RobMacKillop wrote: ↑
Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:14 pm
entschwindet wrote:Means you can play Dowland etc in the right key.
Sorry, but that's not quite the case. We have no idea of the string length Dowland used for any given piece, and therefore we don't know what the pitch was, and therefore we don't know the key. There was a "nominal" pitch of g for the first string, but in reality it could have been a tone higher, or as low as an Eb for the first string. There is nothing in the tablature to indicate pitch or key...
It doesn't matter that we don't know what Dowland's pitch was in hz, because the conceptual aspect of tuning
in relationship to the Gamut is a huge part of thinking about harmony and counterpoint, for those who do so,
anyway, and given that we are locked into modern pitch standards (whether A-440 or A-415) means that we
have to make a decision that 16th c. musicians may not have had to. (For those who are just
monkey-see/monkey-do players of fingerboard shapes, don't have anything faintly resembling accurate pitch
recognition, and don't care anything about harmony and counterpoint, this is of course not an issue.)
The relationship between lute and viols in the Lachrimae shows that Dowland had to make some such decision.
Also, the low C2 of his 9c course tuning is the same as the lowest note of keyboards since the 1480s.
IMO, the keyboards drove the fixing of a (well, regionally variable, yes) pitch standard around 1600,
in Dowland's prime when he was not yet 40. Note that the loss of the A4 of the vihuela and the re-entrant
tunings of the Italian chitarrones indicate an adaptation at precisely this time to a _rising_ pitch standard.
The choice of G or A tuning for an extended range guitar is a choice concerning establishing an entire method of
musical thinking, which may either be completely new, or may be firmly built on what one has done for years with a
smaller instrument, and it is double work to try to develop both, or it must be the product of many years of studying
fingerboard chord shapes and doing transpositions so as to develop an impeccable ear regardless of tuning.
In any case, my preferred 8-string tuning is B1-E2-A2-D3-G3-B3-E4-A4 (I also have a low F# on my 9c.)
The high A4, with nylon strings, works very well in my experience at 60c, and the low B1 should be
something MORE than 65c, and that is why the fanned fret concept is so popular for 8-strings.
I think that the OP's proposed dream guitar with 670 for the bass side is certainly good for B1, but
_much_ too short for F#1. For a low F#1, I tried 680 and the results were so unsatisfactory that I
decided on 720 for the guitar I play now, and even this, I feel is short: 750 would be a really nice low F#1,
but I don't want to stretch my hand out that much.
At 680, the F#1 made unacceptable clicking sounds on the frets when playing rapid passages.
Also, IMO, 630mm makes for a very tight, unpleasant and breakage-prone A4 string.
My own reason for using this tuning is to maintain the legacy tuning of the classical guitar as a
subset. If I were a G lute player of many years, I would of course tune it a whole step lower.
However, I tried that for a couple of months, and I was not willing to spend the necessary time
on the learning curve; basically, it means learning a whole new repertory unless it doesn't bother
you or inconvenience you to play everything a whole step lower.