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#2230322 - 02/12/14 12:16 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
jmw Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/10
Posts: 80
Loc: Girard, KS,
Originally Posted By: prout
Back in the 80s I spent weeks writing a computer program to play Messiaen's 'O sacrum convivium' in just intonation. The time spent was in deciding how much to temper the immediate interval to be correct in the succeeding interval. At the slow speed it is sung, one must move the pitch of a given note during its execution to be 'correctly' pitched. The result was amazing, and give me great respect for barbershoppers, The King's Singers, and such like.


We programmed this piece in contrast to another setting of the text in a college chamber choir. Our director, who is also professor of organ, hosted Mr. Messiaen when he came to do a recital. When she told him we were doing his 'O Sacrum' he winced and said, "Why you do this one? It's too hard!"
And it was- very satisfying, but very hard.

To the topic then, singers have to adjust to make the intervals work.

jw
_________________________
Music teacher and beginning Tuner

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#2230348 - 02/12/14 12:52 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1771
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Tunewerk
Arguably, it can, since the tritone is an unstable interval, artificial to the 12-TET scale, with many definitions.

(1) 5:4
(2) 6:5
(3) 6:5
(4) 5:4 * 6:5 = 3/2
(5) 6/5 * 6/5 = 36/25
(6) 5:4 * 6/5 * 6/5 = 9/5

Everything being held together by the pure internal intervals and a pure 9/5 D7th produces a pure 36/25 tritone, listed by Haluska as the classic diminshed 5th.

Definitions for the tritone include:

Classic augmented 4th, 25:18 (569c)
Lesser septimal tritone, 7:5 (583c)
Just augmented 4th, 45:32 (590c)
12-TET artificial tritone, (600c)
Greater septimal tritone, 10:7 (617c)
Classic diminished 5th, 36:25 (631c)

The lesser and greater septimal tritone are the most consonant (lowest prime number combination) versions of the tritone, but the closest ratios to ET are the 17:12 (603c) tritone and the 24:17 (597c) tritone.


I wasn't talking about the tritone. I was talking about the minor 3rd between the 5th and 7th.

Let's use 100hz as tonic. The major 3rd would be 125hz and the 5th would be 150hz. The interval and ratio between the major 3rd and the 5th is a minor 3rd and 6:5, respectively. But where do you put the 7th? As a minor 7th (7:4) at 175hz above the tonic or as a minor 3rd (6:5) above the 5th at 180hz?

If i remember correctly,Leonard Bernstein in his book"the unanswered question", refers to what we call a minor seventh as an augmented sixth. I can see his reasoning.
He presents a different slant on all this, apart from getting the numbering of the partials wrong, it is a worthwhile read. I used to see a copy or two in used book stores stateside from time to time.

Old acoustics books differentiate between a large minor third such as, to use your numbers, that between 125hz.and 150. A small minor third, that between 150 and 175. A large major second between 175 & 200 a small major second, a large then small minor second, etc., as the intervals become smaller.

Jeff. I like your parallel between the natural intonation of a Bb brass instrument and RW when transposed to piano pitch. Most all of the tendencies are indeed the same.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2230505 - 02/12/14 04:55 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Chris Leslie Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/11
Posts: 717
Loc: Canberra, ACT, Australia
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

BDB,

I am not really interested in following this idiotic tangent but one thing I could see right away was how you jumped all over Kees when he posted a graph that appeared to be a straight line because it was a small piece of a long curve. Now, you are posting the same kind of thing in reverse and making everybody go nuts about it! Is this what you enjoy doing?


BDB appears to be getting us to think outside of the box and to double-think the way we perceive various concepts. All areas of thought needs somebody to stand up to convention and popular thought or else we face the possibilities of always driving down the wrong path. The famous last words in science is that so and so's thoughts are preposterous and can't be the case because we know we are correct.
Whether BDB is right or wrong, he is to be commended for provoking thought into the discussions.
_________________________
Chris Leslie
Piano technician
http://www.chrisleslie.com.au

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#2230522 - 02/12/14 05:13 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: Chris Leslie]
prout Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 850
Originally Posted By: Chris Leslie
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

BDB,

I am not really interested in following this idiotic tangent but one thing I could see right away was how you jumped all over Kees when he posted a graph that appeared to be a straight line because it was a small piece of a long curve. Now, you are posting the same kind of thing in reverse and making everybody go nuts about it! Is this what you enjoy doing?


