportions in mind.

You mention "key colours" (a bit of a cliché?), and I have to say that a hierarchical approach to chords and intervals would (IMO) be much more hygienic.

Nevertheless, let us listen to a recording of one of your favorites in Young. Debussy?

Regards, a.c.
.

No chance of reproducing Bach's temperament(s). We can only guess. What we can do is to find a temperament that creates consonance when consonance is logically indicated in the music, and dissonance when it is indicated. It should be, and can be the case, that a chord played in the tonic of a key is more consonant than a chord played in the third or seventh of a key for example.

I am sorry, but I don't understand the term hierarchical in reference to the quality (I presume) of chords or intervals.

I'll try to record and post some works when I finally rid myself of my flying job. I only have time to practice for about two concerts a year.


..."No chance of reproducing Bach's temperament(s). We can only guess. What we can do is to find a temperament that creates consonance when consonance is logically indicated in the music, and dissonance when it is indicated. It should be, and can be the case, that a chord played in the tonic of a key is more consonant than a chord played in the third or seventh of a key for example...."

So, depending on "the tonic", you would expect a temperament that sounds more "consonant"? Which interval (in that "tonic") should be more consonant, M3s? m3s? 5ths? 6ths?

I understand you are pretty busy now, so, no rush... take your time and thank you.



Sorry Alfredo,
I think we must be talking at cross purposes. I've read your papers and posts, and I assume you have read extensively about the history and evolution of temperaments. If so, you know the answers to your questions. When I play in F major in Young, the tonic, dominant and subdominant are very close to pure M3s with very flat P5s. The literature on the subjective quality of a major chord consistently reports that the quality (defined as increased quality as the interval tends toward just) of the M3 is more important than the quality of the fifth. Minor thirds for some reason are subjectively heard as "OK" over a wide range of deviation from just. It has certainly been my experience over the last 49 years since I was introduced to alternative temperaments that this is the case.
I also think there are many works (thousands probably) that sound better in some form of ET or very gentle UT, but, I will prefer the quality of the musical experience for the hundreds of works I play in UT, and am willing to accept the occasional bad (very bad sometimes) sounding performance of a work that should have been played in ET. When that happens, I go upstairs and play it on an electronic keyboard.
Cheers.

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#2224327 - 02/01/14 06:26 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: OperaTenor]
alfredo capurso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/10/07
Posts: 1059
Loc: Sicily - Italy
Prout, you are welcome.

For me it is time to go to bed now. I will try be back tomorrow.

Cheers, a.c.
_________________________
alfredo

Top
#2224452 - 02/02/14 01:28 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: OperaTenor]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21266
Loc: Oakland
Back to the original question, I went to a concert of "early music" this evening, which was actually some early music and some contemporary music for early instruments. The theme of the concert was chromaticism, dealing with pieces that used it.

I was confused by some of the intonation which just sounded off to me. I could not say whether that was intentional or not. But some of the intervals seemed much worse than I would like them to be, which probably means worse than equal temperament. As these, with the exception of the viola da gamba, were not fixed pitch instruments, I could not say whether it was supposed to be that way or not. All I can say for certain is that they were not playing in just intonation, nor were they playing in equal temperament, and sometimes it sounded worse to me than either of them. I could also not say for certain, but it seems likely to me that it never sounded noticeably better than equal temperament.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2224503 - 02/02/14 07:19 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: BDB]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 676
Originally Posted By: BDB
Back to the original question, I went to a concert of "early music" this evening, which was actually some early music and some contemporary music for early instruments. The theme of the concert was chromaticism, dealing with pieces that used it.

I was confused by some of the intonation which just sounded off to me. I could not say whether that was intentional or not. But some of the intervals seemed much worse than I would like them to be, which probably means worse than equal temperament. As these, with the exception of the viola da gamba, were not fixed pitch instruments, I could not say whether it was supposed to be that way or not. All I can say for certain is that they were not playing in just intonation, nor were they playing in equal temperament, and sometimes it sounded worse to me than either of them. I could also not say for certain, but it seems likely to me that it never sounded noticeably better than equal temperament.

You raise a good point. I think a standard is what, in this case, most people are used to hearing. When I first heard Nicolas Harnencort (sp?, on my BB) in the 70s conducting the Bach St. John Passion, I was blown away by the intonation. I loved it, but it was so out of tune! It took some years to adjust to hearing 'weird' intervals and chords that were not only not ET, but also not just.
It's possible that the ensemble you heard just had plain bad intonation, or that you don't regularly listen to that type of performance. To your ears it was out of tune and seemed to affect your enjoyment of the concert. Only you can judge if it met your standard, and that is ok.

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#2224569 - 02/02/14 10:41 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: prout]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1651
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: prout
When I first heard Nicolas Harnencort (sp?, on my BB) in the 70s conducting the Bach St. John Passion, I was blown away by the intonation. I loved it, but it was so out of tune! It took some years to adjust to hearing 'weird' intervals and chords that were not only not ET, but also not just.

Was that a live performance?

As you may know Harnoncourt was the first to record all the Bach cantata's on historical instruments around that time. Almost all the musicians were no early music experts, as that specialization did not exist yet. As such their skills on historical instruments, which are much harder to play in tune than modern instruments, were what we would now consider to be quite poor.

In interviews with Harnoncourt he explained why he recorded all the cantata's in ET: He tried a WT, which would be more correct, but the musicians were unable to play in tune in that temperament, so he decided it's better to put up with ET for now. Even that they could barely manage.

Indeed all those recordings which I have (something like 50 CD's) have quite poor intonation by current standards. Esp. the boy soprano's and natural trumpets.

