Best UT for Voice Teacher

Posted by: daniokeeper

Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/15/13 08:18 PM

Hello,

I have to do a tuning next week for classically trained voice instructor. I brought up the subject of using a UT. I suggested the 1/10 CM, thinking that it was already so close to ET she could get the benefits of a UT, but still remain very close to ET.

She said OK to the UT... whatever I think is best.

So I was wondering if any of the more musicologically inclined UT folks here might have a better suggestion as to an ideal UT for voice instruction. Or, if 1/10 CM might be best to start with.

Thanks,
-Joe
Posted by: BDB

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/15/13 08:54 PM

Whatever works for one student will not be the same for the next student that needs the piano part transposed up or down.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/15/13 09:49 PM

Originally Posted By: BDB
Whatever works for one student will not be the same for the next student that needs the piano part transposed up or down.


Precisely! I tuned an EBVT on my BB and my wife, a classical voice teacher threw a fit. any of the vocal works are not in the original key, and what sounded great in D major does not necessarily work in G flat. Transposition up or down a major third is quite common.

Don't do it. Stick with your best quasi ET tuning. IMO
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/15/13 09:51 PM

Thank you! Thank you! Thank for the advice!

Edit: I hadn't thought of the necessity for transposition and equivalent harmonization. I'm not even going with a QE... I'm going with ET.

ET it is!

Thanks,
-Joe
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/15/13 09:53 PM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: BDB
Whatever works for one student will not be the same for the next student that needs the piano part transposed up or down.


Precisely! I tuned an EBVT on my BB and my wife, a classical voice teacher threw a fit. any of the vocal works are not in the original key, and what sounded great in D major does not necessarily work in G flat. Transposition up or down a major third is quite common.

Don't do it. Stick with your best quasi ET tuning. IMO


I apologize for my spelling above, should have said "many of the vocal..." Yeah, I know, D to G flat is a diminished fourth, not a major third, so shoot me.
Posted by: chuck belknap

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/15/13 10:07 PM

Tune EBVT III. They will absolutely love it. I tune for several voice teachers, one of whom sang with the New York Opera Company adore the sound and support it gives them.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/15/13 10:22 PM

Originally Posted By: chuck belknap
Tune EBVT III. They will absolutely love it. I tune for several voice teachers, one of whom sang with the New York Opera Company adore the sound and support it gives them.


It depends on the style of singing and the genre of the repertoire. If the student is working on early repertoire where very little vibrato is used, a transposed piece in EBVT III can be downright disturbing. If the student is aspiring to sing opera, the amount of vibrato used will cover up any harshness in the temperament. Quoting the Larousse Encyclopedia of Music regarding Vibrato - "...and in the Opera, the vibrato may become so wide as to leave the listener in doubt as to which pitch is being aimed for."
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/16/13 01:34 AM

Thank you BDB, Mwm, and Chuck!

I think that since this is a new client for me, I will tune ET this time. But, I will suggest that she try another piano she should have access to that is already tuned in 1/10 CM. Then, she can see what she thinks.

Since this is a new client, I was hoping to wow her with a very mild UT. But for now, I think I'll be very conservative on her piano.

Thanks for all the advice. You all make very valid points.

Thanks,
-Joe
Posted by: RonTuner

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/16/13 08:45 AM

When making this kind of choice there is a matter of degree of change to consider. Jason Kanter's www.rollingball site is very helpful with this. I wouldn't move any note more than about 1.5 cents from ET for an ET replacement for vocal use. Keys are arbitrary based on vocal ranges, though the music is usually tonal in nature...

Posted by: rxd

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/16/13 12:23 PM

Fascinating.

What would be a suitable temperament for Winterreise? (assuming original keys).

And why.

This came up a few weeks ago. The answers may hold a clue to your question.
Posted by: RonTuner

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/16/13 01:08 PM

That was written early 1800's - probably on a piano in a fairly strong well temperament...

That doesn't mean that a stronger temperament would sound good to 'modern' ears!
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/16/13 01:20 PM

Originally Posted By: rxd
Fascinating.

What would be a suitable temperament for Winterreise? (assuming original keys).

And why.

This came up a few weeks ago. The answers may hold a clue to your question.


I have played, using various unequal temperaments for four decades, repertoire where it seems that the composer clearly understood the effect of choosing a particular key in which to write would have on the piece. This shows up clearly in the organ, harpsichord and clavichord. It would also be wonderful on a piano, as long as you played everything in the original key. the Rollingball site gives a good overview of the the temperaments thought ot be in use at various time periods.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/16/13 01:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: rxd
Fascinating.

What would be a suitable temperament for Winterreise? (assuming original keys).

And why.

This came up a few weeks ago. The answers may hold a clue to your question.


I have played, using various unequal temperaments for four decades, repertoire where it seems that the composer clearly understood the effect of choosing a particular key in which to write would have on the piece. This shows up clearly in the organ, harpsichord and clavichord. It would also be wonderful on a piano, as long as you played everything in the original key. the Rollingball site gives a good overview of the the temperaments thought ot be in use at various time periods.


Having no more experience that tuning among tuners that used some sort of Well temperament involuntarily, I could not say how it could be done voluntarily as when we tune under and above we tend to re-conciliate the intervals, I hardly see how the pattern use din the mid range can be expanded

I believe that the piano itself is an instrument that push toward ET by itself, because of the way the scaling is done, also

If an UT provide a few "acoustically pure 5ths" in the medium range, when we expand in the treble those 5ths will get too large (which is awful musically in my opinion)

If the original UT relations are respected , I suggest that the octaves will have zero stretch , and can sound sour.

If you tuned on organ or harpsichord you do not deal with any octave enlarging (to obtain the "acoustically pure octave)

I would suggest that tuning voluntarily an UT on a piano mean having in the ear the quality of the different 5 ths and reproducing them all along (not tuning by octaves then.

I noticed a piano / a tuner appreciated by the singers can have an absence of perceptible stretch, I have seen one tuner at the Opera that use short octaves all along (even shorter than the ones of the Yamaha tuners.

The singers liked the result. However the piano could not be used really as a soloist instrument then, it was perfect for the rehearsals, not used on stage.


The main problem I find is that installing long term stability in UT on a piano (concert tuning i.e ; tuning to make the piano easy to tune later) must be difficult.

Could be interesting in the case enough pianos are availeable , one room can be dedicated to meantone another to Kellner, etc.

One may use a C fork to tune UT's I believe.

BTW I asked my brother (violin soloist) if he tune "pure" 5ths on his violin, and he explained me that no he tune slightly tempered 5th and consider them to be more musical; It allow also to be more at ease with other instruments I believe.

About theory, the 5th is considered as the less interesting interval, in harmony, so having them tuned "pure" is mostly a trick to obtain a reinforcing of partial matching, it have no real justification musically speaking (unless very old music is played ,as "Barocco" music, often played straight, with no much enlightenment - there also, with or without real musical justification, as pretending that in those times the stringed instruments did not imitate the singers and pretending the singers did not vibrate their voice, seem a bit far for my ears)

All the literature about UT is addressing the Organ and the harpsichord . Then the purity of the pattern is probably easier to preserve.

PS in fat I tuned a few organs and harpsichords in Ut's (meantone mostly, meantone is really something, in the good context)That is then I discovered that the player could tune a better meantone by ear , than me with my "perfect intervals" computed by a Verituner. I had to learn doing it by ear to satisfy the players.



Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/16/13 04:13 PM

Your observations are very interesting Isaac. As you mention, a relatively straight tone is used now in most Baroque and Rococo, and even classical repertoire performed by period orchestras and soloists. The soloists, however, use vibrato as an ornament with great effect. I mentioned in an earlier thread that the string players in chamber ensembles often tune each string to the corresponding note on the continuo keyboard, which changes from performance to performance according to the UT used.

Like you, I think the best tunings on the piano seem to converge on an equal temperament.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/16/13 09:47 PM

Thanks again for the additional comments and info Mwm, Ron, and Isaac smile

Isaac,

I do notice the effect you are referring to re the 5ths. I wonder if you ever tried the Moscow Equal-Beating Pythagorean Temperament. If you go to the RollingBall site and look under Pythagorean Temperaments, and then check Moscow's temperament, you'll notice that all the 5ths are either pure or beat at 1.4 beats per second. This should give plenty of room to finesse things as the temperament is expanded outward.

I do find it fascinating that the Verituner does not do an adequate job on other low-inharmonicity keyboards. But maybe there is a way, if you want to experiment...

I posted a question back in 2001 on the Verituner Forum about pipe organ tuning. Dave C. himself answered the question. Since you are a Verituner user, I assume you are a member of that forum. Here is the link:
http://sforum.veritune.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=18

He suggests using the Measured function, since it has zero inharmonicity.

I would just Copy and Paste the text here, but the VT Forum requires a login to even just view the posts. I'm not sure that it would be OK for me to post his reply verbatim here on a public forum.

If you cannot get access to the forum for whatever reason, PM me and I'll PM you the text of the posts back.

-Joe
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/17/13 01:40 PM

Interesting discussion. Since I have been tuning the EBVT for more than 20 years for most of my clients, including several voice teachers, I can't take the "don't do it" warning seriously. Also, the dealer I work for has voice teachers in the studios and they always use 1/7 Comma Meantone.

The transposition issue comes up fairly often. Those who advocate ET only always jump on it. It is always about what you couldn't do if you tuned in a non-equal temperament. So, let me make it clear that all of that is nonsense. Otherwise, I have made my living for the past 24 years doing what "wouldn't work, couldn't work and shouldn't be tried".

Also, if a piece of vocal material is at or near the limit of one's range (either low or high), transposing up or down a half step does not help much. It would also be more difficult for the pianist. Vocal pieces are rarely written in the remote keys. Just take a look at any vocal book which is offered in several voice ranges. They simply do not transpose anything up or down an augmented 4th! Nor do they by only a half step.

If someone is working on material written in the 17th or early 18th Century, that material would have been originally heard in 1/4 Meantone. To put it in ET moves the temperament to the complete opposite end of the spectrum where everything vibrates analogously all the time. It would never be written in a remote key! To transpose something written in D Major to G-flat Major simply does not make sense. In fact, that was one of the jokes in the English language, stage play version of La Cage aux Folles. It was funny because it was absurd.

There is something to be gained and something to be lost in any and every decision made with regards to both temperament and octave stretch. I saw once again the suggestion about pure 5ths. Piano tuners sure do seem to like pure 5ths. But the consequence of them is to have 21 cent wide Major thirds.

If you stretch the octave wide enough that the 5ths become pure, the Major thirds will all become wider and more dissonant. The 4ths will also beat noticeably. It is certainly not going to help with voice study. Not long ago, I was called to a recording studio where someone had done that. The strings and winds complained that they could not play in tune with the piano.

So, if all things considered, your choice is still ET, I suggest you go with the kinder and gentler version of ET, the ET via Marpurg that I will be presenting at the convention this Summer. It is what I did for that recording studio. It just so happens that I will be using it to tune the piano for the local opera company rehearsals tomorrow. The company is getting a new facility in June with two pianos in it. The music director wants both pianos tuned that way as the usual choice (but with other choices in mind for certain repertoire).

What is interesting about the ET via Marpurg is that it causes the 4ths and 5ths to beat equally. If you also choose a rather conservative amount of stretch for the temperament octave, a 4:2 type, you will find that you can tune the octaves up and down from the temperament octave and have the octave, 4th and 5th all sound alike. None are perfectly pure but all are tempered only very slightly.

When played together as a tone cluster, example: G3-C4-D4-G4, the tone cluster seems to just "hang" there, perfectly beatlessly. This is because the slight beats which are there all center around the same coincident partials either slightly sharp or slightly flat of them. The opposing beats effectively cancel each other and the result is a perfectly still sound.

In other words, it ends up sounding perfectly in tune, something which has always eluded the art and science of piano tuning. The Rapidly Beating Intervals also are not pushed into beating any faster. They are all as even sounding as can be which the intent and purpose of ET.

I have long been aware of the beat canceling effect of equally beating intervals. It is the reason why the simple keys sound purer than they really are in the EBVT and EBVT III. The economy in the simple keys keeps the remote keys from being too harsh and therefore permits virtually any style of music from any era to work and work very well.

That being said, there is no other temperament and octave stretching arrangement which can take more complete and total advantage of the beat canceling effect among 4ths, 5ths, octaves and their multiples than the ET via Marpurg.

You need to keep the two central octaves (C3-C5) as 4:2 types to get this effect. I am not sure what happens to the outer octaves because I always do this either aurally or by direct interval (but I do offer a suggestion as to what probably works below). I can get my SAT IV to reduce the amount of stretch in the central octaves by setting the DOB to -0.2. I have seen that Tunelab has a 4:2 octave setting. I don't know about other devices or software but maybe Ron Koval can help with this.

As I tune up from the F3-F4 temperament octave, I simply place the note to be tuned in that "sweet spot" that has often been mentioned in the past. It is the spot where the octave, 4th and 5th all sound virtually the same.

A couple of years ago, I was doing some strictly aural tuning for a while and discovered that if I played all four notes together, there was this uncanny stillness to the tone cluster. If I heard a slight beat, I could sharpen or flatten the note being tuned so that the beat would seemingly disappear entirely.

I wrote about it back then and Herr Stopper immediately jumped on it saying that it was the idea he had "invented". Perhaps he did discover something along those lines and it suggested the name he has given to his process, "Only Pure".

However, what Herr Stopper does (as I understand it) is to create an ET within a beatless interval of a 12th (octave-fifth). This necessarily creates a wider than 4:2 octave. In theoretical ET, 4ths beat 1/3 faster than 5ths. It is still only a very slight distinction. However, any purposeful widening of the temperament octave will cause 5ths to be stiller but 4ths to beat more noticeably. Major thirds and sixths will also beat faster and therefore be more dissonant, even if they are all more dissonant by the same amount.

When you apply the extremely small and slight changes to theoretical ET that causes the 4ths and 5ths to beat equally and you keep your two central octaves in the 4:2 type, something really nice happens.

Once you get to the point where you are tuning double octaves, for example F3-F5. You do what has long been called the "mindless octaves". You make the double octave, F3-F5 be the same amount wide as the octave-fifth (A#3-F5) is narrow. Both are only very slightly tempered and sound virtually pure.

Now, that being accomplished, if you play F3-A#3-F4-F5 all together and hold them (perhaps using the Sostenuto pedal), you will again hear that uncanny stillness. If you hear any slight beat at all, F5 can be adjusted so that the beat disappears entirely.

You will also hear that the single octave, F4-F5 sounds very nice, virtually pure but slightly on the wide side (as it should be). When all notes are played together, they all share a common coincident partial (which is the 1st partial of F5). Whatever slight beat there is among them is canceled.

If you proceed this way until F6, you can make the first partial of F6 match exactly the eighth partial of F3. All related notes in between which all share a coincident partial with F6 will be nicely in tune with each other. Again, no interval (except the triple octave) will be perfectly pure but when the entire cluster (F3-A#3-F4-A#4-F5-F6) is played and held, it will sound perfectly still!

You can therefore tune pure triple octaves from F6-C8 and have as a result, the most beautiful sounding treble and high treble that is possible on the piano. It is so easy to do on the SAT as to be "mindless". Forget the calculated program from F6 to C8! At F6, I simply play F3, stop the pattern and enter whatever figure there is and tune to that. I continue that all the way to C8, taking the reading from C5.

It takes only a couple of minutes to enter a custom program for the outer octaves but the result is a piano that is perfectly in tune with itself, not with some calculation that may be flawed. I can, of course, store that program for use over and over on the same piano.

Tuning the Bass is a mirror image of tuning the treble. Tuning down from the temperament octave, example: E3. Tune the octave E3-E4 on the wide side but very nearly pure. Compare the 4th, E3-A3 and 5th, E3-B3. Make all three intervals sound as alike as possible. Then play the cluster, E3-A3-B3-E4. It will just hang there beatlessly!

Continue that way down to F2. Then beginning on F2 (going downward), eliminate the 4th and compare the 5th, octave, octave-fifth and double octave: F2-C3-F3-C4-F4. You will get that same, still effect when all intervals are balanced correctly.

At C2 and continuing downward, eliminate the 5th and compare the octave, octave-fifth, double octave, double octave-fifth and triple octave. C2-C3-G4-C4-G4-C5. As with the high treble, you could simply tune the 8th partial of C2 to the first partial of C5 and do that all the way to A0.

The result will be that all related intervals will be optimally tuned. You will essentially be canceling a large part of the "noise" out of the piano. Large chords spanning four octaves will sound as in tune as they possibly could. No one interval is favored over another. Piano tuning must be one kind of compromise or another. If you ask me, this is the ultimate compromise if the desire is for ET.

Below is the Jason Kanter graph of it. It actually looks more irregular on the graph than it sounds. Note that all deviations from ET are less than one cent. They simply adjust the 4ths so that they beat equally with the 5ths. Otherwise the Rapidly Beating Intervals sound virtually identical to ET (even though they don't look that way on the graph). It is "below the radar" of the PTG tuning exam and would therefore score a perfect 100 on it if used. Indeed, I know of many people who have used it successfully on the exam.

One benefit the sequence has if performed aurally is that it strictly avoids the Reverse Well error. As I see it, the danger in trying to make 5ths be too pure is exactly that. While Reverse Well is never the intent, it often does end up being the result. It certainly would not be what you would want to do for a voice teacher.



The offsets are right on the graph. If you use an SAT, simply round them to the nearest tenth and put the DOB at -0.2. Then, at C5 and above and at B2 and below, cancel the DOB.

I am not sure about what outer octave settings would replicate the precise amount of stretch needed but I am inclined to guess that 4:2 for octaves 3 & 4 but default for the rest of the piano would do it. Maybe something a little more for octaves 1 & 7. Perhaps Ron Koval may have some insight.

In any case, to use this idea with an ETD would not be difficult. Just apply the temperament offsets and a smaller than usual amount of stretch for the central octaves and the usual amount for the outer octaves. Once you have tuned using the ETD, you can play those tone clusters and you will hear the purity I have described.

