equal tempered and tuning

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Rasputin
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by Rasputin » Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:44 pm

Alan Carruth wrote:
Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:26 pm
On thinking about this whole thread it seems to me that we are taking different approaches and thus, to some extent, talking past each other.
You're right, of course. I like to nerd out on this stuff and ended up going into territory that doesn't really have anything to do with guitar making.
bacsidoan wrote:
Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:46 pm
To put things in perspective, I wonder if anyone on this forum beside amezcua will pursue a different temperament other than ET on a classical guitar after 9 pages and 134 replies.
I just can't imagine getting to a point in my playing where that would be the next logical step.

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pogmoor
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by pogmoor » Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:50 pm

Anyone like to comment on the temperament here, and how well it sounds?


Youtube


...compared, for example with:


Youtube
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Paul Fischer (1995) and Lester Backshall (2008)
Yamaha SLG 130NW silent classical guitar (2014), Ramirez Guitarra del Tiempo (2017)

Rasputin
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by Rasputin » Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:46 pm

I thought the lute sounded much better. Some parts of the harpischord version really grated. You could probably spend hours comparing the two, but one chord that struck me as truly bad was the first one of the cadence at 1:34/1:35. One of the notes - seems to be the leading tone of the cadence - is so sharp it is in no man's land. Comparing it to the lute version (2:05)... well, there's no comparison.

Going back to the idea of key colours, I didn't detect any chords in the harpischord version that were especially beautiful and might compensate for the dodgy ones.

Rasputin
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by Rasputin » Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:48 pm

But what do you think Pogmoor?

Alan Carruth
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by Alan Carruth » Thu Jun 08, 2017 4:17 pm

It looked to me as though the frets on the lute were not set up exactly at ET intervals, but it is a bit hard to say. One of my students is a fine lute player, and he says that although he generally starts out with the frets at the ET spacing it's normal to adjust them a bit, depending on the music and even the strings. I also thought I saw the player bending the stings a bit to raise the pitches slightly, and, of course, normal left hand vibrato alters the pitches a bit as well. This has to be coupled with the fact that the strings are tied to a moving soundboard, rather than to a fixed stop, and that alters the pitches of some notes. In the end any fretted instrument, even a Les Paul solid body, is not really a 'fixed pitch' instrument in the way that a piano or organ is. Players can, and do, take advantage of this to 'correct' the tuning of notes, often without even realizing it.

amezcua
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by amezcua » Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:13 am

An interesting comparison between different instruments in unknown temperaments (Harpsichord at least ). I liked the Lute sound better but some notes had a blander quality musically. The Harpsichord seemed to express the mood of the composition better . It sounded sadder . It was meant to . The lute did not sound especially sad. It just had a nice lute tone. That`s something different . This will lead to the logic " I don`t like temperaments because a lute sounds nicer than a harpsichord ".

I just read something Rasputin wrote on Sun 4th June that points to a misunderstanding of where I`m coming from . ["Whether a tempered interval can ever have more aesthetic value than a pure interval ie one that is perfectly in tune . The idea that it can ,seems to be the driving force behind the view that the historical temperaments have special value"]
That`s not my point of view. You have interpreted my angle as {{ Tempered versus Pure }}.That should be {{ Tempered versus ET }}. Two different things. A Young temperament (for example ) has more Pure notes that ET.

Is 140 posts more than we are allowed ? The human race has been at it for hundreds of years . Basically this boils down to a fear of uneven frets. Is that a musical choice or is there a better reason not to try it ? Is a musical choice not important ?
The harpsichord could be tuned to ET and we could listen for comparison . That would give us a musical choice and not an instrument choice .

Rasputin
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by Rasputin » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:12 am

amezcua wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:13 am
I just read something Rasputin wrote on Sun 4th June that points to a misunderstanding of where I`m coming from . ["Whether a tempered interval can ever have more aesthetic value than a pure interval ie one that is perfectly in tune . The idea that it can ,seems to be the driving force behind the view that the historical temperaments have special value"]
That`s not my point of view. You have interpreted my angle as {{ Tempered versus Pure }}.That should be {{ Tempered versus ET }}. Two different things. A Young temperament (for example ) has more Pure notes that ET.
I was talking there about key colours. As I've said I think there are several aspects of key colour, but obviously the one we are discussing results from the interval sizes differering slightly from key to key. What I was saying is that a key colour is just a particular way of getting it wrong, or a particular set of imperfections. I was suggesting that the beauty of the key is always in the intervals which are not tempered (tampered with) or in other words are pure. It's the same point I made more recently by saying that it doesn't get better than being in tune. Key colour results from different keys having different no-go areas, not from different keys having uniquely pleasing intervals which the composer can bring out. The pleasing ones are just the ones that are in tune. That is why I think the relevant comparison is between any given temperament and perfect tuning. Which temperament is best - given that for practical reasons we do need to use a temperament of some kind - is just a matter of taste. If you don't like ET, fair enough - I have no problem with that. What I do object to is the attempt to put this personal preference on an objective footing, and the suggestion that those who choose to play the music of historical composers in modern temperaments are musically ignorant.

