equal tempered and tuning

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amezcua
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by amezcua » Mon May 22, 2017 4:19 pm

You see StevSmar I put in a fictional clue which was Bach only writing one piece of music . Why would he bother to write 24 Preludes and Fugues ? Because they all had different qualities that he was demonstrating .Goodall calls these compositions gret music without realising why they were written . Was he reading a script purely to make money ? Does he believe the tosh he was spouting ? Maybe for the majority anything else but ET is not worth the trouble but that`s a free choice. They probably don`t know the difference and have not been shown how it all came about. But these Temperaments existed in history and should not be buried or discarded . Don`t accept lies about the subject . Fortunately electronic piano controllers are saving these temperaments for posterity . Piano tuners generally don`t want to know about Temperaments . But here is one Piano Tuner`s comment about them ; "I just tune them , I don`t play the damned things". It`s a job . He might as well be a plumber .
Would Howard Goodall make a good plumber, do you think ?

amezcua
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by amezcua » Tue May 23, 2017 5:02 pm

Howard Goodall is in a position to know better. He has a lot of influence because he works in the mass media . It is a well known fact that we cannot know what Bach`s temperament was . So how can Goodall say that ET was the product of Bach "Breaking the Code "? That phrase sounds very important on a filmed tv series but it is a disgraceful lie and it needs to be corrected .
There is a long history of Music Teachers telling the same lie about Bach . Every piano performance in ET insults the memory of the composers who had never used it . One stupid book on sale on Amazon tells us that Beethoven`s music would not have been possible without ET. ET was not technically possible when Beethoven was alive .

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pogmoor
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by pogmoor » Tue May 23, 2017 8:01 pm

amezcua wrote:
Tue May 23, 2017 5:02 pm
ET was not technically possible when Beethoven was alive .
What is that intended to mean?

amezcua wrote:
Tue May 23, 2017 5:02 pm
...but it is a disgraceful lie...
Phrases such as that seem to me entirely inappropriate in this context.
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Yamaha SLG 130NW silent classical guitar (2014), Ramirez Guitarra del Tiempo (2017)

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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by amezcua » Tue May 23, 2017 10:56 pm

Tell me when Equal Temperament became possible for mass produced pianos . What was the technical reason it became possible ? It`s based on logarithms which were invented about 1600 . Eben Goresko mentions a reason why it was not possible earlier than the 20th century . Let`s agree that Bach did not invent logarithms at least . That would not be true. It would be inappropriate . A good safe word that .

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pogmoor
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by pogmoor » Wed May 24, 2017 3:57 pm

amezcua wrote:
Tue May 23, 2017 10:56 pm
Tell me when Equal Temperament became possible for mass produced pianos.
Isn't that a different issue? You commented that ET wasn't technically possible when Beethoven was alive. Beethoven didn't use "mass-produced pianos" (though his pianos were considerably different from today's instruments). Temperament was extensively discussed in the 18th century. One of the musicians especially exercised by the issue was Rameau who clearly understood the idea of ET. Bach presumably understood temperament, though we don't know what he implied the the term 'well tempered' and by Beethoven's time ideas on temperament were fairly developed.
amezcua wrote: What was the technical reason it became possible ?...Eben Goresko mentions a reason why it was not possible earlier than the 20th century.
...and what is that?
amezcua wrote: It`s based on logarithms which were invented about 1600...Let`s agree that Bach did not invent logarithms at least.
Pitch varies with the log of frequency and that knowledge provides a way of expressing the exact requirements for different temperaments. Certainly logarithms were invented much before Bach and their use was well established by his lifetime.
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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 » Wed May 24, 2017 9:08 pm

Amezcua, I think you are barking up the wrong tree with your idea that the discrepancies between historical temperaments and just intonation have musical value, whereas the discrepancies between equal temperament and just intonation have no musical value. The skill of the composer was not in bringing out some especially beautiful quality of the historical temperament he was using, but in avoiding the ugly intervals it contained.

