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#2232468 - 02/16/14 08:28 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: rxd]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 851
Originally Posted By: rxd
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.


Good morning rxd. I will defer to your judgement, based on your experience, regarding Joshua's intonation. I just finished a performance where the violinist played consistently sharp in the first half of the first movement, then calmed down and played 'in tune'. I can imagine the frustration of doubling where both instruments have inherently different pitch scaling even though both are based on ET.

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#2232478 - 02/16/14 08:58 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: alfredo capurso]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 851
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
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.
.





Buongiorno Alfredo,

I think we will just have to agree that each of us can enjoy a different approach to tuning that seems 'in tune' to us. A 'well tuned' ET sounds fine to me, just not as interesting as a 'well tuned' UT. The key difference for me is that I expect to hear a progressive increase in tension or scintillation in the sound as the key in which the work is composed or to which it is modulating moves further away from C.

I am not sure what would constitute a tuning (not considering poor unisons, or octaves as in the case of the harp example) that would be clearly out of tune for both of us, except perhaps RW.

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#2232481 - 02/16/14 08:58 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1819
Loc: Conway, AR USA
In answer to the original question: Both. Good tuning is more than just "hearing" beats.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com/

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#2232488 - 02/16/14 09:03 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: bkw58]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 851
Originally Posted By: bkw58
In answer to the original question: Both. Good tuning is more than just "hearing" beats.


"Both" is what I am now learning, much to my dismay. I dislike that I now hear the piano 'tuneness' more than the music. I am trying to disassociate the tuning from the music, but it is hard to do.

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#2232490 - 02/16/14 09:11 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: rxd]
alfredo capurso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/10/07
Posts: 1085
Loc: Sicily - Italy
Originally Posted By: rxd
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.


Hi rxd,

You wrote: ..."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?"...

Hmmm..., I would try to make a distinction: there might be those who end up getting used to 'excessive sharpness', and those who wont. I tend to believe that some of us (amongst musicians and tuners) have a very demanding 'ear', others (passing through different levels) simply do not. Perhaps the latter do not even condider that as an issue.

..."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."...

Yes, I understand that for you this is a recurrent issue: too many pianos are tuned too sharp in the treble, but I am not sure we can solve that issue only with words... That is why I am suggesting a 'beat' reference standard in the other thread.

..."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."...

What do you mean by "the wobbling of temperament"?

..."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."...

Well, that is certainly a method that works well for you, though I think that 'methods' should be discussed on the basis of actual results.

..."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."...

What is the point of insulting partecipants, why do you write those lines, lack of arguments? I do not understand.

Hmmm... Why am I the only one to complain? I do not understand.

..."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."...

Yes, BTW, were you saying that a piano can only sound sharp, because of iH?

In general I would agree with you, there is no reason for tuning the trebles sharp... mind you, nor flat.

..."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."...

Here in London, as it was in Italy, I find pianos that are sharp and/or flat, no surprise at 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."...

Well, now you know.

I think we have well gone off Topic... To All, have a nice Sunday.

Regards, a.c.
.
_________________________
alfredo

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#2232495 - 02/16/14 09:27 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
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.
.





Buongiorno Alfredo,

I think we will just have to agree that each of us can enjoy a different approach to tuning that seems 'in tune' to us. A 'well tuned' ET sounds fine to me, just not as interesting as a 'well tuned' UT. The key difference for me is that I expect to hear a progressive increase in tension or scintillation in the sound as the key in which the work is composed or to which it is modulating moves further away from C.

I am not sure what would constitute a tuning (not considering poor unisons, or octaves as in the case of the harp example) that would be clearly out of tune for both of us, except perhaps RW.



Hi Prout,

You wrote: ..."...The key difference for me is that I expect to hear a progressive increase in tension or scintillation in the sound as the key in which the work is composed or to which it is modulating moves further away from C."...

So, what is it for you? Expecting a certain intonation or being acclimated to a certain tuning?

..."I am not sure what would constitute a tuning (not considering poor unisons, or octaves as in the case of the harp example) that would be clearly out of tune for both of us, except perhaps RW."...

To me, it is not clear why you should not be able to acclimate to 'out of tune' tunings. On the other hand, I believe we both would be able to recognize a wonderful tuning.
_________________________
alfredo

Top
#2232501 - 02/16/14 09:43 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1819
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: bkw58
In answer to the original question: Both. Good tuning is more than just "hearing" beats.


"Both" is what I am now learning, much to my dismay. I dislike that I now hear the piano 'tuneness' more than the music. I am trying to disassociate the tuning from the music, but it is hard to do.


Welcome to The Club frown smile
Sounds like you have "The Right Stuff."
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com/

Top
#2232617 - 02/16/14 02:28 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: alfredo capurso]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1761
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso

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.

It is not an "attempt". It is the tuning the piece was written for, which was the (known) standard of the time. You will find it on thousands of CD's of kbd music of this period.

I believe if you would buy Sweelincks's book, and play this in 1/4' meantone on a harpsichord every day for a week, you will start liking it. If you then go back to ET you will dislike that. Until you reacclimatize to it again.

Kees

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#2232713 - 02/16/14 04:39 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

Kees,

I am not sure the recipe you propose can represent the solution in my case, although I would like to think so.

Many customers (dayly players) know their piano sounds weird, and yet they wait for months, perhaps for a few years before they call a piano tuner. Why don't they (re)start liking their out of tune piano, in a lapse of time that is much much wider than a week? Why don't they acclimatize to it? Should they read a book? These customers themselves tell you that the piano is 'quite' out of tune, and perhaps the reason why they had to wait so long will follow.

Hmmm... Your theory would be simpler... which is something I like. Parallel, I tend to believe that some of us are able to sense better where the spot is. You would make it a question of habit or exposure, and perhaps 'historical' awareness; I would think it is 'predisposition', it is 'musical ear' and hearing, where some do better than others.

These two 'explainations' would not be exclusive, in case there isn't any predisposition (is this word correct?), it may well happen what you picture.

Regards, a.c.

