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#2225512 - 02/03/14 11:58 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: BDB]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1653
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: BDB
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.

Now that is an interesting comment.

What if you are working on the C# and F# major Preludes and fugues from the WTC? Then reverse well-temperament should sound great.

To me it does indeed. But a normal (non-reversed) well temperament also sounds better than ET to me. How can that be?

I am tending to a personal conclusion that reverse-well is also better than ET, because I like to hear a variety of differently tempered intervals, it makes the music more colorful.

For example I have my piano tuned in a 1/6' normal well temperament, similar to prout's Young. I play the E major prelude from WTC1 both in E major and Eb major. And they both sound great, though different. In ET it sounds more boring to me.

Just a personal subjective point of view, I have no desire to convert anyone to this.

Kees

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#2225534 - 02/04/14 01:18 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: OperaTenor]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21292
Loc: Oakland
I also have no desire to convert anyone. I am just looking for a convincing demonstration. It should start by being tuned well enough so the unisons and octaves are reasonable. Then whatever is played needs to go through enough keys that I can hear whether I notice a difference, and if I do, whether it sounds better or not.

Personally, my goal is to give the pianist a blank canvas. The pianist should provide the color.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2225540 - 02/04/14 01:31 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: BDB]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

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



On the thread where I submitted a recording of my temperament, Bill gave what I thought was a very clear explanation of of he defines as a reverse well temperament: Link to post

Quote:
It is not about numbers. It is not about all 5ths sounding "pure" enough. That is really where the largest mistake is made, in fact. A piano tuner often wants to satisfy his own ear for purity at the moment, while banging on a 5th!

He or she does not realize the fact that even in such a severely opposite from ET temperament such as 1/4 Meantone, a 5th is virtually never played in isolation and that its beating is consummately absorbed when playing a triad. In other words, a 5th, no matter how little or how much it is tempered does not really matter when real music is played.

We all know (or should know) that the Pythagorean Comma is an absolute force that cannot be defeated. It is there, omnipresent. Inharmonicity, however, does allow us to conceal it with certain tricks we may play but only to a certain extent.

If we want to make any 5th sound purer than ET allows, then another 5th will be equally compromised more narrowly, plain and simple. We can start with a somewhat wider octave to make 5ths sound cleaner but if we do, the 4ths will beat more prominently and no two ways about it: all of the Major Thirds will also beat more rapidly and therefore sound more harshly.

So, the mistake that I believe 9 out of 10 tuners make on the road to a 12 note temperament is that they want that 5th to sound virtually beatless. They could perhaps have it that way if they had a wide enough octave within which to do it but as one of my primary mentors, Jim Coleman Sr. once told me, "They are chicken [afraid] to do that too".

So, the inevitable result is that the temperament sequence starts out in the very opposite way that a Well Temperament would. Instead of making 4ths & 5ths be pure or closer to pure among the black keys and combination of black and white keys, (therefore resulting in faster beating Major Thirds among them), the 5ths are made to sound ever so pleasing as they are banged upon among the white keys first and foremost.

Perhaps the 4ths get a little tempering because they don't sound so bad that way, but man, those 5ths just have to sound clean! Somewhere, however, the dilemma arises. This cannot be kept up throughout all 12 notes of the temperament. It gets blamed on "poor scaling". Perhaps fatigue sets in and one gives up at getting all of those 4ths & 5ths to sound as good as the banging-on-them tuner desires but one way or another, the compromises in 4ths & 5ths end up among the black keys; the very opposite of the way a Well Temperament is constructed!

With absolutely NO knowledge of what a Well Temperament is or its intents and purposes, with absolutely NO musical sense of key signature, the final arrangement, whether as blatantly opposite of one of the earliest Well Temperaments, all the way to the mildest Victorian styles or Quasi Equal Temperaments, is deemed to be ET! (But it is NOT!)


Briefly, it's a misguided attempt to purify some of the 5th's, usually in white-key scales. The result of course being essentially wolf intervals elsewhere in the temperament.

To me, it's a lack of discipline in striving to temper all 5th's equally.
_________________________
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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#2225559 - 02/04/14 02:09 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: OperaTenor]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21292
Loc: Oakland
However, what Mr. Bremmer's explanation boils down to is that he calls poorly tuned pianos reverse well tempered, just as the videos he linked to demonstrated. My point was that none of this has anything to do with the temperament, the piano is just out of tune. How it got out of tune is pure speculation. He claims it is because it was tuned that way. To me, it could be that the tuner could not tune well, but it more likely could have be neglect, use, humidity swings, or any of the other ways that pianos get out of tune.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2225563 - 02/04/14 02:26 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: OperaTenor]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3186
Loc: Madison, WI USA
BDB,

I will do you a favor in pointing out that it is presumed that nobody ever tunes Reverse Well intentionally. It is through ignorance that they do. Specifically, ignorance of what a Well Temperament should sound like.