Nowadays we have of course many Bach cantata/passion recordings on historical instruments, in an appropriate WT, played by early music experts, and in-tune. For example Ton Koopman's complete set, all in Werckmeister 3.

Kees

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#2224811 - 02/02/14 07:00 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: OperaTenor]
alfredo capurso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/10/07
Posts: 1059
Loc: Sicily - Italy

Hi,

From another thread:

#2224094 - February 01, 2014 01:57 PM Re: HISTORICAL ET AND MODERN ETs [Re: alfredo capurso]

Originally Posted By: anonimous
Kees,
Depending on what you mean by intonation, that word has had a couple of strange interpretations here, lately.

To the average listener, no real discrepancies would be noticed between the notes that you indicated. Maybe the odd extreme note if you were listening intently to a playback.

There is only a problem in the top 2 & lower 2 octaves or so as I'm sure you know.

An organ manufacturer had, in the '80's, three stretch settings on their larger church instruments intended to reduce this problem somewhat. So it depends on what you mean by organ. smile

I have heard some unbelievable audible piano stretching in Europe in the '60's and some brassy toned pianos in southern churches that would give problems matching just one note in the '70's so it depends on what you mean by piano. wink


From this thread:


Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: BDB
Back to the original question, I went to a concert of "early music" this evening, which was actually some early music and some contemporary music for early instruments. The theme of the concert was chromaticism, dealing with pieces that used it.

I was confused by some of the intonation which just sounded off to me. I could not say whether that was intentional or not. But some of the intervals seemed much worse than I would like them to be, which probably means worse than equal temperament. As these, with the exception of the viola da gamba, were not fixed pitch instruments, I could not say whether it was supposed to be that way or not. All I can say for certain is that they were not playing in just intonation, nor were they playing in equal temperament, and sometimes it sounded worse to me than either of them. I could also not say for certain, but it seems likely to me that it never sounded noticeably better than equal temperament.

You raise a good point. I think a standard is what, in this case, most people are used to hearing. When I first heard Nicolas Harnencort (sp?, on my BB) in the 70s conducting the Bach St. John Passion, I was blown away by the intonation. I loved it, but it was so out of tune! It took some years to adjust to hearing 'weird' intervals and chords that were not only not ET, but also not just.
It's possible that the ensemble you heard just had plain bad intonation, or that you don't regularly listen to that type of performance. To your ears it was out of tune and seemed to affect your enjoyment of the concert. Only you can judge if it met your standard, and that is ok.



I read above that "intonation" can have "strange interpretations", and that it may depend "on what you mean by organ", but it may also depend "on what you mean by piano". Well, it seems we still have a lot to discover about meanings.

Prout, you wrote: ..."...It took some years to adjust to hearing 'weird' intervals and chords that were not only not ET, but also not just."...

I understand that it took you some years to "...adjust to hearing 'weird' intervals...".

Then, to BDB you say:

.."...It's possible that the ensemble you heard just had plain bad intonation, or that you don't regularly listen to that type of performance. To your ears it was out of tune and seemed to affect your enjoyment of the concert."...

The premise: You do not enjoy a concert because of intonation; the question, how would you tell if it was "plain bad intonation", or just a question of "some years", for adjusting to 'weird' intervals and to "that type of performance"?

In other words, you show:

'weird' = out of tune

'weird' = need to adjust

Correct?

Regards, a.c.
.
_________________________
alfredo

Top
#2225043 - 02/03/14 08:21 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: DoelKees]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 676
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: prout
When I first heard Nicolas Harnencort (sp?, on my BB) in the 70s conducting the Bach St. John Passion, I was blown away by the intonation. I loved it, but it was so out of tune! It took some years to adjust to hearing 'weird' intervals and chords that were not only not ET, but also not just.

Was that a live performance?

As you may know Harnoncourt was the first to record all the Bach cantata's on historical instruments around that time. Almost all the musicians were no early music experts, as that specialization did not exist yet. As such their skills on historical instruments, which are much harder to play in tune than modern instruments, were what we would now consider to be quite poor.

In interviews with Harnoncourt he explained why he recorded all the cantata's in ET: He tried a WT, which would be more correct, but the musicians were unable to play in tune in that temperament, so he decided it's better to put up with ET for now. Even that they could barely manage.

Indeed all those recordings which I have (something like 50 CD's) have quite poor intonation by current standards. Esp. the boy soprano's and natural trumpets.

Nowadays we have of course many Bach cantata/passion recordings on historical instruments, in an appropriate WT, played by early music experts, and in-tune. For example Ton Koopman's complete set, all in Werckmeister 3.

Kees

Thanks for correcting my spelling of Harnoncourt. Sadly, I did not hear the St. John live. it was Harnoncourt's seminal recording done in the late sixties. I have not heard that particular recording for over 35 years, so my memory may well be false. It have been played in ET with poor intonation. I was just learning about temperaments at the time and had little ability to discern their differences myself. I still loved the recording though - such austere writing, and equally austere playing to enhance the effect.

Top
#2225053 - 02/03/14 08:39 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: alfredo capurso]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 676
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso

Hi,

From another thread:

#2224094 - February 01, 2014 01:57 PM Re: HISTORICAL ET AND MODERN ETs [Re: alfredo capurso]

Originally Posted By: anonimous
Kees,
Depending on what you mean by intonation, that word has had a couple of strange interpretations here, lately.

To the average listener, no real discrepancies would be noticed between the notes that you indicated. Maybe the odd extreme note if you were listening intently to a playback.

There is only a problem in the top 2 & lower 2 octaves or so as I'm sure you know.