It’s clear though that this is a tree up which you like to bark, and if you won’t listen to likes of Juilliard and Howard Goodall, then you are not going to listen to the likes of me.

Still, it is not true to say that ET was technically impossible in Beethoven’s time. There was no difficulty over calculating the frequencies then, and there was no difficulty over tuning to them either. It is true that you can’t tune a piano to ET by listening for beating, but if you use pitch pipes (then you can tune to a reference frequency. You can make pitch pipes for any set of calculated frequencies provided that you can measure the length of the pipes, and this could have been done within a reasonable tolerance in Beethoven’s day. If you don't like pitch pipes, you can use a guitar instead.

That is not to say that ET was actually in use, and I do not think for a minute that Beethoven was using it – but you shouldn’t make such categorical statements or use them as a basis for calling other people’s opinions lies.

In any case, I think you must be misunderstanding what you have heard about temperament and Beethoven. My guess is that you have put together the following (true) statements:

1. Temperament – i.e. a departure from just intonation – made it possible to play complex music such as that of Beethoven on fixed pitch instruments;
2. The form of temperament that eventually became predominant was ET.

And taken them to mean that Beethoven’s music was only possible because of ET. Nobody will be saying that, but you seem determined to misunderstand so that you can have something to rail against.

The point about Bach is that he advocated the use of a tempered scale, and more than that a scale that was tempered enough to make all keys available. Here was an exceptional musician and composer saying that it is better to have access to all keys than to have pure intervals in one key. That paved the way for music that modulated all over the place but was still playable on fixed pitch instruments. Eventually it led to ET. It does not matter that we do not know exactly what form of well temperament Bach was using – it is the fact that he advocated a tempered scale that counts. What you are not grasping is that there is just intonation on the one hand, and temperament on the other. You are looking at just intonation as a form of temperament, when the whole point of just intonation is that the intervals are not tempered – i.e. adjusted – but are left pure.

Of course you are free to choose a tuning compromise other than ET, but that is just your preference and does not make everyone else wrong.

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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by amezcua » Wed May 24, 2017 10:29 pm

Rasputin I have not mentioned ,as far as I recall , Just tuning .. I`m "railing" about Goodall telling us Bach cracked the code and "invented" ET. Look up Well versus Equal Temperament by Michael Rubinstein for a well argued angle on the subject.
I used the word Lie in this subject because of the misinformation about ET that came from a book which gave false information .The other aspect of this Lie is what I call the Big Fat Lie told to us by our music teacher sitting at the piano . He told us the different keys gave different key colours . That`s not true with ET. Many colleges have perpetuated this misinformation . One other false statement is that only ET can be properly used for modulation . In fact modulation between keys in ET is a waste of time as the key colours are not produced in that tuning . Modulation is possible in Historical unequal temperaments and the true quality of the music can be heard . I am not calling any person a liar . The lie itself is just too big and by the aid of television series ,the lie is growing ever bigger .
I asked what Eben Goresko meant about ET not being possible until the 20 th century . There was a question mark at the end of the sentence. Don`t assume it was a rhetorical question . I wanted to pin down what that reason was .Just a straight question seeking an answer .
My preference and yours are equally important . I am not making everyone else wrong . The properties of different tunings and temperaments are a fact of life . Falsifying history and claiming ET has special qualities which it does not have , are not helping the understanding of an important slab of musical history . This is not a matter of fashion where we throw out music composed in older styles . If Paintings were treated like that we would be daubing them with acrylic paint or having large bonfires .
Lie as in Misinformation which could , and should have been checked for correctness . Misinformation where the other person was too sloppy to check . Don`t take it personally . It`s not all your fault .
By the way do you think the idea of Key Colours is Fantasy ? That statement on this topic surprised me . Cards on the table time . Fantasy or not ?

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guitarrista
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by guitarrista » Thu May 25, 2017 12:25 am

amezcua wrote:
Tue May 23, 2017 5:02 pm
So how can Goodall say that ET was the product of Bach "Breaking the Code "?