Unlike many others, it seems, when I come across a piano I have not tuned before, I put in the muting strips and then listen to the progression of M3's from F3-A3 to C#4-F4. If what I find is that all sound fairly even, I presume that the temperament had been ET or at least a reasonable approximation of it.

Sometimes, of course, especially in the kind of climate that prevails over most of North America (but not where you live or anywhere on the West Coast), a piano goes wildly sharp or flat in the low tenor, so sometimes I really can't tell what must have been done. Like you, the pianos I tune in the city where I grew up, Los Angeles, the pianos I tune stay satisfactorily tuned for what seem years at a time. It took fighting a losing battle with extreme conditions to become a solid tuner.

That being said, when I consistently find: F3-A3 way too fast, F#3-A#3 way too slow, G3-B3 way too fast, G#3-C4 as sweet as candy, A3-C#4 more or less the way it should be, A#3-D4 a bit too tart, B3-D#4 as mellow and slow as one could ever wish a M3 to be, C4-E4 screaming fast, sour as lemons, 21 cents wide or more, out stripping all other M3's in speed by far but then C#4-F4 is again as slow and sweet as one could ever wish an M3 could be, I think I am onto something.

That kind of pattern does not emerge from instability alone nor could seasonal Relative Humidity (RH) changes explain it. Only one factor does: Cumulative error produced by tuning in a cycle of 5ths sequence and making what John Travis identified as the "Tendency for the tuner to err towards the just 5th".

Every piano goes out of tune sooner or later. Some poor pianos can only be rather approximately tuned because of their very design and how far off pitch and out of tune they were when someone finally asked for them to be tuned.

The examples that were so proudly put up about a year ago of famous pieces being played in a Well Temperament as an example of why Well Temperament should be considered were admittedly not very good. Still, despite poor unisons above all else, I could still hear that the piano had been tuned in a Well Temperament.

So, why should I not also be able to tell, under at least some circumstances, from a You Tube type video, that a piano had been tuned in Reverse Well? If such a video were a piano that seemed fairly reasonably well tuned in a presumably reasonably good representation of ET, I would have no reason to point a finger at it.

But let one person offer up an example of a Well Temperament or any other kind of non-equal temperament as an example of how such techniques may have merit, people like you will climb all over it, criticizing anything and everything about it. It is so consistent, that kind of attack, that in many cases, if no one had ever said the piano was in a non-equal temperament, no one, even those highly skilled technicians among us would have ever noticed that it was only the temperament hat was different.

Technicians such as I do not tune pianos in a deliberate way to make them sound out of tune or "weird". I actually follow and believe in the teachings of people such as Owen Jorgensen who never advocated any specific temperament as being the one which would satisfy everyone all the time.

He did point out in his writing, that in past centuries, musicians and keyboardists were not completely satisfied with ET. It is only now that ET is being literally forced as the one and only solution.

It is admittedly true that the broadcast and recording industry have bought into that nearly completely to the point that the technicians who serve that industry find anything other than what they do to be somehow inferior. Therefore, nearly any commercially produced recording today would exhibit a reasonably executed ET.

It all sounds acceptable, I will agree with that but I do not pay for such recordings, to be sure. They simply do not interest me. Sooner or later, the broadcast and recording industry will catch on to the fact that a piano can actually sound more interesting and be compatible with all other kinds of instruments when tuned in something other than ET.

So, what you asked for in a previous post (one of the many now exceeding 20,000), frankly appeared to me to be either a joke, a revelation of complete ignorance of the subject, or merely an attempt to further the agenda of a "one size fits all" music.

For that, I may have played my own joke in return: The center string was always tuned to a perfect ET. Nobody does anything other than that. It is the right hand string that is tuned in a Well Temperament and the left hand string tuned in Reverse Well. When the piano goes out of tune, the middle string always morphs somehow into Reverse Well but the left hand string morphs into ET. The right hand string always stays in Well Temperament.

That would be absurd, of course but so is your question about why I did not ever find a piano with perfect unisons and octaves but was also tuned in Reverse Well? Indeed, I looked for such an example tonight before I went to my music rehearsal. I won't spend much time on it but I am certain that such an example exists.

But even if I do, will you not say as others have, "One example is only anecdotal evidence".

There is one technician on here who recently posted a video that attempted to show how to tune an ET within a pure 12 parameter. I did not have the heart to say that the results were Reverse Well and for the very reason I mentioned.

The results were the consequence of favoring one interval over all others: the 5th. In case you do not know already, that is what is done to tune a Well Temperament. But since only about half of the 5ths can be favored in such a way, the other half must be compromised. Again, the very definition and purpose of a Well Temperament.

