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#621077 - 04/23/08 10:10 AM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4182
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Ron,

I too have received your temperament overnight in the mail. Looks very interesting and I would like to try this one out too with your permission of course. Thanks very much for the opportunity to have a little fun with it, tuning I meant.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#621078 - 04/23/08 11:56 AM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
Dan, you definitely do no need my permission. This temperament is not exclusively mine, nor did I come up with it. Hope it works well for you the first time around.
_________________________
-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

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#621079 - 04/23/08 12:13 PM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20747
Loc: Oakland
I am assuming you are talking about a tuning sequence, rather than a temperament. A temperament is the differences between pure intervals within an octave. A tuning sequence is the method one uses to achieve a temperament.

I described my tuning sequence (which is only approximate) in a post which lives in the FAQ area. Ron once told me it was similar to what he uses. However, I feel it is more important to understand the characteristics of the temperament as to learn a specific tuning sequence. The weakness of Owen Jorgensen's book on tuning temperaments by ear is that it is pretty much exclusively tuning sequences, with very little about the temperaments.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#621080 - 04/23/08 12:15 PM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
UprightTooner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/07
Posts: 839
Loc: North-East US
Good point, BDB!
_________________________
Part-time tuner

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#621081 - 04/23/08 01:08 PM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
Yes, very good point BDB. It would say it is a tuning sequence that achieves a temperament. It is the one I learned in school. Have tried other temperament sequences, but have always come back to this one. It took me a long time to be able to achieve the desired results.
_________________________
-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

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#621082 - 04/23/08 01:59 PM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4182
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
BDB,
Yes you are correct. My apologies there, it is a tuning sequence. Mixing my metaphors this morning……
Ron,
Thanks for the tuning sequence you sent me this morning. I will have some fun with it still.
That was all I chimed in for, nothing further to contribute.
Thanks to you both.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#621083 - 04/23/08 02:00 PM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Keith Roberts Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 1984
Loc: Murphys, Ca
I'm sure Bill can tune using any of the sequences that are being discussed. I was surprised when I found out how many hours and and what was required to be a CTE. It is not just being able to pass the RPT exam with a 98% or better. CTE is the equivalent of post graduate studies. This is like the the guys with the Bachelors degree argueing with the PhD.

I have seen Bill from when he was under attack on other forums for the checks and claims of his EBVT. With no other way to defend himself than to take his tuning skills to the limit, he has done just that. He now speaks from a base of knowledge and his willingness to help other is commendable.
Thanks Bill. You have come a long way. I haven't seen a good rant from you in a while. You ought to give one at the convention (tongue in cheek) and let everybody know you still have it.
_________________________
Keith Roberts
Associate, PTG
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca

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#621084 - 04/23/08 04:17 PM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4182
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Mr. Roberts
Quote,

"This is like the guys with the Bachelors degree arguing with the PhD."

You have missed it completely Mr. Roberts. Making this statement demonstrates not reading the material correctly. From the top of page three (this page) start again I guess, and read thoroughly. I don’t see anyone here making claims to a degree of anything with the exception of Dr. Braid White. He was a PhD. No-one else is here. No one makes this claim ever.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#621085 - 04/23/08 04:45 PM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Jeff A. Smith, RPT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/01/03
Posts: 476
Loc: Angola, Indiana USA
A few comments on what others have said:

Ron said:


 Quote:

To say, one method is superior to another is nonsense, and smacks of old fashioned ignorance.
Ron, I really have to wonder what makes you say that. Why is discussing the relative merits of different temperament sequences any different than discussing which lubricant is better for a particular application, why the newest rebuilding or repair method is better, etc.?

I gather you personally don’t use the Braid White sequence, although many still do. I personally used it for something like twenty-seven years before I saw the merits of the contiguous thirds system and switched. I couldn’t be happier with my decision.

I wonder if some of the antipathy Bill’s ideas meet with is do to the fact it takes a lot more time and study to learn a new temperament sequence than to buy a new lubricant, tool, or learn a new basic repair technique.