If you do hear a slight beat anywhere, adjusting the beat out of it by ear would be very easy to do. After all, you are not trying to fiddle with fine tuning very rapid beats but trying to find that sweet spot where there is no beat at all! All of the Rapidly Beating Intervals will take care of themselves very nicely. I never even listen to them when using this process. It simply isn't necessary.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/17/13 01:59 PM

It occurred to me that the offsets on the graph are not listed chromatically and use flats for some notes which may be confusing. Therefore, for convenience, here are the offsets for the ET via Marpurg in hundredths:

C: -0.05
C#: 0.00
D: -0.16
D#: -0.78
E: -0.50
F: 0.00
F#: +0.60
G: +0.56
G#: -0.05
A: 0.00
A#: +0.16
B: +0.56

Here are the offsets for the ET via Marpurg, rounded off to the nearest tenth of a cent:

C: -0.1
C#: 0.0
D: -0.2
D#: -0.8
E: -0.5
F: 0.0
F#: +0.6
G: +0.6
G#: -0.1
A: 0.0
A#: +0.2
B: +0.6
Posted by: Olek

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/17/13 03:24 PM

The thing is that I will recognise what Mwm say, as a musician and an user of UT on instruments adapted too.

it talks more to me than your graphs and cts values.

UT make sense on old pianos with imprecise tone, it is a mean to avoid modern tone, a mean to hide the piano tone defects and change it to quality, sort of manipulation of the brain of the listener. It can be appreciated then in some context.

But I am looking for something else when tuning a piano. The instrument dictates his own justness.
And even with the quasi ET or Well temp I heard tuned by some of my respected colleagues in concert, some tonalities where sounding less plain, I heard it (sometime even CM)
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/17/13 03:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Interesting discussion. Since I have been tuning the EBVT for more than 20 years for most of my clients, including several voice teachers, I can't take the "don't do it" warning seriously. Also, the dealer I work for has voice teachers in the studios and they always use 1/7 Comma Meantone.

The transposition issue comes up fairly often. Those who advocate ET only always jump on it. It is always about what you couldn't do if you tuned in a non-equal temperament. So, let me make it clear that all of that is nonsense. Otherwise, I have made my living for the past 24 years doing what "wouldn't work, couldn't work and shouldn't be tried".

Also, if a piece of vocal material is at or near the limit of one's range (either low or high), transposing up or down a half step does not help much. It would also be more difficult for the pianist. Vocal pieces are rarely written in the remote keys. Just take a look at any vocal book which is offered in several voice ranges. They simply do not transpose anything up or down an augmented 4th! Nor do they by only a half step.

If someone is working on material written in the 17th or early 18th Century, that material would have been originally heard in 1/4 Meantone. To put it in ET moves the temperament to the complete opposite end of the spectrum where everything vibrates analogously all the time. It would never be written in a remote key! To transpose something written in D Major to G-flat Major simply does not make sense. In fact, that was one of the jokes in the English language, stage play version of La Cage aux Folles. It was funny because it was absurd.


Bill,

You make many goods points and a number of suppositions without basis in fact. My wife, who is a specialist in early performance practice, always sings in the key originally written. However, she teaches voice to students, who do use transposition of later works on a regular basis. I mentioned the transposition of a piece from D to G-flat, not to be absurd. If you will check the Hal Leonard Corp. publication of Roger Quilter's Dream Valley, Op. 20, No.1, it is in G-flat major with the subheading - "original key: D Major". I don't make this stuff up.

I loved your EBVT III, tuned it on my BB, played Debussy works he wrote in D-flat and loved the shimering sound, just as I imagine Debussy may have heard it and wanted it to sound. Had I played the same pieces in C, they would have lost much of their colour. My point is, a voice teacher needs the flexibility to transpose pieces. When I accompany singers, I often transpose up or down a semitone at sight. It is easier than a whole tone, because the notation remains similar, just flats or sharps added to the notation.

I have been a proponent of UTs all my life, but reality sets in when you transpose, and some form of et seems the best compromise.

By the way, many, if not most of the singers and voice teachers I have been aquanted with over 40 or so years, with the exception of early performance practice people, couldn't hear or recognize a UT from ET. Their pianos are always out of tune, and they warble so badly, and ask their students to warble so badly, that pitch references are really just guidelines.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/17/13 04:01 PM

As a professional, classically-trained singer, I would much prefer ET to anything else. In good singing, a piano can't be tuned to compensate for every instance where turning the pitch where appropriate (as in leading tones in either direction, for instance) is called for.

As a voice teacher, my primary concern would be having a solid, consistent pitch reference. Nothing more.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/17/13 04:03 PM

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Thank you! Thank you! Thank for the advice!

Edit: I hadn't thought of the necessity for transposition and equivalent harmonization. I'm not even going with a QE... I'm going with ET.

ET it is!

Thanks,
-Joe


I read the OP before I read any of the replies.

Good choice, Joe! smile
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/17/13 04:10 PM

Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Thank you! Thank you! Thank for the advice!

Edit: I hadn't thought of the necessity for transposition and equivalent harmonization. I'm not even going with a QE... I'm going with ET.

ET it is!

Thanks,
-Joe


I read the OP before I read any of the replies.



Good choice, Joe! smile


I hope I didn't insult you. I'm sure you you make "the rough places plain".
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/17/13 06:41 PM

Bill,

As always, Thank you for the information. I can get more out a few paragraphs from you than I can from some entire books written by some others.

I have to see if the piano will let me use a pure 4:2 octave. The following is a post I made on the Verituner Forum (since it's m y work, I don't think anyone can complain if I cross-post here)(Note the green font. It is St. Patrick's Weekend Day weekend smile )

Today I had some problems with a Wurlitzer spinet. After trying all the Built-in styles, I could not get a good match for the A3-A4 octave. There didn't seem to be any difference when changing stretch numbers. I tried various custom stretches suggested on this forum and I still could not find a good match.

Normally, this would not be a problem; I'd just set the temperament by ear.

But, I was using a UT... 1/10 CM...so I needed the VT to set the temperament.

I created several "custom" styles using:

A3-A4 6:3 100%

A3-A4 4:2 100%

A3-A4 2:1 100%

I kept the set points provided by the VT... 4:1 C8 and 8:4 A0. Since the VT blends from section to section, it seemed best to keep the other set points as far away from the temperament octave as possible.

I tuned A3-A4 by ear to where it was cleanest. Surprisingly (to me), there was an exact match using the pure 6:3 octave. Oddly as well, the other octaves in the immediate area would not tune clean using 6:3 by VT.

So, the temperament was set by VT and the piano was tuned by ear.

If someone does UT work, it might be a good idea to create some styles specifically for the VT's temperament octave without worrying about the rest of the piano, if one is willing to tune the rest of the instrument by ear.


If the piano will not allow me to use a pure 4:2 octave for whatever reason, then I guess that means that ET via Marpurg was not meant for this particular piano.

But, thank you for the suggestion and the offsets smile I am entering them into my VT for future use smile

Edit: Btw, it sounds like ET via Marpurg could be considered a Modern Quasi-Equal Temperament.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/17/13 06:53 PM

OperaTenor and Isaac,

Thank you for your views. I can see that if I do use a UT, I need to choose one that is extremely mild... at least at first until I see what the reaction is.

Btw, I've noticed that some singers prefer my aural tuning in ET to the Vt's ET tuning. I think I'm unusual in this, but my aural tunings tend to be more conservative in terms of octave stretch in the outer regions than the Vt's built-in stretch. It would seem that RT via Marpurg would tend to give a very conservative octave stretch as well.

Thanks,
-Joe smile
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/17/13 10:16 PM

Joe,

A Wurlitzer spinet is admittedly a challenging piano to tune. Is a voice teacher using one of those? While I like to encourage piano technicians to take proper care of such instruments because they deserve proper tuning, regulation and voicing the same as any other piano does, we all know they have severe limitations.

I just don't like to see technicians writing in a public forum who say they would accept a tuning fee but would purposefully neglect the instrument otherwise. Using a Well Temperament is actually what can make one of these instruments sound much sweeter because the people who own them usually play only in the simple keys.

If there is really a voice teacher using a Wurlitzer spinet to give voice lessons, I would simply tune it in the EBVT III and would not worry about it at all. Of course, I would also remove the action and tighten the flanges if they were rattling and I would adjust the lost motion and let off so that the keys all played properly and evenly.

While vocalizing for warm ups would often progress chromatically, the material actually studied is most often in the sweeter keys. I would not worry for a nano second that somebody might want to transpose a piece from D Major to G-flat, for example.

When you asked the question, I assumed you were talking about a high quality grand that gets tuned very often and the pianist is very sensitive to the slightest of subtleties. Only a very few pianists in my experience are sensitive to the harshness of the bottom of the cycle of 5ths in Well or Meantone temperaments. For them, I have the solution and it is the ET via Marpurg with the octaves tuned as I described in the previous post. It is a tuning that cannot be disputed for smoothness and agreement of every interval equally with another.

In the case of the recording studio with a Yamaha S6 where the octaves were so wide that they beat and the thirds were so wide that they all sounded harsh and no instrument could manage to intone with the piano, it was the solution. For the opera rehearsals with a fine Mason & Hamlin A, a very sensitive pianist and two dozen or more very highly skilled vocalists, it is again an offer they can't refuse.

One reason I like the SAT is that any interval can be tuned precisely as desired, regardless of poor or irregular scaling. If A4 as read on the 2nd partial (with a probable reading of about 1.0 at standard pitch) all one has to do is tune A3 as read on the 4th partial to the same figure as A4. The result will be a perfect 4:2 octave.

I can use the FAC program to calculate the temperament if I wish and adjust the Double Octave Beat (DOB) eliminator function to adjust the width of the octave slightly narrower than the usual amount which is a compromise between a 4:2 and 6:3 octave. The usual -0.2 seems to work in nearly every case. It causes the A3-A4 to be a perfect 4:2 type.

The F3-F4 may not fall exactly at 4:2 but it should be within 0.5 cents of that and the result should be perfect 4:5 Contiguous Major Thirds between F3 and A4. If you still want to tune the Wurlitzer spinet that way and you can tune by ear, if you have that much right, I would not worry about the rest.

4:2 octaves can also be easily verified using the same tone cluster technique. Play the note which is a M3 below the bottom note of the octave and the octave. Example for A3-A4, play F3-A3-A4 all together and hold. You should hear no slow beat. For F3-F4, play C#3-F3-F4 and hold. Again, you should hear no slow beat, only the rapid beat which will be oddly quieter than if either the M3 or the M10 is played alone. This is evidence of the beat canceling effect.

(Still thinking about tuning the Wurlitzer spinet), tune the F3-F4 octave to the program. You should then hear what sounds like ET. All 4ths & 5ths will sound even. All M3's will progress evenly. If there are any irregularities, you could correct them by ear. Then, simply tune out the octaves as I described in the previous post. You will find it easy to find the spot for each new note being tuned makes the octave, 4th & 5th all agree. I wouldn't even bother checking the RBI's.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/17/13 10:56 PM

Hi Bill,

I agree 100%; we should not be dismissive of any piano, because that is likely the only piano that the owner has access to.

As for this thread, it will have relevance for me far beyond this specific teacher. I tune for a number of voice teachers who use everything from the old Acrosonics to first tier large grands.

This is the very first time I have considered using a UT for a voice teacher because of the success I have had using them in other situations.

This particular piano is a Winter console. This teacher does have a rather distinguished pedigree, even though she is "only" using a Winter. And, there is no reason to believe she won't upgrade to a higher quality instrument(s) in the future as she becomes better established locally.

This is a new client to me. Every client is important because almost every client I have was referred by someone else. The dominoes can fall one way; the dominoes can fall the opposite way. It is also ethical and polite to treat everyone well.

Thank you for the hand-holding and advice. It is not going to waste smile

Thanks,
-Joe
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/18/13 02:53 AM

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
OperaTenor and Isaac,

Thank you for your views. I can see that if I do use a UT, I need to choose one that is extremely mild... at least at first until I see what the reaction is.

Btw, I've noticed that some singers prefer my aural tuning in ET to the Vt's ET tuning. I think I'm unusual in this, but my aural tunings tend to be more conservative in terms of octave stretch in the outer regions than the Vt's built-in stretch. It would seem that RT via Marpurg would tend to give a very conservative octave stretch as well.

Thanks,
-Joe smile


I only tune aurally, and I've noticed my stretch has gotten smaller over time, and my customers have been happier as a result. Aside from the Shout House, the vast majority of my customers are professional musicians; my peers. Every single one of them seems to prefer a more sterile octave these days. One of my customers is the Theodore Geisel Director of Outreach at the San Diego Opera. One day, when I showed up to tune, he came out the front door, threw his arms around me, and thanked me for making him fall in love with playing the piano again (he has the Baldwin SF-10 that was repeatedly breaking the highest wound string), and he's had the best in the area take of his piano before I came along. A lot of my fellow singers I tune for teach, and maybe that's why they prefer the more technically accurate tunings. :shrug:
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/18/13 03:36 AM

Originally Posted By: OperaTenor

I only tune aurally, and I've noticed my stretch has gotten smaller over time, and my customers have been happier as a result. Aside from the Shout House, the vast majority of my customers are professional musicians; my peers. Every single one of them seems to prefer a more sterile octave these days. One of my customers is the Theodore Geisel Director of Outreach at the San Diego Opera. One day, when I showed up to tune, he came out the front door, threw his arms around me, and thanked me for making him fall in love with playing the piano again (he has the Baldwin SF-10 that was repeatedly breaking the highest wound string), and he's had the best in the area take of his piano before I came along. A lot of my fellow singers I tune for teach, and maybe that's why they prefer the more technically accurate tunings. :shrug:


This is very interesting. Perhaps room size may have affect the acceptability of wider octaves. I think a "stage tuning" will want wider octaves than a "room tuning."
Edit: Maybe some ETD's are more biased towards doing stage tunings.
Posted by: rxd

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/18/13 09:19 AM

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor

I only tune aurally, and I've noticed my stretch has gotten smaller over time, and my customers have been happier as a result. Aside from the Shout House, the vast majority of my customers are professional musicians; my peers. Every single one of them seems to prefer a more sterile octave these days. One of my customers is the Theodore Geisel Director of Outreach at the San Diego Opera. One day, when I showed up to tune, he came out the front door, threw his arms around me, and thanked me for making him fall in love with playing the piano again (he has the Baldwin SF-10 that was repeatedly breaking the highest wound string), and he's had the best in the area take of his piano before I came along. A lot of my fellow singers I tune for teach, and maybe that's why they prefer the more technically accurate tunings. :shrug:


This is very interesting. Perhaps room size may have affect the acceptability of wider octaves. I think a "stage tuning" will want wider octaves than a "room tuning."
Edit: Maybe some ETD's are more biased towards doing stage tunings.


The time is now ripe to discuss this.

When I first started work for a manufacturer of fine pianos as a concert tuner, I was given two basic house style instructions. They were to add half a beat to each treble octave and to tune the bass sharp. He had been taught that 50 years before. A fine piano with depth of tone will accept this. A cheap or worn out piano with thin tone sounds sharp in the bass already and so I can see where this stretching in both directions came from. That, plus excessive dependence on theory over practice.

I also knew at the time, about another fine company who also narrowed the two octave bearings area. This came in useful for Wurlitzer spinets ( I worked later for a dealer who had a two hundred of these constantly coming in and out as rentals) I found that slowing down all the major thirds more than normal in and around the scale area made things work out better in the whole piano. I wouldn't dream of tuning the lower half of one of these spinets electronically.

I'm only talking of 2:1 octaves.

The drunken warble in the 10ths and 17ths between the bass and tenor in an overly stretched piano is unacceptable to musicians who have to adjust their own tuning to one note or the other in any size room. 10ths in the middle register that are stretched too much just sound downright comical.

In a song cycle like Wintereisse where there are contexts where any unnecessary movement in the piano chords would disturb the stillness. The way of minimising movement in any key is to very judiciously narrow the tenor and bass octaves in ET even more than I usually do. The pianos I tune most are chosen and tone regulated for exceptional depth of tone and are 9' so they allow me to do this as long as I keep an ear on the 5ths and their compounds. Looking through the score, the chords at those moments are voiced (in the sense that a pianist or composer gives voice to a chord) to let this work.

Anybody wishing to follow up on Bill's statements about transposition would be enlightened to search: Gerald Moore unashamed accompanist side two, on uTube. He gives several examples from the piano accompaniments of how transposition can kill the music.

String players are aware that the interval from the viola C string to the violin E string is intolerable. Of course, they avoid open strings but one famous cellist showed me how "sharp" he tuned his low C for quartet work. It worked nicely with the 9' piano that I had just tuned.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/18/13 09:38 AM

RXD,

I have worked with a cellist who would retune between pieces so that the C string, if played for long stretches with the piano C2, would be in tune. Then she would shift back to a pure fifth tuning for the next work where there were few or no simultaneous unisons. Made for a wonderful sound.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/18/13 09:52 AM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Thank you! Thank you! Thank for the advice!

Edit: I hadn't thought of the necessity for transposition and equivalent harmonization. I'm not even going with a QE... I'm going with ET.

ET it is!

Thanks,
-Joe


I read the OP before I read any of the replies.



Good choice, Joe! smile


I hope I didn't insult you. I'm sure you you make "the rough places plain".


Not at all, and thanks for the compliment! wink
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/18/13 09:58 AM

Originally Posted By: rxd
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor

I only tune aurally, and I've noticed my stretch has gotten smaller over time, and my customers have been happier as a result. Aside from the Shout House, the vast majority of my customers are professional musicians; my peers. Every single one of them seems to prefer a more sterile octave these days. One of my customers is the Theodore Geisel Director of Outreach at the San Diego Opera. One day, when I showed up to tune, he came out the front door, threw his arms around me, and thanked me for making him fall in love with playing the piano again (he has the Baldwin SF-10 that was repeatedly breaking the highest wound string), and he's had the best in the area take of his piano before I came along. A lot of my fellow singers I tune for teach, and maybe that's why they prefer the more technically accurate tunings. :shrug:


This is very interesting. Perhaps room size may have affect the acceptability of wider octaves. I think a "stage tuning" will want wider octaves than a "room tuning."
Edit: Maybe some ETD's are more biased towards doing stage tunings.


The time is now ripe to discuss this.

When I first started work for a manufacturer of fine pianos as a concert tuner, I was given two basic house style instructions. They were to add half a beat to each treble octave and to tune the bass sharp. He had been taught that 50 years before. A fine piano with depth of tone will accept this. A cheap or worn out piano with thin tone sounds sharp in the bass already and so I can see where this stretching in both directions came from. That, plus excessive dependence on theory over practice.