None of that is ever given even a paragraph in any tuning book from Braide-White onward. It is only ET and whatever you do, will be ET! When you reach the end of the sequence and you cannot reconcile the 5th and the octave, "Back up!" (and make sure you do that by slow pulling!)

You will only be a "real" technician when you can do it with a tuning fork, one single mute and an expensive tuning hammer! I recommend only buying the most expensive tuning hammer for such a goal. The most expensive hammer will allow what BDB wants to hear: a piano tuned with perfect unisons and octaves but a temperament that is Reverse Well! Follow a sequence that has 4ths & 5ths tuned upon each other. You will get the most beautiful Reverse Well that you ave ever heard!

Those very kind of instructions will lead virtually all tuners except those who sit aloft in the Recording and Broadcast end of our field to tuning Reverse Well! The tuning will be unstable, the octaves all over the place and the temperament, no matter how well intended, to have that characteristic sound that Reverse Well has.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2225934 - 02/04/14 06:11 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
alfredo capurso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/10/07
Posts: 1059
Loc: Sicily - Italy
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
BDB,

I will do you a favor in pointing out that it is presumed that nobody ever tunes Reverse Well intentionally. It is through ignorance that they do. Specifically, ignorance of what a Well Temperament should sound like.

Unlike many others, it seems, when I come across a piano I have not tuned before, I put in the muting strips and then listen to the progression of M3's from F3-A3 to C#4-F4. If what I find is that all sound fairly even, I presume that the temperament had been ET or at least a reasonable approximation of it.

Sometimes, of course, especially in the kind of climate that prevails over most of North America (but not where you live or anywhere on the West Coast), a piano goes wildly sharp or flat in the low tenor, so sometimes I really can't tell what must have been done. Like you, the pianos I tune in the city where I grew up, Los Angeles, the pianos I tune stay satisfactorily tuned for what seem years at a time. It took fighting a losing battle with extreme conditions to become a solid tuner.

That being said, when I consistently find: F3-A3 way too fast, F#3-A#3 way too slow, G3-B3 way too fast, G#3-C4 as sweet as candy, A3-C#4 more or less the way it should be, A#3-D4 a bit too tart, B3-D#4 as mellow and slow as one could ever wish a M3 to be, C4-E4 screaming fast, sour as lemons, 21 cents wide or more, out stripping all other M3's in speed by far but then C#4-F4 is again as slow and sweet as one could ever wish an M3 could be, I think I am onto something.

That kind of pattern does not emerge from instability alone nor could seasonal Relative Humidity (RH) changes explain it. Only one factor does: Cumulative error produced by tuning in a cycle of 5ths sequence and making what John Travis identified as the "Tendency for the tuner to err towards the just 5th".

Every piano goes out of tune sooner or later. Some poor pianos can only be rather approximately tuned because of their very design and how far off pitch and out of tune they were when someone finally asked for them to be tuned.

The examples that were so proudly put up about a year ago of famous pieces being played in a Well Temperament as an example of why Well Temperament should be considered were admittedly not very good. Still, despite poor unisons above all else, I could still hear that the piano had been tuned in a Well Temperament.

So, why should I not also be able to tell, under at least some circumstances, from a You Tube type video, that a piano had been tuned in Reverse Well? If such a video were a piano that seemed fairly reasonably well tuned in a presumably reasonably good representation of ET, I would have no reason to point a finger at it.

But let one person offer up an example of a Well Temperament or any other kind of non-equal temperament as an example of how such techniques may have merit, people like you will climb all over it, criticizing anything and everything about it. It is so consistent, that kind of attack, that in many cases, if no one had ever said the piano was in a non-equal temperament, no one, even those highly skilled technicians among us would have ever noticed that it was only the temperament hat was different.

Technicians such as I do not tune pianos in a deliberate way to make them sound out of tune or "weird". I actually follow and believe in the teachings of people such as Owen Jorgensen who never advocated any specific temperament as being the one which would satisfy everyone all the time.

He did point out in his writing, that in past centuries, musicians and keyboardists were not completely satisfied with ET. It is only now that ET is being literally forced as the one and only solution.

It is admittedly true that the broadcast and recording industry have bought into that nearly completely to the point that the technicians who serve that industry find anything other than what they do to be somehow inferior. Therefore, nearly any commercially produced recording today would exhibit a reasonably executed ET.

It all sounds acceptable, I will agree with that but I do not pay for such recordings, to be sure. They simply do not interest me. Sooner or later, the broadcast and recording industry will catch on to the fact that a piano can actually sound more interesting and be compatible with all other kinds of instruments when tuned in something other than ET.

So, what you asked for in a previous post (one of the many now exceeding 20,000), frankly appeared to me to be either a joke, a revelation of complete ignorance of the subject, or merely an attempt to further the agenda of a "one size fits all" music.