 Quote:

Everyone who wants to properly tune a piano is always striving. Striving to perfect what we know, and striving to learn something new.
And, hopefully, this open-minded attitude continues when reviewing the possibilities of new (or newer) ideas in temperament.

I want to congratulate you, Ron, on joining the PTG. I saw your name in the “New Members” section of the Journal. I think you’ll find that much of what Bill talks about isn’t stuff he personally came up with. Most of it is now accepted knowledge within the PTG, and that includes the need to evaluate different temperament sequences on their merits.

My personal view is that it's possible to talk about a particular sequence as being objectively "better," although we should acknowledge it may not be the sequence for everyone, and that others may be able to get the same results with another system.

Jerry said:

 Quote:
While I will still occasionally (not very often more for fun now) use the ET; usually in conjunction with other methods that I have learned and experimented with over the years, when I took my exam I used the old fashioned ET only because, that was what I was taught and I easily passed on my first try.
And, on the previous page:

 Quote:
Being on the tuning exam as you are, I also know the passing scores of many technicians. Many have far surpassed the CTE levels using the ET method. Just as many have failed. That doesn't mean they would have passed had they used your method or passed had they used my method. That means, they didn't have a good enough ear to pass and/or were improperly trained.
Jerry, I wonder if you’re confusing two things from Bill’s posts. He’s not criticizing ET (Equal Temperament) on this thread, although he has in the past. The temperament sequence he’s criticizing here (the Braid White 4ths and 5ths-centered ET sequence) is just being contrasted with other methods of tuning ET he (and myself, to be honest) considers superior.

I apologize, Jerry, if I misunderstood the posts of yours I quoted from.

Oh: Keep in mind Bill isn't criticizing Braid White as a person or as a technician in general, just certain aspects of his method. In fact, I'm sure Bill realizes the huge positive benefit Braid White has had on all of us.

I don't understand why objective analysis of methods has to imply something more personal.

Keith said:

 Quote:
I'm sure Bill can tune using any of the sequences that are being discussed. I was surprised when I found out how many hours and and what was required to be a CTE. It is not just being able to pass the RPT exam with a 98% or better. CTE is the equivalent of post graduate studies. This is like the the guys with the Bachelors degree argueing with the PhD.
It may be a trivial point, Keith, but my understanding is that an RPT has to have scored “only” 90% or above on the tuning exam, to qualify for training as a CTE. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but I think that’s what I learned from the area tech who’s my tuning “guru” when I need one. He passed with CTE-level scores twice, is the main teacher in our local chapter, but chose not to train as a CTE.

I agree with you there should be more openness to Bill’s ideas and that he is qualified to talk about these things -- even if he could probably be a bit more diplomatic sometimes.

Jeff
_________________________
Jeff A. Smith
Registered Piano Technician
Indiana, USA

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#621086 - 04/23/08 05:07 PM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Anne Francis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 548
Loc: Toronto, ON
 Quote:

A couple of years ago, I read that Anne had been taught the Braide-White method at a PTG convention. I was quite concerned about that. My comments reached the person who had been the instructor, whose name I do not recall, it was someone I don't know. Of course, there was the same indignation about it as has been expressed here. It was defended as the "classic" approach. When I pointed out the pitfalls of it, I only received angry and defensive remarks, the kind which didn't respond to the points I made but attacked me personally.

[/QB]
When I read this, I said, "What???" Then I remembered. Yes, we had a conversation about this after the convention in Rochester. I was pretty much a rank beginner and most of it went over my head.

I've since studied your papers on aural temperament tuning for ETD tuners to try the exam, Bill, and will continue to work on that and other stuff.

Thanks, Jeff Smith, for lending some common sense to this discussion.
_________________________
Anne Francis
PTG Associate Member

Check out my blog! www.annefrancis.ca/blog

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#621087 - 04/23/08 06:06 PM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Hey Jeff,

Yeah, you're right Jeff, it is a passing score of 90%. RPT's have to pass by 80%. Plus, CTE's have to retake every 5 years. RPT's never have to retake.

I don't mind being corrected. \:\) We all screw up. Instead of me saying "Being on the tuning exam as you are, I also know the passing scores of many technicians. Many have far surpassed the CTE levels using the ET method." --- I should have said that I am on the examining committee as you are so, I also know the passing scores etc..