BDB appears to be getting us to think outside of the box and to double-think the way we perceive various concepts. All areas of thought needs somebody to stand up to convention and popular thought or else we face the possibilities of always driving down the wrong path. The famous last words in science is that so and so's thoughts are preposterous and can't be the case because we know we are correct.
Whether BDB is right or wrong, he is to be commended for provoking thought into the discussions.


I agree that dissident views are necessary to further our knowledge, though, in this case, it was not germane to the discussion.

I do take issue with your statement "The famous last words in science is that so and so's thoughts are preposterous and can't be the case because we know we are correct. " No real scientist would make the above statement. Science attempts to describe and predict what we observe. A scientist can only state that a falsifiable theory predicts what we observe to a given level of precision, nothing more. Only some religions, advertising agencies, naïve humans and, perhaps 'scienticians', to use a term from "The Simpsons", believe in 'absolute truth'. But this too is not germane to the discussion. Back to beats, or no beats - that is the question.

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#2230579 - 02/12/14 07:26 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
accordeur Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1223
Loc: Québec, Canada
By size or beats?

I say by size, and my reasoning is simple.

When tuning unisons, for some reason, when close, I can hear and tell wether the string is sharp or flat.

Same goes with intervals. A wide or narrow fifth by the same amount will not sound the same.

You kinda know with time what side of flat or sharp the unison or interval is beating.

I cannot explain it, but size is more important and relevant to me, beats are there all the time, and I prefer ignoring them. As soon as you zone in on a beat, another comes up. Too many partials.

When you ignore them, you can look for the ideal place for the note, where there are the LEAST beats.

Sure, if you focus, there will ALWAYS be beats. Very frustrating to always compromise.

Such is the life of a piano tuner.

And thank god for ETDs.
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca

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#2230611 - 02/12/14 08:28 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
Tunewerk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/11
Posts: 414
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: prout
Can we hear an interval as wide or narrow without perceiving beats, or is perceiving beats a necessary prerequisite, even if the hearer is unaware that that is what they are in fact hearing? This would support the literature regarding historic tuning practices as Bill mentioned.


Both are prerequisite to fine tuning. We can hear both, as supported by historical tuning practice.

Beats have simply become more prevalent as an accurate measuring device for tuning. Nothing in equal temperament is actually in tune, so beats help quantify (measure) the quality (location) of interval overlap.

If you tune by beats alone, the tuning will be dead, or 'off'. If you tune by interval quality alone, the tuning will be inaccurate.

Many times I navigate by beats alone when the spectrum is full of partial noise, or if a given partial is too weak to accurately tune to. Given a strong spectrum, I will always tune to the whole tone, interspersed with beat checks to measure where I am.
_________________________
www.tunewerk.com

Unity of tone through applied research.

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#2230762 - 02/13/14 01:09 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1761
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Harmonic intervals (2 notes at the same time) is one thing, melodic intervals (2 notes after each other) is another thing.

In meantone the semitones are drastically unequal, giving a particular poignancy to chromatic scales. Example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHExcd6PYxQ

In most Persian scales one m3 is 20 cent narrow relative to ET, which is a purely melodic effect as the music is monophonic. The equivalent of our leading tone is usually 10-15 cent sharp, also a purely melodic effect.

Bradley Lehman on his website also talks about tuning the M3's by "quality" rather than beat rate.

If I am not mistaken I think Bill Bremmer also mentioned that if you can't hear the beats when tuning the skeleton M3 F#A3C#4F4 you should try to make them have the same "quality".