For that, I may have played my own joke in return: The center string was always tuned to a perfect ET. Nobody does anything other than that. It is the right hand string that is tuned in a Well Temperament and the left hand string tuned in Reverse Well. When the piano goes out of tune, the middle string always morphs somehow into Reverse Well but the left hand string morphs into ET. The right hand string always stays in Well Temperament.

That would be absurd, of course but so is your question about why I did not ever find a piano with perfect unisons and octaves but was also tuned in Reverse Well? Indeed, I looked for such an example tonight before I went to my music rehearsal. I won't spend much time on it but I am certain that such an example exists.

But even if I do, will you not say as others have, "One example is only anecdotal evidence".

There is one technician on here who recently posted a video that attempted to show how to tune an ET within a pure 12 parameter. I did not have the heart to say that the results were Reverse Well and for the very reason I mentioned.

The results were the consequence of favoring one interval over all others: the 5th. In case you do not know already, that is what is done to tune a Well Temperament. But since only about half of the 5ths can be favored in such a way, the other half must be compromised. Again, the very definition and purpose of a Well Temperament.

None of that is ever given even a paragraph in any tuning book from Braide-White onward. It is only ET and whatever you do, will be ET! When you reach the end of the sequence and you cannot reconcile the 5th and the octave, "Back up!" (and make sure you do that by slow pulling!)

You will only be a "real" technician when you can do it with a tuning fork, one single mute and an expensive tuning hammer! I recommend only buying the most expensive tuning hammer for such a goal. The most expensive hammer will allow what BDB wants to hear: a piano tuned with perfect unisons and octaves but a temperament that is Reverse Well! Follow a sequence that has 4ths & 5ths tuned upon each other. You will get the most beautiful Reverse Well that you ave ever heard!

Those very kind of instructions will lead virtually all tuners except those who sit aloft in the Recording and Broadcast end of our field to tuning Reverse Well! The tuning will be unstable, the octaves all over the place and the temperament, no matter how well intended, to have that characteristic sound that Reverse Well has.


What a pity, also this thread is being weighted by an issue that we have read ad nauseam.

Bill, this thread is about what follows:

Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
After all of the incessant arguing over ET vs. UT's, maybe this is a fundamental question we should first ask ourselves.

Should there still be a universally-accepted standard of tuning; something that is a failsafe upon which all musicians can ultimately rely? I'm not talking about what happens in the privacy of one's own home, but what goes on for large groups and itinerant performers.

And please please please, can we keep name-calling and insults off this thread?


I read: Should there still be a universally-accepted standard of tuning; something that is a failsafe upon which all musicians can ultimately rely?

...//Snip//..."Technicians such as I do not tune pianos in a deliberate way to make them sound out of tune or "weird"."...

Sure. Nevertheless, you well know that every UT will produce intervals that sound wolfish, depending on which key is played as the tonic. They knew about this evident notion very well, 300 years ago, as well as you yourself know about this today. Of course, not everyone would "hear" something 'weird', perhaps even today the vast majority of our customers would never complain, but here the OP would like to focus on a standard "that is a failsafe".

..."I actually follow and believe in the teachings of people such as Owen Jorgensen who never advocated any specific temperament as being the one which would satisfy everyone all the time."...

Before you can advocate a temperament, you have to get to know about it and you have to be able to execute it.

Did your mentor know about Bernhard's tunings? Had he considered the idea that our scale reference must go beyond the octave?

Was he too conviced (as you seem to be) that we need to stretch the octave because of inharmonicity?

I do not really know why, but I believe that your mentor would have been thrilled at the idea that the first ET has been improved, and who knows, he might have changed his mind about "the one" temperament.

..."He did point out in his writing, that in past centuries, musicians and keyboardists were not completely satisfied with ET."...

I would not be surprised at all, who could ever tune 12 root of two? Even today, how can you tune aural non-beating octaves, no matter the temperament, and be "completely satisfied"?

..."It is only now that ET is being literally forced as the one and only solution."...

If that was true, you would be forced to tune ET. But, are you? Let's be realistic, ET was only meant as a better 'compromise', and it has been adopted as an international standard in that it represents a 'regular' scale geometry. So much so that - today - you can calculate any 'variant' and any scale in terms of cent deviation from ET.

..."It is admittedly true that the broadcast and recording industry have bought into that nearly completely to the point that the technicians who serve that industry find anything other than what they do to be somehow inferior. Therefore, nearly any commercially produced recording today would exhibit a reasonably executed ET."...

What can a "reasonably executed ET" produce, if not a mild 'irregular' (wolfish) tuning? And what could a "reasonably executed" WT produce, if not a more irregular tuning? To me, it seems likely that you do not mind confusing the point of arrival with the point of departure. Yet, you know very well that three centuries ago they didn't even need to acclimate to a UT, they actually needed and wanted to depart from those solutions.