Yes, Jeff, we can all take things out of context for sure. It is sometimes difficult to understand how things are meant and can easily be taken wrong. Thanks for pointing that out. \:\)

Frankly, if there are other methods available, I think we'd be foolish to ignore them and at the very least, we should at least take a look at them. That's why over the years, I've expanded my own methods, playing around with various ways, trying new things.

And, for the record, in case anyone is wondering, you shouldn't be, I am not for or against using any one particular method of tuning. There are many different ways to come to the same conclusions. That was one of my points, or, so I thought?

I think many are missing that point. There is NO ONE RIGHT WAY of tuning.. If Bill's method is better, great! Use it! If you think yours is better, great! Use it! Use whatever works for you. \:\) I do.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#621088 - 04/23/08 07:03 PM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
Jeff wrote:
Ron, I really have to wonder what makes you say that. Why is discussing the relative merits of different temperament sequences any different than discussing which lubricant is better for a particular application, why the newest rebuilding or repair method is better, etc.?[/b]

Jeff, discussing the relative merits of different temperament sequences is no different that discussing new lubricants. I agree with you there. This whole thread has been a discussion, nothing less; nothing more. We all have our opinions. When it comes to experience, there are many levels. The thing I was at least trying to point out, because I know some who felt that what was being said was almost an attack on their methods, was to state that just because a method is old and may be antiquated to some degree is no reason to invalidate everything a book or person put forth in theory or practice.

My comment was not directed to Mr. Bremmer, nor to anyone else here. I just happen to feel that rejection (if that is what is it) of a particular set of ideas with no room for further study or review ignorance. Sorry it was taken that way.

NOTE TO KEITH:

Just a question Keith. Have we come to a point in this forum, where unless we have credentials or a "Bachelor's Degree" we cannot make points or make comments; even take issue with someone on a PhD level????? Is a PhD a sign of infallability?

And why is it that when the discussion is raging, and emotions are alread on the high side, you usually come in and stoke the fire!!!!!

No one was attacking Mr. Bremmer, in my opinion.
We all respect him. On a personal note, he has forgotten more about piano tuning than I know!!
I took issue with one single statement. I dont believe Braid White's information is completely obsolete. Granted, it as been demonstrated since his book, and especially in more recent times there are better ways. But he provided some degree of basis upon which current knowledge is based. Can someone at least give Braid White that much!!!!

Gosh, here I am taking up for Braid White, and I dont even use his method.
_________________________
-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

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#621089 - 04/23/08 10:16 PM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Keith Roberts Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 1984
Loc: Murphys, Ca
Does the word 'like' mean anything? I said this is LIKE guys with a Bach degree arguing with the Phd. I could have said it was more like high school kids arguing with the teacher. I did not say anyone has any degrees unless you count RPT and CTE as degrees. I think they are. I miss a few things on a whole page but it appears that my post was the one misread. You only had one post to read and you screwed that up, Don.

Remember, that 90% on the tuning test only qualifies one to take the rest of the training. It is like the written test as a prelude to the RPT test. It does not mean you will ever be a CTE.
_________________________
Keith Roberts
Associate, PTG
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca

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#621090 - 04/23/08 10:25 PM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
So the gospel according to Keith is, bend the knees, bow down, worship. And never qustion the teacher. Is that about right Keith!!!!
_________________________
-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

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#621091 - 04/23/08 10:56 PM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Keith Roberts Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 1984
Loc: Murphys, Ca
I never said that either. Asking questions is one thing. Disagreeing with the answer is another.
Which one did you mean Ron?
_________________________
Keith Roberts
Associate, PTG
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca

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#621092 - 04/23/08 11:11 PM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
The only thing I recall where there was disagreement was the statement that White's method is obsolete. Antiquated maybe, updated by
others, Yes. But I did not read any statements that really disagreed with the temperament sequence comments Bill set forth. And I certainly do not see anything that would be an attack upon Bill. Maybe he took some things that way, I will not try to speak for him. But I did not.

