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#1906859 - 06/01/12 11:53 PM Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant  
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chuck belknap Offline
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Oklahoma
While most of you will be reading with interest the topic of EBVT Conundrum Rant, I want to tell you about the revelation of moving away from ET.

I have been a serious classical pianist and organist for almost 50 years, and for 25 of those years I can assure you that as long as a unison was decent, and octaves didn't sing, the piano was fine. After beginning the life as a piano technician 25 years ago, it has baffled me how serious musicians can not hear much of the out of tuneness that they play on much of the time.

To a pianist, the instrument is the vehicle that allows your inner emotions to escape their soul and sound out to the world.

As a serious technician who always strives to give my clients the most bang for their buck, I always converse at length with my performing clients about what they want out of a piano. Their answers always amaze me. They don't seem to worry about whether the treble is brilliantly sharp, or the bass really deep, or whether M3s increase speed as they ascend. They don't know if the fourths or fifths speed is correct or not. They want to be able to transform the piano into their own personal orchestra. Color and tone production is their main concern, besides regulation and repetition.

I tune for a small university in Oklahoma that somehow, is always blessed with great pianists as professors. I met last fall with the new pianist who was giving her debut concert to the university. I am omitting her name because I have not asked her for permission, but as I write this, she is performing at Carnegie Hall for the second or third time, and has degrees from all the BIG Conservatories, plus a stint teaching at the Paris Conservatory.

She is a lover of Steinway Pianos, but this University has a Bal.... as the recital piano. I spent all day and half the night preparing the piano from regulating to voicing. She was very appreciative of my work, but she just didn't like the piano, and had resigned herself to just get through the concert of Schumann and Brahms.

I had carefully tuned the piano in ET. At 9:00 the evening before the performance, with an 80 mile drive home looming, I asked her to leave and give me 45 minutes to try the last card in my bag. She left, and I retuned the piano in EBVT, knowing in my heart that if that didn't do it, I would fail her.

EBVT is NOT SO FAR from ET to cause any stability problems, and as I can tune it easily from Mr. Bremmer's aural instructions, or from my ETD, I made the changes.

When she came back,I asked her to play for me and I would not tell her what I had done. I asked her to play sections that had key changes. She started playing, and didn't stop for about 30 minutes. She finally stopped, walked over to me and asked," What have you done to the piano? It is transformed! I feel like I have an orchestra under my fingers." I told her that I had tuned it to a Victorian temperament similar to what Brahms or Schumann would have had at their disposal, and that each key would now have a different color.

She was so thrilled with the sound she could make, she even forgot that she hated the brand of piano. The concert was amazing, and she thinks that I am the greatest thing since sliced bread. I sat through the concert amazed at the complexity of the sound with its organ effects at each arpeggio.

I have also tuned the EBVT for a finalist in the Van Cliburn Competition a few years ago that was similarly amazed at the feel of the instrument.

When I tune for my customers, I always feel like I am cheating them when I tune ET. I have grown to the point as both technician and pianist, that ET is the Whitney Spinet to EBVT being the Steingraeber with the Phoenix System (come on lottery).

ET is a serious undertaking to tune as correctly as it can be,(and I seriously wonder if it can ever be tuned as accurately as the theoretically correct model is), but it has been my experience that the truly great pianists can express themselves to a much higher degree with EBVT.

Thanks for listening, and now you don't have to wonder how I really feel.

Okie for life,

Chuck Belknap

Go Pokes!


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#1906962 - 06/02/12 08:08 AM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: chuck belknap]  
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Olek Offline
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I would believe that this is due to the cultural environment and the difficulty to have some correct intonation in ET if one follow the theoretical rules for it.

Also with the limitations of the dynamics of tone I have heard on many recordings I understand that the pianists will find more lively a piano that have marked differences.

Frankly the instruments we work with are really gentle and sound nicely naturally , providing a nice harmony by themselves.
They are not in need of some plain 5ths to enlight or reinforce the tone.