IMO, today the actual question should be: How is any temperament and tuning meant to be expanded, both in theory and practice, beyond the first octave? How can we manage the whole scale semitonal geometry?

..."It all sounds acceptable, I will agree with that but I do not pay for such recordings, to be sure. They simply do not interest me. Sooner or later, the broadcast and recording industry will catch on to the fact that a piano can actually sound more interesting and be compatible with all other kinds of instruments when tuned in something other than ET."...

Well, I would really hope so, "something other than ET" as normally understood, it is being shared in these days, Bill, "something other than ET", in terms of scale geometry evolution, is called Modern ET's. And our customers do not even need to acclimate, as it sounds simply better.

Regards, a.c.
.
_________________________
alfredo

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#2225949 - 02/04/14 06:40 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: alfredo capurso]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 704
Alfredo,
You said, "IMO, today the actual question should be: How is any temperament and tuning meant to be expanded, both in theory and practice, beyond the first octave? How can we manage the whole scale semitonal geometry?"

While the above statement is not about a standard, it is a very interesting question. Put another way, " On a piano, how many octaves above and below the temperament octave can one maintain the essential character of the temperament and still maintain a cohesive musical sound over the whole piano? This would true of ET as well as UTs.

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#2226044 - 02/04/14 10:27 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: BDB]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3186
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: BDB


Personally, my goal is to give the pianist a blank canvas. The pianist should provide the color.


How does he/she do that? By playing louder or faster?
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2226050 - 02/04/14 10:36 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: alfredo capurso]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3186
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Quote:
Sure. Nevertheless, you well know that every UT will produce intervals that sound wolfish,


No they do not. There is a threshold within which any M3 would be tolerated. Many badly attempted ET's exceed that threshold but are accepted nevertheless as ET. That is the reason why Reverse Well goes so often unrecognized for what it is.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2226055 - 02/04/14 10:50 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21292
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Originally Posted By: BDB


Personally, my goal is to give the pianist a blank canvas. The pianist should provide the color.


How does he/she do that? By playing louder or faster?


Or slower or softer, or with whatever other expressive techniques that is within his or her technique. I like to make the piano as even and as responsive as possible, so that it responds to what the pianist wants to bring out of it, rather than having her or his interpretation distorted by anything that I do.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2226064 - 02/04/14 11:02 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21292
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Quote:
Sure. Nevertheless, you well know that every UT will produce intervals that sound wolfish,


No they do not. There is a threshold within which any M3 would be tolerated. Many badly attempted ET's exceed that threshold but are accepted nevertheless as ET. That is the reason why Reverse Well goes so often unrecognized for what it is.


There is no set threshold. Some people are more sensitive than others. If you have grown up used equal temperament, you may very well find an interval in another temperament that sounds wolfish. It is also likely many unequal temperaments exceed the same threshold, deliberately or not, and are accepted as equal temperament. What are called well temperaments might not be distinguished from equal temperament if they were done correctly and if it was not proclaimed that they are not.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2226158 - 02/05/14 05:53 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Chris Leslie Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/11
Posts: 557
Loc: Canberra, ACT, Australia
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Originally Posted By: BDB


Personally, my goal is to give the pianist a blank canvas. The pianist should provide the color.


How does he/she do that? By playing louder or faster?


Bill, I am completely shocked by your question and the arrogance it implies. Are you really implying that you think it is you, as a tuner, who provides the color, and not the musician? I have spent my whole life enjoying the colors that individual pianists impart to their interpretations of the masters, and you are revealing blatant insensitivity to musical interpretive nuances by this stupid and musically immature question.


Edited by Chris Leslie (02/05/14 05:54 AM)
_________________________
Chris Leslie
Piano technician
http://www.chrisleslie.com.au

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#2226180 - 02/05/14 07:37 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: Chris Leslie]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1101
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: Chris Leslie
Are you really implying that you think it is you, as a tuner, who provides the color, and not the musician? I have spent my whole life enjoying the colors that individual pianists impart to their interpretations of the masters, and you are revealing blatant insensitivity to musical interpretive nuances by this stupid and musically immature question.


Greetings,
As we say in Nashville, "There is a more tone in a guitarist's fingers than there is in the guitar". The pianist is remarkably in control of "color", by voicing, phrasing, contrasts, etc.

However, ( um, let me say that again), HOWEVER, there is nothing the pianist can do to produce a pure fifth, a near consonant third, or the texture that comes from juxtaposing tempered harmony with pure melodic lines, (Chopin). The pianist can fake increasing intensity in modulations, but they cannot cause the tension to rise with increased dissonance. Many of us consider those musical qualities to be components of what we call "color". The tuner is in charge of the presence or absence of those physical qualities, not the pianist, so, I submit that the technician has a hand in the musical result in terms of "color". The performer has the major part, but we are in there.