Kees

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#2230860 - 02/13/14 09:04 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1771
Loc: London, England
Tuning a piano to itself is full of compromises that should be child's play to an experienced tuner who is not afraid to make the odd decision.

Since I broached the subject of the Railsback curve and it's impact on tuning of instruments to be used in consort with other disparate instruments, it has become evident that this aspect is little understood.

Jeff has recently mentioned but one of parameters that have to be managed. Multiply this by the numbers of instruments or classes of instruments and all their various intonational tendencies, we get an idea of what is involved when all this is put under the microscopic examination of microphones.

Since it was brought home to me rather crudely and patronisingly the abysmal level of understanding by at least one tuner (alfonz) about the Railsback curve and it's impact on fine tuning, I was spurred on to do more research. The Railsback curve is simply a measurement of a very real phenomenon in pianos.

Before going further, anybody not familiar with the Railsback curve would do well to consult the Wikipedia entry. It is an adequate basic explanation for our current needs. ETD users will not be impacted by it because they don't need to listen. Aural tuners will not be aware of it unless they look for it or have been in a position where it applies. I will point out that the seemingly erratic peaks and valleys in that graph in wikipedia are not necessarily tuner error but are consistent with my general findings on the sudden vagaries that can occur in even the most careful piano scaling. I had electronic verification to keep my aural tunings 'honest'. I stretched Only as far as the double octave dictated but found that the triple octave often fell in line but when it didn't, it really didn't.

Only when the piano is used with other instruments does it become an issue.

To this end, since the last show of ignorance of this factor, I have carried three ETD's with me and examined the departure from theoretical pitch of every piano I've tuned lately.

While I have only made an empirical overview of what is actually happening because all this was measured during actual refinements of tunings I have only measured where the tuning departs from the theoretical values by more than a couple of cents. Because of time constraints.

I have been surprised at the variance in piano makes and models concerning where the significant variance begins in the treble. Mostly it's only the last two octaves, becoming increasingly significant towards the last octave where there is a difference of 30-40 cents.
When the significant variance starts earlier, involving the last three octaves, it is even more progressive towards the top. Many pianos behave this particular way with the extended sharpness in the treble. Perhaps that may be a contributing factor to that kind of piano not being used much where microscopic intonation is important. By sIgnificant, I mean three cents or more.

This morning I did an impromptu experiment, I tuned the bass of a 6'4 grand with particularly good depth of tone in a resonant room to theoretical values (no Railsback curve) and had passing students evaluate it by downward melodic octaves between F1 and F3 one perceived them all as sharp, ( I did note the major instrument posted by each but that is of no consequence here). Of the rest, some heard a few notes as flat but many heard the majority as in tune but the same few as sharp. I had them tune only the one they perceived as most sharp down to where it sounded most in tune. Of those, nobody went below half way to the next note. (only a few Hz. In that register). Most were within 25-35 Hz. Low. I must add that I only asked them to tune one string of a pair, wedging off the other string. This reduces depth of tone by more than half and produces an attack that musicians are not used to so is not entirely a fair test. ( nobody perceived the single strings as sharp). I intend to do something more formal sometime.

None of this proves anything, the finger pointing at the moon is not the moon. I would appreciate constructive feedback how to more properly conduct tests.


Edited by rxd (02/13/14 05:30 PM)
Edit Reason: Obfuscating spellchecker
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2230862 - 02/13/14 09:05 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
prout Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 850
Thanks Kees for the Sweelinck. A well chosen example of semitones. (Michael really shouldn't be playing, and why in A=440, but, in this case, it gives us time to hear every little thing.)

I think we are getting closer to the thought behind my original question. In the example Kees gave, I hear subtle qualitative (colour?) differences among the semitones, but could not tell you if one was wider or more narrow than another.

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#2230900 - 02/13/14 10:58 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: rxd]
prout Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 850
Interesting results rxd.