I also knew at the time, about another fine company who also narrowed the two octave bearings area. This came in useful for Wurlitzer spinets ( I worked later for a dealer who had a two hundred of these constantly coming in and out as rentals) I found that slowing down all the major thirds more than normal in and around the scale area made things work out better in the whole piano. I wouldn't dream of tuning the lower half of one of these spinets electronically.

I'm only talking of 2:1 octaves.

The drunken warble in the 10ths and 17ths between the bass and tenor in an overly stretched piano is unacceptable to musicians who have to adjust their own tuning to one note or the other in any size room. 10ths in the middle register that are stretched too much just sound downright comical.

In a song cycle like Wintereisse where there are contexts where any unnecessary movement in the piano chords would disturb the stillness. The way of minimising movement in any key is to very judiciously narrow the tenor and bass octaves in ET even more than I usually do. The pianos I tune most are chosen and tone regulated for exceptional depth of tone and are 9' so they allow me to do this as long as I keep an ear on the 5ths and their compounds. Looking through the score, the chords at those moments are voiced (in the sense that a pianist or composer gives voice to a chord) to let this work.

Anybody wishing to follow up on Bill's statements about transposition would be enlightened to search: Gerald Moore unashamed accompanist side two, on uTube. He gives several examples from the piano accompaniments of how transposition can kill the music.

String players are aware that the interval from the viola C string to the violin E string is intolerable. Of course, they avoid open strings but one famous cellist showed me how "sharp" he tuned his low C for quartet work. It worked nicely with the 9' piano that I had just tuned.


I think this boils down to whether the piano is being used as a solo performance instrument, or as an ensemble or teaching tool. A different approach is required for each, i.e., prominence vs. blend.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/18/13 10:01 AM

OperaTenor,

Talking UTs, QETs, and ETs sure rouses the Hoi Polloi. (I use that term in the most strict sense.)
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/18/13 10:06 AM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
OperaTenor,

Talking UTs, QETs, and ETs sure rouses the Hoi Polloi. (I use that term in the most strict sense.)



That is to say, each one thinks they have the e pluribus unum.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/18/13 10:08 AM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
OperaTenor,

Talking UTs, QETs, and ETs sure rouses the Hoi Polloi. (I use that term in the most strict sense.)



If you were using the term in the strictest sense, either "the" or "Hoi" is redundant.

More likely, when people around here start talking temperaments, sense goes out the window.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/18/13 10:28 AM

Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: Mwm
OperaTenor,

Talking UTs, QETs, and ETs sure rouses the Hoi Polloi. (I use that term in the most strict sense.)



If you were using the term in the strictest sense, either "the" or "Hoi" is redundant.

More likely, when people around here start talking temperaments, sense goes out the window.


You are quite correct. The "the" is redundant. I suppose I am e pluribus anus.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/18/13 12:11 PM

RXD that was very interesting to listen.

here is the link :


DO some of you notice how the CG 5th is large ?. i listened again and find that the F4 G4 tone seem enlarged (out of the G4 being a little more bright than other notes)

Also noticeable at 5:50 and after, with G2 A3 (small)

That sound typical to me, G and C being the last notes tuned when a A fork is used, that is where I find most compromising done; at the same time the old method using a C fork may leave the tuner with a tendency to allow a cleaner 5th ther, the same as the A-E when a A fork is used (often find that A-E 5th left a tad cleaner)

When the first octave is short, I noticed it is difficult to avoid some 5th sounding a bit sour, not impossible, just difficult)

At some point the enlarging of the octave is a facility, giving larger 5ths at the expense of faster 3ds, allowing the FBI to be easier to be progressive (I suspect that the more you keep the first octave compact, the more you will have differences in 3ds progression if the 5ths are homogeneous, and the more you will have 5 th size differences if the 3ds are kept progressive - and that is only because the iH is not as progressive as we expect.

The 5ths motion is more noticeable so the tuners may have a tendency to forget a little about perfect progression of M3 in the temperament, knowing all that could be re conciliated when tuning higher.

I suggest also that enlarged 5 th sound more similar one another in the ear of the listener, hence the success of those enlarged first octave.

It may also allow the resonance to jump more easily at the 2 nd octave level, and enlight then that region, ,by evidence an effect that may please the piano tuner, and the pianist if he plays alone.

Just to say I agree with RXD, octaves are 2:1 in my ear, even if that mean that no partial is being heard more tan another, they have to help the 2:1 relation in any case.
Posted by: RonTuner

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/18/13 12:21 PM

Re: Electronic tuning device octave size(s)

Just a reminder, we're all expected to be in control of the machine... Except for OnlyPure and Dirk's, all platforms allow for user control of the central octave and stretch. Some are easier than others...

I do know that Verituner programmer has told me that he hears back from most purchasers that they just put it in "Average" and are happy with the results.

No traditional aural skills are really required, just take charge of all of the A's from bottom to top and adjust the machine to place them in an "ear pleasing" position - just as an instrumentalist or singer would do. This first step makes a big difference in how the piano will sound. Go ahead and start them where the machine places them, then subtly adjust to see if you can make a better single, double or triple octave...

<off my soapbox>

Ron Koval
Posted by: rxd

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/18/13 01:20 PM

Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Originally Posted By: rxd
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor

I only tune aurally, and I've noticed my stretch has gotten smaller over time, and my customers have been happier as a result. Aside from the Shout House, the vast majority of my customers are professional musicians; my peers. Every single one of them seems to prefer a more sterile octave these days. One of my customers is the Theodore Geisel Director of Outreach at the San Diego Opera. One day, when I showed up to tune, he came out the front door, threw his arms around me, and thanked me for making him fall in love with playing the piano again (he has the Baldwin SF-10 that was repeatedly breaking the highest wound string), and he's had the best in the area take of his piano before I came along. A lot of my fellow singers I tune for teach, and maybe that's why they prefer the more technically accurate tunings. :shrug:


This is very interesting. Perhaps room size may have affect the acceptability of wider octaves. I think a "stage tuning" will want wider octaves than a "room tuning."
Edit: Maybe some ETD's are more biased towards doing stage tunings.


The time is now ripe to discuss this.

When I first started work for a manufacturer of fine pianos as a concert tuner, I was given two basic house style instructions. They were to add half a beat to each treble octave and to tune the bass sharp. He had been taught that 50 years before. A fine piano with depth of tone will accept this. A cheap or worn out piano with thin tone sounds sharp in the bass already and so I can see where this stretching in both directions came from. That, plus excessive dependence on theory over practice.

I also knew at the time, about another fine company who also narrowed the two octave bearings area. This came in useful for Wurlitzer spinets ( I worked later for a dealer who had a two hundred of these constantly coming in and out as rentals) I found that slowing down all the major thirds more than normal in and around the scale area made things work out better in the whole piano. I wouldn't dream of tuning the lower half of one of these spinets electronically.

I'm only talking of 2:1 octaves.

The drunken warble in the 10ths and 17ths between the bass and tenor in an overly stretched piano is unacceptable to musicians who have to adjust their own tuning to one note or the other in any size room. 10ths in the middle register that are stretched too much just sound downright comical.

In a song cycle like Wintereisse where there are contexts where any unnecessary movement in the piano chords would disturb the stillness. The way of minimising movement in any key is to very judiciously narrow the tenor and bass octaves in ET even more than I usually do. The pianos I tune most are chosen and tone regulated for exceptional depth of tone and are 9' so they allow me to do this as long as I keep an ear on the 5ths and their compounds. Looking through the score, the chords at those moments are voiced (in the sense that a pianist or composer gives voice to a chord) to let this work.

Anybody wishing to follow up on Bill's statements about transposition would be enlightened to search: Gerald Moore unashamed accompanist side two, on uTube. He gives several examples from the piano accompaniments of how transposition can kill the music.

String players are aware that the interval from the viola C string to the violin E string is intolerable. Of course, they avoid open strings but one famous cellist showed me how "sharp" he tuned his low C for quartet work. It worked nicely with the 9' piano that I had just tuned.


I think this boils down to whether the piano is being used as a solo performance instrument, or as an ensemble or teaching tool. A different approach is required for each, i.e., prominence vs. blend.


Well, this is a thread about a teaching instrument which, ideally, should be as close as possible to a typical accompanying performance instrument. While we might not be able to run to a 7' or 9' grand, at least we can get a typical tuning right. I hope it goes without saying that an unequal temperament is not typical.

A solo performance pIano is, by it's very nature prominent, it's the only instrument up there!!! Perhaps you are thinking concerto, in which case the piano has to, in turn, blend and also be prominent at different tImes. How do you reconcile that from a tuning point of view?
Posted by: Olek

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/18/13 01:21 PM

I believe (?) that this ETD focus for octaves, doubles triples, etc is what makes the primary modification of priorities and make the tuner miss the point a little

Probably the logical underlying the precedent generation of ETD put too much weight on octaves, while not saying so.

It is also fairly possible that the compromising created by the iH curve upper and lower the temp octave is modifying the progressiveness of M3ds too much (the speed raise too fast within the octave, in my ear, often.

It is not surprising that the "listening" done by the ETD is not the same than the one of the human, in the end.

So the model proposed could be possibly ameliorated, based on a different theory, it would be nice if the VT100 have progressed, as it was promising, with real time partial analysis, but it seem to stay fixed with the original functions.

I am unsure that tuning all A's by ear would allow to compute a better tuning, the notes take their "meaning" or "color" when there are enough other notes yet tuned.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/19/13 11:10 AM

Bill Bremmer quoted from the EVBT III thread:

GP, I would suggest not transposing anything except for a few examples to prove that the original key signature is correct. I truly believe that all music has been composed in the correct key signature. Whatever character it has in that key signature was meant to be. Can anyone play and record the "Going Home" melody from Dvorak's 9th symphony in the correct key of D-flat in the EBVT III? GP, would you have that in your library somewhere? Nobody could ever convince me that any orchestra ever played that in strictly ET intervals. If you could find it, GP, playing (and recording) it in D-flat and then in C Major (and/or D Major) may prove something. It belongs in the key that it was written and it was conceived as having wide intervals, not narrow.

I'll get back to any more comments or questions that I can, as I can, sorry if I missed yours, it was not intentional.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

Please forgive me, as I am new to the forum posting business, if I have transgressed in quoting from another thread, but Bill Bremmer, advocate of EVBT III, a fine temperament, states above that pieces should not be transposed from their original key. Being the case that transposition is necessary on a daily basis for singing teachers, the only logical outcome for this thread would be for voice teachers, who allow their students to use transposed music, to have their pianos tuned in ET.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/20/13 12:14 AM

Mwm,

I'm afraid you're getting way ahead of your knowledge and experience. With no more to go on but a single anecdotal experience, your advice to a technician regarding whether or not to use a non-equal temperament was "Don't do it!"

I hope you don't mind if I don't personally take your advice since I have been doing just that for the past 24 years and have made my living as a professional piano technician doing what you say in effect, wouldn't work, couldn't work and shouldn't be tried. You're not the first to blurt out such advice. Thousands have preceded you. None of their advice was given any consideration either.

Nor have any of the warnings about the dire consequences of what would surely happen if one dared to take such a foolish risk. I just brush such comments away as if they were dust.

The reason is because I do have a long history of experience with this topic and I happen to know what I am talking about. 9 out of 10 aural tunings performed up until perhaps 1990 to 2000 but surely even a large percentage of them even today are not ET at all but a backwards version of a Well Temperament. If all of the dire consequences of straying just one iota from the almighty ET were true, then those very consequences would have happened to 9 out of 10 people who ever tried to tune a piano. Obviously, they did not.

Yes, a key signature is important. It is chosen for a reason. Music is meant to be performed in the key in which it was written. We had a very long discussion about that "Going Home" melody. I discussed it with a very fine piano technician who is also a professor of piano performance.

Our conclusion was that it is a C Major type melody and must have originally been composed on a piano in a Well Temperament in that key. However, it was transcribed and transposed for wind instruments as part of a symphony. Wind instruments happen to intone better in the flat keys than the sharp keys. (Strings are the opposite). Wind instruments do not have the same requirement for temperament as the piano does, nor the need to stretch the octaves. Both wind and string players of high caliber often comment about their inability to resolve completely their intonation with a piano tuned in ET and for good reason: it fights them every step of the way.

I am also a vocalist and have studied voice for some 35 years. Of course, vocal material sometimes needs to be transposed to suit a vocalist's range. If the material being studied is from the 17th or 18th Centuries, ET was NEVER the temperament used at the time that music was written. NEVER!

So, to play that music on a modern piano in ET is automatically altering it from the way it was intended to sound. Yes, if you play music that is drastically altered from the way it was intended to sound and move it up or down a half step or an augmented 4th or any other random interval, it will still sound just as drastically altered by the same amount. Therefore, the supposed advantage of ET.

Complete freedom to modulate, complete freedom to transpose and complete freedom to have all music in a Major key sound as if it were in A Major, no matter which key it is in and all music in a minor key to sound like it is in C minor, no matter which key it is in. Complete freedom to modulate for no reason at all and to have no distinction and to experience no tension and relief because of the modulation. Every valley is exalted and the rough places made plain. All music is put on tranquilizers.

Editions of vocal music do NOT come in increments of a half step and certainly do not have editions transposed up or down and augmented 4th. The transpositions are to keys with at least similar tone color, not to keys which would be expected to be inappropriate. You need to understand what Well Temperament actually is to know what I mean by this.

Music is intended to have some kind of emotion from tranquility to rage. From solemnity to depression. ET robs virtually all music of some of the extremes it was meant to have. That cannot be disputed. It does. If that is the way you prefer to hear the music, with all the edges rounded off, then you are entitled to your opinion and preference. But don't tell me that I have to give all of my clients what your preferences are. I prefer to find out what my clients want to hear and provide it.

The fact is that we did try that "Going Home" melody in both C Major and D-flat Major on a piano tuned in the EBVT III (with, I might add, very highly stretched octaves). When it was played in D-flat Major, nobody had a fit. Nobody tore their hair out. Nobody's skin crawled. Nobody's blood curdled. Nobody put their foot down. Nobody got angry about it. The cast iron frame did not rupture. The bridges didn't split. The soundboard didn't crack. The strings didn't break. Nobody was sued. Nobody lost their job. Nobody was blacklisted. Nobody came to the conclusion that we then had to tune every piano in ET so that there would be no distinction between C Major and D-flat Major.

If we had then tuned the piano in ET, it would not have meant that suddenly the music sounded "right" in C Major. It would have changed it and not for the better. If we had done that and then played it in D-flat Major, it would have sounded the same as it did in C Major, not right, altered from the way it should sound but just a half step higher.

The way it was, in the EBVT III, the melody played in D-flat Major did not sound unpleasant nor was it unusable in any way. It just did not have the sonority that it should have.

You don't get something for nothing. To put all music on the modern piano in ET, you lose something by doing that. If you make every octave on the piano sound completely pure, then octave-fifths, double octaves and triple octaves will be narrow. The high end of the piano will sound flat and the low end will sound sharp.

If you stretch the central octaves of the piano so that all of the 5ths sound pure, you will make all harmony sound tart, like a balloon that has been filled to the point where it will burst. You may gain one kind of brilliance and clarity in one context but in other contexts, you will create a very unsatisfactory sound.

No matter what you do, the ultimate tuning for any piano must be some kind of compromise or another. Perhaps the best kind of compromise is a very complex set of compromises which defies a simple explanation and certainly defies any seemingly logical mathematical solution.

Here is that "Going Home" melody played the way I tuned the piano that day. Those of us who were there, all professional musicians and piano technicians enjoyed it that way. I don't expect everyone to agree. I would expect some people to say they don't like it and they would never tune a piano that way. However, I am not going to change what I do based upon what any technician on this forum may say. I go by the response of my clients. I give them what appeals to them and they pay me to come back and do it for them time and again.

"Going Home" melody played in the EBVT III on a Mason & Hamlin RBB:
https://www.box.com/shared/on0hs9rhcv
Posted by: rxd

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/20/13 02:59 AM

We have memtioned the wisdom or not of transposition, Perhaps we should discuss the wisdom of piano transcriptions.

Maybe if it were played in a less banging style it would be more convincing . That piano sounds as though it would still sustain, maybe even better, if it were played in a less vulgar style. It is too big a contrast from the orchestral version we all know.
This recording does nothing to further the cause. Between the tension in the playing and the tension in the temperament it conveys absolutely nothing of Dvorák's original intent.

Examples like this will earn unequal temperaments the reputation of being the temperaments of insensitive musicians and we wouldn't want that, would we?
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/20/13 03:02 AM

Originally Posted By: rxd
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Originally Posted By: rxd
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor

I only tune aurally, and I've noticed my stretch has gotten smaller over time, and my customers have been happier as a result. Aside from the Shout House, the vast majority of my customers are professional musicians; my peers. Every single one of them seems to prefer a more sterile octave these days. One of my customers is the Theodore Geisel Director of Outreach at the San Diego Opera. One day, when I showed up to tune, he came out the front door, threw his arms around me, and thanked me for making him fall in love with playing the piano again (he has the Baldwin SF-10 that was repeatedly breaking the highest wound string), and he's had the best in the area take of his piano before I came along. A lot of my fellow singers I tune for teach, and maybe that's why they prefer the more technically accurate tunings. :shrug:


This is very interesting. Perhaps room size may have affect the acceptability of wider octaves. I think a "stage tuning" will want wider octaves than a "room tuning."
Edit: Maybe some ETD's are more biased towards doing stage tunings.


The time is now ripe to discuss this.

When I first started work for a manufacturer of fine pianos as a concert tuner, I was given two basic house style instructions. They were to add half a beat to each treble octave and to tune the bass sharp. He had been taught that 50 years before. A fine piano with depth of tone will accept this. A cheap or worn out piano with thin tone sounds sharp in the bass already and so I can see where this stretching in both directions came from. That, plus excessive dependence on theory over practice.

I also knew at the time, about another fine company who also narrowed the two octave bearings area. This came in useful for Wurlitzer spinets ( I worked later for a dealer who had a two hundred of these constantly coming in and out as rentals) I found that slowing down all the major thirds more than normal in and around the scale area made things work out better in the whole piano. I wouldn't dream of tuning the lower half of one of these spinets electronically.