Each time I hear those UT, they sound nice until a certain chord , then they begin to be unacceptable to me.
A tonality question ? if all the "music" is played with 3 or 4 chords in tonality of C F G D for may be those EBVT give some quieter consonance .


What I dont really get is that; on public forums some are stating high how appreciated their work is, but then, on their web site or face book pages, I rarely hear any sample of their work. (or when I hear the "harmony is not really what may characterize those tunings)

My most respected master in the concert trade in Paris where tuning an ET version that had the same "defects" when compared with an ETD tuning. due to their temperament generation always the same notes depending of the tuner.

But theses "defects" where due to the way they hear the slow beating intervals, they where both considering the FBI as a result and not as the goal. the FBI where progressive anyway and in any case never inverted.
SO "ET" is a concept, and comprise some nuances, and different means top generate it.
I understand the astute used to hide the beats in an even beating scheme so to have more room to tune some "just" intervals. I believe that once the temperament is tuned, if the above and below zone is tuned in consonance, the instrument re-conciliates it with his proper resonance, then it provides some sort of harmony.

But pretending to different colors due the temperament is in my opinion missing the point.? The color is put in the music because the writing but mostly with the interpretation. I for instance listened to the "Beethoven in the temperaments" CD by Ed Foote, and heard a pianist that forget to play the music as long as she is listening to the unusual sound of the different chords provided.

Same kind of tendency than the success of the baroco music as being the music easy to listen, easy to play (the violin does not use any vibrato) good for people who have little knowledge in classical music and want to have the impression to appreciate it.
Big shows with instruments that sometime have a nice tone, but often are just poorly sounding and poorly tuned. A way for the less good musicians to earn a living. Also those musics are not romantic, meaning they can be accepted as not being "sexy" !.

That open the doors of all churches even the most intolerant ones... good money there too.



















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#1906994 - 06/02/12 10:11 AM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: chuck belknap]  
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Emmery Offline
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Quote Chuck Belknap..
"...EBVT is NOT SO FAR from ET to cause any stability problems, and as I can tune it easily from Mr. Bremmer's aural instructions, or from my ETD, I made the changes..."

I would not doubt that you found the aural instructions "easy" to follow. Only 4-5 of each of the important intervals such as P5,P4, M3 are mentioned and only one M6. Did it not occur to you that 70% or more of the intervals are missing in the instructions? Because this isn't ET, no assumptions or generalizations can be made such as in ET where... eg. M3's progress at an even rate from ~7-14 bps through the temperament. How do you know that the remaining intervals are correct if the offsets from a theoretical perfect ET are randomized to produce a sweeter sound in only some selected keys?

In a musical context, take H. Mancini's Pink Panther Theme with an UT which can vary a 5th from near beatless to near 2 bps randomly. I don't find it appealing to do an ascending chromatic progression with 5ths to hold on an interval that is beatless, and in the next bar, descend to a 5th one semitone below the starting point, that beats almost twice as fast as 4th does in ET. It breaks up the flow of the music.

Same goes for M3rds. There is a known threshold of beat rates which one can pass through on ET smoothly where the perception of individual beats dissappears and the interval begins to sour (12-16 bps). Again, if one is playing a piece with chromatic progressions of M3rds, the flow through this threshold is fluid in ET, not so with EBVT. You will hear one interval with a distinct fast beat, the next is out of the threshold and sounds sour.

Chuck, there is a reason why 99.9% of mainstream music had moved to ET over 70 years ago and remained there since. Sure, it would be nostalgic for GM as an example to put out a new car with a hand crank starter, they just won't sell many in this day and age.


Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region
#1907015 - 06/02/12 11:01 AM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: chuck belknap]  
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Originally Posted by chuck belknap
[...] When I tune for my customers, I always feel like I am cheating them when I tune ET. [...]


Chuck, you make your point so well, it is hard to see how anyone can miss it.