This leads me to an amateur's ignorant question - Is it better to stretch the high treble to the already stretched low bass, or stretch the low bass to the already stretched treble? If the high treble is generally tuned using 2:1 or slightly larger octaves, it would seem that puts a restriction on the amount of stretch in the low bass. On the other hand, if one stretches the low bass to match some partials in the midrange, it leaves you to stretch the high treble to find a compromise between the low bass and midrange.

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#2230958 - 02/13/14 12:52 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
Withindale Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 2057
Loc: Suffolk, England
Following rxd's comments on the Railsback curve and Prout's questions, I'd like to take the opportunity to point out that smooth curve shown in the Wikipedia article is not necessarily an idealised tuning curve.



If you put your thumbs over the last few notes in the bass and treble, you'll see the remaining notes can be approximated by a straight line. That is not always so in the treble where there is often a more pronounced curve, as rxd says.

My question is whether there can be a tendency to put too much stretch into the lower bass and upper treble to accommodate the lowest and highest notes.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2230976 - 02/13/14 01:26 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: Withindale]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4954
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Withindale
.....

My question is whether there can be a tendency to put too much stretch into the lower bass and upper treble to accommodate the lowest and highest notes.


Perhaps with other tuners, but never with me! wink
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#2231009 - 02/13/14 02:38 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
alfredo capurso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/10/07
Posts: 1085
Loc: Sicily - Italy
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
I hear the notes related to the 5th partial of brass intruments as being flat without hearing beats. I hear Aretha Franklin stretch the high notes very sharp, without beats. I hear fifths that are too pure because they are (wait for it..), without beats. laugh laugh laugh

Hard to say what my threshhold of stand-alone out-of-tuneness is. I would guess around 10 cents.


Yeah, that's what I was getting at. We want to hear an accented appoggiatura as a flat unison. I love Joshua Redman's pulled flat flat sevenths on his Moodswing CD. I have worked with cellists playing in quarter tone while the piano holds a ground bass. All these intervals seem to exhibit clear widths without obvious beating.

And yet, one of the most satisfying experiences in choral singing is the dissonant beating of a diminished second, which then resolves to a glorious unison.


Hi Prout,

I tend to believe that, when it comes to musical ear and intonation, there are different levels of "accuracy" that we, as individual, can experience. If our level is similar, we can share our "intonation", if it is not, we can only talk about it.

Personally, when listening to or playing music, I have always referred to my sense of "in tune", and it would be the intervals that - in case - sound flat or sharp.

Tuning lots of notes and strings it is a different question, I do not think a piano can be tuned without considering beats, but again, I can only refer to what I need.

Brass instruments like a sax may need some sort of correction that, up to a certain point, can be made with the larynx, of course you need to hear that and be used to singing.

An example,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEDixv-Bed4

The phrase starts at 0:15 and it is played again at 4:58

Perhaps you notice a difference?

Originally Posted By: prout

...SNIP... Only some religions, advertising agencies, naïve humans and, perhaps 'scienticians', to use a term from "The Simpsons", believe in 'absolute truth'.


Oh, careful with statements that sound like 'absolute truth' :-)
_________________________
alfredo

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#2231124 - 02/13/14 05:42 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
alfredo capurso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/10/07
Posts: 1085
Loc: Sicily - Italy
Prout,

In a different thread, at one point I posted the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gl64LXryFS8

You would like to know if I listen to beats? No, I simply hear that that harp is all over the place.

The same piece is played here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ip64cG7gK4

And by a different artist (with a different tuning), here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evI-sCxYM3Y

Before I tell you about my impressions, would you let me know about yours?
_________________________
alfredo

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#2231251 - 02/14/14 12:20 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: Withindale]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1421
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted By: Withindale

My question is whether there can be a tendency to put too much stretch into the lower bass and upper treble to accommodate the lowest and highest notes.


For me there is no tendency. I am creating a specific curve depending on which interva&#322;s I choose to be pure/tempered. The greatest stretch occurs if I tune pure 19ths which sound nice on a concert grand, but all the other large SBI's are wide. (I think. I haven't done the analysis in a while) But wide by a very small amount due to it being a large piano and low iH. The octaves are the widest but not heard as offensive due to short sustain.
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2231270 - 02/14/14 01:29 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: alfredo capurso]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3289
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
Prout,

In a different thread, at one point I posted the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gl64LXryFS8

You would like to know if I listen to beats? No, I simply hear that that harp is all over the place.