I did see what you wrote as an attack upon the credibility of several here. I ask again, is there no respect or credibility unless one is an RPT, or CTE. Maybe many of us are wasting time here!!! And I see you are also a PTG Associate.
Maybe we should just keep quiet and be more subdued until we reach RPT status. Right Keith?
_________________________
-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

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#621093 - 04/24/08 12:45 AM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3036
Loc: Madison, WI USA
This discussion sure has veered quite far from the original poster's question! I'll set a few things from my own perspective straight. I never mention my college degrees because I didn't learn a single thing, nothing, about what I know about tuning in school. I only learned what is valuable to me today from my association with PTG. I can't mention any official titles with PTG except RPT.

I first learned and used the Braide-White method. The best I could do with the knowledge provided was at that time, considered Apprentice level. But attending PTG seminars and conventions, reading the Journal and attending factory training sessions allowed me to upgrade my knowledge and skills.

Working with the tuning exam committees ever since I became an RPT in October of 1982 also proved to be a great source of knowledge and skills. I've always tried to gain more knowledge and skill each year. Writing on Pianotech and this forum has helped me learn better writing skills as well.

PTG engaged me to be a private tuning tutor in 2006 and 2007 at the conventions. As is often stated, the teacher learns from the students. After many years of working with tuning exam committees and after taking on the task of helping ETD users to learn aural tuning skills starting in 2003 and then working with 30 students each, one-on-one at the conventions, I learned a lot about how different people perceive tuning and what works for people when other methods have not.

I have also encountered people who have worked for so long with a traditional method that they have extreme difficulty adapting their skills to anything beyond what they have always known and used. I am most interested in helping PTG Associates who lack the aural tuning skills to pass Part 1 of the tuning exam acquire the needed skills. I never judge anyone. There are piano technicians who possess skills I will never even approach. I don't rebuild although I did spend seven years doing it in the late 1980's and early 1990's. I know just enough about that end of the business to know that it is not for me. I never intalled or drilled a pinblock, never fabricated a soundboard and never will. People I worked with did that for me. I concentrated on stringing and action rebuilding, regulation and voicing and of course, tuning the instruments I rebuilt.

I have been fortunate that most people who have taken tuning exams at which I was on the exam committee have done very well. But no one who either passes, even with very high scores or fails is judged by a single person. It is all a very clinical and routine process and the desire on everyone's part is for success. If it doesn't happen the first time, everything possible is done to see that success may come the next time.

I've taken the subject of tuning alone to be my specialty. All PTG RPTs are tuners. Virtually everyone who participates regularly on this forum is a piano tuner as well. Most people have a set of skills they are best at. Mine just happens to be the most common skill of all, tuning. If I can help anyone at all, novice or seasoned veteran or anywhere in between improve the scope of knowledge of tuning, the very complex and infinitely challenging art that it is; that is what my interest in participation here is all about.

So, I do have certain strongly held opinions about certain issues. To me, methodology is doomed to obsolescence, no matter what subject is involved. I mentioned Sigmund Freud, for example, a pioneer in psychoanalysis. His work built a foundation, yes, but some of what he believed seems like a joke today.

Hermann Helmholtz gave us the theoretical frequencies for equal temperament which Braide-White published in his book with much emphasis on the point that this was the model we should strive for. Today, we only use that information as a point of reference as we program our ETD's to do anything and everything but tune to theoretical values.

When I look at the books my parents studied from in college, they also look so primitive, completely obsolete. I studied French as well as music in college. I still revere the text I first learned French from back in the early 1970's. It was still being used for the very last two years when I was a grad student at the University of Wisconsin and I was able to teach from it as a teaching assistant. I was told that it was viewed then as obsolete and so was to be discontinued. I felt the very same feelings about that as I witnessed here about the Braide-White text which is nearly 100 years old! When that French textbook came into use, it was viewed as a breakthrough, the perfect method. I surely did learn from it but it also didn't teach me everything. 10 years later it was discarded.