HOWEVER, I know from working with pianists that there is a way to play a highly tempered interval expressively, and there is a way to play the same harshly. The musician is in control of the music, but they must do it with the material we give them. The pianist that understands the effects of temperament will play a piece differently than one that does not, even if on the same instrument and same tuning. Some pianists have an epiphany on hearing and learning this, others don't notice the difference.
Regards,

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#2226188 - 02/05/14 07:51 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: prout]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1101
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: prout
" On a piano, how many octaves above and below the temperament octave can one maintain the essential character of the temperament and still maintain a cohesive musical sound over the whole piano? This would true of ET as well as UTs.


Greetings,

At most,two octaves, but usually one and a half, above and below. When you pass the fifth octave, the speed of all thirds and sixths exceeds our perception of beating, and the differences that are profound in the third and fourth octave are virtually indistinguishable. The character of the temperament will be obvious when notes from that range are played against much lower ones. Then temperament makes some strange differences.

Above the fifth octave, the the 10ths and 17ths will display temperament differences, as they can reduce highly tempered keys to beating rates that mimic a good vocal vibrato, or a pure tonic.

The M3 will become dissonant at some point as it is played lower and lower on the keyboard. Usually below G2. This is because of the intrusion of its other partials into our critical band. The more highly tempered thirds can be played lower than their more consonant brethren, because their partials are farther apart in the beginning. Some some keys of a UT will be more useful if one wanted to compose with the low thirds but not particularly have a clash. That is one effect that we don't see in ET, i.e. once you go past the point of dissonance, all of them are like that.
Regards,

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#2226202 - 02/05/14 08:36 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: OperaTenor]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3186
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Thanks Ed,

That is one problem we have when a player system is used to play examples. It often plows right through what any pianist would adjust to naturally. I'll never forget the comment of a German pianist who said when asked to comment, "[upon reaching a certain passage in the music], when I went to make the expression, I found that it was already there".

The primary reason for using a cycle of 5th based temperament is to augment the total amount of expression and color that is meant to be in the music. ET actually negates what is there to be explored.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2226228 - 02/05/14 09:32 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 704
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Thanks Ed,

That is one problem we have when a player system is used to play examples. It often plows right through what any pianist would adjust to naturally. I'll never forget the comment of a German pianist who said when asked to comment, "[upon reaching a certain passage in the music], when I went to make the expression, I found that it was already there".

The primary reason for using a cycle of 5th based temperament is to augment the total amount of expression and color that is meant to be in the music. ET actually negates what is there to be explored.


Thanks BDB, Bill and ED for your thoughts.

BDB - I agree that some people are more sensitive to the sound of an M3, though I would argue, as you mentioned, that it is possibly a matter of exposure only to presumed ET. Enough time spent listening to other temperaments would increase their sensitivity and appreciation of the differences.

Ed - Thanks for the information. I measure the degradation of the temperament as it expands as well on my piano tuned in Young. It looks wild when graphed, but sounds reasonable. Our brains do wonderful things.

Bill - You and Ed are so right about the pianist wanting and being able to control the colour of the intervals. I find that I am intensely aware of the harshness or calmness of the intervals, and adjust the voicing of a chord to make use of the colour to enhance the emotional/musical impact of the work.

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#2226238 - 02/05/14 09:59 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: prout]
Jon Page Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/09
Posts: 232
Loc: Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massac...
>Bill wrote:... A German pianist who said when asked to comment, "[upon reaching a certain passage in the music], when I went to make the expression, I found that it was already there"...

I had the same experience after tuning a WT, the pianist said that she didn't have to try so hard to put expression into the music because it was already written in (which ET had removed).


Edited by Jon Page (02/05/14 10:00 AM)
_________________________
Regards,

Jon Page
Piano technician/tuner
Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
http://www.pianocapecod.com

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#2226240 - 02/05/14 10:01 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: OperaTenor]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3186
Loc: Madison, WI USA
What really strikes me is how softly and slowly many pianists will play when they have a fairly strong temperament such as the 1/7 Comma Meantone at their disposal. In the flat keys, the piano has so much energy that they just let it "boil" out of the piano.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2226279 - 02/05/14 11:10 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 704
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
What really strikes me is how softly and slowly many pianists will play when they have a fairly strong temperament such as the 1/7 Comma Meantone at their disposal. In the flat keys, the piano has so much energy that they just let it "boil" out of the piano.


It's funny you should say that. I also find that I want to almost stop on every chord and listen to the wonderful sonorities, whether boiling or still, to the extant that my playing occasionally slows down to point of being unmusical. It is especially so in a piece like Debussy's 'Clair de lune', which is in D flat major. D flat major has a fairly wild M3 in the tonic and a very wild M3 in the subdominant, yet it sounds so wonderful - shimmering. I know this is subjective observation by me and my musician friends, and therefore subject to discount, but I can't help but think there is something in differently sized intervals in a UT that adds interest, life and energy to most works. But again, to each , his own.