Thank you so much for relating those stories. I have been advocating EBVT to pianists since getting to know it two years ago. Your description of your pianist's reaction to the piano is similar to what I (a simple musician) experienced myself, and the way I observed a professional touring pianist respond to it. Also, when I went to a lecture/performance by Trevor Stephenson this spring, and he played on a fine Kawaii tuned to a modified mild Valotti (if shorthand and memory serves), it really opened up the music coming from the instrument and caused somewhat of a gentle mass revelation in the audience that was comprised largely of student piano techs. wink

--Andy


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
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#1907022 - 06/02/12 11:13 AM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: chuck belknap]  
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Thanks a lot, Chuck. We both know, as well that you used my ideas on how to tune ET for your exam with great success. That idea received undue criticism and ridicule from none other than the same person who once again has tried to start another flame war. It is really quite amusing to me that all of the criticism comes from people who have no background or experience in the subject they attempt to denigrate. "It couldn't work, wouldn't work and therefore shouldn't be tried" has a thirty year history since Internet forums have existed.

I found it quite amusing many years ago when the very same kind of person warned against trying to play "Body & Soul" in anything but ET. I took that challenge and have used it many times in many presentations to show that the person who said that dis not know what he was talking about. Oddly enough, at such a presentation in 1999 in Chicago, the pianist played Body & Soul but also Pink Panther and immediately remarked, "I like the 4ths in this temperamnent!"

As the Steinway people always say, "We don't pay attention to what technicians say, only the artists".


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
#1907034 - 06/02/12 11:34 AM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: chuck belknap]  
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Two quotes come to mind when reading threads like this

Mark Twain on the operas of Wagner:
"It's better than it sounds"

and Duke Ellington:

"If it sounds good, it IS good."

I know that when the time comes, and I'm either able or able to find someone who can, I will have my piano tuned in EBVT.. if for no other reason than to see what the fuss is about.

Forrest


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#1907037 - 06/02/12 11:36 AM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: chuck belknap]  
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But your temperament is not reproduced in the rest of the piano. Or is it? .

I find it tones vulgar to me . Valotti is nicer when in contexT.


Professional of the profession.
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I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#1907064 - 06/02/12 12:09 PM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: Forrest Halford]  
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Originally Posted by woodog
Two quotes come to mind when reading threads like this

Mark Twain on the operas of Wagner:
"It's better than it sounds"

and Duke Ellington:

"If it sounds good, it IS good."

I know that when the time comes, and I'm either able or able to find someone who can, I will have my piano tuned in EBVT.. if for no other reason than to see what the fuss is about.

Forrest


Thanks for the comments and quotes, Forrest. I always like Mark Twain quotes. One of his (although I am not sure of the exact quote), is something about making your vocation your vacation.

You are only about 70 miles from Nashville where there are plenty of good technicians. Ed Foote, who writes on here frequently, has long used, even before I did, I think, Well Temperaments. His practice is quite limited, so I don't think he would be willing to make the trip. Although he does not usually use the EBVT III from what I know, he certainly could if it were requested.

Ed may be able to refer you to someone he knows in that area who could do that for you, however. I suggest you send him a private message to see what he could do for you.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
#1907066 - 06/02/12 12:12 PM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: Olek]  
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Originally Posted by Kamin
But your temperament is not reproduced in the rest of the piano. Or is it? .

I find it tones vulgar to me . Valotti is nicer when in contexT.


Isaac, the Vallotti temperament was the first WT I used and still reserve it for use occasionally. It is really only good for certain 18th Century music but when it works, it works well. How you could find that temperament appealing but a milder WT vulgar, is beyond me.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
#1907069 - 06/02/12 12:14 PM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: chuck belknap]  
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BDB Offline
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I have had the same sorts of compliments tuning equal temperament.


Semipro Tech
#1907081 - 06/02/12 12:24 PM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: BDB]  
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Originally Posted by BDB
I have had the same sorts of compliments tuning equal temperament.