P.S.: Please note, I would never ask my customers to acclimatize.
_________________________
alfredo

Top
#2233417 - 02/17/14 09:14 PM 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: 3295
Loc: Madison, WI USA
I see some hyperbole being written here. A quarter tone sharp would mean 50 cents. Here are the figures from a Master Tuning Record of a Yamaha G7 for the 7th octave where the octaves are required to be tuned as a 2:1 type. That means, of course that the fundamental of the note in the 7th octave must be in a beatless unison with the 2nd partial of the corresponding note in the 6th octave.

The only reason that the figures seem to take such a quantum leap is that the 2nd partial of the notes in the 6th octave is many times over more inharmonic than any of the notes in the 3rd and 4th octave. I know that to be true from studying scale design.

Most musicians and piano technicians would consider the following to sound way too flat:

C7: 8.1
C#7: 9.0
D7: 9.4
D#7: 13.3
E7: 16.4
F7: 19.2
F#7: 16.4
G7: 21.8
G#7: 26.2
A7: 26.9
A#7: 33.7
B7: 30.4
C8: 35.0 (extrapolated because C8 is not tested on the exam)

The above is far short of "already a quarter tone sharp".

While I do not want to diminish the wisdom that comes from experience, I also know of the tendency to exaggerate. The fact is that no matter what one does with the 7th octave, it will be "out of tune" with something below it, in the most literal sense of "of of tune". In the above example, those pitches will be perfectly in tune with the notes which are an octave below it, yes.

However, I have often seen the tendency of a piano technician to only please him or herself while banging on octaves and making them sound as pure as gold but ignoring entirely the fact that the note being tuned is out of tune with each and every note related to it, the lower one goes, the worse out of tune it is!

To me, that is no different from what John Travis identified as the "tendency to err towards the just 5th". In one's zeal to conquer the Pythagorean Comma, one ends up instead creating Reverse Well. Tuning "pure" octaves does very much the same dishonor to the piano and all music to be played upon it. The octave-fifth is out of tune, the double octave is more out of tune, the double octave-fifth even more and the triple octave beating quite badly and quite narrow.

The Grieg A-minor concerto is a great example to hold up as to how well or how badly a piano can sound under the spotlight. When someone says that there is some German recording on You Tube that is too sharp, wouldn't it be a good idea to post a link to that to exemplify it? Wouldn't it also be a good idea to show a link to what is considered a good example? The excuse of "I don't listen to recorded music" coming from the same person who says in another post that he gets paid to listen to recorded music just does not compute!

There are dozens of examples of Grieg's A minor piano concerto on You Tube. Some are so bad that I would not want anyone to bother with them. I never heard any that sounded like they may be in Reverse Well, by the way, but I also only listened to just a little of the opening phrases, not enough to expose that if it happened to be the case.

Unfortunately, I see RXD trying to lead us down the path to what Lawrence Welk preferred, "straight to the strobe". All theoretical frequencies for ET across the board. Only then, when we finally find that holy grail will all music sound "in tune", as far as he is concerned. It will only sound in tune then because nothing will be in tune with anything but it will all be equally out of tune with everything! The final solution as Isaac Isakoff put it. Destroy it all by making one smooth slurry out of it!

All music of any type or style from any era all being funneled into that one, singular idea of what would solve everything! Then slam your fist down upon it and stomp your boot into its face! "You want to see a a vision of the future, Winston? Imagine a boot stepping on a face forever!" (George Orwell: 1984)

The only "music" we would ever hear would be sanctioned and "pitch corrected" with software that would remove any natural "impurities" from it. There would only be one Major and one minor key. Modulations would be meaningless. Eventually, the piano itself would be phased out as being obsolete because it cannot, in fact, conform to the New World Order of music as seen by people like Isaac Isacoff and apparently, RXD, the nameless and faceless "Big Brother" of piano tuning.

You do not know RXD. You do not know who he is or what he looks like. He will never produce an example of his own work but he will always tell you that whatever you do does not meet his standards. He is above questioning and answers to no one but tells everyone what is right and what is wrong. He will not even stoop to providing a link to what he considers to be good but he will condemn everything there is.

He will not say which CD to buy or video to watch that has the ideal sound on it that he writes about so frequently but he is unquestionably in charge of all that is produced to which he approves. All of what is good and standard. All of which has been arrived at by consensus over so many decades.

With that in mind, I made several selections from You Tube of the Grieg A minor concerto, none of which I found totally pleasing but some better than others but all having a different quality. If every piano technician is tuning pianos the same way, there could not be this much difference from one recording to the next, so it obviously does mean that we all approach the art of piano tuning in a slightly different manner.

In this German recording of the Grieg, A minor concerto from 1972, the pitch seems quite high but the piano sounds flat. The recording techniques are poor compared to what we have today but disregarding that, I think this piano sounds sick!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dj-NlCR5Qkg

In this version, the piano sounds a bit sharp but not overly so. The voicing is just so bright.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1aigWuBlgg

Here, is more of the same very bright voicing but really getting up there on the sharpness!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NF0WaXEf0xM

In this 1975 London Philharmonic recording with Arthur Rubenstein, I more or less expected a dull sounding piano and poor recording but the piano sounded amazingly good. I just felt that Rubenstein was too sluggish.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFPNtudd-Ro

I found this more recent recording with Evgeny Kissin to have the overall best piano sound and the overall orchestra recorded sound to be good too but not the best I have heard.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lO-H37t1fQQ

One must also bear in mind the question of the Original Poster when contemplating why instrumentalists such as violinists seem to creep sharper the higher they go on the fingerboard. There does remain the enigmatic desire of the ear to hear the higher pitches much sharper than they should theoretically be.

In that respect, no one could ever tune the high treble of a piano sharp enough! This description that I have seen written of "bleating octaves" is new to me. I have never seen nor heard of that description before. "Bleating", as I understand the word, is the sound that a sheep makes and therefore can in no way imaginable to me be equated to any sound that a piano could ever make.

I suppose that what has meant to be said was "beating octaves" and that, I would understand. However, one must also be aware that the sustain in the high treble is quite short (and the reason there are no dampers there). No slightly wide octave can really be considered to be so intolerably out of tune when the sustain of such an octave when played in an isolated context is so restrictively short!