An organ manufacturer had, in the '80's, three stretch settings on their larger church instruments intended to reduce this problem somewhat. So it depends on what you mean by organ. smile

I have heard some unbelievable audible piano stretching in Europe in the '60's and some brassy toned pianos in southern churches that would give problems matching just one note in the '70's so it depends on what you mean by piano. wink


From this thread:


Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: BDB
Back to the original question, I went to a concert of "early music" this evening, which was actually some early music and some contemporary music for early instruments. The theme of the concert was chromaticism, dealing with pieces that used it.

I was confused by some of the intonation which just sounded off to me. I could not say whether that was intentional or not. But some of the intervals seemed much worse than I would like them to be, which probably means worse than equal temperament. As these, with the exception of the viola da gamba, were not fixed pitch instruments, I could not say whether it was supposed to be that way or not. All I can say for certain is that they were not playing in just intonation, nor were they playing in equal temperament, and sometimes it sounded worse to me than either of them. I could also not say for certain, but it seems likely to me that it never sounded noticeably better than equal temperament.

You raise a good point. I think a standard is what, in this case, most people are used to hearing. When I first heard Nicolas Harnencort (sp?, on my BB) in the 70s conducting the Bach St. John Passion, I was blown away by the intonation. I loved it, but it was so out of tune! It took some years to adjust to hearing 'weird' intervals and chords that were not only not ET, but also not just.
It's possible that the ensemble you heard just had plain bad intonation, or that you don't regularly listen to that type of performance. To your ears it was out of tune and seemed to affect your enjoyment of the concert. Only you can judge if it met your standard, and that is ok.



I read above that "intonation" can have "strange interpretations", and that it may depend "on what you mean by organ", but it may also depend "on what you mean by piano". Well, it seems we still have a lot to discover about meanings.

Prout, you wrote: ..."...It took some years to adjust to hearing 'weird' intervals and chords that were not only not ET, but also not just."...

I understand that it took you some years to "...adjust to hearing 'weird' intervals...".

Then, to BDB you say:

.."...It's possible that the ensemble you heard just had plain bad intonation, or that you don't regularly listen to that type of performance. To your ears it was out of tune and seemed to affect your enjoyment of the concert."...

The premise: You do not enjoy a concert because of intonation; the question, how would you tell if it was "plain bad intonation", or just a question of "some years", for adjusting to 'weird' intervals and to "that type of performance"?

In other words, you show:

'weird' = out of tune

'weird' = need to adjust

Correct?

Regards, a.c.
.





Hello Alfredo,

Both uses of 'weird' in their given contexts were correct as I interpret the term. We all experience in life new phenomena, if you will pardon the redundancy, 'ab initio'. The term often used to describe a new sensation - be it taste, touch, sound or music - is 'weird'. After we acclimate to the sensation, it is no longer weird and we begin to be able to discern deviations from the 'standard' sensation.
So, as a new sensation, UT might seem 'weird' to a listener acclimated to ET,
and, once acclimated, out of tune UT would seem 'weird'.

Your premise - "You do not enjoy a concert because of intonation" . I think this is a valid premise and the reason underlying the premise is answered above.

Thanks for your thoughts Alfredo.

Top
#2225134 - 02/03/14 10:37 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: prout]
alfredo capurso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/10/07
Posts: 1059
Loc: Sicily - Italy
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso

Hi,

From another thread:

#2224094 - February 01, 2014 01:57 PM Re: HISTORICAL ET AND MODERN ETs [Re: alfredo capurso]

Originally Posted By: anonimous
Kees,
Depending on what you mean by intonation, that word has had a couple of strange interpretations here, lately.

To the average listener, no real discrepancies would be noticed between the notes that you indicated. Maybe the odd extreme note if you were listening intently to a playback.

There is only a problem in the top 2 & lower 2 octaves or so as I'm sure you know.

An organ manufacturer had, in the '80's, three stretch settings on their larger church instruments intended to reduce this problem somewhat. So it depends on what you mean by organ. smile

I have heard some unbelievable audible piano stretching in Europe in the '60's and some brassy toned pianos in southern churches that would give problems matching just one note in the '70's so it depends on what you mean by piano. wink


From this thread:


Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: BDB
Back to the original question, I went to a concert of "early music" this evening, which was actually some early music and some contemporary music for early instruments. The theme of the concert was chromaticism, dealing with pieces that used it.

I was confused by some of the intonation which just sounded off to me. I could not say whether that was intentional or not. But some of the intervals seemed much worse than I would like them to be, which probably means worse than equal temperament. As these, with the exception of the viola da gamba, were not fixed pitch instruments, I could not say whether it was supposed to be that way or not. All I can say for certain is that they were not playing in just intonation, nor were they playing in equal temperament, and sometimes it sounded worse to me than either of them. I could also not say for certain, but it seems likely to me that it never sounded noticeably better than equal temperament.

You raise a good point. I think a standard is what, in this case, most people are used to hearing. When I first heard Nicolas Harnencort (sp?, on my BB) in the 70s conducting the Bach St. John Passion, I was blown away by the intonation. I loved it, but it was so out of tune! It took some years to adjust to hearing 'weird' intervals and chords that were not only not ET, but also not just.
It's possible that the ensemble you heard just had plain bad intonation, or that you don't regularly listen to that type of performance. To your ears it was out of tune and seemed to affect your enjoyment of the concert. Only you can judge if it met your standard, and that is ok.



I read above that "intonation" can have "strange interpretations", and that it may depend "on what you mean by organ", but it may also depend "on what you mean by piano". Well, it seems we still have a lot to discover about meanings.

Prout, you wrote: ..."...It took some years to adjust to hearing 'weird' intervals and chords that were not only not ET, but also not just."...

I understand that it took you some years to "...adjust to hearing 'weird' intervals...".

Then, to BDB you say:

.."...It's possible that the ensemble you heard just had plain bad intonation, or that you don't regularly listen to that type of performance. To your ears it was out of tune and seemed to affect your enjoyment of the concert."...