About 25 years ago, I had a client who ditched me because I tuned ET. She went for the guy who was advocating WT at that time. After that, I went his way and never looked back.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
#1907113 - 06/02/12 12:56 PM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: chuck belknap]  
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I am sorry you never learned to tune equal temperament well enough to please your customers.


Semipro Tech
#1907133 - 06/02/12 01:23 PM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: BDB]  
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Originally Posted by BDB
I am sorry you never learned to tune equal temperament well enough to please your customers.

Hmmm, 21 years as an examiner but I guess that is not good enough for the man who knows it all. In fact, the tech who went there said it was the most clinically perfect ET that he had ever heard. That was what was wrong with it! So, maybe the reason your customers like what you do so much is that what you do is not ET at all; you just think it is. We all know by now not to ever challenge anything you think you know. I am sure it would fill volumes.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
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#1907149 - 06/02/12 01:53 PM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: chuck belknap]  
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I guess that does not speak well for your examination process.


Semipro Tech
#1907175 - 06/02/12 02:28 PM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: Emmery]  
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Originally Posted by Emmery
Only 4-5 of each of the important intervals such as P5,P4, M3 are mentioned and only one M6. Did it not occur to you that 70% or more of the intervals are missing in the instructions? Because this isn't ET, no assumptions or generalizations can be made such as in ET where... eg. M3's progress at an even rate from ~7-14 bps through the temperament. How do you know that the remaining intervals are correct

You have to go through the checks to verify the temperament, just as in ET. As you already stated, M3's will not be progressive but some will be inverted, some equal beating, etc. and similar for M6, so it is harder than in ET.

Moreover as you rightly complain, those checks are not provided with Bill's tuning instructions. It is however straightforward to derive them from the aural tuning instructions which I have done for my own use.

This is all as far as the temperament octave is concerned.

Over the whole piano things are more complicated. There was a long thread a while ago, which you obviously missed, about how to convert the EBVT aural tuning sequence (including expansion of the temperament octave) to a set of offsets for an ETD. Using the methods developed in that thread it is possible to derive checks for M3 (for example) progression over the entire piano, if so desired.

Kees

#1907347 - 06/02/12 08:50 PM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: chuck belknap]  
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Emmory:

Thank you for the reply, and I always look favorably at your replies on this forum.

The main reason, in my estimation for ET being favored for the past "70" years is basically from education. Prior to the 1920's-30's I am quite sure that tuning education was only past down from teacher to student, and then had many differing qualities from teacher to teacher, or region to region. When the first tuning gurus began to publish their recipes, then the masses of tuners and schools began to adopt their findings.

It makes much more sense to me to tune an instrument in a temperament that would have been commonplace to the great composers of the day, and be able to replicate present day performances to the sound they were originally performed.

I find EBVT to be a wonderful sound for romantic and early 20th century compositions. It is fine as well for Hummel, Mozart, and even Bach or Scarlatti, however, there are probably more historically correct temperaments for these as well.

If we are truly professional, we should be able to tune historically accurate temperaments to our instruments to give the performer the ability to replicate a composers music to sound as they wished it would sound. Pianists go to great lengths to study manuscripts on different compositions to be sure that they interpret and perform according to the desires of the composer. Why should we only give the piano one size fits all tunings? Why not modulate the WTC to the key of C? If every key sounds the same, then we would not be losing any musical value would we????

I read a thread not long ago advocating the WTC was written to celebrate the development of ET. This goes against anything that I have learned in 50 years of music, but since opinions are like (uvulas) and everyone has one, I declined to join the fray and make comments. It makes much more sense to me that the composer used each key and composed for that key to aid in developing a player's skill in mastery of that key, and those compositions were influenced by the flavor or "color" of that key signature.

We are in an electronic age now with more collaboration among more tuners world wide than we have ever found. We have gone from obscure, hard to duplicate ET recipes, to some of the easiest we have ever known, and as long as we all get along, there is no reason why piano temperaments will not continue to develop, as well as more reliable ways to duplicate them. ET, I am sure is not the Omega, but rather the Alpha.