Consider the usual context of nearly any music that may be played in that range (the opening phrases of the Grieg, A minor concerto is a good example). The wider octave "sparkles" while the "pure" one sounds dull or flat. Perhaps not to everyone, to be sure. Perhaps not to a person who has become overly obsessed with how that octave should sound and can hear any beat whatsoever in an octave and find it to be intolerable. But I dare say, not to the general public and not to the artists who perform that music.

When an artist plays that A6-A7 octave, he/she wants and needs to hear the highest degree of brilliance possible, not the complete and total absence of any beat that cannot be heard by most people anyway (including the artist) but would inevitably conflict with octave-fifth, double octaves, double octave-fifths and triple octaves below it if those combinations of intervals were played.

So, in this instance, I am afraid I would have to agree more with Jeff and Alfredo although I do not understand very completely what either one has to say about it. What I do know is that they are after a more complete blending of the inharmonicity problem rather than the intense focus upon the purity of a single octave, wherever it may be on the piano, at the expense of all other intervals.

I would even go so far as to agree with what I saw BDB say one time that he could make single, double and triple octaves all sound in tune. That is, on the surface, impossible but as he often does in his own way, say it rather bluntly that just because you don't know how to do it does not mean that it cannot be done.

It is all a matter of artful compromise that make each interval combination seem to be virtually beatless. It is was truly great concert technicians and teachers like Jim Coleman, Sr. and Virgil Smith taught. Consider the whole sound, not focus on making one aspect of it be seemingly perfect at the expense of all others.

One point I would have to admit would be that if RXD took the PTG tuning exam, he would pass the High Treble portion of it with a perfect score!
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2233505 - 02/18/14 02:24 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
rxd Online   happy
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1771
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
I see some hyperbole being written here. A quarter tone sharp would mean 50 cents. Here are the figures from a Master Tuning Record of a Yamaha G7 for the 7th octave where the octaves are required to be tuned as a 2:1 type. That means, of course that the fundamental of the note in the 7th octave must be in a beatless unison with the 2nd partial of the corresponding note in the 6th octave.

The only reason that the figures seem to take such a quantum leap is that the 2nd partial of the notes in the 6th octave is many times over more inharmonic than any of the notes in the 3rd and 4th octave. I know that to be true from studying scale design.

Most musicians and piano technicians would consider the following to sound way too flat:

C7: 8.1
C#7: 9.0
D7: 9.4
D#7: 13.3
E7: 16.4
F7: 19.2
F#7: 16.4
G7: 21.8
G#7: 26.2
A7: 26.9
A#7: 33.7
B7: 30.4
C8: 35.0 (extrapolated because C8 is not tested on the exam)

The above is far short of "already a quarter tone sharp".

While I do not want to diminish the wisdom that comes from experience, I also know of the tendency to exaggerate. The fact is that no matter what one does with the 7th octave, it will be "out of tune" with something below it, in the most literal sense of "of of tune". In the above example, those pitches will be perfectly in tune with the notes which are an octave below it, yes.

However, I have often seen the tendency of a piano technician to only please him or herself while banging on octaves and making them sound as pure as gold but ignoring entirely the fact that the note being tuned is out of tune with each and every note related to it, the lower one goes, the worse out of tune it is!

To me, that is no different from what John Travis identified as the "tendency to err towards the just 5th". In one's zeal to conquer the Pythagorean Comma, one ends up instead creating Reverse Well. Tuning "pure" octaves does very much the same dishonor to the piano and all music to be played upon it. The octave-fifth is out of tune, the double octave is more out of tune, the double octave-fifth even more and the triple octave beating quite badly and quite narrow.

The Grieg A-minor concerto is a great example to hold up as to how well or how badly a piano can sound under the spotlight. When someone says that there is some German recording on You Tube that is too sharp, wouldn't it be a good idea to post a link to that to exemplify it? Wouldn't it also be a good idea to show a link to what is considered a good example? The excuse of "I don't listen to recorded music" coming from the same person who says in another post that he gets paid to listen to recorded music just does not compute!

There are dozens of examples of Grieg's A minor piano concerto on You Tube. Some are so bad that I would not want anyone to bother with them. I never heard any that sounded like they may be in Reverse Well, by the way, but I also only listened to just a little of the opening phrases, not enough to expose that if it happened to be the case.

Unfortunately, I see RXD trying to lead us down the path to what Lawrence Welk preferred, "straight to the strobe". All theoretical frequencies for ET across the board. Only then, when we finally find that holy grail will all music sound "in tune", as far as he is concerned. It will only sound in tune then because nothing will be in tune with anything but it will all be equally out of tune with everything! The final solution as Isaac Isakoff put it. Destroy it all by making one smooth slurry out of it!

All music of any type or style from any era all being funneled into that one, singular idea of what would solve everything! Then slam your fist down upon it and stomp your boot into its face! "You want to see a a vision of the future, Winston? Imagine a boot stepping on a face forever!" (George Orwell: 1984)

The only "music" we would ever hear would be sanctioned and "pitch corrected" with software that would remove any natural "impurities" from it. There would only be one Major and one minor key. Modulations would be meaningless. Eventually, the piano itself would be phased out as being obsolete because it cannot, in fact, conform to the New World Order of music as seen by people like Isaac Isacoff and apparently, RXD, the nameless and faceless "Big Brother" of piano tuning.

You do not know RXD. You do not know who he is or what he looks like. He will never produce an example of his own work but he will always tell you that whatever you do does not meet his standards. He is above questioning and answers to no one but tells everyone what is right and what is wrong. He will not even stoop to providing a link to what he considers to be good but he will condemn everything there is.

He will not say which CD to buy or video to watch that has the ideal sound on it that he writes about so frequently but he is unquestionably in charge of all that is produced to which he approves. All of what is good and standard. All of which has been arrived at by consensus over so many decades.

With that in mind, I made several selections from You Tube of the Grieg A minor concerto, none of which I found totally pleasing but some better than others but all having a different quality. If every piano technician is tuning pianos the same way, there could not be this much difference from one recording to the next, so it obviously does mean that we all approach the art of piano tuning in a slightly different manner.