The same piece is played here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ip64cG7gK4

And by a different artist (with a different tuning), here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evI-sCxYM3Y

Before I tell you about my impressions, would you let me know about yours?


Yes, Alfredo,

I will tell you my impressions. The second harp sounded beautifully in tune but the first sounded out of tune. The piano did not sound particularly good. I think the loud "bang" must have been someone trying to shoot the pianist but missed.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2231271 - 02/14/14 01:35 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3289
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Here is Clair de Lune on a piano the way I usually tune it: https://app.box.com/s/q7vosp2amts8b83kuy8t
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2231288 - 02/14/14 02:41 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: Withindale]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1771
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Following rxd's comments on the Railsback curve and Prout's questions, I'd like to take the opportunity to point out that smooth curve shown in the Wikipedia article is not necessarily an idealised tuning curve.



If you put your thumbs over the last few notes in the bass and treble, you'll see the remaining notes can be approximated by a straight line. That is not always so in the treble where there is often a more pronounced curve, as rxd says.

My question is whether there can be a tendency to put too much stretch into the lower bass and upper treble to accommodate the lowest and highest notes.


Thanks for posting the graph, Ian.
Do you know who O.L. Railsback was (is)?

In answer to your question and that of Prout, which are similar, is that the Railsback curve describes to us what is actually happening in the piano. That is; when tuned even with the narrowest tolerable octaves, the acoustic piano is already stretched more, much more than any other modern musical instrument used in the western tradition.
Is that enough on a fine toned instrument?

There is a multicoloured graph from what appears to be a Japanese source in the google images section that gives some examples of extreme extra stretching to where only the middle octave and a half is in tune (on pitch).

Some instruments exhibit more stretch than others and it is audible when they are both tuned the same way by the same tuner. There was a blind selection of pianos for the BBC in the 1930's where a comparative flatness (and weakness) in the treble was commented on and those manufacturers tried to compensate by extra stretching. Other manufacturers didn't find it necessary. This is anecdotal to me but the transcripts must exist somewhere.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2231367 - 02/14/14 08:30 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: rxd]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4954
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: rxd
.....

In answer to your question and that of Prout, which are similar, is that the Railsback curve describes to us what is actually happening in the piano. That is; when tuned even with the narrowest tolerable octaves, the acoustic piano is already stretched more, much more than any other modern musical instrument used in the western tradition.

.....

Well, perhaps the piano is stretched more than any fixed pitched instrument. But most instruments are not fixed pitched. My ears tell me that stretched octaves are the norm in musical performance, not the exception.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#2231394 - 02/14/14 09:17 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: UnrightTooner]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3289
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner

Well, perhaps the piano is stretched more than any fixed pitched instrument. But most instruments are not fixed pitched. My ears tell me that stretched octaves are the norm in musical performance, not the exception.


For once, I totally agree with Jeff! The higher violins play, the higher their pitch. Opera sopranos too.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2231413 - 02/14/14 09:55 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1771
Loc: London, England
Yes. I too remember the days of the sharp lead trumpet, sharp piccolo, sharp fiddles, sopranos that can't hear the accompanying unit anyway.
Indeed, we speak of those things with disdain. In my days we were beginning to recognise how unnecessary it all was and coined the phrase, better to be sharp than out of tune.

We might be happy that finally, something is being done about it, well, at least here over the past 20-30 years. Do we realise that while we disdain their sharpness, they also disdain sharp piano trebles. What was once taboo is now being openly discussed at the point of creation.