I'm only talking of 2:1 octaves.

The drunken warble in the 10ths and 17ths between the bass and tenor in an overly stretched piano is unacceptable to musicians who have to adjust their own tuning to one note or the other in any size room. 10ths in the middle register that are stretched too much just sound downright comical.

In a song cycle like Wintereisse where there are contexts where any unnecessary movement in the piano chords would disturb the stillness. The way of minimising movement in any key is to very judiciously narrow the tenor and bass octaves in ET even more than I usually do. The pianos I tune most are chosen and tone regulated for exceptional depth of tone and are 9' so they allow me to do this as long as I keep an ear on the 5ths and their compounds. Looking through the score, the chords at those moments are voiced (in the sense that a pianist or composer gives voice to a chord) to let this work.

Anybody wishing to follow up on Bill's statements about transposition would be enlightened to search: Gerald Moore unashamed accompanist side two, on uTube. He gives several examples from the piano accompaniments of how transposition can kill the music.

String players are aware that the interval from the viola C string to the violin E string is intolerable. Of course, they avoid open strings but one famous cellist showed me how "sharp" he tuned his low C for quartet work. It worked nicely with the 9' piano that I had just tuned.


I think this boils down to whether the piano is being used as a solo performance instrument, or as an ensemble or teaching tool. A different approach is required for each, i.e., prominence vs. blend.


Well, this is a thread about a teaching instrument which, ideally, should be as close as possible to a typical accompanying performance instrument. While we might not be able to run to a 7' or 9' grand, at least we can get a typical tuning right. I hope it goes without saying that an unequal temperament is not typical.

A solo performance pIano is, by it's very nature prominent, it's the only instrument up there!!! Perhaps you are thinking concerto, in which case the piano has to, in turn, blend and also be prominent at different tImes. How do you reconcile that from a tuning point of view?


My point was that as a solo performance instrument, a UT is probably not only acceptable, but desired; as many advocates of UT's here claim, it can bring the most out of the instrument. Also, perhaps the repertoire calls for it.

If I was king of the world, a piano being used with other instruments would be tuned to ET unless specifically requested otherwise, because, as you say, it has to blend, even if it's only occasionally.

For teaching voice, as a singer, I would prefer my piano, which for this purpose is a teaching tool and nothing more, to have ET with minimal stretch.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/20/13 07:11 AM

That BB could be better tuned in any case whatever temperament is used, but ET bring some consonance in a more homogeneous way that tend to enrich the instrument at large (hopefully wink

Finding how to have singing pianos by playing with temperament can be a huge trap, in my opinion.

Most ET we hear in recordings of the 60's (and late as well in the end) are not ET in the sense of the ETD tunings anyway, but the tone itself is worked to be gentle, consonant and pleasing not hard immediate and short.

Then the musician have a better palette of tonality. (and the voicer is not obliged to kill the attack)

When I first met Fabbrinni, the reputed concert tuner from Italy, and noticed he use a 4th and 5th temperament, he just stated that he leaned to tune that way with his father, that was the first time I discovered that musically attention to those intervals was more important than having the perfect ladder of 3ds (while both are possible by evidence)

So I understand how, after having used tunings focusing on those M3 for years, the tuner is amazed to discover the singing quality of 5ths that was left aside in the process).

The ladder of 3ds is technically correct, perfect as a trick to even a few notes in the original octave, and may limit the mistakes on 5th, but what I have noticed is it was often used in an enlarged first octave context, meaning the temperament was stretched, while the next part of the tuning focused correctly on 5ths and 4ths when the job was done by a good tuner.


It just could left in the end one octave which is less congruent than the others, in the full middle of the instrument.

The opposite is just to use enlarged octaves above the temperament.

trick, and tips, due to the initial defect of the goal description.

Some tunings are then just better for some sort of harmony, and less for others .

One can even consider the tuning to be something separated from the instrument's own justness, and obtain some sort of "white sheet" very playeable and comforteable for the pianist.

The instrument own voice could even be too present (colored tuning) in some other situation.

We have a whole range of possibilities between both, while I will certainly not pretend mastering that range of possibilities or using them purposely, I believe it can be the case due to type of process employed, room acoustics, voicing, and the quality of the tuners sleep the night before.

(not to forget the age of the captain)

Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/20/13 12:08 PM

Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Mwm,

I'm afraid you're getting way ahead of your knowledge and experience. With no more to go on but a single anecdotal experience, your advice to a technician regarding whether or not to use a non-equal temperament was "Don't do it!"

I hope you don't mind if I don't personally take your advice since I have been doing just that for the past 24 years and have made my living as a professional piano technician doing what you say in effect, wouldn't work, couldn't work and shouldn't be tried. You're not the first to blurt out such advice. Thousands have preceded you. None of their advice was given any consideration either.

Nor have any of the warnings about the dire consequences of what would surely happen if one dared to take such a foolish risk. I just brush such comments away as if they were dust.

The reason is because I do have a long history of experience with this topic and I happen to know what I am talking about. 9 out of 10 aural tunings performed up until perhaps 1990 to 2000 but surely even a large percentage of them even today are not ET at all but a backwards version of a Well Temperament. If all of the dire consequences of straying just one iota from the almighty ET were true, then those very consequences would have happened to 9 out of 10 people who ever tried to tune a piano. Obviously, they did not.

Yes, a key signature is important. It is chosen for a reason. Music is meant to be performed in the key in which it was written. We had a very long discussion about that "Going Home" melody. I discussed it with a very fine piano technician who is also a professor of piano performance.

Our conclusion was that it is a C Major type melody and must have originally been composed on a piano in a Well Temperament in that key. However, it was transcribed and transposed for wind instruments as part of a symphony. Wind instruments happen to intone better in the flat keys than the sharp keys. (Strings are the opposite). Wind instruments do not have the same requirement for temperament as the piano does, nor the need to stretch the octaves. Both wind and string players of high caliber often comment about their inability to resolve completely their intonation with a piano tuned in ET and for good reason: it fights them every step of the way.

I am also a vocalist and have studied voice for some 35 years. Of course, vocal material sometimes needs to be transposed to suit a vocalist's range. If the material being studied is from the 17th or 18th Centuries, ET was NEVER the temperament used at the time that music was written. NEVER!

So, to play that music on a modern piano in ET is automatically altering it from the way it was intended to sound. Yes, if you play music that is drastically altered from the way it was intended to sound and move it up or down a half step or an augmented 4th or any other random interval, it will still sound just as drastically altered by the same amount. Therefore, the supposed advantage of ET.

Complete freedom to modulate, complete freedom to transpose and complete freedom to have all music in a Major key sound as if it were in A Major, no matter which key it is in and all music in a minor key to sound like it is in C minor, no matter which key it is in. Complete freedom to modulate for no reason at all and to have no distinction and to experience no tension and relief because of the modulation. Every valley is exalted and the rough places made plain. All music is put on tranquilizers.

Editions of vocal music do NOT come in increments of a half step and certainly do not have editions transposed up or down and augmented 4th. The transpositions are to keys with at least similar tone color, not to keys which would be expected to be inappropriate. You need to understand what Well Temperament actually is to know what I mean by this.

Music is intended to have some kind of emotion from tranquility to rage. From solemnity to depression. ET robs virtually all music of some of the extremes it was meant to have. That cannot be disputed. It does. If that is the way you prefer to hear the music, with all the edges rounded off, then you are entitled to your opinion and preference. But don't tell me that I have to give all of my clients what your preferences are. I prefer to find out what my clients want to hear and provide it.

The fact is that we did try that "Going Home" melody in both C Major and D-flat Major on a piano tuned in the EBVT III (with, I might add, very highly stretched octaves). When it was played in D-flat Major, nobody had a fit. Nobody tore their hair out. Nobody's skin crawled. Nobody's blood curdled. Nobody put their foot down. Nobody got angry about it. The cast iron frame did not rupture. The bridges didn't split. The soundboard didn't crack. The strings didn't break. Nobody was sued. Nobody lost their job. Nobody was blacklisted. Nobody came to the conclusion that we then had to tune every piano in ET so that there would be no distinction between C Major and D-flat Major.

If we had then tuned the piano in ET, it would not have meant that suddenly the music sounded "right" in C Major. It would have changed it and not for the better. If we had done that and then played it in D-flat Major, it would have sounded the same as it did in C Major, not right, altered from the way it should sound but just a half step higher.

The way it was, in the EBVT III, the melody played in D-flat Major did not sound unpleasant nor was it unusable in any way. It just did not have the sonority that it should have.

You don't get something for nothing. To put all music on the modern piano in ET, you lose something by doing that. If you make every octave on the piano sound completely pure, then octave-fifths, double octaves and triple octaves will be narrow. The high end of the piano will sound flat and the low end will sound sharp.

If you stretch the central octaves of the piano so that all of the 5ths sound pure, you will make all harmony sound tart, like a balloon that has been filled to the point where it will burst. You may gain one kind of brilliance and clarity in one context but in other contexts, you will create a very unsatisfactory sound.

No matter what you do, the ultimate tuning for any piano must be some kind of compromise or another. Perhaps the best kind of compromise is a very complex set of compromises which defies a simple explanation and certainly defies any seemingly logical mathematical solution.

Here is that "Going Home" melody played the way I tuned the piano that day. Those of us who were there, all professional musicians and piano technicians enjoyed it that way. I don't expect everyone to agree. I would expect some people to say they don't like it and they would never tune a piano that way. However, I am not going to change what I do based upon what any technician on this forum may say. I go by the response of my clients. I give them what appeals to them and they pay me to come back and do it for them time and again.

"Going Home" melody played in the EBVT III on a Mason & Hamlin RBB:
https://www.box.com/shared/on0hs9rhcv


Hi Bill,

I don't mind at all if you don't take my advice. It is my belief that all people, technicians and non-technicians should have the benefit of divergent points of view. Some of those points of view may be based on ignorance, and some are based on experience. I generally agree with just about everything you wrote above. I have spent 40 years working and performing in early music performance practice, so I know about UT, WT, and ET. However, my application of UT and WT has, until now, been limited to instruments whose minimal or non-existent inharmonicity did not get in the way of the approach to tuning the instrument. Now that I have the time and inclination to work with my own piano, I want to explore all these divergent points of view.

Nevertheless, unlike the harpsichord, on which it is difficult to do a convincing performance of a concerto by Ravel or Rachmaninoff, the piano is called upon to play everything from parallel organum to prepared piano works and beyond. Ultimately, the music must come from the performer. Another thread on PW had a video of Valentina Lisitsa playing an out of tune upright at a tube in London. Not bad music making. You can make Bach musical on the kazoo if a musician is playing it. My point is, as a performer, I don't think much about the tuning or temperament of the instrument when performing. I don't think much about the tuning or temperament when I listen to the piano, only the music. I have listened to many of the variant tunings posted here and I think, this was nice, that was nice, but the music or lack of music always gets in the way of actually hearing the temperament. I never, ever want to reach the point that the sound of the tuning gets in the way of my enjoyment of the music.

Yes, I agree that ET, or what passes for ET, could be construed as lacking colour. Does that mean that Yousuf Karsh's black and white portraits are any less poignant for not having colour? I don't think so. The emotion comes from the performer, not the tuner.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/20/13 08:45 PM

Just a follow up:
The decision was made by the client to only use ET.

Thank you all for the help and advice.

Btw, I just thought I'd add something to this discussion. Not all UTs are about key color/contrast. There are some, like the 1/10 CM that are extremely close to ET anyhow. Then ,there are others like the Neidhart and the Moscow's EBPT, as well as the Quasi-Equal temperaments that were developed when trying to create ET. The term UT covers a lot of area. smile
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/20/13 09:56 PM

Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Mwm,

I'm afraid you're getting way ahead of your knowledge and experience. With no more to go on but a single anecdotal experience, your advice to a technician regarding whether or not to use a non-equal temperament was "Don't do it!"

I hope you don't mind if I don't personally take your advice since I have been doing just that for the past 24 years and have made my living as a professional piano technician doing what you say in effect, wouldn't work, couldn't work and shouldn't be tried. You're not the first to blurt out such advice. Thousands have preceded you. None of their advice was given any consideration either.

Nor have any of the warnings about the dire consequences of what would surely happen if one dared to take such a foolish risk. I just brush such comments away as if they were dust.

The reason is because I do have a long history of experience with this topic and I happen to know what I am talking about. 9 out of 10 aural tunings performed up until perhaps 1990 to 2000 but surely even a large percentage of them even today are not ET at all but a backwards version of a Well Temperament. If all of the dire consequences of straying just one iota from the almighty ET were true, then those very consequences would have happened to 9 out of 10 people who ever tried to tune a piano. Obviously, they did not.

Yes, a key signature is important. It is chosen for a reason. Music is meant to be performed in the key in which it was written. We had a very long discussion about that "Going Home" melody. I discussed it with a very fine piano technician who is also a professor of piano performance.

Our conclusion was that it is a C Major type melody and must have originally been composed on a piano in a Well Temperament in that key. However, it was transcribed and transposed for wind instruments as part of a symphony. Wind instruments happen to intone better in the flat keys than the sharp keys. (Strings are the opposite). Wind instruments do not have the same requirement for temperament as the piano does, nor the need to stretch the octaves. Both wind and string players of high caliber often comment about their inability to resolve completely their intonation with a piano tuned in ET and for good reason: it fights them every step of the way.

I am also a vocalist and have studied voice for some 35 years. Of course, vocal material sometimes needs to be transposed to suit a vocalist's range. If the material being studied is from the 17th or 18th Centuries, ET was NEVER the temperament used at the time that music was written. NEVER!

So, to play that music on a modern piano in ET is automatically altering it from the way it was intended to sound. Yes, if you play music that is drastically altered from the way it was intended to sound and move it up or down a half step or an augmented 4th or any other random interval, it will still sound just as drastically altered by the same amount. Therefore, the supposed advantage of ET.

Complete freedom to modulate, complete freedom to transpose and complete freedom to have all music in a Major key sound as if it were in A Major, no matter which key it is in and all music in a minor key to sound like it is in C minor, no matter which key it is in. Complete freedom to modulate for no reason at all and to have no distinction and to experience no tension and relief because of the modulation. Every valley is exalted and the rough places made plain. All music is put on tranquilizers.

Editions of vocal music do NOT come in increments of a half step and certainly do not have editions transposed up or down and augmented 4th. The transpositions are to keys with at least similar tone color, not to keys which would be expected to be inappropriate. You need to understand what Well Temperament actually is to know what I mean by this.

Music is intended to have some kind of emotion from tranquility to rage. From solemnity to depression. ET robs virtually all music of some of the extremes it was meant to have. That cannot be disputed. It does. If that is the way you prefer to hear the music, with all the edges rounded off, then you are entitled to your opinion and preference. But don't tell me that I have to give all of my clients what your preferences are. I prefer to find out what my clients want to hear and provide it.

The fact is that we did try that "Going Home" melody in both C Major and D-flat Major on a piano tuned in the EBVT III (with, I might add, very highly stretched octaves). When it was played in D-flat Major, nobody had a fit. Nobody tore their hair out. Nobody's skin crawled. Nobody's blood curdled. Nobody put their foot down. Nobody got angry about it. The cast iron frame did not rupture. The bridges didn't split. The soundboard didn't crack. The strings didn't break. Nobody was sued. Nobody lost their job. Nobody was blacklisted. Nobody came to the conclusion that we then had to tune every piano in ET so that there would be no distinction between C Major and D-flat Major.

If we had then tuned the piano in ET, it would not have meant that suddenly the music sounded "right" in C Major. It would have changed it and not for the better. If we had done that and then played it in D-flat Major, it would have sounded the same as it did in C Major, not right, altered from the way it should sound but just a half step higher.

The way it was, in the EBVT III, the melody played in D-flat Major did not sound unpleasant nor was it unusable in any way. It just did not have the sonority that it should have.

You don't get something for nothing. To put all music on the modern piano in ET, you lose something by doing that. If you make every octave on the piano sound completely pure, then octave-fifths, double octaves and triple octaves will be narrow. The high end of the piano will sound flat and the low end will sound sharp.

If you stretch the central octaves of the piano so that all of the 5ths sound pure, you will make all harmony sound tart, like a balloon that has been filled to the point where it will burst. You may gain one kind of brilliance and clarity in one context but in other contexts, you will create a very unsatisfactory sound.

No matter what you do, the ultimate tuning for any piano must be some kind of compromise or another. Perhaps the best kind of compromise is a very complex set of compromises which defies a simple explanation and certainly defies any seemingly logical mathematical solution.

Here is that "Going Home" melody played the way I tuned the piano that day. Those of us who were there, all professional musicians and piano technicians enjoyed it that way. I don't expect everyone to agree. I would expect some people to say they don't like it and they would never tune a piano that way. However, I am not going to change what I do based upon what any technician on this forum may say. I go by the response of my clients. I give them what appeals to them and they pay me to come back and do it for them time and again.

"Going Home" melody played in the EBVT III on a Mason & Hamlin RBB:
https://www.box.com/shared/on0hs9rhcv


As a counter to the "Going Home' melody above, I offer the following short excerpt, played in D flat major, from the New World Symphony of Antonin Dvorak that I recorded this afternoon on my M&H BB in Dirk's Tuner stretched ET. The piano lid is fully open, and the mic is placed inside the piano to capture all of the sound, including pedal movement, hammer noise, and, of course, all the inharmonicity and out of tuneness of my attempt at ET. This is one take, no editing, no processing.

https://www.box.com/s/c5mhpzytqtobdz8hurjd

Cheers.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/21/13 06:44 AM

Thanks for that. I will be away in Los Angeles for 7 days. I tuned the ET via Marpurg for the Opera rehearsals on Monday and again yesterday for a client with a Steinway M who prefers ET. I am hoping to get some nice recordings of it at Grandpianoman's in May.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/21/13 06:57 AM

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Just a follow up:
The decision was made by the client to only use ET.


Oh sure. I think of this as analogous to the currently used term, "Low Information" voter. "You wouldn't want one of those Mean tone tunings, would you? Isn't Well-tempered tuning the same as ET? It says so in several books I have read. Oh, it isn't? You mean it's unequal?" Then a gripping fear of howling wolves and blood curdling dissonances sets in. "No, I think I would only want ET so I can play in all the keys, besides, one of my students has perfect pitch, so an unequal temperament would drive him crazy."