In this German recording of the Grieg, A minor concerto from 1972, the pitch seems quite high but the piano sounds flat. The recording techniques are poor compared to what we have today but disregarding that, I think this piano sounds sick!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dj-NlCR5Qkg

In this version, the piano sounds a bit sharp but not overly so. The voicing is just so bright.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1aigWuBlgg

Here, is more of the same very bright voicing but really getting up there on the sharpness!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NF0WaXEf0xM

In this 1975 London Philharmonic recording with Arthur Rubenstein, I more or less expected a dull sounding piano and poor recording but the piano sounded amazingly good. I just felt that Rubenstein was too sluggish.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFPNtudd-Ro

I found this more recent recording with Evgeny Kissin to have the overall best piano sound and the overall orchestra recorded sound to be good too but not the best I have heard.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lO-H37t1fQQ

One must also bear in mind the question of the Original Poster when contemplating why instrumentalists such as violinists seem to creep sharper the higher they go on the fingerboard. There does remain the enigmatic desire of the ear to hear the higher pitches much sharper than they should theoretically be.

In that respect, no one could ever tune the high treble of a piano sharp enough! This description that I have seen written of "bleating octaves" is new to me. I have never seen nor heard of that description before. "Bleating", as I understand the word, is the sound that a sheep makes and therefore can in no way imaginable to me be equated to any sound that a piano could ever make.

I suppose that what has meant to be said was "beating octaves" and that, I would understand. However, one must also be aware that the sustain in the high treble is quite short (and the reason there are no dampers there). No slightly wide octave can really be considered to be so intolerably out of tune when the sustain of such an octave when played in an isolated context is so restrictively short!

Consider the usual context of nearly any music that may be played in that range (the opening phrases of the Grieg, A minor concerto is a good example). The wider octave "sparkles" while the "pure" one sounds dull or flat. Perhaps not to everyone, to be sure. Perhaps not to a person who has become overly obsessed with how that octave should sound and can hear any beat whatsoever in an octave and find it to be intolerable. But I dare say, not to the general public and not to the artists who perform that music.

When an artist plays that A6-A7 octave, he/she wants and needs to hear the highest degree of brilliance possible, not the complete and total absence of any beat that cannot be heard by most people anyway (including the artist) but would inevitably conflict with octave-fifth, double octaves, double octave-fifths and triple octaves below it if those combinations of intervals were played.

So, in this instance, I am afraid I would have to agree more with Jeff and Alfredo although I do not understand very completely what either one has to say about it. What I do know is that they are after a more complete blending of the inharmonicity problem rather than the intense focus upon the purity of a single octave, wherever it may be on the piano, at the expense of all other intervals.

I would even go so far as to agree with what I saw BDB say one time that he could make single, double and triple octaves all sound in tune. That is, on the surface, impossible but as he often does in his own way, say it rather bluntly that just because you don't know how to do it does not mean that it cannot be done.

It is all a matter of artful compromise that make each interval combination seem to be virtually beatless. It is was truly great concert technicians and teachers like Jim Coleman, Sr. and Virgil Smith taught. Consider the whole sound, not focus on making one aspect of it be seemingly perfect at the expense of all others.

One point I would have to admit would be that if RXD took the PTG tuning exam, he would pass the High Treble portion of it with a perfect score!


Thanks, Bill.
A brilliant assessment of my position. It's good to read what I say coming back as another understands it, particularly yourself because you understand every aspect of the subject that I refer to.

Thanks for trolling through those Greigs for me and I'm happy that you found a London recording that was better than you may have been led to believe. I haven't listened yet but I'm sure it was tuned in the tradition that I'm talking about. I don't listen to recordings much except on the car radio. I am given recordings but the packaging is still intact, those that I haven't given away. We use the phrase " busmans' holiday" here.

You could say that the change for my fiver that I got from the barista this morning was 'only just' correct or you could say it was absolutely perfectly correct. Were it all as simple as giving the right change.

We both recognise that choices have to be made, particularly in the extremes of the piano and choIces made in the middle affect the extremes.

Both you and I had the same teachers, Jim and Virgil et al. I let my membership lapse in the early eighties when I want back on the cruise ships but I am an "RTT" for those who go back that far.

The way I was originally taught In London in the sixties was in a different manufacturers tradition than the company I work for now but there are more similarities than differences. It took me a while before I fully caught on to how the more senior tuners here were acheiving what they did.

Much depends on the tone regulation. We have specialists here in everything. We are free to specialise in the tuning alone. We are all capable of doing each others jobs to a certain degree but the advantages of total specialisation are enormous. Consequently, the tone regulators can achieve the greatest depth of tone without sacrificing brilliance. One showed me the palm of his hand after a days' tone regulating on one piano.

Oh by the way, I much prefered your tuning for Debussy's' 'clear the room' as our harpists call it. Another example of what both you and I describe about our own work being a totally different experience in reality. In theory, it shouldn't sound that good but there's no denying its superiority.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Kees' example of Lehmans' tuning. Not because I studied UT' s long ago, I didn't listen "technically" but there's something primal about it that I find appealing.

Thanks again for understanding me.

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#2233847 - 02/18/14 05:10 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
In this 1975 London Philharmonic recording with Arthur Rubenstein, I more or less expected a dull sounding piano and poor recording but the piano sounded amazingly good. I just felt that Rubenstein was too sluggish.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFPNtudd-Ro


Bill, I have to thank you for posting this link.

I know the Grieg and Chopin piano concerti pretty well, albeit from a humble orchestra player's perspective. I thought I'd tune into your video examples quickly, before calling it a day, but from the get-go, I sat RIVETED to the screen for more than an hour, fascinated by both the tuning and an 88 year old Rubinstein. Wow.
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.
LinkedIn profile
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#2233977 - 02/18/14 11:08 PM 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: 3295
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Thanks Mark but frankly, I found Rubinstein to be sluggish. I would have to say that the very first two classical music vinyl records that I bought when I was 12 years old were Rubinstein playing the Beethoven Moonlight Sonata (I don't remember what else on that album) and Leonard Bernstein and Phillipe Entremont with the NY Philharmonic performing the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto #2.