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#2226377 - 02/05/14 02:42 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: Ed Foote]
alfredo capurso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/10/07
Posts: 1059
Loc: Sicily - Italy
Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
Originally Posted By: Chris Leslie
Are you really implying that you think it is you, as a tuner, who provides the color, and not the musician? I have spent my whole life enjoying the colors that individual pianists impart to their interpretations of the masters, and you are revealing blatant insensitivity to musical interpretive nuances by this stupid and musically immature question.


Greetings,
As we say in Nashville, "There is a more tone in a guitarist's fingers than there is in the guitar". The pianist is remarkably in control of "color", by voicing, phrasing, contrasts, etc.

However, ( um, let me say that again), HOWEVER, there is nothing the pianist can do to produce a pure fifth, a near consonant third, or the texture that comes from juxtaposing tempered harmony with pure melodic lines, (Chopin). The pianist can fake increasing intensity in modulations, but they cannot cause the tension to rise with increased dissonance. Many of us consider those musical qualities to be components of what we call "color". The tuner is in charge of the presence or absence of those physical qualities, not the pianist, so, I submit that the technician has a hand in the musical result in terms of "color". The performer has the major part, but we are in there.

HOWEVER, I know from working with pianists that there is a way to play a highly tempered interval expressively, and there is a way to play the same harshly. The musician is in control of the music, but they must do it with the material we give them. The pianist that understands the effects of temperament will play a piece differently than one that does not, even if on the same instrument and same tuning. Some pianists have an epiphany on hearing and learning this, others don't notice the difference.
Regards,


Hi Ed,

Here we go again, after the many lines we wrote on the Modern ET’s thread. I still remember your key words... intellectual, emotional, reasonable, musical, color and equally bad sounding thirds.

What is different today (with unchanged respect on my part), it is your fairly recent statement that beyond a certain level of accuracy, issues related to tuning become “academic”. Now, on the one hand it helps me understand where your expertize might end, on the other hand it does not help me understand why you splash considerations of any kind, perhaps in the idea that words can fill a gap in deep knowledge?

..."“However, ( um, let me say that again), HOWEVER, there is nothing the pianist can do to produce a pure fifth, a near consonant third, or the texture that comes from juxtaposing tempered harmony with pure melodic lines, (Chopin). The pianist can fake increasing intensity in modulations, but they cannot cause the tension to rise with increased dissonance. Many of us consider those musical qualities to be components of what we call "color". The tuner is in charge of the presence or absence of those physical qualities, not the pianist, so, I submit that the technician has a hand in the musical result in terms of "color". The performer has the major part, but we are in there.”...

Yes, in a way I understand what you are saying, but it might be meaningful only if and when the performer can rely on a tuning that she/he already “knows”. I am sure you know about the tremendous amount of hours pro pianists need to spend, in order to control and refine their interpretation, do you think they would appreciate any fancy level of intensity, dissonances that rise here and there, depending on the piano tuner’s estrus? Would they be happy to acclimate? Please note, we are not even considering the whole tuning: in fact, there is no UT that gives you indications on how to manage octaves and expand above and below the temperament octave.

Perhaps this too is academic, do you expand by copying octaves?

Regards, a.c.
_________________________
alfredo

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#2226395 - 02/05/14 03:12 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: alfredo capurso]
Chris Leslie Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/11
Posts: 557
Loc: Canberra, ACT, Australia
If I may answer Alfredo, I believe at least that Bill Bremmer's method of mindless octaves will effectively "smooth" out the temperament towards the extremities, and resulting in some minor octave compromises. This would temper the comical "bleating" 10ths that would otherwise occur at certain points in the lower range, and similarly progressively smooth out progression the treble.

I wonder though how ETDs handle this? Ed Foote, do you know if the Accu-Tuner replicates temperament, when using a programmed temperament, across the range of octaves?
_________________________
Chris Leslie
Piano technician
http://www.chrisleslie.com.au

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#2226415 - 02/05/14 04:03 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: alfredo capurso]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 704
Hi Alfredo.

As a pianist who has played in ET (or what passes for ET) on pianos for decades, and only now learning how to play in UTs, I find that I really can anticipate what kind of tension or energy the next chord or phrase will have and adjust my playing accordingly. On an organ or harpsichord tuned in a UT, one can also adjust, just using different techniques.

With regard to stretching octaves in a UT, I only have experience in Young on my piano. When I do a good job of tuning it, which is about one out of three tries, the sound of the temperament seems to be preserved from about C6 down to C2. This is, I can hear the relative, not absolute, rates of the M3s, progressing in the correct order. I am working on a project to precisely quantify the degradation of the temperament, but it will be another few months yet before I have full results. (Too much practicing and flying required right now.)