You can always argue that the concept of perfect tuning is meaningless until you have defined your tuning standard, and that there is no such thing as the perfect tuning of a sixth, say, only different ways of tuning it that we may find pleasing or displeasing depending on our individual taste. That view doesn't seem to be very popular around here, as it seems to be recognised in the posts above that there is some underlying standard by which a temperament can be judged.

astra69
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by astra69 » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:24 am

Wow! my old thread has lasted from 2006 :P I can't believe it ...

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pogmoor
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by pogmoor » Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:02 am

astra69 wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:24 am
Wow! my old thread has lasted from 2006 :P I can't believe it ...
Yes, it got revived just before its 10th anniversary :lol:
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Paul Fischer (1995) and Lester Backshall (2008)
Yamaha SLG 130NW silent classical guitar (2014), Ramirez Guitarra del Tiempo (2017)

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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by pogmoor » Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:08 am

Rasputin wrote:
Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:48 pm
But what do you think Pogmoor?
I enjoy both recordings (though I wish there wasn't so much reverb on the lute recording - but that's a different matter). I hadn't come across Alina Rotaru before, but I've been listening to several of her recordings over the last few days with great enjoyment. I wonder whether perhaps she enjoys the effect of playing chromatic pieces in a meantone temperament because you can find her playing chromatic works by Sweenlinck, Froberger, Bull and Bach's Chromatic Fantasia, as well as Dowland's Forlorne Hope. I think the discordant effects heighten the character of tortured emotion that chromatic pieces from this period are often intended to convey. However the the lute recording also manages to convey the mood of the piece in its own way. I also enjoy this performance in equal temperament on the piano, though its mood is somewhat calmer:


Youtube

(I heard Joanna MacGregor play this live at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 15 or so years ago; I thought the fact that she managed to play a set that included Dowland and Bach at a contemporary music festival was quite a feat in itself!)


Incidentally I found this interesting video - Intonation: Which System to Use When, (on the violin)


Youtube
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Paul Fischer (1995) and Lester Backshall (2008)
Yamaha SLG 130NW silent classical guitar (2014), Ramirez Guitarra del Tiempo (2017)

Rasputin
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by Rasputin » Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:47 pm

pogmoor wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:08 am
(I heard Joanna MacGregor play this live at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 15 or so years ago; I thought the fact that she managed to play a set that included Dowland and Bach at a contemporary music festival was quite a feat in itself!)
:lol:

I like the piano version very much. It is calmer in mood as you say - how much of that is to do with interpretation, how much with timbre, and how much with temperament, I couldn't say.
Incidentally I found this interesting video - Intonation: Which System to Use When, (on the violin)


Youtube
Aha! This is what I was talking about here:
Rasputin wrote:
Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:37 am
Yes, I do think a major scale in ET sounds very close to the way it should. A perfect scale IMO is just a series of perfect fifths put into a single octave (using perfect octaves for the conversion, obviously). The fifths in ET are only very slightly out.

That said, I suspect that for you this is equivalent to asking whether the tonic chord of that scale sounds the way it should. For me that is a different question, but I appreciate that most people believe that chords are built out from scale tones, which would make it the same. The tonic chord is acceptable to my ear but is much improved if the third is flattened (I can do this experiment on my keyboard by switching temperaments). This is why I said above that some violinists will play scales in one tuning (pythagorean or just fifths) but arpeggios in another (using just thirds for the chord thirds), and that I thought they were on the right track. The implication is that the thirds of chords do not really come from the scale, but are so close to the nearest scale tone that we can generally get away with using the same pitch for both – that again is a practical compromise and not a fundamental problem with the mathematics of music.
A dimly-remembered fact - glad to have it confirmed.