While Rubinstein was considered a great master, I became less impressed with him over time. When I looked for examples of the Schubert Impromptu #4 Op. 90 (the piece that I think of as "manic-depressive"), for example,Rubinstein seemed to just plod through it with no emotion at all.

Here is the Rubinstein recording I found of that piece on You Tube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdnETWq7rcY

I had first heard this piece in 1995 at the PTG Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico where Baldwin had asked me for the third year in a row to tune the piano for its recital. I went for broke! I tuned the strongest non-equal temperament yet, the 1/7 Comma Meantone. I stretched the octaves in the way that I always had, equalizing 5ths and octaves, octave-fifths and double octaves, then double octave-fifths and triple octaves.

I knew that what I was doing was accurate because I did it using the Direct Interval method on the Sanderson Accu-Tuner. While I could hear aurally that I had perfect matches, I could find those matches electronically and record them. I could then "nail" each and every pitch I had decided upon with a whole unison. I did not use a calculated program, I created my own program knowing that all 88 notes of the piano would be just as I wanted them to be.

To be sure, that produced some very wide octaves in the high treble, such that RXD would be sure to condemn and would never fly on a London produced recording if I understand him correctly. But the young artist, a brilliant young man who had just finished High School and was about to enter Pre-Med school at a university and who was an Eagle Scout (in the Boy Scouts of America, that is the highest honor), seemed to seize upon the sheer power of emotion that the piano had to offer in the way it had been tuned.

He was a thoroughly stable young man, to be sure but capable of many things and among them was, in fact, exploration and expression of emotion in music. I still have an audio cassette of that performance somewhere among the thousands of recordings I have and will sooner or later transfer it to a digital format so that I can share that unique experience with everyone.

To be sure, not everyone liked it. Some technicians in the audience hated it so badly that they demanded that no such incident ever occur again at a PTG convention! But what really encouraged me beyond what I heard and the response from those who were as moved by the performance as I was, was that Mr. John Travis, the co-founder of PTG and the author of Let's Tune Up and A Guide to Restringing, approached me saying that he had been most impressed by the tuning. He said that the way the octaves sounded were what he had been after his whole life and he had finally heard what truly satisfied him!

With that in mind, when I went to visit Grandpianoman for the second time, I brought along a young artist to play for us after tunings had been completed. I had that Schubert piece in mind for a long time.

It just so happens that this young artist had actually suffered from the effects of Bi-Polar disorder but was stable and recovering from it. I spoke to him privately before I had him perform the piece. I said that I did not want him to be upset by the emotions that the piece had to offer but instead, try to find the euphoric ups and frenzied pace followed by a devastating crash into deep depression that the piece (at least for me) seemed to portray.

He did his best to portray those emotions but the EBVT III temperament in which the piano is tuned does not provide the strength of contrast that the 1/7 Comma Meantone does. He did not play it note perfectly either but I feel that he did capture what is there to express in the piece even though he may have "over acted" at certain points.

All that being said, I would rather listen to this rendition of the Schubert Impromptu #4, Op. 90 any day over the seemingly "tranquilized" version that Rubenstein had to offer:

https://app.box.com/s/21f5b6a2cc913170f55f

This is where I stand in opposition to RXD: Do we want all music from the piano to be neutralized and tranquilized to the point where it no longer projects its intended emotional effects? Do we really want all sharp edges rounded off? Do we really want "every valley to be exalted and the rough places made plain" so that everything we ever hear sounds like Muzak?

If so, everything we ever hear would be relegated to the "Easy Listening" bin at the record store. When I have gone to an occasional massage therapist and the practitioner put on some kind of music that they usually do which is supposed to be soothing and quieting, I asked that person to just shut it off because it did not soothe or relax me, it only irritated me because it was directionless and had no soul to it. The therapist seemed surprised at my remark but the next time, I brought in a CD of Vivaldi's Four Seasons and gave it to him as a gift.

Here is a bonus video that I intended to post when I came on here but found your comments. On January 4 of this year, I went to a suburb of Chicago to work all day on a Schimmel 7 foot grand piano that needed tuning, regulation and voicing. I chose, in this instance, to use the ET via Marpurg for the equal beating 4ths & 5ths properties that it has.

It allows for all octaves outside of the central (temperament) octave to be matched perfectly with the Octave, 4th and 5th below it so that when all four notes are played, absolutely NO beat is heard! When expanding into the 5th and 6th octaves, the octave, octave-fifth and double octave are played and the note being tuned is placed in a position that also results in a complete cancellation of all beats.

It is the very same as I did in the Jazz video recording that RXD condemned because of what he said he heard as "bleating" octaves and that my pitch was so far off the Helmholtz miracle mile standard that both the Bass player and Tubist could not play in tune with the piano.

My answer to RXD on all of that is that he was merely looking for something to criticize and that any Jazz instrument combination does not play their instruments in the same way as Classical musicians do nor would we ever expect or want them to! No such instrument ever plays anything in theoretical ET pitches!

If RXD expects all American Jazz musicians to play each and every note they play to match what Hermann Helmholtz came up with 150 years ago, then everything they play would sound like the Lawrence Welk Orchestra! That would not fly on Bourbon Street in New Orleans!

RXD has yet to produce a single link to a video or audio recording of what he says he thinks is the Holy Grail. Sure, he is too busy to do that. Sure, he does not spend time looking for such examples but he has plenty of time to tell us all that what any of us do would not fly in his neighborhood!

Sure, we all get it. He has been a session musician for longer than most of us have been alive. He has seen everything, heard everything, knows everything, is a specialist who doesn't even touch what most piano technicians have to do every day because is is at the very top level! He has now resolved it all down to a single solution but we have not heard a single example of that final solution yet!

The way the piano is tuned in that Jazz recording and the following You Tube video has the piano tuned as close to theoretical ET as the piano's inharmonicity permits. The piano is, in fact, in tune with itself, not with a Strobe Tuner!