We are all, particularly since the digital age where a retake is not complicated nor expensive, musicians, who were once worked to death with minimum rehearsals are now being respected and given the chance to hear their work and re- record. Piano tuners, too can hone the piano during rehearsal takes. (I remember the tapes running during the whole session and if the first take was good enough, that was it. There was a fen minute long march, at the end of which I played the last notE and it wasn't the prettiest note I ever played. It was something only another trumpet player would notice but they used just the last four measures at the end of the 11 o'clock news every night and I was teased mercilessly about it until they re-recorded it and I was on that session too so I was, even then, given a re-take but it was ten months later.

The last 15-20 years have been glorious for musicians and piano tuners for simply being paid to get things right. Lot of tune and attend recording sessions lasting days. Those days are passing, I sense, with the recent world finance mismanagement. It's beginning to affect the recording industry but I can look back and forward and say I am not part of the problem, I am part of the cure.

How do we all stand. Are we part of the problem or are we part of the cure? There's no fence to sit on.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2231425 - 02/14/14 10:28 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: rxd]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4954
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: rxd
.....

How do we all stand. Are we part of the problem or are we part of the cure? There's no fence to sit on.


Sorry, I don't recognise the problem. Do stretched octaves cause physical pain or something?
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#2231579 - 02/14/14 03:22 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: alfredo capurso]
prout Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 850
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
Prout,

In a different thread, at one point I posted the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gl64LXryFS8

You would like to know if I listen to beats? No, I simply hear that that harp is all over the place.

The same piece is played here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ip64cG7gK4

And by a different artist (with a different tuning), here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evI-sCxYM3Y

Before I tell you about my impressions, would you let me know about yours?


About the above tunings, to my ear the first is just plain bad tuning, the second seems to me to be particularly flat in the some of the treble octaves, and the third example is glorious.

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#2231582 - 02/14/14 03:27 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
prout Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 850
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
Prout,

In a different thread, at one point I posted the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gl64LXryFS8

You would like to know if I listen to beats? No, I simply hear that that harp is all over the place.

The same piece is played here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ip64cG7gK4

And by a different artist (with a different tuning), here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evI-sCxYM3Y

Before I tell you about my impressions, would you let me know about yours?


Yes, Alfredo,

I will tell you my impressions. The second harp sounded beautifully in tune but the first sounded out of tune. The piano did not sound particularly good. I think the loud "bang" must have been someone trying to shoot the pianist but missed.

I agree with the shooter, not my favourite pianist for Debussy.

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#2231590 - 02/14/14 03:37 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
prout Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 850
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Here is Clair de Lune on a piano the way I usually tune it: https://app.box.com/s/q7vosp2amts8b83kuy8t


Thanks Bill for the recording. I really like the gentle shimmering quality of Db.

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#2231797 - 02/14/14 11:17 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: UnrightTooner]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1771
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Originally Posted By: rxd
.....

How do we all stand. Are we part of the problem or are we part of the cure? There's no fence to sit on.


Sorry, I don't recognise the problem. Do stretched octaves cause physical pain or something?


Yes.

Actually, this thread deserves more than that......some random thoughts. ...

This phenomenon is an example of how notes can be as much as forty cents sharp without being heard as beats.

The saxophone clip a few posts ago is unevenly and excruciatingly sharp without being heard as beats except here and there. I don't know what it was supposed to be a shining example of.

Do we get used to hearing excessive sharpness as "in tune"? I was once sent out to a brand new piano because the owners claimed it smelled bad. As I walked up to the door there was this pervading smell of cheap floral deodorant which was overpowering inside the house. I lifted the lid of the piano and was relieved by that wonderful smell of a new piano that lifts my spirits every time I walk into a piano store first thing in the morning. To them, it was not nice compared to the cheap smell they had got used to. Is it a similar phenomenon to getting used to excessive stretch? I suspect it is. (now why did my autocorrect change stretch to stench?

It is painful to listen to trebles that are tuned by melodic estimation of octaves and arpeggios. . Always, some notes are excruciating sharp (sometimes flat) by ten or more beats. I pointed this out to a tuner I employed and he genuinely couldn't hear what to me was so ugly. I continued to employ him because he was otherwise a really good tuner. Eventually he began to recognise the problem. There's a Grieg concerto on uTube that opens with one of those sharp octaves. A German recording. Those guys are supposedly trained to the nth degree and still it happens. It is entirely possible for a tuner to be part of the problem and not know it.