Alan Carruth
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by Alan Carruth » Fri Jun 09, 2017 4:43 pm

amezcua wrote:
"Basically this boils down to a fear of uneven frets. "

No; far from it. It's a problem of producing an instrument with more or less fixed pitches that can be conveniently played in several keys, either solo or in ensembles, and sound acceptable in all of them. As you can see, I've been careful to include some qualifiers: 'more or less' fixed, 'conveniently', 'several' keys, 'solo or ensemble', and (the big one) 'acceptable' tone. Obviously the system of temperament you choose will depend on how much weight you put on each of those qualifiers. It's not a simple, one-dimensional issue, at least for most of us.

amezcua
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by amezcua » Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:55 pm

Good topic . I am surprised that guitarists are so conservative but I don`t like the feeling I`m offending players by showing an interest. The words like "musically ignorant " are very grating .I don`t believe I ever said anything like that . It seems clear that many players genuinely enjoy the sound of ET and don`t let me make you uncomfortable for that .We can`t all be clones of each other .
I once asked about the Bach solo sonatas on a violin forum if Bach might have adjusted some notes as if he was playing them in an unequal temperament .If you look at the charts of temperament frequencies there are certain notes that would alter the violin sound .There are maybe 3 or 4 that could make a passage more expressive. Surprisingly there was hardly any reaction at all to that . Bach would not be shy of trying that himself .
That particular question is a monster topic for Rasputin .It`s as close as I could get to it. Partly it`s curiosity about whether Bach would have thought of it . Can you imagine Bach not thinking about something musical ? That`s one solid reason I can`t believe Bach would have trashed all the work on temperaments and sold his soul to the devil with Equal Tuning . That would put Bach in the same box as David Cameron. Just give up and walk away .If you live in England you will know what I mean .

amezcua
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by amezcua » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:35 pm

Let`s look at the defences for ET. "It is possible to modulate into any other key. " The composers who wrote in a key of their choice made their own decisions about how each passage should sound . When they modulated into other keys there was a solid musical reason to do so . Now that ET has landed on top of us their musical choices have been trashed and ignored .
A similar reverse of this defence is also used . "Any modern composer using ET has a right for their compositions to be heard the way they were composed ". I doubt if twelve tone serial compositions written in recent years can be a sufficient reason to push all the other music from the last 200 years off the table . Piano tuners have got the musical world just where they want it .

amezcua
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by amezcua » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:19 pm

Apart from pianos there is a good , inexpensive alternative to Equal Temperament for guitars. My humble inspiration was to see if I could attach frets without any drilling or cutting into the fretboard . Using what was near to hand I had a scrap piece of wood , an old tube of contact glue and a bent nail .So I squeezed the glue on the wood and placed the bent nail in the glue. "Thinks" Lets see how that looks tomorrow . Well it set securely . It was not possible to shift it .
Below is how I changed from ET to Kirnberger III . If you want you can simply see how accurate your ET tuning is .
I ordered some thin brass strips 2mm round section and bought a Korg Orchestral Tuner. The frets were extracted and the surface cleaned to get rid of any greasy fingerprints . Remove 5 strings to leave the single string being altered . One string at a time . Choose your Temperament ! Read some articles before you do this . Each string was separately tuned from open string to the top in this process .Make a dummy moveable fret to find each note position . Add small bits of tape as markers and then place the brass piece (with glue attached ) against the marker . NB. Use tweezers to hold the fret . Protect the string (keep it clean ) with a fold of thin card to pull it aside when adding the fret . Remove the card and check the open string with the Korg and then check the new note against the Korg.The glue allows enough time to shift the fret to get the note exactly . Use tweezers !
Repeat untill all notes are tuned . Constantly double check the open string note as well as the new note .
So you have a choice .It`s not compulsory .Use all the keys and find out how it sounds .It won`t cost an arm and a leg .
With 2mm round section brass strips it`s easier to cut the frets with electricians wire cutters. Cutting with a small hacksaw is tedious and edges can be sorted out later. The small fret lengths change as you move along the board so don`t cut them till you need them .
The contact glued frets can be mechanically removed with a medium sharp edge without damaging the board. There is also a solvent to clean it off .
Contact glue is very stringy so put that on the new fret well away from the guitar so you can pull the glue away quickly to separate the "stretchy string". Getting the top on the tube each time seems to be best but it`s very awkward . It needs some practice .Ask your mate to do that job .You need a quiet room for this as the Korg will hear noises from the kitchen etc. No radios allowed for the time being .
Soon it will be topics about "How many temperaments have you got?" instead of "How many guitars have you got?"

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