I remain,

Chuck Belknap



#1907412 - 06/03/12 12:06 AM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]  
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So after reading all the back and forth about EBVT III, I decided to tune it on my piano today to see what all the fuss was about...

Pertinent Info (or maybe not):
I have a 2001 Steinway 45
I used my RCT on OTS 4 setting
Offsets for EBVT III were used from B. Bremmer's website
Current Repertoire: various Scarlatti sonatas in AMaj, GMaj, DMaj, and Fmin. Ravel Concerto #2. Gershwin Preludes. F. Mompou Cancion and Danses #6 (Eb min)

Observations:
Interesting temperament. My compliments to Bill Bremmer.
Keys with few accidentals sound very nice. Very still. My Scarlatti sonatas took on a new character to my ears. They sounded "fresh" and "brighter" and "joyful" (if those terms have any meaning to anyone else). I really enjoyed hearing Scarlatti with this temperament.
The Ravel sounded a bit "spicier". The end of the Gershwin Prelude #2 didn't work to my ears. Mompou didn't work either, but that's written in a way distant key (six flats).
I can see why music instructors might like this sound. If you're teaching kids how to play the piano, the keys that have few accidentals all sound quite fine. They just sound more "in tune" if that makes any sense. The major triads in these simpler key signatures have less beating and "jangling" to them, that's for sure.
If you can stay away from C#, F#, and G# and the enharmonic equivalent key signatures, many of the other keys have this sound to them that just sounds "in tune" as compared to ET.
I'm looking forward to trying out the sound of this temperament some more tomorrow.
I'll leave EBVT III on my piano for now.

Closing Thoughts:
I've only played with this temperament for half a day, but I do know I'd never put it on a customer's piano without telling them, or unless a customer specifically asked for it.
If a customer wanted to TRY the sound EBVT III, I'd certainly recommend it. It's quite pleasant. If they didn't like it, I'd give them the option of putting ET back on the piano.

Chris S.


Chris Storch
Acoustician / Piano Technician
#1907437 - 06/03/12 12:57 AM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: chuck belknap]  
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Are you all familiar with this book?

[Linked Image]

If not, I *highly* recommend it. It will give some broader perspective in the battle, and I think we all might be looking at too many trees and not enough forest. Just sayin'...


Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
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#1907492 - 06/03/12 07:31 AM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: chuck belknap]  
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All I could heard in temperaments with demonstrations and samples from different music and eras was done on harpsichords or organs, where it can have some meaning.

We have a very complete book on the subject:
http://www.chapitre.com/CHAPITRE/fr/BOOK/asselin-pierre-yves/asselin-pierre-yves-musique-et-temperament,6077050.aspx

On historical pianos, some historical temperament can be used as long it relates well to the era and the keys of the music played.

But , if compared with the tone of our actual instruments, the tone of those older instruments is yet naturally sounding "false", tuning a good ET on them would help to give some light (I have a sample of a pianino who shows well how it can be nice , but if the ET is not well tuned (not consonant enough) it mostly will put in light the unevenesses and defects of tone of those instruments.

Then anything that will perturb the listener and avoid him to catch on those defects will help smile





Professional of the profession.
Foo Foo specialist
I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#1907495 - 06/03/12 07:55 AM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: chuck belknap]  
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Here is a "clinical ET" on a Steinway mod O from 1924 :

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B6GjQDkF_AMQbm5UZTBLVGVIa0U


Professional of the profession.
Foo Foo specialist
I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#1907506 - 06/03/12 08:25 AM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: chuck belknap]  
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Chicagoland
Reading this discussion, it would be possible for someone to assume that the only two possibilities are ET or EBVT... Just like some of the older books that assumed that there was only mean tone or ET. There is a whole bunch of other possibilities between ET and EBVT.

Realizing that one of the biggest reasons for the preference for ET from players may be due to the training from piano tuners over the past decades, I find it valuable to begin the journey (back) to tonal tunings with something with a bit less "spice".