So, I ask people here to take that as an example. The Braide-White text was valuable in its time and still does contain sound and valuable information. But it does not contain certain key information that is widely known and practiced today. Unfortunately, there really isn't any recent book that contains everything that really should be taught today. It's all scattered in manuals and smaller texts, articles and as part of courses taught in a few places in North America. The idea of gathering everything together which would teach everything important about the subject of tuning alone is an overwhelming task!

Still, I embrace the idea of coming up with ideas that can prove helpful to people and that can be proven to work. I also like to offer people choices to find what may work for people with different abilities to learn based on age and past experience. I'm not interested in telling people for whom a classically taught method has worked well to change what they know how to do already. I am interested in providing the knowledge of more contemporary techniques to those for whom the classic method has proved to be inadequate.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#621094 - 04/24/08 02:31 AM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
SilentMark Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 26
Loc: Reston, VA
Thanks for the encouragement, Bill.

I found something to add on the topic of historical temperaments. The piano technician's guild has a neat chart that maps composers from different historical eras to the temperaments that were common at the time. The suggestion is that these are the temperaments those composers used. It follows that using a like temperament would best capture that composer's intent.

Of course, there is a counterargument. How can anyone like me raised on the Beatles, Gershwin, Beethoven, Stravinsky, Bill Evans, and Theolonious Monk ever "hear" Scarlatti the same way his contemporaries heard Scarlatti? Our mental context is so very different.

Still, it is interesting to contemplate. Even if we cannot actually react to the harmony the same way, is it not helpful to recreate what the harmony really was?

http://rollingball.com/TemperamentsFrames.htm

I was struck by the fact that the Chopin and Schumann fell into the time frame for the Victorian Well temperament featured so prominently in Bill's web pages.

By following links from the above chart, you can get technical details on the tunings for a large number of temperments from each period. Fascinating stuff.
_________________________
The rest is silence. -- "Hamlet", Act 5 scene 2

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#621095 - 04/24/08 09:53 AM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3036
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Thanks for your comment Mark. What I find most interesting about that chart is how Meantone (in this case, 1/4 comma Meantone) spans the largest time frame of all temperaments used. It includes all of J.S. Bach's period even though what we most often hear and read is something like "Bach invented ET, wrote the Well Tempered Clavier music to show how great it is and tuned his own piano that way", none of which is true. The piano as we know it didn't even exist at that time. The cast iron frame and steel strings weren't used until the late 19th Century.

1/4 Meantone, at the opposite end of the spectrum from ET included most of Beethoven's period and even persisted into Chopin's and Schubert's periods but don't try to play Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu or Schubert's Scherzo in Ab in that temperament! The "wolf" 5th in Ab would be 36 cents wide and 4 of the M3s would be 41 cents wide!

Braide-White has a whole section about 1/4 Comma Meantone in his book where he "tips his hat" to it as he says, "may it rest in peace". It seems to me that many people, including piano technicians think in terms of either one or the other, ET or 1/4 Comma Meantone, that is, one extreme or the other with nothing in between. The recent book called "Temperament" served to reinforce that notion. Since we can only make one choice or the other, we naturally *must* go for ET. It strongly insists that virtually all music since Bach's time wouldn't even exist if we hadn't, which of course, is not at all true.

If you tune a modern piano in 1/4 Comma Meantone, I think you will actually be shocked at the effects it produces. Some of the keys will sound very "pure" yes but they will also be bereft of the usual resonance that we are used to hearing. Dissonances that the composers wrote will sound overly dissonant. I remember one attendee at a PTG Convention shout out when one of the small minor thirds of 1/4 Comma Meantone was played, "That's out of tune!".

If you have a piano of your own that you can tune this way, that's the best way to experience it but be aware that some of the notes you will tune will be as much as 21 cents sharp and 17 cents flat of where they would be in ET. One of our contributors on here suggests that is far too much to alter a fine concert grand, that it can be damaging to its strings.

I am of the opinion that 1/4 Comma Meantone is best for harpsichord and forte piano tuning. The kind of non-equal temperament tuning I typically do is really only a slight shade of difference from actual ET. You can play any music from any period on it just as you can with ET but when you go to music as early as Monteverdi or Scarlatti, it really doesn't do it justice. It does help any music from the 18th Century forward however, regain the kind of distinction between keys that is totally lost in ET.