I have heard all of this many times over and from many different people. This is how people are kept from knowing the enjoyment of how music was actually meant to be heard. The ironic part about it is that so many people who believed for their entire lives that what they were hearing as ET was in fact a backwards version of a WT.

In any case, I wouldn't worry too much about the choice from a voice teacher who has a piano which is so substandard. Keep the other options in mind for the times when choices really do matter.
Posted by: Phil D

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/21/13 01:02 PM

Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Just a follow up:
The decision was made by the client to only use ET.


Oh sure. I think of this as analogous to the currently used term, "Low Information" voter. "You wouldn't want one of those Mean tone tunings, would you? Isn't Well-tempered tuning the same as ET? It says so in several books I have read. Oh, it isn't? You mean it's unequal?" Then a gripping fear of howling wolves and blood curdling dissonances sets in. "No, I think I would only want ET so I can play in all the keys, besides, one of my students has perfect pitch, so an unequal temperament would drive him crazy."

I have heard all of this many times over and from many different people. This is how people are kept from knowing the enjoyment of how music was actually meant to be heard. The ironic part about it is that so many people who believed for their entire lives that what they were hearing as ET was in fact a backwards version of a WT.

In any case, I wouldn't worry too much about the choice from a voice teacher who has a piano which is so substandard. Keep the other options in mind for the times when choices really do matter.


This is massively presumptuous! How do you know she made the decision through ignorance? Especially as Joe said previously

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
I hadn't thought of the necessity for transposition and equivalent harmonization. I'm not even going with a QE... I'm going with ET.


Which suggests the decision was a collaboration, not a default.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/21/13 01:12 PM

Originally Posted By: Phil D
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Just a follow up:
The decision was made by the client to only use ET.


Oh sure. I think of this as analogous to the currently used term, "Low Information" voter. "You wouldn't want one of those Mean tone tunings, would you? Isn't Well-tempered tuning the same as ET? It says so in several books I have read. Oh, it isn't? You mean it's unequal?" Then a gripping fear of howling wolves and blood curdling dissonances sets in. "No, I think I would only want ET so I can play in all the keys, besides, one of my students has perfect pitch, so an unequal temperament would drive him crazy."

I have heard all of this many times over and from many different people. This is how people are kept from knowing the enjoyment of how music was actually meant to be heard. The ironic part about it is that so many people who believed for their entire lives that what they were hearing as ET was in fact a backwards version of a WT.

In any case, I wouldn't worry too much about the choice from a voice teacher who has a piano which is so substandard. Keep the other options in mind for the times when choices really do matter.


This is massively presumptuous! How do you know she made the decision through ignorance? Especially as Joe said previously

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
I hadn't thought of the necessity for transposition and equivalent harmonization. I'm not even going with a QE... I'm going with ET.


Which suggests the decision was a collaboration, not a default.


These are multi-generational music teachers. I did suggest various UT's after making that post. But, the client wanted ET.

"Mine is not to question why... "
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 03/27/13 09:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Phil D

This is massively presumptuous! How do you know she made the decision through ignorance?


Oh, you're right! I forgot the most classic quote of them all: "Wouldn't an unequal temperament tend to throw the singers off?
Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/02/13 10:07 AM

Originally Posted By: Phil D
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Just a follow up:
The decision was made by the client to only use ET.


Oh sure. I think of this as analogous to the currently used term, "Low Information" voter. "You wouldn't want one of those Mean tone tunings, would you? Isn't Well-tempered tuning the same as ET? It says so in several books I have read. Oh, it isn't? You mean it's unequal?" Then a gripping fear of howling wolves and blood curdling dissonances sets in. "No, I think I would only want ET so I can play in all the keys, besides, one of my students has perfect pitch, so an unequal temperament would drive him crazy."

I have heard all of this many times over and from many different people. This is how people are kept from knowing the enjoyment of how music was actually meant to be heard. The ironic part about it is that so many people who believed for their entire lives that what they were hearing as ET was in fact a backwards version of a WT.

In any case, I wouldn't worry too much about the choice from a voice teacher who has a piano which is so substandard. Keep the other options in mind for the times when choices really do matter.


This is massively presumptuous! How do you know she made the decision through ignorance? Especially as Joe said previously

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
I hadn't thought of the necessity for transposition and equivalent harmonization. I'm not even going with a QE... I'm going with ET.


Which suggests the decision was a collaboration, not a default.


Hi Bill,

Perhaps you do not remember the historical process, "they" really wanted to enjoy music for how they meant music to be "heard".

You wrote: ..."The ironic part about it is that so many people who believed for their entire lives that what they were hearing as ET was in fact a backwards version of a WT."...

Even more ironic about it is that, still in these days, you suggest and try to teach a quasi-ET which is closer to a WT than to a modern ET. And yet you lament that many people think "Well-tempered tuning" be "the same as ET".

..."In any case, I wouldn't worry too much about the choice from a voice teacher who has a piano which is so substandard. Keep the other options in mind for the times when choices really do matter."

Personally, I would respect voice teachers as well, no matter what piano they can afford; the problem here would not be the piano, Bill, but poor tunings based on wrong teachings; call them WT or quasi-ET, it becomes only secondary.

Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Originally Posted By: Phil D

This is massively presumptuous! How do you know she made the decision through ignorance?


Oh, you're right! I forgot the most classic quote of them all: "Wouldn't an unequal temperament tend to throw the singers off?


I do not know anymore if your comment comes from ignorance, arrogance or bad faith.

Regards, a.c.
.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/03/13 04:52 AM

Being an insomniac, I woke up thinking about this issue of how much of problem tuning in an mild alternative temperament would really cause.

The largest offset for EBVT3 is at C with a difference of 3.8 cents. Most of the offsets are around or less that 1 cent. http://www.billbremmer.com/ebvt/ebvt_iii.jpg

The theoretical frequency for C4 is 261.63 Hz. The theoretical frequency for C#4 is 277.18 HZ. http://www.phy.mtu.edu/~suits/notefreqs.html This is a difference (rounded up) of about 16 Hz. This is close enough for this discussion.

There are 100 cents per half-step (as we all know smile ) So, at C4 to C#4 there are 100 cents to 16 Hz, or 16 Hz divided up by 100 cents. I suspect there would have to be a greater difference between ET and EBVT3 to cause a significant beat when a singer is singing unisons with the piano... especially when you consider that the lower on the keyboard you go, the less of a difference in Hz there will be in each half-step. Of course, the higher you go, the more Hz per cent.

These offsets do affect the harmonization of the keyboard, especially the RBIs (which is, after all, the whole point of using them). But, are they really that significant when the keyboard is being used for voice? Especially when you consider the various octave stretching style variations between tuners.

I am referring to the very mild UTs here, not the strong ones.
Posted by: rxd

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/03/13 09:31 AM

In this particular case, using a small piano, whether you tune the fundamentals electronically and let the inharmonics fall where they may, or tune the inharmonics the usual way and let the fundamentals fall where they may, won't you end up with many of the attributes of a mIld UT anyway? At least in the lower half of this spinet.

Once it is accepted that a true ET is a distant, if not unobtainable goal, a tuner with even only a very basic understanding of UT's and experience of spinets should have no trouble constructing a presentable mild UT out of the anomalies that are Inherent in spinets anyway.

It might prove to be just about as truly equal as a typical Winter spinet can hope to be tuned.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/03/13 02:10 PM

Originally Posted By: rxd
In this particular case, using a small piano, whether you tune the fundamentals electronically and let the inharmonics fall where they may, or tune the inharmonics the usual way and let the fundamentals fall where they may, won't you end up with many of the attributes of a mIld UT anyway? At least in the lower half of this spinet.

Once it is accepted that a true ET is a distant, if not unobtainable goal, a tuner with even only a very basic understanding of UT's and experience of spinets should have no trouble constructing a presentable mild UT out of the anomalies that are Inherent in spinets anyway.

It might prove to be just about as truly equal as a typical Winter spinet can hope to be tuned.


An absolutely brilliant observation! smile
Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/06/13 08:22 AM

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Being an insomniac, I woke up thinking about this issue of how much of problem tuning in an mild alternative temperament would really cause.


I hope you already know about the dozens of theoretical "mild alternative" temperaments that have been proposed in the last three hundred years, and I hope you know what the original problem was and how we ended up with the so called "compromise".

And in case you do not know about that very long story, if you are a piano tuner, perhaps you can see that all those temperaments have ruled only 12 semitones, i.e. the octave compass, which is about one seventh (1/7) of the notes we tune.

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
The largest offset for EBVT3 is at C with a difference of 3.8 cents. Most of the offsets are around or less that 1 cent. http://www.billbremmer.com/ebvt/ebvt_iii.jpg

The theoretical frequency for C4 is 261.63 Hz. The theoretical frequency for C#4 is 277.18 HZ. http://www.phy.mtu.edu/~suits/notefreqs.html This is a difference (rounded up) of about 16 Hz. This is close enough for this discussion.

There are 100 cents per half-step (as we all know smile ) So, at C4 to C#4 there are 100 cents to 16 Hz, or 16 Hz divided up by 100 cents. I suspect there would have to be a greater difference between ET and EBVT3 to cause a significant beat when a singer is singing unisons with the piano... especially when you consider that the lower on the keyboard you go, the less of a difference in Hz there will be in each half-step. Of course, the higher you go, the more Hz per cent.

These offsets do affect the harmonization of the keyboard, especially the RBIs (which is, after all, the whole point of using them). But, are they really that significant when the keyboard is being used for voice? Especially when you consider the various octave stretching style variations between tuners.

I am referring to the very mild UTs here, not the strong ones.


Yes, two relevant issues for all, piano tuners, musicians and singers: on the one hand "the harmonization of the keyboard", on the other hand "the various octave stretching style variations between tuners".

Now I myself may be able to answer your indirect question above (...how much of problem...) but, before we go on, I need to ask you: would you heartily like harmonizing the keyboard? Or, you'd rather get by with what you are able to do already?

And, do you think singers would like an harmonized keyboard?

Regards, a.c.
.
Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/07/13 07:05 AM

Originally Posted By: rxd
In this particular case, using a small piano, whether you tune the fundamentals electronically and let the inharmonics fall where they may, or tune the inharmonics the usual way and let the fundamentals fall where they may, won't you end up with many of the attributes of a mIld UT anyway? At least in the lower half of this spinet.

Once it is accepted that a true ET is a distant, if not unobtainable goal, a tuner with even only a very basic understanding of UT's and experience of spinets should have no trouble constructing a presentable mild UT out of the anomalies that are Inherent in spinets anyway.

It might prove to be just about as truly equal as a typical Winter spinet can hope to be tuned.


@ ..."In this particular case, using a small piano...(snip)...won't you end up with many of the attributes of a mIld UT anyway? At least in the lower half of this spinet."...

I am not sure, rxd, perhaps that depends on what "...mild..." means for you; and it may depend on the way "you tune" and where you let the "fundamentals fall"; and we would still be left with the upper half of the spinet (?).

@ ..."Once it is accepted that a true ET is a distant, if not unobtainable goal, a tuner with even only a very basic understanding of UT's and experience of spinets should have no trouble constructing a presentable mild UT out of the anomalies that are Inherent in spinets anyway."...

Yes, perhaps we ought to check your premise first, ..."Once it is accepted that a true ET is a distant, if not unobtainable goal...".

I hope you understand, now that I hear of a nigh-infinite array of ETs I would love to hear a sample of what you call a "true ET", RBIs, chromatic 4ths, 5ths, octaves, 12ths and 15ths, from C3 to C6.

Also, are you saying that "anomalies that are Inherent in spinets" help for "constructing a presentable mild UT"? I would actually think the opposite: anomalies inherent in spinets may turn ET into something different but (hopefully) presentable, call it whatever you like. In other words, considering anomalies, I would have one more reason for choosing the cleanest and most resonant tone/whole geometry.

@ ..."It might prove to be just about as truly equal as a typical Winter spinet can hope to be tuned."

Yes, (if I understand correctly) here I would agree, I too always try to tune as "truly equal" as any piano can hope to be tuned.

Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Mwm,

I'm afraid you're getting way ahead of your knowledge and experience. With no more to go on but a single anecdotal experience, your advice to a technician regarding whether or not to use a non-equal temperament was "Don't do it!"

I hope you don't mind if I don't personally take your advice since I have been doing just that for the past 24 years and have made my living as a professional piano technician doing what you say in effect, wouldn't work, couldn't work and shouldn't be tried. You're not the first to blurt out such advice. Thousands have preceded you. None of their advice was given any consideration either.

Nor have any of the warnings about the dire consequences of what would surely happen if one dared to take such a foolish risk. I just brush such comments away as if they were dust.

The reason is because I do have a long history of experience with this topic and I happen to know what I am talking about. 9 out of 10 aural tunings performed up until perhaps 1990 to 2000 but surely even a large percentage of them even today are not ET at all but a backwards version of a Well Temperament. If all of the dire consequences of straying just one iota from the almighty ET were true, then those very consequences would have happened to 9 out of 10 people who ever tried to tune a piano. Obviously, they did not.

Yes, a key signature is important. It is chosen for a reason. Music is meant to be performed in the key in which it was written. We had a very long discussion about that "Going Home" melody. I discussed it with a very fine piano technician who is also a professor of piano performance.

Our conclusion was that it is a C Major type melody and must have originally been composed on a piano in a Well Temperament in that key. However, it was transcribed and transposed for wind instruments as part of a symphony. Wind instruments happen to intone better in the flat keys than the sharp keys. (Strings are the opposite). Wind instruments do not have the same requirement for temperament as the piano does, nor the need to stretch the octaves. Both wind and string players of high caliber often comment about their inability to resolve completely their intonation with a piano tuned in ET and for good reason: it fights them every step of the way.

I am also a vocalist and have studied voice for some 35 years. Of course, vocal material sometimes needs to be transposed to suit a vocalist's range. If the material being studied is from the 17th or 18th Centuries, ET was NEVER the temperament used at the time that music was written. NEVER!

So, to play that music on a modern piano in ET is automatically altering it from the way it was intended to sound. Yes, if you play music that is drastically altered from the way it was intended to sound and move it up or down a half step or an augmented 4th or any other random interval, it will still sound just as drastically altered by the same amount. Therefore, the supposed advantage of ET.

Complete freedom to modulate, complete freedom to transpose and complete freedom to have all music in a Major key sound as if it were in A Major, no matter which key it is in and all music in a minor key to sound like it is in C minor, no matter which key it is in. Complete freedom to modulate for no reason at all and to have no distinction and to experience no tension and relief because of the modulation. Every valley is exalted and the rough places made plain. All music is put on tranquilizers.

Editions of vocal music do NOT come in increments of a half step and certainly do not have editions transposed up or down and augmented 4th. The transpositions are to keys with at least similar tone color, not to keys which would be expected to be inappropriate. You need to understand what Well Temperament actually is to know what I mean by this.

Music is intended to have some kind of emotion from tranquility to rage. From solemnity to depression. ET robs virtually all music of some of the extremes it was meant to have. That cannot be disputed. It does. If that is the way you prefer to hear the music, with all the edges rounded off, then you are entitled to your opinion and preference. But don't tell me that I have to give all of my clients what your preferences are. I prefer to find out what my clients want to hear and provide it.

The fact is that we did try that "Going Home" melody in both C Major and D-flat Major on a piano tuned in the EBVT III (with, I might add, very highly stretched octaves). When it was played in D-flat Major, nobody had a fit. Nobody tore their hair out. Nobody's skin crawled. Nobody's blood curdled. Nobody put their foot down. Nobody got angry about it. The cast iron frame did not rupture. The bridges didn't split. The soundboard didn't crack. The strings didn't break. Nobody was sued. Nobody lost their job. Nobody was blacklisted. Nobody came to the conclusion that we then had to tune every piano in ET so that there would be no distinction between C Major and D-flat Major.

If we had then tuned the piano in ET, it would not have meant that suddenly the music sounded "right" in C Major. It would have changed it and not for the better. If we had done that and then played it in D-flat Major, it would have sounded the same as it did in C Major, not right, altered from the way it should sound but just a half step higher.

The way it was, in the EBVT III, the melody played in D-flat Major did not sound unpleasant nor was it unusable in any way. It just did not have the sonority that it should have.

You don't get something for nothing. To put all music on the modern piano in ET, you lose something by doing that. If you make every octave on the piano sound completely pure, then octave-fifths, double octaves and triple octaves will be narrow. The high end of the piano will sound flat and the low end will sound sharp.

If you stretch the central octaves of the piano so that all of the 5ths sound pure, you will make all harmony sound tart, like a balloon that has been filled to the point where it will burst. You may gain one kind of brilliance and clarity in one context but in other contexts, you will create a very unsatisfactory sound.

No matter what you do, the ultimate tuning for any piano must be some kind of compromise or another. Perhaps the best kind of compromise is a very complex set of compromises which defies a simple explanation and certainly defies any seemingly logical mathematical solution.

Here is that "Going Home" melody played the way I tuned the piano that day. Those of us who were there, all professional musicians and piano technicians enjoyed it that way. I don't expect everyone to agree. I would expect some people to say they don't like it and they would never tune a piano that way. However, I am not going to change what I do based upon what any technician on this forum may say. I go by the response of my clients. I give them what appeals to them and they pay me to come back and do it for them time and again.

"Going Home" melody played in the EBVT III on a Mason & Hamlin RBB:
https://www.box.com/shared/on0hs9rhcv


Hi Bill,

I don't mind at all if you don't take my advice. It is my belief that all people, technicians and non-technicians should have the benefit of divergent points of view. Some of those points of view may be based on ignorance, and some are based on experience. I generally agree with just about everything you wrote above. I have spent 40 years working and performing in early music performance practice, so I know about UT, WT, and ET. However, my application of UT and WT has, until now, been limited to instruments whose minimal or non-existent inharmonicity did not get in the way of the approach to tuning the instrument. Now that I have the time and inclination to work with my own piano, I want to explore all these divergent points of view.