OK, I watched it. He does not actually say that. He is only refers to Bach's invention as 'well temperament', and even says that Bach's student Kirnberger "perfected and published it" - or some such - and, as you know, the three Kirnberger temperaments are NOT equal temperament but irregular temperaments. So Goodall left enough "crumbs" to demonstrate he was not equating Bach's well temperament with the equal temperament.

However, later on there is a key very misleading sentence, and the following visual, where Goodall makes a switch - right at about 40:00 in the video. He says "The tuning system of Bach's time which had been devised through trial and error could at last be implemented using mathematics." Then he shows the equal temperament twelfth root of 2 math formula and goes on from there to describe equal temperament. Did he say that the math formula was of Bach's temperament? - no, but he leaves the viewer to infer that. Did he clarify that he is now showing mathematically one out of many possible all-key temperaments, but not necessarily the Bach one? - no; he left the viewer to infer there is only one all-keys temperament and ET is that. So he did not out and out say it, but it was strongly implied; it is like an advertiser's trick (not saying this was done on purpose in Goodall's case, especially given the 'crumbs' left earlier on).

This is either really bad writing, or some editor/producer's late intervention cutting out the concept of more than one workable temperament in which compositions in all keys can be played satisfactorily (presumably to shorten/simplify things for the public). The result is indeed misleading and I wouldn't blame the general public from concluding that Goodall claimed Bach came up with ET.

EDIT: Here's the video for reference:


Youtube


Also Kirnberger's temperaments.
Last edited by guitarrista on Thu May 25, 2017 7:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Rasputin
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by Rasputin » Thu May 25, 2017 5:43 am

amezcua wrote:
Tue May 23, 2017 5:02 pm
There is a long history of Music Teachers telling the same lie about Bach .
amezcua wrote:
Wed May 24, 2017 10:29 pm
I am not calling any person a liar
amezcua wrote:
Tue May 23, 2017 10:56 pm
Eben Goresko mentions a reason why it was not possible earlier than the 20th century .
amezcua wrote:
Wed May 24, 2017 10:29 pm
I asked what Eben Goresko meant about ET not being possible until the 20 th century . There was a question mark at the end of the sentence. Don`t assume it was a rhetorical question . I wanted to pin down what that reason was .Just a straight question seeking an answer .
There is no reasoning with a person like this. I leave you to it. It's a pity because a rational discussion of key colours would have been interesting.

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Re: equal tempered and tuninglowed the fuzzy

Post by amezcua » Thu May 25, 2017 9:53 am

Guittarista . Thankyou for your analysis of the video . Exactly the way I read the fuzzy presentation .At just 40.00 just the way I noticed what he had done. Apologies to Rasputin for annoying him . This divergence of opinion from 100 years ago will run and run . It`s as bad as smallpox the way it regenerates .
In a way it`s academic detail to talk about it on a guitar forum . Unequal temperaments on a guitar will produce out of line frets and that is enough to kill the subject for most people. It is possible to have an unequal temperament on a guitar but cheaper to have one temperament for one guitar . Multiple adjustable frets work too but start to get expensive.
A better discussion here would be how much could you cope with out of line frets if it gave you better sounds . It`s a tradeoff .
One probable reason Unequal temperaments were shoved aside by piano manufacturers was the sheer number of them (temperaments ) and the way the temperament experts would squabble about which was best. That was (probably ) too much of a brake on manufacturing combined with a need for tuners who had to be trained to match the numbers of instruments being produced . You could compare that with electric cars and the lack of wide spread garage facilities . So the tuners were only taught how to tune Equal Temperament. And makers sold the pianos to match that system .There is a saying "Perfection is the enemy of Production ". That seems to fit the way it all happened .
Once again sincere apology to Rasputin.

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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by amezcua » Thu May 25, 2017 10:17 pm

Maybe best to avoid discussions . Nobody dies but any divergence of opinions seems to create an atmosphere . Just forget it .