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#2226478 - 02/05/14 05:47 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: OperaTenor]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2379
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
And here I thought it was such a simple question...
_________________________
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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#2226481 - 02/05/14 05:53 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: OperaTenor]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21292
Loc: Oakland
It is, and I gave a simple answer to it at the outset.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2226492 - 02/05/14 06:02 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: Chris Leslie]
alfredo capurso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/10/07
Posts: 1059
Loc: Sicily - Italy
Originally Posted By: Chris Leslie
If I may answer Alfredo, I believe at least that Bill Bremmer's method of mindless octaves will effectively "smooth" out the temperament towards the extremities, and resulting in some minor octave compromises. This would temper the comical "bleating" 10ths that would otherwise occur at certain points in the lower range, and similarly progressively smooth out progression the treble.

I wonder though how ETDs handle this? Ed Foote, do you know if the Accu-Tuner replicates temperament, when using a programmed temperament, across the range of octaves?



Hi Chris,

Yes, by words I quite agree, Bill's method might smoouth out the temperament towards the extremities. What is in Bill's mild-Well, it is a temperament that deviates from (the wrong) ET less (hopefully) than the average (how do we call them?) ET_attempts he hears around his area.

What is still missing there, it is conceiving a scale geometry where every semitone, say every note takes_meaning_from and gives shape to a whole.

On the practical side (leave the irregularities aside) there is one more (perhaps academic?) detail, namely "hysteresis"... already mentioned. This is not to say that I do not like Bill's tunings, at the opposite, I think they are very enjoyable.
_________________________
alfredo

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#2226496 - 02/05/14 06:05 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: prout]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 704
All reasonable UT's, either historical or modern follow, to varying degrees, the circle of fifths, with C being most consonant, and progressing to less consonant keys further from C. Even though in one UT, C# might be less consonant than F#, in another, more, the performer still knows and anticipates the changes in tension.

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#2226498 - 02/05/14 06:08 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: OperaTenor]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 704
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
And here I thought it was such a simple question...



A simple question with a complex answer, and, from my perspective, a thoroughly enjoyable and reasonably courteous discussion. Thanks for ' priming the pump' .

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#2226619 - 02/05/14 09:33 PM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: alfredo capurso]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1101
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso

What is different today (with unchanged respect on my part), it is your fairly recent statement that beyond a certain level of accuracy, issues related to tuning become “academic”. Now, on the one hand it helps me understand where your expertize might end, on the other hand it does not help me understand why you splash considerations of any kind, perhaps in the idea that words can fill a gap in deep knowledge?

Yes, in a way I understand what you are saying, but it might be meaningful only if and when the performer can rely on a tuning that she/he already “knows”. I am sure you know about the tremendous amount of hours pro pianists need to spend, in order to control and refine their interpretation, do you think they would appreciate any fancy level of intensity, dissonances that rise here and there, depending on the piano tuner’s estrus? Would they be happy to acclimate?
Regards, a.c.


Greetings,
Yes, I wrote, " beyond a certain level of accuracy, issues related to tuning become “academic”. Are you disagreeing with that? That there is no limit? that there is no limit to how refined a tuning can be? Help yourself, I don't know any musicians that can discern tuning qualities I work with every day. My expertise ends just beyond the most demanding customers I can find.

As to your theoretical, (at least, it seems), question inre pianists and why they appreciate, my experience is that pianists either don't hear the difference or that they are strongly attracted to it. I have seen veteran teachers, traveling the country giving master classes that didn't even realize the piano was tuned in a Young, but they did comment on how resonant the instrument was. Seems like the variety of color was so correlated with the music that it didn't seem unnatural.

For many, the temperament debate is simply abstract jousting. I am selling these tunings to professional people with wide experience that are willing to pay well above the average rate. I have a hard time understanding those that think the music suffers unless everything is the same. To each his own.
Regards,

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#2226725 - 02/06/14 01:16 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: prout]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2379
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
And here I thought it was such a simple question...



A simple question with a complex answer, and, from my perspective, a thoroughly enjoyable and reasonably courteous discussion. Thanks for ' priming the pump' .


My pleasure!
_________________________
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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#2226813 - 02/06/14 07:37 AM Re: Should There Be A Standard? [Re: OperaTenor]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
All:

As a thought experiment, imagine if a piano was voiced so that all the sharps had a harsher tone and all the naturals had a calmer tone. Wouldn't this be similar to tuning a UT if the idea is to impart "key color"? Do you think many pianists would prefer this?

Lets remember that when voicing the hammers, the goal is to have mellower tones when played soft and brighter tones when played loudly. It is not just the volume that changes, it's the timbre. That is where much of the expression comes from. The ability of the pianist to change the timbre of any or all notes at will.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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