The premise: You do not enjoy a concert because of intonation; the question, how would you tell if it was "plain bad intonation", or just a question of "some years", for adjusting to 'weird' intervals and to "that type of performance"?

In other words, you show:

'weird' = out of tune

'weird' = need to adjust

Correct?

Regards, a.c.
.





Hello Alfredo,

Both uses of 'weird' in their given contexts were correct as I interpret the term. We all experience in life new phenomena, if you will pardon the redundancy, 'ab initio'. The term often used to describe a new sensation - be it taste, touch, sound or music - is 'weird'. After we acclimate to the sensation, it is no longer weird and we begin to be able to discern deviations from the 'standard' sensation.
So, as a new sensation, UT might seem 'weird' to a listener acclimated to ET,
and, once acclimated, out of tune UT would seem 'weird'.

Your premise - "You do not enjoy a concert because of intonation" . I think this is a valid premise and the reason underlying the premise is answered above.

Thanks for your thoughts Alfredo.


Thank you, Prout.

..."The term (weird) often used to describe a new sensation - be it taste, touch, sound or music - is 'weird'. After we acclimate to the sensation, it is no longer weird and we begin to be able to discern deviations from the 'standard' sensation."...

Yes, I think I understand what you are saying.

..."So, as a new sensation, UT might seem 'weird' to a listener acclimated to ET,
and, once acclimated, out of tune UT would seem 'weird'."...

Prout, if a UT sounds out of tune, could not it be because you are not acclimated?

That is what I do not understand: when would it be a question of time (years?) needed, in order to "acclimate" to a tuning (or a "bad intonation") that you find weird? In other words, where do you draw the line between a UT that you only need to acclimate to, and an out of tune UT, or an intonation that you find weird?

Is all that valid for voices as well? Would you try to acclimate to a voice that sounds 'weird'?

Believe me, I am trying to be 'fresh' and sincere, I am really wondering about intonation and I appreciate your feedback very much. Hope my English is good enough.

Regards, a.c.
.
_________________________
alfredo

Top
#2225165 - 02/03/14 11:37 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: alfredo capurso]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 676
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso

Hi,

From another thread:

#2224094 - February 01, 2014 01:57 PM Re: HISTORICAL ET AND MODERN ETs [Re: alfredo capurso]

Originally Posted By: anonimous
Kees,
Depending on what you mean by intonation, that word has had a couple of strange interpretations here, lately.

To the average listener, no real discrepancies would be noticed between the notes that you indicated. Maybe the odd extreme note if you were listening intently to a playback.

There is only a problem in the top 2 & lower 2 octaves or so as I'm sure you know.

An organ manufacturer had, in the '80's, three stretch settings on their larger church instruments intended to reduce this problem somewhat. So it depends on what you mean by organ. smile

I have heard some unbelievable audible piano stretching in Europe in the '60's and some brassy toned pianos in southern churches that would give problems matching just one note in the '70's so it depends on what you mean by piano. wink


From this thread:


Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: BDB
Back to the original question, I went to a concert of "early music" this evening, which was actually some early music and some contemporary music for early instruments. The theme of the concert was chromaticism, dealing with pieces that used it.

I was confused by some of the intonation which just sounded off to me. I could not say whether that was intentional or not. But some of the intervals seemed much worse than I would like them to be, which probably means worse than equal temperament. As these, with the exception of the viola da gamba, were not fixed pitch instruments, I could not say whether it was supposed to be that way or not. All I can say for certain is that they were not playing in just intonation, nor were they playing in equal temperament, and sometimes it sounded worse to me than either of them. I could also not say for certain, but it seems likely to me that it never sounded noticeably better than equal temperament.

You raise a good point. I think a standard is what, in this case, most people are used to hearing. When I first heard Nicolas Harnencort (sp?, on my BB) in the 70s conducting the Bach St. John Passion, I was blown away by the intonation. I loved it, but it was so out of tune! It took some years to adjust to hearing 'weird' intervals and chords that were not only not ET, but also not just.
It's possible that the ensemble you heard just had plain bad intonation, or that you don't regularly listen to that type of performance. To your ears it was out of tune and seemed to affect your enjoyment of the concert. Only you can judge if it met your standard, and that is ok.



I read above that "intonation" can have "strange interpretations", and that it may depend "on what you mean by organ", but it may also depend "on what you mean by piano". Well, it seems we still have a lot to discover about meanings.

Prout, you wrote: ..."...It took some years to adjust to hearing 'weird' intervals and chords that were not only not ET, but also not just."...

I understand that it took you some years to "...adjust to hearing 'weird' intervals...".

Then, to BDB you say:

.."...It's possible that the ensemble you heard just had plain bad intonation, or that you don't regularly listen to that type of performance. To your ears it was out of tune and seemed to affect your enjoyment of the concert."...

The premise: You do not enjoy a concert because of intonation; the question, how would you tell if it was "plain bad intonation", or just a question of "some years", for adjusting to 'weird' intervals and to "that type of performance"?

In other words, you show:

'weird' = out of tune

'weird' = need to adjust

Correct?

Regards, a.c.
.





Hello Alfredo,

Both uses of 'weird' in their given contexts were correct as I interpret the term. We all experience in life new phenomena, if you will pardon the redundancy, 'ab initio'. The term often used to describe a new sensation - be it taste, touch, sound or music - is 'weird'. After we acclimate to the sensation, it is no longer weird and we begin to be able to discern deviations from the 'standard' sensation.
So, as a new sensation, UT might seem 'weird' to a listener acclimated to ET,
and, once acclimated, out of tune UT would seem 'weird'.

Your premise - "You do not enjoy a concert because of intonation" . I think this is a valid premise and the reason underlying the premise is answered above.