Ron Koval

#1907514 - 06/03/12 08:59 AM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: Olek]  
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Chris Storch Offline
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Chris Storch  Offline
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Originally Posted by Kamin
Here is a "clinical ET" on a Steinway mod O from 1924 :


In addition to the ET, Your Stienway "Oh!" also has bobbling hammers! smile


Chris Storch
Acoustician / Piano Technician
#1907518 - 06/03/12 09:12 AM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: chuck belknap]  
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Olek Offline
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Olek  Offline
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France
More probaly wav to mp3 effect but the piano was not finished. you are welcome to provide your samples wink


Professional of the profession.
Foo Foo specialist
I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#1907523 - 06/03/12 09:46 AM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: Chris Storch]  
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Posts: 4,368
Cinnamonbear Online content
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Cinnamonbear  Online Content
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Rockford, IL
Originally Posted by Chris Storch
So after reading all the back and forth about EBVT III, I decided to tune it on my piano today to see what all the fuss was about...

Pertinent Info (or maybe not):
I have a 2001 Steinway 45
I used my RCT on OTS 4 setting
Offsets for EBVT III were used from B. Bremmer's website
Current Repertoire: various Scarlatti sonatas in AMaj, GMaj, DMaj, and Fmin. Ravel Concerto #2. Gershwin Preludes. F. Mompou Cancion and Danses #6 (Eb min)

Observations:
Interesting temperament. My compliments to Bill Bremmer.
Keys with few accidentals sound very nice. Very still. My Scarlatti sonatas took on a new character to my ears. They sounded "fresh" and "brighter" and "joyful" (if those terms have any meaning to anyone else). I really enjoyed hearing Scarlatti with this temperament.
The Ravel sounded a bit "spicier". The end of the Gershwin Prelude #2 didn't work to my ears. Mompou didn't work either, but that's written in a way distant key (six flats).
I can see why music instructors might like this sound. If you're teaching kids how to play the piano, the keys that have few accidentals all sound quite fine. They just sound more "in tune" if that makes any sense. The major triads in these simpler key signatures have less beating and "jangling" to them, that's for sure.
If you can stay away from C#, F#, and G# and the enharmonic equivalent key signatures, many of the other keys have this sound to them that just sounds "in tune" as compared to ET.
I'm looking forward to trying out the sound of this temperament some more tomorrow.
I'll leave EBVT III on my piano for now.

Closing Thoughts:
I've only played with this temperament for half a day, but I do know I'd never put it on a customer's piano without telling them, or unless a customer specifically asked for it.
If a customer wanted to TRY the sound EBVT III, I'd certainly recommend it. It's quite pleasant. If they didn't like it, I'd give them the option of putting ET back on the piano.

Chris S.


Chris, it sounds from your report as though you got it. I am eager to hear what you think of the tuning today as you put it through some more paces. I say that because, even though I immediately responded positively to EBVT III on my piano, I had to "sleep on it," before I really started to understand what I was hearing and how to approach my playing with it. In fact, over the months, as I would get out pieces that I had shelved for a while, I would sometimes get disturbed by what I heard, and then it dawned on me that that aspect of the sound was exactly the clue I needed to work with in conceptualizing and realizing the interpretation. I would say, don't avoid music in the remote keys; rather, explore it carefully. If you are accustomed to ET and very familiar with your musical expression in it, and on a familiar piano that you play like wearing comfortable shoes, your new EBVT III might seem like you rearranged the furniture. Personally, I found the change exciting and refreshing. Perhaps you could record a few tunes and post them in the "My Piano In EBVT III" thread. I would love to hear Mompou!

--Andy

P.S.--Ron, I did mention a special Valotti tuning up top. wink


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
#1993384 - 12/01/12 09:14 PM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: Chris Storch]  
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 306
Chris Storch Offline
Full Member
Chris Storch  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 306
I gave it a 6-month trial. (There were a couple of quick clean-up tunings during that time.) I think I can say that I myself am not a convert to EBVT III, but I can see why others might like it (see my prior analysis below). I'd have no problem tuning it on a customer's piano if they requested it. At the same time, I don't think I'm going to push it unless a customer asks.