If it would not fly in a London studio, I don't care! I am not in London and I never will be in one of its studios reducing everything I know about how to tune a piano to the state of Muzak! I am not the technician for CD recordings that very few people buy any more. Only the artists and ordinary customers I serve are paying me, so I don't care what London recording studio standards are. If anything, I would do anything else but that! I want the pianos I tune to at least have some expression and soul to them.

After a long day, the owner of the piano sat down to try it out and I captured this video on my Smart Phone. It is actually pretty amazing the quality that such a multi use, hand held device can capture!

http://youtu.be/_eqiw5XYNlA
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2233980 - 02/18/14 11:36 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1761
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
If RXD expects all American Jazz musicians to play each and every note they play to match what Hermann Helmholtz came up with 150 years ago, then everything they play would sound like the Lawrence Welk Orchestra!

Why do you bring up Helmholtz? He hated ET (at least in his book "on the sensations of tone").

While we're at it Arnold Schoenberg has a lot to say about ET too in his magnum opus "Harmolielehre" and it is all negative. I guess that's why he wrote almost nothing for keyboard except some tiny piano pieces and that organ piece.

Kees

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#2234046 - 02/19/14 03:40 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
rxd Online   happy
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1771
Loc: London, England
Hi. Bill. I have nothing to defend. Nothing to promote. I am only passing On information about the way things are here.

You appear to have something on your mind. I'm not going to quibble with misquotes and hype but leave it to the proven intelligence of the readership here to make up their own minds.

I only briefly skipped through your latest epistle, it's pitch correction season here and there's a bit more work to do than usual. At thIs part of my life, I have deliberately chosen to be employed by others so that I can concentrate on just the aspects of my job that I thoroughly enjoy. To that end, they know that if they want full value from me they can sit me behind a desk or in front of a piano... Their choice. It is a point of honor with me never to sit behind a desk. Consequently, even though I occasionally come across stuff that I would dearly like to show you all, I would have to spend time figuring out how to do if from behind... You got it.... A desk! All my posts are done on my cellphone in otherwise idle moments so I can't post examples. I have a life.
I thank you again for trolling through all those Greigs for me. Something I would never do. I find in general, that people do rush to do things for me without asking. Even you. Thanks.

I don't like ET any more than you do but I am locked into it by a job I joyfully choose to do. As I pace up and down my cell of ET minimum stretch, I begin to notice things that only someone imprisoned in this way would notice. Things left behind by generations of previous inmates. The scratches on the wall, an attempt at tunnelling out over there... All manner of fascinating detail. Accepting and working within well defined limits has well known benefits.

I don't disclose my identity. Given the cyberstalking and attempts at cyber bullying I tend to get, would you? Those at the centre of the international industry have already figured out who I am and respect my privacy.
_________________________
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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#2234098 - 02/19/14 08:33 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: 3295
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Oh, I understand about not wanting to reveal your identity, RXD, Grandpianoman keeps his identity confidential for the same reason. At least we now have it established that the way you write about tuning the piano (but never offer examples) is the way you are required to do it by those who employ you. Essentially, it is that way for me too since about half of my business comes from a dealer who does not want any of his pianos tuned in ET.

He has told me over and over that he does not want any piano that he has sold or any piano tuned through his dealership to sound like the pianos that have come from the other dealerships in the area (three of which have gone out of business in less than ten years).

Then, there are my own loyal clients, some of whom date back to 1978 who engage my services because they like the way I make the piano sound. So, I don't pay much attention to the technicians who try to tell me that what I do wouldn't work, couldn't work and shouldn't be tried.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2234127 - 02/19/14 09:38 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
rxd Online   happy
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1771
Loc: London, England
After the best part of fifty years of tuning I still get a kick out of ETD assisted aural tuning.

Bear with me closely on this one. I brought it up at a guild meeting in the seventies and was met with blank stares.

The old books speak of the strike point theory that the seventh and ninth partials should be suppressed and, because we can't have two strike points, the happy medium of setting the strike point somewhere between the two will, theoretically, suppress them both.
This never struck me (no pun intended) as adequate because, in theory, remember, this would suppress the eight partial and nothing else. (of course, in the top three octaves, the strike point goes where the tone regulator jolly well says it goes if he has to rehang hammers to put it there. But that's beside my point).

In the seventies, it was fashionable to speak of paying attention to triple octaves.

But wait , aren't triple octave one and the same eighth partial that was just theoretically suppressed by design????

But what of in actual practice? My ETD's go cross eyed when set to the eighth partial and the note three octaves below is sounded in the normal way. One of them picks up on the seventh partial and interprets it as a very flat eightth partial. When I pluck the string somewhere nearer the middle, my ETD's eventually settle down on the expected reading.

Are we all on the same page so far? Hopefully, enough of us can guess where I'm going with This
_________________________
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
#2234136 - 02/19/14 09:54 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: rxd]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 851
Originally Posted By: rxd
After the best part of fifty years of tuning I still get a kick out of ETD assisted aural tuning.

Bear with me closely on this one. I brought it up at a guild meeting in the seventies and was met with blank stares.

The old books speak of the strike point theory that the seventh and ninth partials should be suppressed and, because we can't have two strike points, the happy medium of setting the strike point somewhere between the two will, theoretically, suppress them both.
This never struck me (no pun intended) as adequate because, in theory, remember, this would suppress the eight partial and nothing else. (of course, in the top three octaves, the strike point goes where the tone regulator jolly well says it goes if he has to rehang hammers to put it there. But that's beside my point).

In the seventies, it was fashionable to speak of paying attention to triple octaves.

But wait , aren't triple octave one and the same eighth partial that was just theoretically suppressed by design????

But what of in actual practice? My ETD's go cross eyed when set to the eighth partial and the note three octaves below is sounded. One of them picks up on the seventh partial and interprets it as a very flat eightth partial. When I pluck the string somewhere nearer the middle, my ETD's eventually settle down on the required reading.

Are we all on the same page so far? Most Of you can guess where I'm going with This


I just finished an analysis of the partial frequencies and amplitudes (32 partials in the bass decreasing to four partials at C8) and found, on my BB, that the eight partial is almost nonexistent, and the seventh and ninth partials very prominent for most of the lower notes. Yet, in spite of that, I think I hear the eighth partial clearly.