Thanks for your thoughts Alfredo.


Thank you, Prout.

..."The term (weird) often used to describe a new sensation - be it taste, touch, sound or music - is 'weird'. After we acclimate to the sensation, it is no longer weird and we begin to be able to discern deviations from the 'standard' sensation."...

Yes, I think I understand what you are saying.

..."So, as a new sensation, UT might seem 'weird' to a listener acclimated to ET,
and, once acclimated, out of tune UT would seem 'weird'."...

Prout, if a UT sounds out of tune, could not it be because you are not acclimated?

That is what I do not understand: when would it be a question of time (years?) needed, in order to "acclimate" to a tuning (or a "bad intonation") that you find weird? In other words, where do you draw the line between a UT that you only need to acclimate to, and an out of tune UT, or an intonation that you find weird?

Is all that valid for voices as well? Would you try to acclimate to a voice that sounds 'weird'?

Believe me, I am trying to be 'fresh' and sincere, I am really wondering about intonation and I appreciate your feedback very much. Hope my English is good enough.

Regards, a.c.
.


Good afternoon Alfredo.

Your English is excellent.

If a UT sounds out of tune to you, it could easily be that you are not acclimated. But, for me, the reality is that I can hear a freshly tuned UT as being 'in tune' because I know how the various chords should sound. But I am sure I could not identify which UT was being used if I did not tune it myself, unless I played chords on that particular keyboard and figured out the relationships. Sitting in the audience I can only tell that it is not ET because some of the pieces have more calm (more just) tonics and I-IV-V-I chord progressions than other keys.

You pose an interesting question regarding an UT being out of tune. On my own piano tuned in Young, which is a very strong Well Temperament, many intervals are not very pure, and many are very pure. I am used to the sound that results, but I can't really tell when the temperament starts to go out of tune. I can only tell when the unisons and octaves start to go out of tune.

With regard to acclimating to a voice - Yes, I think we all acclimate to weird sounding voices. I used to think female singers from India used a very weird tone production. Now I am used to it. With regard to female jazz singers, I find the unsupported, breathy sound of many modern female jazz singers as weird and unpleasant. I like the traditional full voice sounds of the great jazz musicians of the middle 20th century. But, to many people, the new sound is what they apparently want. It is 'weird' to me, but not to them. To each, his own.

Top
#2225181 - 02/03/14 12:00 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: prout]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1651
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: prout
When I first heard Nicolas Harnencort (sp?, on my BB) in the 70s conducting the Bach St. John Passion, I was blown away by the intonation. I loved it, but it was so out of tune! It took some years to adjust to hearing 'weird' intervals and chords that were not only not ET, but also not just.

Was that a live performance?

As you may know Harnoncourt was the first to record all the Bach cantata's on historical instruments around that time. Almost all the musicians were no early music experts, as that specialization did not exist yet. As such their skills on historical instruments, which are much harder to play in tune than modern instruments, were what we would now consider to be quite poor.

In interviews with Harnoncourt he explained why he recorded all the cantata's in ET: He tried a WT, which would be more correct, but the musicians were unable to play in tune in that temperament, so he decided it's better to put up with ET for now. Even that they could barely manage.

Indeed all those recordings which I have (something like 50 CD's) have quite poor intonation by current standards. Esp. the boy soprano's and natural trumpets.

Nowadays we have of course many Bach cantata/passion recordings on historical instruments, in an appropriate WT, played by early music experts, and in-tune. For example Ton Koopman's complete set, all in Werckmeister 3.

Kees

Thanks for correcting my spelling of Harnoncourt. Sadly, I did not hear the St. John live. it was Harnoncourt's seminal recording done in the late sixties. I have not heard that particular recording for over 35 years, so my memory may well be false. It have been played in ET with poor intonation. I was just learning about temperaments at the time and had little ability to discern their differences myself. I still loved the recording though - such austere writing, and equally austere playing to enhance the effect.

I think temperament is very low on the list of important factors to make such music sound good.

Interestingly Ton Koopman (a famous early music guy, recorded all of Bachs keyboard/organ works, conducted and recorded all the cantata's etc) at some point decided Werckmeister 3 is good enough, and he uses it exclusively as his personal standard tuning (at least he said so some years ago in a forum post somewhere). His WTC recording sounds a bit sour once in a while in such a strong temperament which you can learn to like I guess.

Kees

Top
#2225182 - 02/03/14 12:03 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: OperaTenor]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21266
Loc: Oakland
When someone demonstrates what is supposed to be an unequal temperament on a piano with bad unisons and octaves, as is all too often the case, then I feel I can safely say that the piano is out of tune, no matter what the temperament was supposed to be, and the person doing the demonstration is incompetent to be talking on the subject.

That was the case when Mr. Bremmer chose a bunch of videos to demonstrate "reverse well temperament."
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2225203 - 02/03/14 12:35 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: DoelKees]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 676
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: prout
When I first heard Nicolas Harnencort (sp?, on my BB) in the 70s conducting the Bach St. John Passion, I was blown away by the intonation. I loved it, but it was so out of tune! It took some years to adjust to hearing 'weird' intervals and chords that were not only not ET, but also not just.

Was that a live performance?

As you may know Harnoncourt was the first to record all the Bach cantata's on historical instruments around that time. Almost all the musicians were no early music experts, as that specialization did not exist yet. As such their skills on historical instruments, which are much harder to play in tune than modern instruments, were what we would now consider to be quite poor.

In interviews with Harnoncourt he explained why he recorded all the cantata's in ET: He tried a WT, which would be more correct, but the musicians were unable to play in tune in that temperament, so he decided it's better to put up with ET for now. Even that they could barely manage.