I think of the modern piano as a Victorian age (late 19th Century) instrument, so it is best tuned in a temperament which was used at that time, almost equal but still well tempered. So, playing Bach or Scarlatti or really anything composed before the late 19th Century on the modern piano, no matter how it is tuned will always be different from what the composers ever heard.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#621096 - 04/24/08 11:10 AM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Keith Roberts Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 1984
Loc: Murphys, Ca
Sorry if it appeared as an attack on credibility. I think it got perceived that way because there were already other attacks in progress.
_________________________
Keith Roberts
Associate, PTG
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca

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#621097 - 04/24/08 11:27 AM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20747
Loc: Oakland
 Quote:
I think of the modern piano as a Victorian age (late 19th Century) instrument, so it is best tuned in a temperament which was used at that time, almost equal but still well tempered. So, playing Bach or Scarlatti or really anything composed before the late 19th Century on the modern piano, no matter how it is tuned will always be different from what the composers ever heard.
Very late Victorian, or even later. Certainly the pianos of today are much different than anything that Chopin or Schumann played. I find it startling to play Rossini's piano music, because he was probably the earliest born composer to write exclusively for the modern Steinway, and he uses the characteristics of the modern piano, even though his style is much earlier.

There were studies of how well pianos were tuned in those days. I think Helmholz might have done one. There were discrepancies among Broadwood's tuners. I think that the standard it was measured against was equal temperament.

Even modern pianos vary from time to time. I recently tuned Bill Evan's last (?) piano, and it is showing a good deal of wear.
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#621098 - 04/24/08 11:50 AM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Keith Roberts Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 1984
Loc: Murphys, Ca
For me, the Braid White people are stuck. I am one of those novices who is looking for the key to helping me tune aurally. I really liked Anne's comment that the RBIs made her tense and the Braid white seemed more natural. I am the same way. However after reading this discussion, I realize that the RBIs are necessary to learn. The RPTs in my chapter say the same thing. CM3s. As much as I would like Bill and the others to be wrong and I could find a way to tune accurately and fast with just the pretty pure intervals, I don't think there is any way to avoid learning the RBIs.
This is from the standpoint of a rank beginer. I am trying to set the foundation and I want it built with the best available.
_________________________
Keith Roberts
Associate, PTG
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca

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#621099 - 04/24/08 12:05 PM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
UprightTooner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/07
Posts: 839
Loc: North-East US
Keith:

Please don't think this is a loaded question. Why do you want to tune aurally?
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#621100 - 04/24/08 12:41 PM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Roy123 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 1694
Loc: Massachusetts
 Quote:
Originally posted by BDB:
[QUOTE]I recently tuned Bill Evan's last (?) piano, and it is showing a good deal of wear. [/b]
What was it? I know he had a Knabe grand in his apartment for quite some time.

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#621101 - 04/24/08 12:45 PM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20747
Loc: Oakland
A Yamaha C7.
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#621102 - 04/24/08 08:50 PM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3036
Loc: Madison, WI USA
BDB, Jorgensen documented it well in the big red book. The Broadwood factory tuners were ordered to tune the pianos in ET so that is what they were actually trying to do. However, because of their 4ths and 5ths sequences and propensity for still making C Major sound something like C Major and F# Major for sounding as it always had before, they ended up tuning a very mild, nearly equal but not quite, well temperament. However, it was considered to be ET even though by today's standards it is not. Those temperaments would score somewhere below PTG's minimum standards for ET.

Compare that to what very often happens when Braide-White's instructions are followed, either all or in part. A chain of 4ths and 5ths are tuned. Disliking the sound of any tempering at all, especially in the 5ths, at the end of the sequence, the last octave doesn't work, so the tuner backs up through the sequence until a point is reached where 4ths and 5ths seems to have been reconciled.

Having ignored entirely the effect on M3s and M6s, the result is a temperament about as unequal as the Broadwood type, it may pass the PTG Exam or may fall just slightly short but instead of producing historically precedented well tempered harmony, it is more or less the reverse of it. The tuner believes in ET, intends to tune ET, doesn't realize what unintentional effects have occurred and doesn't recognize them for what they are.