Nevertheless, unlike the harpsichord, on which it is difficult to do a convincing performance of a concerto by Ravel or Rachmaninoff, the piano is called upon to play everything from parallel organum to prepared piano works and beyond. Ultimately, the music must come from the performer. Another thread on PW had a video of Valentina Lisitsa playing an out of tune upright at a tube in London. Not bad music making. You can make Bach musical on the kazoo if a musician is playing it. My point is, as a performer, I don't think much about the tuning or temperament of the instrument when performing. I don't think much about the tuning or temperament when I listen to the piano, only the music. I have listened to many of the variant tunings posted here and I think, this was nice, that was nice, but the music or lack of music always gets in the way of actually hearing the temperament. I never, ever want to reach the point that the sound of the tuning gets in the way of my enjoyment of the music.

Yes, I agree that ET, or what passes for ET, could be construed as lacking colour. Does that mean that Yousuf Karsh's black and white portraits are any less poignant for not having colour? I don't think so. The emotion comes from the performer, not the tuner.


Mwm, I understand what you say and I (sincerely, as a sort of survey) would like to know up to which point, as an artist, your ear would confirm your feelings. For instance, does the tuning below get in the way...?

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

Thank you and regards, a.c.
.
Posted by: rxd

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/07/13 09:46 AM

Alfredo, the one time that you quote me In full, you still take two words only and ask a question based on those two words. You ask for an sample of what I call a true ET when I had just got thru describing it as a distant, if not unattainable goal. My answer has to be, "so would I". I would like to think that our digital friends could electronically give us ET to as many decimal places as they can muster but it does 'nt seem to be a priority with them.

I didn't say that the anomalies in a small piano would automatically form a presentable UT but that an experienced and knowledgeable tuner can utilise them to advantage to make a harmonious whole but, as you say, it doesn't matter what we call it, we both mean something similar. There were a couple of other places where you start off thinking the opposite to me but by the end of your paragraph, you restate much of what I said in your own words. Is that intentional?

I can't get into the academics of small pianos, just so's the 'bleat rate'(sic) of the more resonant intervals does'nt sound too comical.
Posted by: Ed Foote

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/07/13 10:43 AM

Greetings,
I have tuned non-et for a number of singers. It appears that a vocalist is more aware of how the piano "feels" than what it "sounds" like. The alteration of notes by 1 to 3 cents has never caught the ear of any musician to have used our pianos here, and that includes all the fixed pitch ones, too. There is a different feel to the piano, though. The temperament I use as the standard has a C-E of around 11 cents, and F#-A# of near 17.

The bigger difference, inre a vocalist, is more of having a harmonic center.(Harmonic here is used to refer to the various levels of harmony among the keys). Whatever key a piece is in, there is a harmonic direction in a traditional UT that is lacking in ET, simply because in ET there is no harmonic distinction between keys other than pitch. This textural realm exists outside of the written page, in that modulation causes a different "feel" for which there is little musical definition. The vocalist responds to the emotional feel of the music in ineffable ways, but with the subliminal effects of tempering causing a subconscious rise and fall in the emotional engagement of the listener and performer, there seems to be something comforting about it. Even if one is not cognizant, this subtle texture is registered, which can also encourage a change of phrasing.

The vocalists' response has been that the piano is easy to sing with. I don't discuss these pianos' tuning, which I keep in a Victorian era style, but Renee Fleming mentioned how comfortable it was to sing with our stage pianos here at Vanderbilt, . Others have similar comments. These are professionals, so I take their preferences seriously. I think there is a better alternative to ET.
Regards,
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/07/13 01:48 PM

Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
Originally Posted By: rxd
In this particular case, using a small piano, whether you tune the fundamentals electronically and let the inharmonics fall where they may, or tune the inharmonics the usual way and let the fundamentals fall where they may, won't you end up with many of the attributes of a mIld UT anyway? At least in the lower half of this spinet.

Once it is accepted that a true ET is a distant, if not unobtainable goal, a tuner with even only a very basic understanding of UT's and experience of spinets should have no trouble constructing a presentable mild UT out of the anomalies that are Inherent in spinets anyway.

It might prove to be just about as truly equal as a typical Winter spinet can hope to be tuned.


@ ..."In this particular case, using a small piano...(snip)...won't you end up with many of the attributes of a mIld UT anyway? At least in the lower half of this spinet."...

I am not sure, rxd, perhaps that depends on what "...mild..." means for you; and it may depend on the way "you tune" and where you let the "fundamentals fall"; and we would still be left with the upper half of the spinet (?).

@ ..."Once it is accepted that a true ET is a distant, if not unobtainable goal, a tuner with even only a very basic understanding of UT's and experience of spinets should have no trouble constructing a presentable mild UT out of the anomalies that are Inherent in spinets anyway."...

Yes, perhaps we ought to check your premise first, ..."Once it is accepted that a true ET is a distant, if not unobtainable goal...".

I hope you understand, now that I hear of a nigh-infinite array of ETs I would love to hear a sample of what you call a "true ET", RBIs, chromatic 4ths, 5ths, octaves, 12ths and 15ths, from C3 to C6.

Also, are you saying that "anomalies that are Inherent in spinets" help for "constructing a presentable mild UT"? I would actually think the opposite: anomalies inherent in spinets may turn ET into something different but (hopefully) presentable, call it whatever you like. In other words, considering anomalies, I would have one more reason for choosing the cleanest and most resonant tone/whole geometry.

@ ..."It might prove to be just about as truly equal as a typical Winter spinet can hope to be tuned."

Yes, (if I understand correctly) here I would agree, I too always try to tune as "truly equal" as any piano can hope to be tuned.

Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Mwm,

I'm afraid you're getting way ahead of your knowledge and experience. With no more to go on but a single anecdotal experience, your advice to a technician regarding whether or not to use a non-equal temperament was "Don't do it!"

I hope you don't mind if I don't personally take your advice since I have been doing just that for the past 24 years and have made my living as a professional piano technician doing what you say in effect, wouldn't work, couldn't work and shouldn't be tried. You're not the first to blurt out such advice. Thousands have preceded you. None of their advice was given any consideration either.

Nor have any of the warnings about the dire consequences of what would surely happen if one dared to take such a foolish risk. I just brush such comments away as if they were dust.

The reason is because I do have a long history of experience with this topic and I happen to know what I am talking about. 9 out of 10 aural tunings performed up until perhaps 1990 to 2000 but surely even a large percentage of them even today are not ET at all but a backwards version of a Well Temperament. If all of the dire consequences of straying just one iota from the almighty ET were true, then those very consequences would have happened to 9 out of 10 people who ever tried to tune a piano. Obviously, they did not.

Yes, a key signature is important. It is chosen for a reason. Music is meant to be performed in the key in which it was written. We had a very long discussion about that "Going Home" melody. I discussed it with a very fine piano technician who is also a professor of piano performance.

Our conclusion was that it is a C Major type melody and must have originally been composed on a piano in a Well Temperament in that key. However, it was transcribed and transposed for wind instruments as part of a symphony. Wind instruments happen to intone better in the flat keys than the sharp keys. (Strings are the opposite). Wind instruments do not have the same requirement for temperament as the piano does, nor the need to stretch the octaves. Both wind and string players of high caliber often comment about their inability to resolve completely their intonation with a piano tuned in ET and for good reason: it fights them every step of the way.

I am also a vocalist and have studied voice for some 35 years. Of course, vocal material sometimes needs to be transposed to suit a vocalist's range. If the material being studied is from the 17th or 18th Centuries, ET was NEVER the temperament used at the time that music was written. NEVER!

So, to play that music on a modern piano in ET is automatically altering it from the way it was intended to sound. Yes, if you play music that is drastically altered from the way it was intended to sound and move it up or down a half step or an augmented 4th or any other random interval, it will still sound just as drastically altered by the same amount. Therefore, the supposed advantage of ET.

Complete freedom to modulate, complete freedom to transpose and complete freedom to have all music in a Major key sound as if it were in A Major, no matter which key it is in and all music in a minor key to sound like it is in C minor, no matter which key it is in. Complete freedom to modulate for no reason at all and to have no distinction and to experience no tension and relief because of the modulation. Every valley is exalted and the rough places made plain. All music is put on tranquilizers.

Editions of vocal music do NOT come in increments of a half step and certainly do not have editions transposed up or down and augmented 4th. The transpositions are to keys with at least similar tone color, not to keys which would be expected to be inappropriate. You need to understand what Well Temperament actually is to know what I mean by this.

Music is intended to have some kind of emotion from tranquility to rage. From solemnity to depression. ET robs virtually all music of some of the extremes it was meant to have. That cannot be disputed. It does. If that is the way you prefer to hear the music, with all the edges rounded off, then you are entitled to your opinion and preference. But don't tell me that I have to give all of my clients what your preferences are. I prefer to find out what my clients want to hear and provide it.

The fact is that we did try that "Going Home" melody in both C Major and D-flat Major on a piano tuned in the EBVT III (with, I might add, very highly stretched octaves). When it was played in D-flat Major, nobody had a fit. Nobody tore their hair out. Nobody's skin crawled. Nobody's blood curdled. Nobody put their foot down. Nobody got angry about it. The cast iron frame did not rupture. The bridges didn't split. The soundboard didn't crack. The strings didn't break. Nobody was sued. Nobody lost their job. Nobody was blacklisted. Nobody came to the conclusion that we then had to tune every piano in ET so that there would be no distinction between C Major and D-flat Major.

If we had then tuned the piano in ET, it would not have meant that suddenly the music sounded "right" in C Major. It would have changed it and not for the better. If we had done that and then played it in D-flat Major, it would have sounded the same as it did in C Major, not right, altered from the way it should sound but just a half step higher.

The way it was, in the EBVT III, the melody played in D-flat Major did not sound unpleasant nor was it unusable in any way. It just did not have the sonority that it should have.

You don't get something for nothing. To put all music on the modern piano in ET, you lose something by doing that. If you make every octave on the piano sound completely pure, then octave-fifths, double octaves and triple octaves will be narrow. The high end of the piano will sound flat and the low end will sound sharp.

If you stretch the central octaves of the piano so that all of the 5ths sound pure, you will make all harmony sound tart, like a balloon that has been filled to the point where it will burst. You may gain one kind of brilliance and clarity in one context but in other contexts, you will create a very unsatisfactory sound.

No matter what you do, the ultimate tuning for any piano must be some kind of compromise or another. Perhaps the best kind of compromise is a very complex set of compromises which defies a simple explanation and certainly defies any seemingly logical mathematical solution.

Here is that "Going Home" melody played the way I tuned the piano that day. Those of us who were there, all professional musicians and piano technicians enjoyed it that way. I don't expect everyone to agree. I would expect some people to say they don't like it and they would never tune a piano that way. However, I am not going to change what I do based upon what any technician on this forum may say. I go by the response of my clients. I give them what appeals to them and they pay me to come back and do it for them time and again.

"Going Home" melody played in the EBVT III on a Mason & Hamlin RBB:
https://www.box.com/shared/on0hs9rhcv


Hi Bill,

I don't mind at all if you don't take my advice. It is my belief that all people, technicians and non-technicians should have the benefit of divergent points of view. Some of those points of view may be based on ignorance, and some are based on experience. I generally agree with just about everything you wrote above. I have spent 40 years working and performing in early music performance practice, so I know about UT, WT, and ET. However, my application of UT and WT has, until now, been limited to instruments whose minimal or non-existent inharmonicity did not get in the way of the approach to tuning the instrument. Now that I have the time and inclination to work with my own piano, I want to explore all these divergent points of view.

Nevertheless, unlike the harpsichord, on which it is difficult to do a convincing performance of a concerto by Ravel or Rachmaninoff, the piano is called upon to play everything from parallel organum to prepared piano works and beyond. Ultimately, the music must come from the performer. Another thread on PW had a video of Valentina Lisitsa playing an out of tune upright at a tube in London. Not bad music making. You can make Bach musical on the kazoo if a musician is playing it. My point is, as a performer, I don't think much about the tuning or temperament of the instrument when performing. I don't think much about the tuning or temperament when I listen to the piano, only the music. I have listened to many of the variant tunings posted here and I think, this was nice, that was nice, but the music or lack of music always gets in the way of actually hearing the temperament. I never, ever want to reach the point that the sound of the tuning gets in the way of my enjoyment of the music.

Yes, I agree that ET, or what passes for ET, could be construed as lacking colour. Does that mean that Yousuf Karsh's black and white portraits are any less poignant for not having colour? I don't think so. The emotion comes from the performer, not the tuner.


Mwm, I understand what you say and I (sincerely, as a sort of survey) would like to know up to which point, as an artist, your ear would confirm your feelings. For instance, does the tuning below get in the way...?

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

Thank you and regards, a.c.
.


Hello Alfredo,

I listened to the youtube of the harpist playing "Clair du Lune" twice. It is, to my ears, absolutely gorgeous playing - very musical, sensitive, and, I love how she adjusts the tempo to suit the harp, having less sustain than the piano. She appears to use all gut strings, even in the bass. I cannot comment on the temperament - it seemed fine to me.

Thank you Alfredo for the opportunity to hear such music!

regards,

mwm
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/07/13 01:54 PM

Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
Greetings,
I have tuned non-et for a number of singers. It appears that a vocalist is more aware of how the piano "feels" than what it "sounds" like. The alteration of notes by 1 to 3 cents has never caught the ear of any musician to have used our pianos here, and that includes all the fixed pitch ones, too. There is a different feel to the piano, though. The temperament I use as the standard has a C-E of around 11 cents, and F#-A# of near 17.

The bigger difference, inre a vocalist, is more of having a harmonic center.(Harmonic here is used to refer to the various levels of harmony among the keys). Whatever key a piece is in, there is a harmonic direction in a traditional UT that is lacking in ET, simply because in ET there is no harmonic distinction between keys other than pitch. This textural realm exists outside of the written page, in that modulation causes a different "feel" for which there is little musical definition. The vocalist responds to the emotional feel of the music in ineffable ways, but with the subliminal effects of tempering causing a subconscious rise and fall in the emotional engagement of the listener and performer, there seems to be something comforting about it. Even if one is not cognizant, this subtle texture is registered, which can also encourage a change of phrasing.

The vocalists' response has been that the piano is easy to sing with. I don't discuss these pianos' tuning, which I keep in a Victorian era style, but Renee Fleming mentioned how comfortable it was to sing with our stage pianos here at Vanderbilt, . Others have similar comments. These are professionals, so I take their preferences seriously. I think there is a better alternative to ET.
Regards,


I agree that singers have a sense of harmonic direction. It tends to make them push leading tones very sharp, and is also sometimes encouraged by choral conductors, who should know better. The natural harmonic direction in music written for a UT appropriate to the repertoire, sung in the original key, needs no help from the singer.

Cheers.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/07/13 02:23 PM

I should add that in my experience, goods singers, choirs, and chamber ensembles sing and play in just intonation to the extent possible. The harpsichord and organ are tuned to a temperament that best suits the range of keys being used in a particular portion of the performance, with the emphasis on the most just intonation for the chords that are required to be sustained by the organ. In the end though, as my wife says, you get what you get with the keyboard - everyone else is in tune.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/07/13 02:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
... - everyone else is in tune.


More or less, and usually less than a piano would be, no matter what the temperament.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/07/13 03:03 PM

Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Being an insomniac, I woke up thinking about this issue of how much of problem tuning in an mild alternative temperament would really cause.


I hope you already know about the dozens of theoretical "mild alternative" temperaments that have been proposed in the last three hundred years, and I hope you know what the original problem was and how we ended up with the so called "compromise".

And in case you do not know about that very long story, if you are a piano tuner, perhaps you can see that all those temperaments have ruled only 12 semitones, i.e. the octave compass, which is about one seventh (1/7) of the notes we tune.

SNIP

Yes, two relevant issues for all, piano tuners, musicians and singers: on the one hand "the harmonization of the keyboard", on the other hand "the various octave stretching style variations between tuners".

Now I myself may be able to answer your indirect question above (...how much of problem...) but, before we go on, I need to ask you: would you heartily like harmonizing the keyboard? Or, you'd rather get by with what you are able to do already?

And, do you think singers would like an harmonized keyboard?

Regards, a.c.
.


Hello Alfredo,

Please define your term "harmonized keyboard." I *think* I know what you mean. But, I am not totally sure. I don't want to respond to the wrong point.

Basically, I think it comes down to this:

1) Mild UTs are harmless to the piano.

2) My clients that choose to try mild UTs seem to really enjoy them.

3) It makes for a more engaging relationship between tuner and client.

4) It is my goal as a tuner to help the client achieve his/her goals. This is additional service I can offer to them at no extra cost, if they want it. If not, I am completely happy to tune in ET.

5) Times change. When ET was being adopted, I would bet that there was some controversy then as well. Things change. The use of UTs seems to be becoming more and more common, especially since the use of ETDs has made using them so simple.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/07/13 05:43 PM

Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: Mwm
... - everyone else is in tune.


More or less, and usually less than a piano would be, no matter what the temperament.


Well, I did say "good", which in my experience, is about 0.01% of the people/groups I have heard.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/07/13 05:54 PM

You said "goods," but the point is that most voices and instruments have a certain tolerance to the pitch, which is generally a lot looser than a piano will have. The variation in pitch with an audible vibrato, whether in a voice, string instrument, or wind instrument, will probably be greater than the difference between an equally tempered fifth and a pure fifth on a piano.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/07/13 06:00 PM

Originally Posted By: BDB
You said "goods," but the point is that most voices and instruments have a certain tolerance to the pitch, which is generally a lot looser than a piano will have. The variation in pitch with an audible vibrato, whether in a voice, string instrument, or wind instrument, will probably be greater than the difference between an equally tempered fifth and a pure fifth on a piano.


I stand corrected. Ham fisted I guess. My area of experience is with singers and players who DO NOT use vibrato except as an ornament. For the other 99.99%, why bother even tuning the piano or orchestra?
Posted by: BDB

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/07/13 06:06 PM

Of course, even without vibrato, pitches vary. I was discussing this with the composer of a piece that was being performed the other day. I mentioned that long ago I had picked up a recording of some of Harry Partch's music and found that the variation of pitch in the attack of the kitharas that trying to use them as an example of pure intervals did not make much sense. He agreed.

People do these things, but there are reasons why most people do not care that much.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/07/13 06:48 PM

Originally Posted By: BDB
Of course, even without vibrato, pitches vary. I was discussing this with the composer of a piece that was being performed the other day. I mentioned that long ago I had picked up a recording of some of Harry Partch's music and found that the variation of pitch in the attack of the kitharas that trying to use them as an example of pure intervals did not make much sense. He agreed.