There is much more to tuning octaves than melodic considerations. The clean, non wobbly attack of an octave for contemporary music. I tuned a Hamburg D using clean octaves on Tuesday. The piano has phenomenal depth of tone but was on a marble floor in cathedral acoustics for a contemporary music concert. That afternoon, the same piano was used for a rehearsal of the "trout" 5tet with musicians who can be relied on to report the least trace of flatness...... Not a murmer from them. Of course, the basics of a tuning have to be extremely accurately laid so that all other intervals would work throughout the piano. It slows down the wobbling of temperament. Another advantage.

There is a way of introducing wider octaves while keeping the illusion of clean octaves. It involves tuning from a completed unison. This was taught to me at Blüthners and was the subject of a lunch discussion with Virgil Smith some years ago. I mentioned it here once but it was ridiculed by some idiot who was at one time, intent on demonising every word I wrote on this forum. Fortunately, people change.

One of my colleagues has the cleanest top octave I ever heard. All the 17ths are an easily distinguishable ripple. I don't get the logic of this tradition of tuning the top octaves even sharper. They're already a quarter tone sharP with a capital P as this autocorrect would have it.

I must thank those who question the importance of this phenomenon. It's of no consequence to me whether or not it is of any consequence to others. It is of consequence to me in my work. Your comments prove the existence of this phenomenon to those tuners and musicians who only have a fuzzy grasp of it all.

Is it the fuzzy grasp that caused the "findings" of the scientific community to tell the tuners that they were tuning sharp? Did this get interpreted as we have to tune sharp? It's all a fuzzy notion among more people than I thought. People who I thought should have a solid grasp of the subject matter turn out not to, judging by the questions they ask and the crass judgements they make.

So I'm becoming a bit if a geek about this. Who else would reference 2-3 etd's while tuning by ear in order to examine the extent of the phenomena in different instruments? I freely admit to it.

Consider this, which is the most readily heard in a sensibly tone regulated piano.., the eighth partial of D4 or the second partial of D6??. (experienced tuners will know why I picked D7 for this example). Even anETD gives me a mere questioning glance even when it is set to the frequency of the eighth partial. That's all I'm going to say. I know some thinkin' an listenin' tuners reading this will know what I'm getting at.

I get the chance to spend more than thirty hours on just one basic tuning on some of the finest pianos in the world. Perhaps I've nothing better to do.

Every time I refine the tuning on one of these 9', I have a totally fresh ear, having not had to spend time on the basic grunt work tuning.bits amazing how ear tiring that can be. I take only a short time so I can't get stale. I look forward to each one. How can fine work be expected after an hour of doing the grunt work? Our employers know this.

If this sounds elitist, so be it. except that thirty five years ago, in addition to his concert rental stock, I daily tuned two or three examples of one model of Wurlitzer spinet from a domestic rental stock of well over a hundred of them. I became the same way about those Wurlitzer spinets.
I also used to have private clients who called me when they were good n ready. Their pianos rarely needed more than the same kind of simple refinement every few months or few years. Pianos left to float a little above pitch will amost never need a complete pitch raise. Working smart let's me fulfill all my obligations to one of my contracts in just a couple of hours a few mornings a week.

I only say this because there was a thread called "why bother" and tuners freely admitted to not taking care of the details. I work the same hours as the cleaners who sometimes ask if the pianos need that much attention. I simply ask how much more work would it be if the public rooms were not cleaned for a couple of days.
A hairdresser friend of mine surprised me when he told me of his regular early morning clientele of salesmen who had a professional haircut every working day!!!

It is by taking care of the details that the work becomes easy.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2231935 - 02/15/14 09:07 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: rxd]
prout Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 850
rxd - Thanks for your post. I enjoy reading about the experiences of professional tuners that are posted here. You are indeed fortunate to be able to refine tunings as opposed to always having to create tunings.