People do accept these kind of tunings, not knowing the difference. The unintended inequality isn't usually so bad that most people would. But it isn't what is intended and that's why aural tuners who really want to tune ET need to learn to perceive and control the RBI's along with 4ths and 5ths.

The appeal of a typical 4ths and 5ths sequence is how easy it is to remember. It seems to flow smoothly. Contiguous M3s are difficult to learn and perceive comparatively. Any sequence that specifically avoids compounded errors seems to jump around between unrelated keys. It is atonal. It has often been said that ET is the very most difficult temperament to perfect. It is quite true and it requires a high degree of skill. Simply choosing the easiest sequence is not enough.

I remember in my early days, a woman walking into the room saying, "There doesn't seem to be any pattern to what you're doing!" She must have been used to hearing a cycle of 5ths sequence but those are clearly best for tuning a cycle of 5ths based temperament such as a well-temperament or a type of meantone.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#621103 - 04/24/08 09:05 PM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
Bill, I learned something here. I really did. For years, while trying to perfect the C temperament with Contiguous Thirds, out of frustration I resorted to tuning the temperament through 4ths and 5ths. Getting those Thirds to pregress smoothly and just a wee bit faster with each successive Third, I cant tell you how many times I felt like giving up. And to top it off, when I reached the last two octaves, it just did not sound right to me. I think you explained why above.

Thanks goodness 80% to 90% of the piano owning public cannot tell the difference between a good tuning and one not so good, or I would never have learned or learned with my reputation in tact.
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-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

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#621104 - 04/25/08 02:25 AM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20747
Loc: Oakland
Of course, the biggest problem I see is pianos tuned so that unisons or octaves are RBIs, and I cannot for the life of me blame that on Braid-White. \:\)
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Semipro Tech

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#621105 - 04/25/08 10:21 AM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3036
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Yes, you can blame it on Braide-White! There is no way you can tune octaves in the lower part of octave 1 of a small piano without creating an RBI. You have the choice between an RBI between the 12th partial of the lower note and the 8th partial of the upper note which sounds pleasant and musical to the ear, like a resonance, or a growling wide octave which eliminates the beats between those upper partials but creates an unpleasant dissonance between the lower partials.

Braide-White only says to tune them "pure" which is quite impossible although he does acknowledge that those notes will be flatter than theoretical because of inharmonicity. These two ideas conflict with each other.

He also provides two different tests for octaves at different points in the text, one is for a 4:2 and the other for a 6:3 but he does not identify them as such and seems to think they are interchangeable which is not true because they each provide different results. Braide-White only acknowledges what he thinks of as "pure" octaves.

On the other end of the piano, yes, one can tune 2:1 octaves from the midrange to the top. C5 from C4, C6 from C5, C7 from C6 and C8 from C7. Those octaves, when played alone will sound beatless. However, beginning at C6, that will create a narrow double octave from C4-C6 and the octave and 5th (12th) will begin beating intolerably. The higher you go, the more 12ths will beat, to the point where they become RBIs. That sounds "flat" and unacceptable to most, if not all people.

Now, I am sure that Braide-White himself did not tune that way but if you take the text literally, that is what will happen. Therefore, there is a conflict between what the text says and what one must actually do. Among all of the people who use the Braide-White system and tune excellent sounding pianos and have successfully passed the PTG Tuning Exams, they also had to ignore what was written and use other information from somewhere else to tune the piano properly.

No PTG Exam Master Tuning, even with the most conservatively stretched octaves agrees with a literal interpretation of the Braide-White text. There is an exception however and that is with the unisons. They must be beatless and the PTG Tuning Exam agrees with that and so do I. There are many technicians however, who do advocate adding "color" to the tuning by putting beats in the unisons, however slow they may be, they are still beats. I've never heard of anyone saying the unisons should be RBIs.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#621106 - 04/25/08 09:46 PM Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3789
A piano with perfect unisons sounds cold and sterile to me. It's not really a beat at all - it's a certain sound that I look for in a unison, created by a very slight frequency difference. The frequency difference still passed the PTG unison test with room to spare.
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