Indeed all those recordings which I have (something like 50 CD's) have quite poor intonation by current standards. Esp. the boy soprano's and natural trumpets.

Nowadays we have of course many Bach cantata/passion recordings on historical instruments, in an appropriate WT, played by early music experts, and in-tune. For example Ton Koopman's complete set, all in Werckmeister 3.

Kees

Thanks for correcting my spelling of Harnoncourt. Sadly, I did not hear the St. John live. it was Harnoncourt's seminal recording done in the late sixties. I have not heard that particular recording for over 35 years, so my memory may well be false. It have been played in ET with poor intonation. I was just learning about temperaments at the time and had little ability to discern their differences myself. I still loved the recording though - such austere writing, and equally austere playing to enhance the effect.

I think temperament is very low on the list of important factors to make such music sound good.

Interestingly Ton Koopman (a famous early music guy, recorded all of Bachs keyboard/organ works, conducted and recorded all the cantata's etc) at some point decided Werckmeister 3 is good enough, and he uses it exclusively as his personal standard tuning (at least he said so some years ago in a forum post somewhere). His WTC recording sounds a bit sour once in a while in such a strong temperament which you can learn to like I guess.

Kees

I have a number of Koopman's discs. I guess I just don't hear the sourness any more. The musicality of the performance overrides the temperament, I agree. I really don't care what temperament the music is in, or even if the playing exhibits the odd 'out of tuneness', as long as it is musically satsifying.

Top
#2225319 - 02/03/14 05:53 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: BDB]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3184
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: BDB


That was the case when Mr. Bremmer chose a bunch of videos to demonstrate "reverse well temperament."


All I did was a search on You Tube with the word, "piano" and there it was: piano after piano, not only out of tune but also in Reverse Well. I could hear that they were both out of tune and in Reverse Well. Why couldn't you? I have never heard a piano yet that was otherwise perfectly in tune, (unisons and octaves) but in Reverse Well (although some have been fairly close).

So, just because a piano has bad unisons and octaves, does not preclude it from also being in Reverse Well. A backwards version of a Well Temperament is merely another way in which the piano is out of tune. Are we to assume from what you say that all pianos with bad unisons and octaves nevertheless had a perfect ET? If the temperament was also bad, why could the way in which it was bad not be more or less in a pattern opposite of what a Well Temperament is supposed to be?

If your response is that no one could really tell how good or bad the temperament was originally because the piano is otherwise simply out of tune, then why did all of the examples I found have the same characteristically backwards from a Well Temperament sound?

Certainly, in my search, I did find pianos that sounded anywhere from a broadcast quality standard ET, to fairly good and down to not particularly bad with respect to temperament but obviously, I did not show those. I only showed the ones where I could hear that the temperament was Reverse Well (which did happen to include the very first few that came up on You Tube).

There were any number of videos posted on here that were supposed to be in some kind of Well Temperament that I also did not find particularly impressive. The piano itself was not very good and the unisons and octaves were not very good at all but I could still hear that the piano was in a Well Temperament, just not a very good or impressive example of that. So, I never said anything about those recordings.

It seems to me that most piano technicians who do have enough skill to do concert and broadcast work are completely intolerant of the very idea that another kind of temperament could ever be satisfactory under any circumstances. There is only one sound that will do and that is the end of discussion. The same people seem to want to grasp at any straw to say that no temperament that anyone ever tuned could actually be Reverse Well.

I have said it before and I will say it again: The very effort to suppress any knowledge or performance in non-equal temperaments is what will insure that Reverse Well will be more commonly heard than ET. It will also insure that this lofty standard that can rarely be achieved, will very rarely be achieved.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2225331 - 02/03/14 06:26 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: prout]
alfredo capurso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/10/07
Posts: 1059
Loc: Sicily - Italy
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso

Hi,

From another thread:

#2224094 - February 01, 2014 01:57 PM Re: HISTORICAL ET AND MODERN ETs [Re: alfredo capurso]

Originally Posted By: anonimous
Kees,
Depending on what you mean by intonation, that word has had a couple of strange interpretations here, lately.

To the average listener, no real discrepancies would be noticed between the notes that you indicated. Maybe the odd extreme note if you were listening intently to a playback.

There is only a problem in the top 2 & lower 2 octaves or so as I'm sure you know.

An organ manufacturer had, in the '80's, three stretch settings on their larger church instruments intended to reduce this problem somewhat. So it depends on what you mean by organ. smile

I have heard some unbelievable audible piano stretching in Europe in the '60's and some brassy toned pianos in southern churches that would give problems matching just one note in the '70's so it depends on what you mean by piano. wink


From this thread:


Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: BDB
Back to the original question, I went to a concert of "early music" this evening, which was actually some early music and some contemporary music for early instruments. The theme of the concert was chromaticism, dealing with pieces that used it.

I was confused by some of the intonation which just sounded off to me. I could not say whether that was intentional or not. But some of the intervals seemed much worse than I would like them to be, which probably means worse than equal temperament. As these, with the exception of the viola da gamba, were not fixed pitch instruments, I could not say whether it was supposed to be that way or not. All I can say for certain is that they were not playing in just intonation, nor were they playing in equal temperament, and sometimes it sounded worse to me than either of them. I could also not say for certain, but it seems likely to me that it never sounded noticeably better than equal temperament.

You raise a good point. I think a standard is what, in this case, most people are used to hearing. When I first heard Nicolas Harnencort (sp?, on my BB) in the 70s conducting the Bach St. John Passion, I was blown away by the intonation. I loved it, but it was so out of tune! It took some years to adjust to hearing 'weird' intervals and chords that were not only not ET, but also not just.
It's possible that the ensemble you heard just had plain bad intonation, or that you don't regularly listen to that type of performance. To your ears it was out of tune and seemed to affect your enjoyment of the concert. Only you can judge if it met your standard, and that is ok.