In defence of Joshua Redman, and I may well be wrong, I think he deliberately plays the passage you mentioned for effect - to create pain/uneasiness in the listener's ear. He seems to use pitch bending as a creative tool, as he also plays 'in tune' at what seems to be appropriate times. I say this as a classical musician who likes jazz, so not a well substantiated opinion.

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#2232027 - 02/15/14 12:04 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1421
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Of course. Jazz musicians use quarter tones, play notes off the ET, or anyT path on purpose, etc., for effect.

I haven't listened to the recording you are talking about, but uninformed opinion of another professional musician's purposefull choice of intonation or any other effect, is not rare.

The thing that is rare is the comment "he is doing something new and unheard of before, but I am not a costumed to it yet". They get more "he (she) sucks".

Story:
My high school music teacher friend was driving with his music department head. He had Charlie Parker playing. Her comment: "That sounds like crap to me". Remember, this is the Head of the Music Department!
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2232352 - 02/16/14 12:23 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1771
Loc: London, England
I am very grateful to Joshua Redman. I was part of a consortium promoting several Jazz concerts. This was in my playing days which encompassed many forms of jazz. He filled 2000+ seats twice for us. This was before his first downbeat album of the year. His rise was meteoric.

Yes the deliberate flat and bent notes are obvious as is the repetition of a phrase, getting it more in tune with each repetition. A neat trick if it was intentional. I also recognise the extra purely emotional "excitement" from being sharp.
" Better sharp than out of tune" we used to joke.

Having doubled on saxophone, I also know the vagaries of tenor sax intonation , particularly in the high register. My hero worship is not as forgiving as most. He was much more in tune when I heard him live. At least the first show.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



Top
#2232447 - 02/16/14 06:52 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
alfredo capurso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/10/07
Posts: 1085
Loc: Sicily - Italy
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
Prout,

In a different thread, at one point I posted the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gl64LXryFS8

You would like to know if I listen to beats? No, I simply hear that that harp is all over the place.

The same piece is played here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ip64cG7gK4

And by a different artist (with a different tuning), here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evI-sCxYM3Y

Before I tell you about my impressions, would you let me know about yours?


About the above tunings, to my ear the first is just plain bad tuning, the second seems to me to be particularly flat in the some of the treble octaves, and the third example is glorious.


Hi Prout,

Thank you for your reply. As usual, some questions arise.

You say: .."...to my ear the first is just plain bad tuning..", would you say that you can/should acclimate to that tuning?

Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Harmonic intervals (2 notes at the same time) is one thing, melodic intervals (2 notes after each other) is another thing.

In meantone the semitones are drastically unequal, giving a particular poignancy to chromatic scales. Example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHExcd6PYxQ

In most Persian scales one m3 is 20 cent narrow relative to ET, which is a purely melodic effect as the music is monophonic. The equivalent of our leading tone is usually 10-15 cent sharp, also a purely melodic effect.

Bradley Lehman on his website also talks about tuning the M3's by "quality" rather than beat rate.

If I am not mistaken I think Bill Bremmer also mentioned that if you can't hear the beats when tuning the skeleton M3 F#A3C#4F4 you should try to make them have the same "quality".

Kees


To my ear, the tuning in Kees' post sounds like a very bad tuning, if not worse. Even knowing that it is an attempt to a historical tuning does not help, it still sounds very bad.

As in your case, perhaps, I do not need "beats"; although to different individual level of accuracy, many musicians I have met and I simply hear that something... it is not 'in tune', that it is flat or sharp, that a note belongs to a different "pitch family", sounding foreign to the harmonic and melodic order.

Yes, you can always add some sort of 'rational', that is the 'effect'..., that is 'emotions'..., but (in a classical environment) only to a certain extent. You should see what happens in La Scala, when a singer offers a 'special' effect, a vast part of the audience there can 'hear' a lot.

I had found a very nice violin artist from the east, I will try to find it again on YT.

Regards, a.c.
.
_________________________
alfredo

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