Top
#2234137 - 02/19/14 09:55 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
After the best part of fifty years of tuning I still get a kick out of ETD assisted aural tuning.

Bear with me closely on this one. I brought it up at a guild meeting in the seventies and was met with blank stares.

The old books speak of the strike point theory that the seventh and ninth partials should be suppressed and, because we can't have two strike points, the happy medium of setting the strike point somewhere between the two will, theoretically, suppress them both.
This never struck me (no pun intended) as adequate because, in theory, remember, this would suppress the eight partial and nothing else. (of course, in the top three octaves, the strike point goes where the tone regulator jolly well says it goes if he has to rehang hammers to put it there. But that's beside my point).

In the seventies, it was fashionable to speak of paying attention to triple octaves.

But wait , aren't triple octave one and the same eighth partial that was just theoretically suppressed by design????

But what of in actual practice? My ETD's go cross eyed when set to the eighth partial and the note three octaves below is sounded in the normal way. One of them picks up on the seventh partial and interprets it as a very flat eightth partial. When I pluck the string somewhere nearer the middle, my ETD's eventually settle down on the expected reading.

Are we all on the same page so far? Hopefully, enough of us can guess where I'm going with This


I'll take a guess. By having variable strike points you can "have your cake and eat it too." You can have a very strong WT without any wild beating by suppressing certain partials! laugh laugh laugh
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

Top
#2234142 - 02/19/14 09:59 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: UnrightTooner]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 851
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Originally Posted By: rxd
After the best part of fifty years of tuning I still get a kick out of ETD assisted aural tuning.

Bear with me closely on this one. I brought it up at a guild meeting in the seventies and was met with blank stares.

The old books speak of the strike point theory that the seventh and ninth partials should be suppressed and, because we can't have two strike points, the happy medium of setting the strike point somewhere between the two will, theoretically, suppress them both.
This never struck me (no pun intended) as adequate because, in theory, remember, this would suppress the eight partial and nothing else. (of course, in the top three octaves, the strike point goes where the tone regulator jolly well says it goes if he has to rehang hammers to put it there. But that's beside my point).

In the seventies, it was fashionable to speak of paying attention to triple octaves.

But wait , aren't triple octave one and the same eighth partial that was just theoretically suppressed by design????

But what of in actual practice? My ETD's go cross eyed when set to the eighth partial and the note three octaves below is sounded in the normal way. One of them picks up on the seventh partial and interprets it as a very flat eightth partial. When I pluck the string somewhere nearer the middle, my ETD's eventually settle down on the expected reading.

Are we all on the same page so far? Hopefully, enough of us can guess where I'm going with This


I'll take a guess. By having variable strike points you can "have your cake and eat it too." You can have a very strong WT without any wild beating by suppressing certain partials! laugh laugh laugh


Now THAT is a very cool idea!

Top
#2235235 - 02/21/14 01:01 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: 3295
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Interesting that single octaves were "in" in the 50's and 60's but suddenly in the 70's, triple octaves were "in" and those dull, old single octaves were "out" but now, 40 years later, the wisdom of the dull, old, single octave is back "in". Sounds to me a lot like a "mini-skirt", "maxi-skirt" and "thong" competition!
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

Top
#2235606 - 02/21/14 04:46 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
rxd Online   happy
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1771
Loc: London, England
When I was younger, each manufacturer in London had a 'house style' of tuning. This is still true. When I introduced a colleague of mine to the director of a major piano company, I advised him to tune the piano a certain way to be sure of getting the attention of that company. The ploy worked. Had he been interested in another company, I would have advised him differently. Certain pianos require a slightly different approach than others. Generations of tuners who have grown up tuning one make of piano under all conditions learn a few things others don't get the opportunity to learn.

Flexibility was the answer in this case. Experienced professional musicians all play in subtly different ways for different conductors. They just know that if they want to stay working.

Show me the piano company that offers the best working conditions and I will tune their way in a minute

As far as fashions in tuning, nothing has changed since the early days of electronic recording when musicians and tuners really started to have a chance to listen intently to their product, At least for the one company that is doing pretty much all of the work.

The way to track fashions is perhaps to see how the guild exams have changed over the years since they have been formalised. Anybody noticed anything change with the PTG test over the years.

I am part of a large international project right now so, more later.
_________________________
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
#2235655 - 02/21/14 05:42 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
alfredo capurso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/10/07
Posts: 1085
Loc: Sicily - Italy
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Interesting that single octaves were "in" in the 50's and 60's but suddenly in the 70's, triple octaves were "in" and those dull, old single octaves were "out" but now, 40 years later, the wisdom of the dull, old, single octave is back "in". Sounds to me a lot like a "mini-skirt", "maxi-skirt" and "thong" competition!


Yes, perhaps also the route ...UT - Equal - and_back_to_Well temperaments might sound like what you say. But I do not think that would be a question of fashion nor competition, but frustration (I mean hearing-wise in practice) due to the inadequacy of the first ET model.

It was never explained how to tune that model in practice, the first ET (for us) was like "take it or leave it". Don't you think?

Regards, a.c.
.
_________________________
alfredo

Top
#2235664 - 02/21/14 05:55 PM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: rxd]
alfredo capurso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/10/07
Posts: 1085
Loc: Sicily - Italy
Originally Posted By: rxd
When I was younger, each manufacturer in London had a 'house style' of tuning. This is still true. When I introduced a colleague of mine to the director of a major piano company, I advised him to tune the piano a certain way to be sure of getting the attention of that company. The ploy worked. Had he been interested in another company, I would have advised him differently. Certain pianos require a slightly different approach than others. Generations of tuners who have grown up tuning one make of piano under all conditions learn a few things others don't get the opportunity to learn.

Flexibility was the answer in this case. Experienced professional musicians all play in subtly different ways for different conductors. They just know that if they want to stay working.

Show me the piano company that offers the best working conditions and I will tune their way in a minute

As far as fashions in tuning, nothing has changed since the early days of electronic recording when musicians and tuners really started to have a chance to listen intently to their product, At least for the one company that is doing pretty much all of the work.