I read above that "intonation" can have "strange interpretations", and that it may depend "on what you mean by organ", but it may also depend "on what you mean by piano". Well, it seems we still have a lot to discover about meanings.

Prout, you wrote: ..."...It took some years to adjust to hearing 'weird' intervals and chords that were not only not ET, but also not just."...

I understand that it took you some years to "...adjust to hearing 'weird' intervals...".

Then, to BDB you say:

.."...It's possible that the ensemble you heard just had plain bad intonation, or that you don't regularly listen to that type of performance. To your ears it was out of tune and seemed to affect your enjoyment of the concert."...

The premise: You do not enjoy a concert because of intonation; the question, how would you tell if it was "plain bad intonation", or just a question of "some years", for adjusting to 'weird' intervals and to "that type of performance"?

In other words, you show:

'weird' = out of tune

'weird' = need to adjust

Correct?

Regards, a.c.
.





Hello Alfredo,

Both uses of 'weird' in their given contexts were correct as I interpret the term. We all experience in life new phenomena, if you will pardon the redundancy, 'ab initio'. The term often used to describe a new sensation - be it taste, touch, sound or music - is 'weird'. After we acclimate to the sensation, it is no longer weird and we begin to be able to discern deviations from the 'standard' sensation.
So, as a new sensation, UT might seem 'weird' to a listener acclimated to ET,
and, once acclimated, out of tune UT would seem 'weird'.

Your premise - "You do not enjoy a concert because of intonation" . I think this is a valid premise and the reason underlying the premise is answered above.

Thanks for your thoughts Alfredo.


Thank you, Prout.

..."The term (weird) often used to describe a new sensation - be it taste, touch, sound or music - is 'weird'. After we acclimate to the sensation, it is no longer weird and we begin to be able to discern deviations from the 'standard' sensation."...

Yes, I think I understand what you are saying.

..."So, as a new sensation, UT might seem 'weird' to a listener acclimated to ET,
and, once acclimated, out of tune UT would seem 'weird'."...

Prout, if a UT sounds out of tune, could not it be because you are not acclimated?

That is what I do not understand: when would it be a question of time (years?) needed, in order to "acclimate" to a tuning (or a "bad intonation") that you find weird? In other words, where do you draw the line between a UT that you only need to acclimate to, and an out of tune UT, or an intonation that you find weird?

Is all that valid for voices as well? Would you try to acclimate to a voice that sounds 'weird'?

Believe me, I am trying to be 'fresh' and sincere, I am really wondering about intonation and I appreciate your feedback very much. Hope my English is good enough.

Regards, a.c.
.


Good afternoon Alfredo.

Your English is excellent.

If a UT sounds out of tune to you, it could easily be that you are not acclimated. But, for me, the reality is that I can hear a freshly tuned UT as being 'in tune' because I know how the various chords should sound. But I am sure I could not identify which UT was being used if I did not tune it myself, unless I played chords on that particular keyboard and figured out the relationships. Sitting in the audience I can only tell that it is not ET because some of the pieces have more calm (more just) tonics and I-IV-V-I chord progressions than other keys.

You pose an interesting question regarding an UT being out of tune. On my own piano tuned in Young, which is a very strong Well Temperament, many intervals are not very pure, and many are very pure. I am used to the sound that results, but I can't really tell when the temperament starts to go out of tune. I can only tell when the unisons and octaves start to go out of tune.

With regard to acclimating to a voice - Yes, I think we all acclimate to weird sounding voices. I used to think female singers from India used a very weird tone production. Now I am used to it. With regard to female jazz singers, I find the unsupported, breathy sound of many modern female jazz singers as weird and unpleasant. I like the traditional full voice sounds of the great jazz musicians of the middle 20th century. But, to many people, the new sound is what they apparently want. It is 'weird' to me, but not to them. To each, his own.


Thank you, Prout.

..."If a UT sounds out of tune to you, it could easily be that you are not acclimated. But, for me, the reality is that I can hear a freshly tuned UT as being 'in tune' because I know how the various chords should sound. But I am sure I could not identify which UT was being used if I did not tune it myself, unless I played chords on that particular keyboard and figured out the relationships. Sitting in the audience I can only tell that it is not ET because some of the pieces have more calm (more just) tonics and I-IV-V-I chord progressions than other keys."...

I see, so basically you are saying that you can recognize when the scale geometry is not ‘regular’, though not ‘how’ irregular it is (which UT, unless you played chords on that particular keyboard and figured out the relationships). And it is ‘chord progressions’ that tells you that it is not ET.

..."You pose an interesting question regarding an UT being out of tune. On my own piano tuned in Young, which is a very strong Well Temperament, many intervals are not very pure, and many are very pure. I am used to the sound that results, but I can't really tell when the temperament starts to go out of tune. I can only tell when the unisons and octaves start to go out of tune."...

Yes, I thought so... ‘octaves and unisons’. So, basically, as long as octaves and unisons are okay, you would be willing and ready to acclimate, perhaps you are acclimated already to different type of intonations, meaning that any irregular scale geometry would not bother your ear, really.

And I guess that, depending on the composer, you would (you might) expect (and/or detect (?)) a certain UT, or is it more related to the individual_piece tonic, following the I-IV-V-I progression rule, independently from the author? Or perhaps it would depend more on the historical period and what the literature reports?

In other words, you could not ‘identify which UT was being used' if you did not tune it yourself but, are you able to say whether the UT is correct, depending on the author?

Hmm... All this is very interesting, really.