People do these things, but there are reasons why most people do not care that much.


Very cool. I often find the attack of a strong pizzicato on a 'cello which starts off well above pitch to be useful as an ornament even in early music, if used with great discretion. In jazz of course, pitch bending can really add emotion to the music.
Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/08/13 07:11 AM


Hi rxd,

Our previous posts:

rxd wrote: ..."In this particular case, using a small piano...(snip)...won't you end up with many of the attributes of a mIld UT anyway? At least in the lower half of this spinet."...

I am not sure, rxd, perhaps that depends on what "...mild..." means for you; and it may depend on the way "you tune" and where you let the "fundamentals fall"; and we would still be left with the upper half of the spinet (?).

..."Once it is accepted that a true ET is a distant, if not unobtainable goal, a tuner with even only a very basic understanding of UT's and experience of spinets should have no trouble constructing a presentable mild UT out of the anomalies that are Inherent in spinets anyway."...

Yes, perhaps we ought to check your premise first, ..."Once it is accepted that a true ET is a distant, if not unobtainable goal...".

I hope you understand, now that I hear of a nigh-infinite array of ETs I would love to hear a sample of what you call a "true ET", RBIs, chromatic 4ths, 5ths, octaves, 12ths and 15ths, from C3 to C6.

Also, are you saying that "anomalies that are Inherent in spinets" help for "constructing a presentable mild UT"? I would actually think the opposite: anomalies inherent in spinets may turn ET into something different but (hopefully) presentable, call it whatever you like. In other words, considering anomalies, I would have one more reason for choosing the cleanest and most resonant tone/whole geometry.

..."It might prove to be just about as truly equal as a typical Winter spinet can hope to be tuned."

Yes, (if I understand correctly) here I would agree, I too always try to tune as "truly equal" as any piano can hope to be tuned.

Originally Posted By: rxd
Alfredo, the one time that you quote me In full, you still take two words only and ask a question based on those two words. You ask for an sample of what I call a true ET when I had just got thru describing it as a distant, if not unattainable goal. My answer has to be, "so would I". I would like to think that our digital friends could electronically give us ET to as many decimal places as they can muster but it does 'nt seem to be a priority with them.

I didn't say that the anomalies in a small piano would automatically form a presentable UT but that an experienced and knowledgeable tuner can utilise them to advantage to make a harmonious whole but, as you say, it doesn't matter what we call it, we both mean something similar. There were a couple of other places where you start off thinking the opposite to me but by the end of your paragraph, you restate much of what I said in your own words. Is that intentional?

I can't get into the academics of small pianos, just so's the 'bleat rate'(sic) of the more resonant intervals does'nt sound too comical.


@ ..."Alfredo, the one time that you quote me In full, you still take two words only and ask a question based on those two words."...

Yes, that is true, that is because I do not want to misunderstand my interlocutor, and because sometime we happen to make a conjecture around one "word", in which case I need to be sure about the precise meaning attributed to that word.

For example, take the word "...mild...", you mention a "mild UT" (see above) and I immediately think that not necessarily what sounds "mild" to you... is going to sound "mild" to me.

Perhaps you were referring to a "theoretical" mild UT but, considering all variables related to practice, we know that "mild" numbers may well translate into "wild" tunings quite easily.

@ ..."You ask for an sample of what I call a true ET when I had just got thru describing it as a distant, if not unattainable goal. My answer has to be, "so would I". I would like to think that our digital friends could electronically give us ET to as many decimal places as they can muster but it does 'nt seem to be a priority with them."...

I am not sure I understand your point. As far as I am concerned, ET is not distant at all. I would really like to hear your personal version of ET and perhaps compare your tuning to the ET version of mine. In general, in these days I find absurd and misleading the idea that 12-tempered-semitones can make for a whole 88-keys tuning, ET or whatever - am I the only one? - that is why I would propose you the C3-C6 compass.

@ ..."I didn't say that the anomalies in a small piano would automatically form a presentable UT but that an experienced and knowledgeable tuner can utilise them to advantage to make a harmonious whole but, as you say, it doesn't matter what we call it, we both mean something similar."...

I apologize, perhaps my point is slightly different: yes, it does not matter what we call it, and an aural tuner might utilize anomalies "..to advantage to make a harmonious whole.." (can I believe that we share the meaning of a "harmonious whole"?), but in general I would rather suggest to start with and aim at a whole-geometry, here referring to a modern "whole" ET.

@ ..."There were a couple of other places where you start off thinking the opposite to me but by the end of your paragraph, you restate much of what I said in your own words. Is that intentional?"...

Yes, I sometime use the same words simply hoping to stabilize my own concept, without adding more words.

@ ..."I can't get into the academics of small pianos, just so's the 'bleat rate'(sic) of the more resonant intervals does'nt sound too comical."

Yes, I think I know what you mean.

Regards, a.c.
.
Posted by: rxd

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/08/13 08:57 AM

I don't think we disagree on anything of any consequence.

Perhaps the ET that can be told is not the eternal ET to paraphrase Lau Tsu.

Philosophically, is the mathematical model still ET when transfered to any instrument? Who can possibly be that pedantic?

I was taught a two octave temperament. Over the years, the piano has become one huge extended temperament for me.
As part of a team of 5 that tunes all the major concert and studio pianos here, (yes, there is so much work, it takes 5 and sometimes more, plus a scheduling office of two people), we work interchangeably. There must be over 1000 salaried top flight musicians among our 5 major symphonies and smaller orchestras and theatres, plus as many or more freelance musicians with never a problem they welcome a stable and predictable reference point. If anybody wants anything different, we can accommodate them. Other than the occasional request for 442 which is usually covered by putting in another piano that is stable at that pitch, we are rarely asked for any other temperament. The last time was eight years ago for a new work that hasn't been performed here since.

We simply haven't time to get any weird ideas about tuning. We did have one who started to tune too sharp in the treble. He only had to do it for a day or two before his colleagues had to dissuade him, it created too much extra work and was noticed by our musicians immediately.
Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/08/13 06:35 PM

Originally Posted By: Mwm

Originally Posted By: Mwm


Hi Bill,

I don't mind at all if you don't take my advice. It is my belief that all people, technicians and non-technicians should have the benefit of divergent points of view. Some of those points of view may be based on ignorance, and some are based on experience. I generally agree with just about everything you wrote above. I have spent 40 years working and performing in early music performance practice, so I know about UT, WT, and ET. However, my application of UT and WT has, until now, been limited to instruments whose minimal or non-existent inharmonicity did not get in the way of the approach to tuning the instrument. Now that I have the time and inclination to work with my own piano, I want to explore all these divergent points of view.

Nevertheless, unlike the harpsichord, on which it is difficult to do a convincing performance of a concerto by Ravel or Rachmaninoff, the piano is called upon to play everything from parallel organum to prepared piano works and beyond. Ultimately, the music must come from the performer. Another thread on PW had a video of Valentina Lisitsa playing an out of tune upright at a tube in London. Not bad music making. You can make Bach musical on the kazoo if a musician is playing it. My point is, as a performer, I don't think much about the tuning or temperament of the instrument when performing. I don't think much about the tuning or temperament when I listen to the piano, only the music. I have listened to many of the variant tunings posted here and I think, this was nice, that was nice, but the music or lack of music always gets in the way of actually hearing the temperament. I never, ever want to reach the point that the sound of the tuning gets in the way of my enjoyment of the music.

Yes, I agree that ET, or what passes for ET, could be construed as lacking colour. Does that mean that Yousuf Karsh's black and white portraits are any less poignant for not having colour? I don't think so. The emotion comes from the performer, not the tuner.


Mwm, I understand what you say and I (sincerely, as a sort of survey) would like to know up to which point, as an artist, your ear would confirm your feelings. For instance, does the tuning below get in the way...?

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

Thank you and regards, a.c.
.
Originally Posted By: Mwm
[/quote]

Hello Alfredo,

I listened to the youtube of the harpist playing "Clair du Lune" twice. It is, to my ears, absolutely gorgeous playing - very musical, sensitive, and, I love how she adjusts the tempo to suit the harp, having less sustain than the piano. She appears to use all gut strings, even in the bass. I cannot comment on the temperament - it seemed fine to me.

Thank you Alfredo for the opportunity to hear such music!

regards,

mwm


Hi Mwm,

Sorry, I got mixed up with all this quoting!!

Anyway.. Thank you very much for your feedback. You say ..."I cannot comment on the temperament - it seemed fine to me."

Please, could you tell me what I should understand? What are you addressing, the temperament or the overall tuning? I think I'll soon start a new thread on this.

Hi daniokeeper, I am going to reply asap.

Thanks and regards, a.c.
.
Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/08/13 07:49 PM

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Being an insomniac, I woke up thinking about this issue of how much of problem tuning in an mild alternative temperament would really cause.


I hope you already know about the dozens of theoretical "mild alternative" temperaments that have been proposed in the last three hundred years, and I hope you know what the original problem was and how we ended up with the so called "compromise".

And in case you do not know about that very long story, if you are a piano tuner, perhaps you can see that all those temperaments have ruled only 12 semitones, i.e. the octave compass, which is about one seventh (1/7) of the notes we tune.

SNIP

Yes, two relevant issues for all, piano tuners, musicians and singers: on the one hand "the harmonization of the keyboard", on the other hand "the various octave stretching style variations between tuners".

Now I myself may be able to answer your indirect question above (...how much of problem...) but, before we go on, I need to ask you: would you heartily like harmonizing the keyboard? Or, you'd rather get by with what you are able to do already?

And, do you think singers would like an harmonized keyboard?

Regards, a.c.
.

Hello Alfredo,

Please define your term "harmonized keyboard." I *think* I know what you mean. But, I am not totally sure. I don't want to respond to the wrong point.

Basically, I think it comes down to this:

1) Mild UTs are harmless to the piano.

2) My clients that choose to try mild UTs seem to really enjoy them.

3) It makes for a more engaging relationship between tuner and client.

4) It is my goal as a tuner to help the client achieve his/her goals. This is additional service I can offer to them at no extra cost, if they want it. If not, I am completely happy to tune in ET.

5) Times change. When ET was being adopted, I would bet that there was some controversy then as well. Things change. The use of UTs seems to be becoming more and more common, especially since the use of ETDs has made using them so simple.



Hello daniokeeper,

@ ...Please define your term "harmonized keyboard." I *think* I know what you mean. But, I am not totally sure. I don't want to respond to the wrong point."...

I mean a piano that sounds harmonious as a whole, all across the keyboard. What did you mean?

@ ...1) Mild UTs are harmless to the piano."...

Yes, if you refer to small deviations in pitch, say.. pretty normal approximations;

@ ...2) My clients that choose to try mild UTs seem to really enjoy them.

No doubt about that;

@ ...3) It makes for a more engaging relationship between tuner and client.

Hmmm... due to my English I am not sure about "...engaging relationship...", what do you mean?

@ ...4) It is my goal as a tuner to help the client achieve his/her goals. This is additional service I can offer to them at no extra cost, if they want it. If not, I am completely happy to tune in ET.

That sounds perfect, for you; I consider myself responsable also for the whole intonation and acoustic performance of the piano;

@ ...5) Times change. When ET was being adopted, I would bet that there was some controversy then as well. Things change. The use of UTs seems to be becoming more and more common, especially since the use of ETDs has made using them so simple.

Now it is quite funny, in that I am learning that there is a nigh-infinite array of ETs... And considering the large number of existing UTs and WTs and more ETDs "variants" plus anomalies... I wouldn't really know what we can talk about.

In regard to your original question I would say: as a tuner, do not trust labels and try to use your ear.

Regards, a.c.

Edit: would you give me your feedback on that harp recording, how do you like that tuning?
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/08/13 09:15 PM

Alfredo,

I am not able to comment knowledgebly on the quality of the either the temperament or the tuning of the harp in the youtube video. I do not know enough about the pedal harp to know, when the harp is tuned to its native pitch, whether or not the change in pitch caused by shifting the pedal to sharpen or double sharpen the string is precise enough to enable me to hear inaccuracies in the tuning. Also, hard plucks cause the attack to be sharp. In general, however, I enjoyed the sound of the harp, and on the third hearing, noticed a few tense intervals that nevertheless did not disturb my enjoyment of the music.

Regards.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/08/13 09:28 PM

So. Everybody correct me if I am wrong, but I sense here at PW two schools of thought regarding temperament and tuning the piano. One school seems to say that any temperament that is chosen can be tuned and the iH dealt with within the context of that particular temperament with the result being a clearly defined, mathematically verifiable, temperament that sounds precisely as good as it would on an organ. The second school seems to say that the piano, because of its inherent inharmonicity, is best tuned in a manner, unique to that particular piano, that results in a sound that is pleasing and harmonious throughout the compass of the piano and whose resultant temperament does not correspond to a pre-existing mathematically described formula. Comments?
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/08/13 09:43 PM

I think I'm in a third school...

Every tuning is a custom tuning unique to that instrument at that moment in its life, including ET. It's the procedure that varies by either using ET or selecting a UT. We set the harmonies (by using partials) of whichever temperament we are tuning in.

Inharmonicity, coupling effects, etc. make each instrument unique. That is the reason we cannot simply use 88 tuning forks.

Consider A3 to A4 the octave. We cannot simply tune one fundamental to 220 and the other to 440. The octave will beat.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/08/13 10:01 PM

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
I think I'm in a third school...

Every tuning is a custom tuning unique to that instrument at that moment in its life, including ET. It's the procedure that varies by either using ET or selecting a UT. We set the harmonies (by using partials) of whichever temperament we are tuning in.

Inharmonicity, coupling effects, etc. make each instrument unique. That is the reason we cannot simply use 88 tuning forks.

Consider A3 to A4 the octave. We cannot simply tune one fundamental to 220 and the other to 440. The octave will beat.



I agree but that is, to some extent, what I am trying, as a rank amateur, to figure out. Having tuned UTs on organs and harpsichords, with no stretch, the sound was consistent from octave to octave. If you play a full chord structure in a Bach work that covers the range from an octave below C1 to C6, all of the octave notes in the chord are beatless, but this is not the case for the piano. If you work so hard to get a good UT, say Kirnberger III or a Valotti variant, what is the point if the octaves are not beatless? If you have to stretch everything to make a compromise, then you are not really tuning the UT as it was described, and the resulting sound has lost the very essence of what it was trying to be.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/08/13 10:38 PM

Quote:

I agree but that is, to some extent, what I am trying, as a rank amateur, to figure out. Having tuned UTs on organs and harpsichords, with no stretch, the sound was consistent from octave to octave. If you play a full chord structure in a Bach work that covers the range from an octave below C0 to C6, all of the octave notes in the chord are beatless, but this is not the case for the piano. If you work so hard to get a good UT, say Kirnberger III or a Valotti variant, what is the point if the octaves are not beatless? If you have to stretch everything to make a compromise, then you are not really tuning the UT as it was described, and the resulting sound has lost the very essence of what it was trying to be. [Emphasis added]


If it's a reasonably well scaled piano, the octaves times X should be able to be tuned beatless. But there is beatless, then there is beatless. Hopefully you can find the sweet spot where the 2:1. 4:2 and 6:3 octaves cancel each other out, as well as finding the sweet spots for the double octaves, triple octaves, etc.

But, you do make a valid point... the old pianofortes did not have nearly the inharmonicity of a modern piano because the tension was so much lower.

If the temperament octave is teased wider slightly because of inharmonicity, is it still the same temperament? Speaking personally, I just do the best I can with what I have to work with smile

Edit: I suppose you could make the argument that the temperament is the same. If the ET octave tunes slightly wider than mathematical doubling of the fundamental on a modern piano because of inharmonicity, the proportions are the same and you are still in ET. If the proportions of a UT are maintained, are you still in that UT? I think you could make a very credible argument that you are.

-Joe smile
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/08/13 10:51 PM

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper


If the temperament octave is teased wider slightly because of inharmonicity, is it still the same temperament? Speaking personally, I just do the best I can with what I have to work with smile

-Joe smile


Precisely my point - Can we really talk about a specific temperament once we start modifying the original specification of the UT in order to make it work on a piano? While I enjoy playing in UTs, my best, uneducated guess as a musician is that, from the beginning of the time that keyboards became common, people tried to make them sound good over the whole compass. We, in hindsight, look at these attempts as if they were specific recipes to make the only possible, correct sound for a particular piece of music written in that particular era. They were just trying to tune the damned thing.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/08/13 11:53 PM

I think you replied before I added my "Edit"

Edit: I suppose you could make the argument that the temperament is the same. If the ET octave tunes slightly wider than mathematical doubling of the fundamental on a modern piano because of inharmonicity, the proportions are the same and you are still in ET. If the proportions of a UT are maintained, are you still in that UT? I think you could make a very credible argument that you are.

Then again, how far do you want to carry the argument? Must it be on the same instrument the piece was originally composed on?

Edit: Or, maybe it should at least be performed on a pianoforte of that same era?

Should Bach not be performed at all on a modern piano tuned in ET?




Your interest in UTs seems to be historical performance..

Mine is different... I am interested in the effect that very mild UTs have on the resonance and character of the piano, and allowing modern musicians to take advantage of that. I see tuning HTs on a modern piano as modern representations of historic harmonization schemes. (Whatever that means smile lol! )

-Joe
Posted by: rxd

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/09/13 02:22 AM

....they were just trying to tune the damn thing.

Just thought it worth repeating. Ultimately, Aren't we all?

Thanks Mwm, you started my day with a smile.
Posted by: DoelKees

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/09/13 03:33 AM

Originally Posted By: rxd

As part of a team of 5 that tunes all the major concert and studio pianos here, (yes, there is so much work, it takes 5 and sometimes more, plus a scheduling office of two people), we work interchangeably. There must be over 1000 salaried top flight musicians among our 5 major symphonies and smaller orchestras and theatres, plus as many or more freelance musicians with never a problem they welcome a stable and predictable reference point. If anybody wants anything different, we can accommodate them. Other than the occasional request for 442 which is usually covered by putting in another piano that is stable at that pitch, we are rarely asked for any other temperament. The last time was eight years ago for a new work that hasn't been performed here since.

We simply haven't time to get any weird ideas about tuning. We did have one who started to tune too sharp in the treble. He only had to do it for a day or two before his colleagues had to dissuade him, it created too much extra work and was noticed by our musicians immediately.