The way to track fashions is perhaps to see how the guild exams have changed over the years since they have been formalised. Anybody noticed anything change with the PTG test over the years.

I am part of a large international project right now so, more later.


Brother Lustig,

The way to track you is... to read your posts, cannot wait..
.
_________________________
alfredo

Top
#2235749 - 02/21/14 11:20 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
Forgive me gentlemen. I am a newb compared to the long experience that you all have. But I have to ask, clean 2:1 octaves in the treble produce narrow 12ths and narrow triple octaves and extremely narrow 19ths. Why would anyone favour them?
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

Top
#2235779 - 02/22/14 01:54 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
rxd Online   happy
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1771
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Forgive me gentlemen. I am a newb compared to the long experience that you all have. But I have to ask, clean 2:1 octaves in the treble produce narrow 12ths and narrow triple octaves and extremely narrow 19ths. Why would anyone favour them?


It appears those same people who hire the best tuners they can find to tune their pianos every three or four hours.

The next question is, are they complete fools or do they know something we don't?

Because, as human minds, we ultimately can only judge by our own knowledge, those who would dismiss them as fools only prove their own foolishness.
. Who wold like to know what they know?

In the words of Sam and Janet Evening
"Who can explain it, who can tell you why?
Fools give you reasons, wise men never try".

Perhaps if we walked a mile in their moccasins?
_________________________
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
#2235783 - 02/22/14 02:18 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
rxd Online   happy
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1771
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: rxd
After the best part of fifty years of tuning I still get a kick out of ETD assisted aural tuning.

Bear with me closely on this one. I brought it up at a guild meeting in the seventies and was met with blank stares.

The old books speak of the strike point theory that the seventh and ninth partials should be suppressed and, because we can't have two strike points, the happy medium of setting the strike point somewhere between the two will, theoretically, suppress them both.
This never struck me (no pun intended) as adequate because, in theory, remember, this would suppress the eight partial and nothing else. (of course, in the top three octaves, the strike point goes where the tone regulator jolly well says it goes if he has to rehang hammers to put it there. But that's beside my point).

In the seventies, it was fashionable to speak of paying attention to triple octaves.

But wait , aren't triple octave one and the same eighth partial that was just theoretically suppressed by design????

But what of in actual practice? My ETD's go cross eyed when set to the eighth partial and the note three octaves below is sounded. One of them picks up on the seventh partial and interprets it as a very flat eightth partial. When I pluck the string somewhere nearer the middle, my ETD's eventually settle down on the required reading.

Are we all on the same page so far? Most Of you can guess where I'm going with This


I just finished an analysis of the partial frequencies and amplitudes (32 partials in the bass decreasing to four partials at C8) and found, on my BB, that the eight partial is almost nonexistent, and the seventh and ninth partials very prominent for most of the lower notes. Yet, in spite of that, I think I hear the eighth partial clearly.


Thank you for being the only one test this out and post about it.

I found that when I plucked the string it excited the eighth partial and then, and only then found it lining up quite well anyway, most of the time. When it didn't, it really didn't.

You say you think you hear them. Me too.

This leads me to question those who claim to use triple octaves or anything more exotic, like quadruple octaves and more, in their everyday tuning. How are they using them and how are they testing them? And I would advise them to be think and maybe experiment before they answer.
_________________________
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
#2235801 - 02/22/14 03:28 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21826
Loc: Oakland
I test with several large intervals as I am tuning octaves. I check one and two octaves of major thirds, fourths and fifths. I want the major thirds to beat roughly equally, and the octaves, fourths and fifths to be roughly pure.

Those of you who followed my previous discussion of partials would know that I do not think of a string vibrating in different modes simultaneously to form partials, but the string vibrates as a whole somewhat periodically, but varies as time goes by. It starts out somewhat like the portion of this graph from 0 to &#960;:



The graph is a bit of a distortion; the heights are too high to be exactly what it is supposed to emulate, which is the shape of the string when the hammer just rebounds from it.

As time passes, the maximum which is at 0.6 on the graph moves roughly from agraffe to bridge, reverses orientation, and moves back again upside-down as a minimum, like from -&#960; to 0 on the graph. It is a lot more complicated than that, of course. Back to that later!

Beats are the waves that are generated when the maxima of one note coincide with the maxima of another note, strengthening each other, or when the minima weaken each other, or when the zeros intersect each other.

It is late, so I will write more later. But I will leave you with the formula for that graph:

y=sin(x)+sin(2x)/2+sin(3x)/4+sin(4x)/8+sin(5x)/16+sin(6x)/32+sin(7x)/64

Those of you who know a little math know what that means!
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#2235814 - 02/22/14 04:29 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: prout]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
I think I am "tuned" to recognize an acceptable range of beat speeds, but while listening to music I am not supposed to hear them too much.

In tune is all but something that can be determined by size or beats. Musically more by size, certainly. But the perceived size differs with the context, so ...


Edited by Olek (02/22/14 09:51 AM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2235857 - 02/22/14 08:50 AM Re: Do we hear 'in tune' intervals by size or beats? [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 851
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Forgive me gentlemen. I am a newb compared to the long experience that you all have. But I have to ask, clean 2:1 octaves in the treble produce narrow 12ths and narrow triple octaves and extremely narrow 19ths. Why would anyone favour them?


Hi Mark,

I assume you mean that 2:1 octaves in the high treble produce narrow 12ths, 16ths, and 19ths with the notes below them. Yes they do, but the beat rates are too fast (ranging from 15bps to 108bps) and the sustain too short to be perceptible as beats. So the question remains, and has been variously answered here by many, in the case of the upper treble, do hear just the pureness of a 2:1 octave standing apart from the rest of the instrument, or do we hear those upper notes as being part of and fed by the lower notes?

Edit: I played the Trout last week and I definitely wanted and had pure octaves from C6-C8 - a necessary requirement when most of the piece is played in that range and mostly in octaves, and trying to be an ensemble instrument, not a soloist.


Edited by prout (02/22/14 08:59 AM)

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