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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by bacsidoan » Thu May 25, 2017 11:17 pm

Productive discussion requires open-minded participants. When all the involved parties are only interested in hearing conformity, the discussion will go nowhere ;)

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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by Alan Carruth » Fri May 26, 2017 6:48 pm

Back in '85 the Boston Early Music Festival focused on the bicentennial of the birth of Bach. There was an extensive interview on the radio with a person who had made recordings of the 24 Bach studies in what he claimed was the actual 'Well Temperament' that Bach used. These were compared with the same pieces played on the same (retuned) harpsichord in ET. The differences were quite noticeable. I'm not scholar enough to comment on how 'authentic' his Well-Temperament actually was.

In his book on harpsichords Frank Hubbard included an appendix on temperament, and talked about why Bach would have preferred a scheme that used unequal semitones. Basically, the problem is that organ pipes, unlike strings, can produce am extensive series of overtones that are almost perfectly harmonic. The higher partials of a low pitched organ pipe can be quite audible. In a scheme such as 12-tone ET these can clash badly with the fundamentals of higher notes: the fifth partial of A=110 at 550 would beat four times per second with C#=554.3, and the seventh partial at 770 would beat almost 14 times per second with G=783.9 in ET. It gets worse as you go higher. Add to this the fact that you can't easily re-tune an organ, nor is it plausible, as it was on harpsichords, to add in strings to supply the needed pitches with split keys, such as F#/Gb for playing different keys. The only possible solution, then was to arrive at some compromise that allowed for playing in all keys with minimal problems in any of them. This would normally involve the use of several different sizes of semitones, and I rather suspect that mathematically there are only a limited number of ways to do this. This would yield different, but related, schemes of unequal temperament. Hubbard talked about how to tune one of them: Werkemeister III.

In a scheme like that the differences in affect of each key are an unavoidable by-product: a lemon, if you will, that Bach used to make lemonade. To this day organs tend to use one or another unequal temperament, as I understand it. I have noticed that it is organists, and choral/choir directors, who are often organists, who most firmly believe in the differences in affect of different keys. They have good reason: for them, it's true.

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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by amezcua » Fri May 26, 2017 8:46 pm

I have been trying to find out when ET became firmly established so I read the history of piano tuning ( on the blind tuners forum ). That covered the "job" of tuning through the ages .It talked about the boom in piano sales in Victorian days but there was no mention of how the pianos were tuned so they must have thought dividing the scales evenly just made logical sense. One date given for ET establishment was 1780 . So maybe I have to pick the short straw and say everybody has been wrong for 237 years. I don`t think anyone will lose sleep over that . It was a bit crazy of me coming on a guitar forum with such a topic as any mention of Unequal Temperaments on a piano forum will meet with stunned disbelief and lots of players who had never heard of such a thing .I should have remembered that .Harpsichords were easier to tune and owners could manage by themselves but pianos needed regular attendance by a trained tuner . That`s where standardisation would have started .
How good was Torres at tuning the frets ? Did he get it right from the start ? All this is general curiosity and not to upset all the players from the last 237 years .

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guitarrista
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Re: equal tempered and tuning

Post by guitarrista » Fri May 26, 2017 9:51 pm

amezcua wrote:
Fri May 26, 2017 8:46 pm
I have been trying to find out when ET became firmly established so I read the history of piano tuning ( on the blind tuners forum ). That covered the "job" of tuning through the ages .It talked about the boom in piano sales in Victorian days but there was no mention of how the pianos were tuned so they must have thought dividing the scales evenly just made logical sense. One date given for ET establishment was 1780 . [...] That`s where standardisation would have started .
Ironically, pianos are not tuned to ET, but to stretched tuning which starts from ET and is modified to account for the inharmonicity of piano strings. The end result is an S curve of deviations from ET with middle C being zero, lower-pitched keys being progressively flatter than ET, and higher-pitched keys progressively sharper (because overtones are sharper than multiples and the deviation is also frequency-dependent):
a04fig01.jpg
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