I guess there must be something related to our inner ‘intonation detect system’ (Mark, how do you like IDS :-)), otherwise I would not know how to explain my ‘hearing’ and the hearing of many other musicians and technicians, when we notice that something sounds repeatedly (and inconveniently) out of tune. If I stand correctly, when you do not hear any difference in chord progressions, you are able to conclude that that is ET (?).

It is getting late now, but I hope to be able to elaborate more.

..."With regard to acclimating to a voice - Yes, I think we all acclimate to weird sounding voices. I used to think female singers from India used a very weird tone production. Now I am used to it. With regard to female jazz singers, I find the unsupported, breathy sound of many modern female jazz singers as weird and unpleasant. I like the traditional full voice sounds of the great jazz musicians of the middle 20th century. But, to many people, the new sound is what they apparently want. It is 'weird' to me, but not to them. To each, his own."...

By reading the above, I think I must have been ambiguous. I was not referring to exotic voices and ‘weird tone production’, i.e. when timber/color and abbellimenti (embellishments ?) happen to sound weird = new or different, I was referring to a western voice in a (more or less) tipical/musical environment, when it sounds weird = out of tune.

Thanks again, Prout, a.c.

P.S.: Hi Bill,

You wrote: ..."I have said it before and I will say it again: The very effort to suppress any knowledge or performance in non-equal temperaments is what will insure that Reverse Well will be more commonly heard than ET. It will also insure that this lofty standard that can rarely be achieved, will very rarely be achieved."

Bill, IMO, that might depend on us.

Cheers


Edited by alfredo capurso (02/03/14 06:38 PM)
_________________________
alfredo

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#2225336 - 02/03/14 06:44 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: OperaTenor]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21266
Loc: Oakland
Quote:
If your response is that no one could really tell how good or bad the temperament was originally because the piano is otherwise simply out of tune, then why did all of the examples I found have the same characteristically backwards from a Well Temperament sound?


I do not know what "the same characteristically backwards from a Well Temperament sound" is. That was what you were supposed to be demonstrating. That your demonstration was so inept is your fault. If a unison is out of tune, which string is supposed to be the one that determines the temperament? If an octave is out of tune, which one is supposed to determine the temperament? If "reverse well" is so common, why could you not find a single recording with perfectly good unisons and perfectly good octaves that demonstrates it? As it is, you have not demonstrated anything.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2225345 - 02/03/14 06:56 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: OperaTenor]
accordeur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1168
Loc: Québec, Canada
I usually stay out of these threads on temperaments.

But I come to same conclusion as BDB.

If the unisons are out, you can't tell what temperament the tuner wanted.
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca

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#2225349 - 02/03/14 07:02 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: BDB]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3184
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: BDB


I do not know what "the same characteristically backwards from a Well Temperament sound" is.


Exactly. That is what the problem has always been. You wouldn't know it if you heard it. The question I have is that since you seem to know so much about so many facts about the piano, why don't you know what Reverse Well is and what it sounds like? I do.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2225366 - 02/03/14 07:35 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21266
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Originally Posted By: BDB


I do not know what "the same characteristically backwards from a Well Temperament sound" is.


Exactly. That is what the problem has always been. You wouldn't know it if you heard it. The question I have is that since you seem to know so much about so many facts about the piano, why don't you know what Reverse Well is and what it sounds like? I do.


You do not seem to know what it is well enough to explain it to anyone else, apparently. I know facts. Reverse well temperament does not seem to be one, as far as anyone has demonstrated to me.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2225386 - 02/03/14 08:10 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: BDB]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1651
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: BDB

You do not seem to know what it is well enough to explain it to anyone else, apparently. I know facts. Reverse well temperament does not seem to be one, as far as anyone has demonstrated to me.

Something is not unreal just because you can't grasp it.
I think it's clear to most people what reverse well is, it's a quite elementary concept. And Bill has explained it quite well at the elementary school level. I have even measured the beatrates in the example he posted. What is it that you don't understand??

Kees

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#2225398 - 02/03/14 08:35 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: OperaTenor]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21266
Loc: Oakland
He gave a definition, and then contradicted it when I pointed out by that definition, you could transpose a well temperament and get a reverse well temperament. The implication of that is that a reverse well temperament is no worse than a well temperament. That does not fit the alternative definition of reverse well as a "bad" temperament.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2225417 - 02/03/14 09:04 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: BDB]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 676
Originally Posted By: BDB
He gave a definition, and then contradicted it when I pointed out by that definition, you could transpose a well temperament and get a reverse well temperament. The implication of that is that a reverse well temperament is no worse than a well temperament. That does not fit the alternative definition of reverse well as a "bad" temperament.

Guys, let's not get into a p***ing match. Historically, the vast majority of temperaments used the key of C as the most pure M3 and very narrow fifths and progressed through fifths on either side of C toward less pure M3s. Reverse Well makes the fifths around C closer to pure, which forces the thirds toward impure.
Since most of the music written for strong UTC clustered around keys closely related to C, reverse well is a bad temperament.


Edited by prout (02/03/14 09:07 PM)

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#2225428 - 02/03/14 09:30 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: OperaTenor]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21266
Loc: Oakland
If the claim is that a well temperament is good, and a transposition that makes it into a reverse well temperament is bad, then neither can be good nor bad all the time.

But it is beside the point. The fact remains that people give examples of demonstrably bad tunings to back up a claim that some temperament has some characteristic which is supposed to be desirable or not.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2225474 - 02/03/14 10:38 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: BDB]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1651
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: BDB
The fact remains that people give examples of demonstrably bad tunings to back up a claim that some temperament has some characteristic which is supposed to be desirable or not.

Some people are bad drivers, which is equally off topic. Unless you want to achieve 30000 posts perhaps. I can see no other reason for these random remarks of yours.

Kees

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