Sounds like the way McDonalds hamburgers are made. No point asking those burger flippers for something special.

Sorry for being so disrespectful, but of course I am just joking. Or am I? Hmmm.

Kees
Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/09/13 05:15 AM

Originally Posted By: rxd
I don't think we disagree on anything of any consequence.

Perhaps the ET that can be told is not the eternal ET to paraphrase Lau Tsu.

Philosophically, is the mathematical model still ET when transfered to any instrument? Who can possibly be that pedantic?

I was taught a two octave temperament. Over the years, the piano has become one huge extended temperament for me.
As part of a team of 5 that tunes all the major concert and studio pianos here, (yes, there is so much work, it takes 5 and sometimes more, plus a scheduling office of two people), we work interchangeably. There must be over 1000 salaried top flight musicians among our 5 major symphonies and smaller orchestras and theatres, plus as many or more freelance musicians with never a problem they welcome a stable and predictable reference point. If anybody wants anything different, we can accommodate them. Other than the occasional request for 442 which is usually covered by putting in another piano that is stable at that pitch, we are rarely asked for any other temperament. The last time was eight years ago for a new work that hasn't been performed here since.

We simply haven't time to get any weird ideas about tuning. We did have one who started to tune too sharp in the treble. He only had to do it for a day or two before his colleagues had to dissuade him, it created too much extra work and was noticed by our musicians immediately.


...I don't think we disagree on anything of any consequence.

I am glad, rxd, all in all... good news.

...Perhaps the ET that can be told is not the eternal ET to paraphrase Lau Tsu."...

Nice citation; on the other hand I hope one day you and I together will be able to address ET without having to say "Perhaps...".

..."Philosophically, is the mathematical model still ET when transfered to any instrument?"...

Your question doesn't sound philosophical to me, but kind of "technical", and I would say that there is going to be a substantial difference, depending on the model. Which ET "mathematical model" are you referring to in these days?

..."Who can possibly be that pedantic?"...

Well, in my own perspective things are a bit different: in my opinion, if a tuner were to refer to a wrong model and (say) expect to be able to transfer that (wrong) model on an instrument, the tuner in question would not be "pedantic" but simply wrong.

I think that, in general, mathematical models are taken in consideration only when they can be transferred in actual practice successfully, without even thinking about "pedantic", I would say beyond any possible attribute, here meaning either the model works or it does not.

..."I was taught a two octave temperament. Over the years, the piano has become one huge extended temperament for me."...

Good news, really. I too think that the usual (traditional and theoretical) concept of "temperament" is to be extended to the whole piano, that is what I do in practice and what I am sharing in Modern ET theory.

Today, every time I think of it, I find all that (teaching and) fighting around "12-tempered-semitones" so deceptive, as if 12 semitones could ever define or be representative of the whole tuning. I cannot really explain this illusory phenomenon either... they too are piano tuners, some of them even talk about "whole harmony", they might well understand (?).

Now I am very curious about the two octave temperament you were taught (I mean the sequence, including 4ths, 5ths and octaves) and look forward to knowing how you expand the first two octaves (reference points).

..."As part of a team of 5 that tunes all the major concert and studio pianos here, (yes, there is so much work, it takes 5 and sometimes more, plus a scheduling office of two people), we work interchangeably. There must be over 1000 salaried top flight musicians among our 5 major symphonies and smaller orchestras and theatres, plus as many or more freelance musicians with never a problem they welcome a stable and predictable reference point. If anybody wants anything different, we can accommodate them. Other than the occasional request for 442 which is usually covered by putting in another piano that is stable at that pitch, we are rarely asked for any other temperament. The last time was eight years ago for a new work that hasn't been performed here since."...

Thanks for letting me know about your team and your practice.

Regards, a.c.
.
Posted by: rxd

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/09/13 08:28 AM

Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: rxd

As part of a team of 5 that tunes all the major concert and studio pianos here, (yes, there is so much work, it takes 5 and sometimes more, plus a scheduling office of two people), we work interchangeably. There must be over 1000 salaried top flight musicians among our 5 major symphonies and smaller orchestras and theatres, plus as many or more freelance musicians with never a problem they welcome a stable and predictable reference point. If anybody wants anything different, we can accommodate them. Other than the occasional request for 442 which is usually covered by putting in another piano that is stable at that pitch, we are rarely asked for any other temperament. The last time was eight years ago for a new work that hasn't been performed here since.

We simply haven't time to get any weird ideas about tuning. We did have one who started to tune too sharp in the treble. He only had to do it for a day or two before his colleagues had to dissuade him, it created too much extra work and was noticed by our musicians immediately.

Sounds like the way McDonalds hamburgers are made. No point asking those burger flippers for something special.

Sorry for being so disrespectful, but of course I am just joking. Or am I? Hmmm.

Kees


Your world view from McD's is enlightening. If thats your only frame of reference, a 5 star kitchen works the same way. You would find the difference in end results startling.

I would agree with you except that each piano is listened to at each performance by the musical equivalent of a 5 star restaurant critic and all these pianos get the attention of a world class concert tech every 10 days and anybody can have the undivided attention of any one of us for as long as they can afford. Just like anywhere else. Thank you for reminding me. This is a lot more than the average concert instrument

We're talking about some of the finest and best cared for pianos in the world. A whole different class than your frame of reference.

Thank you for your interest and giving me the opportunity to clarify a couple of things I had forgotten to mention.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/09/13 09:43 AM

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
I think you replied before I added my "Edit"

Edit: I suppose you could make the argument that the temperament is the same. If the ET octave tunes slightly wider than mathematical doubling of the fundamental on a modern piano because of inharmonicity, the proportions are the same and you are still in ET. If the proportions of a UT are maintained, are you still in that UT? I think you could make a very credible argument that you are.

Then again, how far do you want to carry the argument? Must it be on the same instrument the piece was originally composed on?

Edit: Or, maybe it should at least be performed on a pianoforte of that same era?

Should Bach not be performed at all on a modern piano tuned in ET?




Your interest in UTs seems to be historical performance..

Mine is different... I am interested in the effect that very mild UTs have on the resonance and character of the piano, and allowing modern musicians to take advantage of that. I see tuning HTs on a modern piano as modern representations of historic harmonization schemes. (Whatever that means smile lol! )

-Joe


All Very good points. Much of my experience hearing UTs has been on period instruments, or copies of period instruments. For example, a period chamber orchestra I know, when performing works that include piano, use only the piano that was available in that country, in that day, have it rebuilt, regulated, tuned and voiced to match the conditions they think existed when the work was performed.

Yes, Bach should be played on the modern piano, and in any useful temperament. In the end, you, as a piano tuner, must ensure the listener hears the music, not the temperament.
My guess is that this is what you already do.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/09/13 10:11 AM

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper


Edit: I suppose you could make the argument that the temperament is the same. If the ET octave tunes slightly wider than mathematical doubling of the fundamental on a modern piano because of inharmonicity, the proportions are the same and you are still in ET. If the proportions of a UT are maintained, are you still in that UT? I think you could make a very credible argument that you are.


-Joe


This is where I need help separating the math from what I hear when tuning. If, in the math of 12ET, which forms the baseline in most modern visualizations for comparing the various historical temperaments, all octaves are truly beatless, and all other intervals beat to a greater or lessor extent, then, as soon as we apply stretch to "harmonize" the whole compass of the piano, we have moved away from 12ET, since every interval has some beat to it. My ear, as a musician, doesn't really hear the errors, as it were. Now Kirnberger III, which has a number of beatless fifths and major thirds, if stretched to suit the iH of a piano (an inappropriate use of Kirnberger III I might add, but good for illustration), all intervals will have some beat and the sense of the pure, relaxed sound that would have been there without the stretch is lost.

Am I really out to lunch on this one?
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/09/13 11:48 AM

I don't think you are out to lunch at all. You make a valid and important point, especially to someone like me who is formally trained to tune ET by ear, but relies heavily (but not totally) on ETD software for the HTs.

Yes, it would seem that these beatless intervals should remain beatless, regardless of stretch. But things are the way they are... You would then have to hide the error somewhere else.

But not all UTs have a similar problem. Consider the layout of the 5ths/4ths in the Moscow Equal-Beating Pythagorean Temperament. Or, consider the 1/10 Comma Meantone Temperament, where the deviations from ET are so minute that, practically, this temperament needs to be set by ETD.

-Joe smile
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/09/13 12:25 PM

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
I don't think you are out to lunch at all. You make a valid and important point, especially to someone like me who is formally trained to tune ET by ear, but relies heavily (but not totally) on ETD software for the HTs.

Yes, it would seem that these beatless intervals should remain beatless, regardless of stretch. But things are the way they are... You would then have to hide the error somewhere else.

But not all UTs have a similar problem. Consider the layout of the 5ths/4ths in the Moscow Equal-Beating Pythagorean Temperament. Or, consider the 1/10 Comma Meantone Temperament, where the deviations from ET are so minute that, practically, this temperament needs to be set by ETD.

-Joe smile


Again, excellent points. My interest in all this is due to fact that I have not, to my knowledge, played or heard a modern piano live that I knew for a fact was tuned or had attempted to be tuned to anything other than the tuner's best attempt at a harmonious sounding piano. As tuners, you and others on this forum, have an ear for the subtle vibrations of a minute deviation from some standard that simply eludes my ear when I am listening to the music. I can hear them when I tune (though it isn't helping me much yet). My sense is that all good tunings on a particular piano will ultimately converge on a single end temperament that is unique to that instrument. I know other tuners will disagree, but, as a musician, I simply hear the various temperament tuning samples posted on this forum as nice or OK, possibly as good as that piano can sound. But they, and all attempts at tuning ET, are all minor deviations from the ET baseline. Again, I am speaking only of the piano. For other instruments which exhibit less iH, strong UTs that significantly deviate from ET are wonderful.
Posted by: Ed Foote

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/09/13 12:47 PM

Originally Posted By: Mwm

If, in the math of 12ET, which forms the baseline in most modern visualizations for comparing the various historical temperaments, all octaves are truly beatless, and all other intervals beat to a greater or lessor extent, then, as soon as we apply stretch to "harmonize" the whole compass of the piano, we have moved away from 12ET, since every interval has some beat to it. My ear, as a musician, doesn't really hear the errors, as it were. Now Kirnberger III, which has a number of beatless fifths and major thirds, if stretched to suit the iH of a piano (an inappropriate use of Kirnberger III I might add, but good for illustration), all intervals will have some beat and the sense of the pure, relaxed sound that would have been there without the stretch is lost.


Greetings,
The IH has little to do with the effects of tempering. It is the comma that is demanding compromise. The presence or lack of beating is not a defining characteristic of ET, since the "E" of ET is referring to a quality of equality, and this equality remains, regardless of stretch. The unequal temperaments maintain their balance, regardless of stretch.

In the Kirnberger, the quality of purity that the C-E offers extends farther from the middle of the keyboard than the human ear can discern, and the more highly tempered thirds actually begin to sound harmonious as one takes them below C3. (This is due to the critical band beginning to limit partials).
Though there are no beatless intervals on a piano, we usually accept a 4 cent M3 as pure, and a fifth that is only tempered by half doesn't sound that much different from an normal ET fifth. Thirds don't have to be totally pure to create the effect and the contrast of WT. Few people would tell the difference in the tempering of the C-E between the Young and Kirnberger. There are certain bell-like intervals on a piano in a Kirnberger, and these are the fifths of the most remote keys. I don't think this tuning on a Steinway is inappropriate, at least, not to my customers that use it, and I don't think it is nearly as inappropriate as Bach in ET (which to my WT polluted ears, sounds like a bee hive buzzing, all the time, everywhere, in the music).
Regards,
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/09/13 02:41 PM

Thanks Ed for your observations. I think I begin to understand the concept of stretch as not affecting the temperament. Interesting.

Do you do concert tunings in UTs on pianos that normally have a different temperament, and then return them to the original temperament after the concert? I am thinking of the limitation on repertoire - does Prokofiev or Poulenc sound good in Valotti?

Cheers.
Posted by: Chris Leslie

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/09/13 06:32 PM

Mwm, I like to think of a rubber band analogy:

If a 12ET is drawn as intervals on a horizontal rubber, and the rubber is stretched, the intervals are stretched but the ET remains.

If the horizontal rubber is 8 octaves long and stretched from each end it will slightly stretch the center octave but stretch more at the extremities.

If there are more lengths of rubber attached perpendicular to the rubber for every note, like a comb, then we have an analogy for the iH for each note. If each harmonic is drawn as an interval on each perpendicular rubber then stretching those rubbers will represent the increase in frequency due to iH.

The amount of stretching for the perpendicular rubbers is fixed depending on the dimensions of the real piano strings, and varies for each string. The perpendicular rubbers at extremities stretch further.

The amount of stretching for the horizontal rubber will depend on the frequency coincidence of selected harmonics from several arbitrary perpendicular rubbers with selected harmonics from other perpendicular rubbers. There will never be perfect matching but only a best fit which depends which, and how many, perpendicular stretched rubbers are chosen.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/09/13 06:50 PM

Thanks Chris for the analogy.
Posted by: Chris Leslie

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/09/13 10:09 PM

Thinking further about the analogy: a UT would be represented by uneven intervals drawn on the horizontal rubber band. Stretching the rubber should widen the intervals but keep the relationship. However, since the stretch is actually variable depending on the perpendicular rubber bands, and more so at the extremities, then the UT relationship will break down towards the extremities.

I think that if a tuner balances several intervals in tuning single notes, then the extremities will converge towards equal temperament.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/09/13 10:22 PM

Originally Posted By: Chris Leslie
Thinking further about the analogy: a UT would be represented by uneven intervals drawn on the horizontal rubber band. Stretching the rubber should widen the intervals but keep the relationship.However, since the stretch is actually variable depending on the perpendicular rubber bands, and more so at the extremities, then the UT relationship will break down towards the extremities.
I think that if a tuner balances several intervals in tuning single notes, then the extremities will converge towards equal temperament.
Emphasis added by mwm


Don't let anyone else here at PW know what you said above. It might start a revolution!
Posted by: Ed Foote

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/09/13 10:29 PM

Originally Posted By: Chris Leslie
Thinking further about the analogy: a UT would be represented by uneven intervals drawn on the horizontal rubber band. Stretching the rubber should widen the intervals but keep the relationship. However, since the stretch is actually variable depending on the perpendicular rubber bands, and more so at the extremities, then the UT relationship will break down towards the extremities.
I think that if a tuner balances several intervals in tuning single notes, then the extremities will converge towards equal temperament.


Actually, the effects of temperament are only really discernable in the middle four octaves of a piano. above or below, and the beating of ET is too fast or slow to register as beating. The color of say, a m3 in the 6th octave, is about the same, regardless of temperament. Same goes for the first two octaves, as far as 3rds are concerned.


>>Do you do concert tunings in UTs on pianos that normally have a different temperament, and then return them to the original temperament after the concert? I am thinking of the limitation on repertoire - does Prokofiev or Poulenc sound good in Valotti?<<

I keep the concert pianos in a mild Victorian era WT, which hasn't yet caused anyone to notice it wasn't strictly equal. I don't want to change them since everyone likes the way the pianos sound, right now.
People seem to respond favorably to the slightest departure from ET, as long as that departure follows the traditional order. Unlike tuners, who suffer the occupational hazard of comparative listening, Temperament has to get fairly strong to draw musicians' attention. A 21 cent third, such as found in the Valotti or Young, might be disruptive in performing music written by composers imbued with ET from the beginning of their musical exposure. However, Debussy, for all his sweeping harmony, sounds fine and textured in a tuning that allows a range from 8 to 18 cents around the circle of fifths. Could his early imprinting have been burnished by a sense of key character? I don't know, but there are plenty of plausible routes to that conclusion.

How much tempering is optimum is like asking how much salt is needed in the soup. There is a taste component, hence, no fixed answer. Those composers who likely matured in a harmonic environment of WT could be expected to use the keys to create familiar harmonies. Those that came later possibly gave it no thought, and in their music, additional consonance and dissonance, rather than assisting in the creation of an emotional response, might cause unintended results in chord voicing, phrasing, and general overall tonal feel.
Regards,



Posted by: Mwm

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/09/13 10:40 PM

Well stated. Thank you.
Posted by: DoelKees

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/09/13 11:07 PM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: Chris Leslie
Thinking further about the analogy: a UT would be represented by uneven intervals drawn on the horizontal rubber band. Stretching the rubber should widen the intervals but keep the relationship.However, since the stretch is actually variable depending on the perpendicular rubber bands, and more so at the extremities, then the UT relationship will break down towards the extremities.
I think that if a tuner balances several intervals in tuning single notes, then the extremities will converge towards equal temperament.
Emphasis added by mwm


Don't let anyone else here at PW know what you said above. It might start a revolution!

This has been discussed extensively here in the past.

What I remember is that there is no point in keeping the UT structure outside the midrange, and the temperament morphs outside there. (No music uses M3's in the bass.) This is possible because there is no unique P8 on the piano because of IH and opens the possibility of an UT on 88 notes, rather than 12.

Interesting stuff!

Kees
Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: Best UT for Voice Teacher - 04/16/13 08:26 AM

Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: Chris Leslie
Thinking further about the analogy: a UT would be represented by uneven intervals drawn on the horizontal rubber band. Stretching the rubber should widen the intervals but keep the relationship.However, since the stretch is actually variable depending on the perpendicular rubber bands, and more so at the extremities, then the UT relationship will break down towards the extremities.
I think that if a tuner balances several intervals in tuning single notes, then the extremities will converge towards equal temperament.
Emphasis added by mwm


Don't let anyone else here at PW know what you said above. It might start a revolution!

This has been discussed extensively here in the past.

What I remember is that there is no point in keeping the UT structure outside the midrange, and the temperament morphs outside there. (No music uses M3's in the bass.) This is possible because there is no unique P8 on the piano because of IH and opens the possibility of an UT on 88 notes, rather than 12.

Interesting stuff!

Kees


Hi All,

Yes, interesting stuff, at least for me (as an aural piano tuner); beyond general discussions, I would really like to come to some logical conclusions, to some steady and shareable points that may better explain "voice intonation" as well as "taste", UTs and modern ETs properties.

Would you please let me know if one of you is (really) interested in this kind of analysis?

Regards, a.c.
.