ET went back on my piano today. There are a couple of pieces in my current studies that just sound too far out, and I couldn't take it any more. At least I gave it a try.

Originally Posted by Chris Storch
So after reading all the back and forth about EBVT III, I decided to tune it on my piano today to see what all the fuss was about...

Pertinent Info (or maybe not):
I have a 2001 Steinway 45
I used my RCT on OTS 4 setting
Offsets for EBVT III were used from B. Bremmer's website
Current Repertoire: various Scarlatti sonatas in AMaj, GMaj, DMaj, and Fmin. Ravel Concerto #2. Gershwin Preludes. F. Mompou Cancion and Danses #6 (Eb min)

Observations:
Interesting temperament. My compliments to Bill Bremmer.
Keys with few accidentals sound very nice. Very still. My Scarlatti sonatas took on a new character to my ears. They sounded "fresh" and "brighter" and "joyful" (if those terms have any meaning to anyone else). I really enjoyed hearing Scarlatti with this temperament.
The Ravel sounded a bit "spicier". The end of the Gershwin Prelude #2 didn't work to my ears. Mompou didn't work either, but that's written in a way distant key (six flats).
I can see why music instructors might like this sound. If you're teaching kids how to play the piano, the keys that have few accidentals all sound quite fine. They just sound more "in tune" if that makes any sense. The major triads in these simpler key signatures have less beating and "jangling" to them, that's for sure.
If you can stay away from C#, F#, and G# and the enharmonic equivalent key signatures, many of the other keys have this sound to them that just sounds "in tune" as compared to ET.
I'm looking forward to trying out the sound of this temperament some more tomorrow.
I'll leave EBVT III on my piano for now.

Closing Thoughts:
I've only played with this temperament for half a day, but I do know I'd never put it on a customer's piano without telling them, or unless a customer specifically asked for it.
If a customer wanted to TRY the sound EBVT III, I'd certainly recommend it. It's quite pleasant. If they didn't like it, I'd give them the option of putting ET back on the piano.

Chris S.


Chris Storch
Acoustician / Piano Technician
#1993473 - 12/02/12 02:07 AM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: RonTuner]  
Joined: Feb 2009
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daniokeeper Offline
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daniokeeper  Offline
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PA
Originally Posted by RonTuner
Reading this discussion, it would be possible for someone to assume that the only two possibilities are ET or EBVT... Just like some of the older books that assumed that there was only mean tone or ET. There is a whole bunch of other possibilities between ET and EBVT.

Realizing that one of the biggest reasons for the preference for ET from players may be due to the training from piano tuners over the past decades, I find it valuable to begin the journey (back) to tonal tunings with something with a bit less "spice".

Ron Koval [Emphasis added]


Recently, as a sort of thank you for sticking by me during my recent medical problems, as well as for satisfying my own curiosity, I tuned 3 pianos at a greatly reduced cost for a music store. I decided to try one example of each of the three major types of temperament:

Pythagorean - Charles E Moscow Equal-beating Pythagorean Temperament of 1895

Meantone - One-tenth comma meantone

Well - Equal-Beating Valotti Temperament III

Now these pianos were each raised more than 1/2-step, they are on the floor where they will be moved around alot, they are new and still settling in, and they are exposed to door traffic in the winter. So, I don't expect them to stay perfect for very long.

While the tunings were reasonably fresh, I asked a very good, classically-trained, professional jazz pianist to please try each of them and give me opinions. I stated that is was perfectly OK to absolutely despise any or all of them. I just wanted honest feedback from someone I respected.

The results were not what I expected.

I personally have become rather partial to the one-tenth comma meantone. This pianist really disliked this temperament.

The pianist very much enjoyed playing on the Equal-beating Pythagorean Temperament (especially various arpeggios and runs), and played the EBVT III piano the longest (seeming especially to enjoy exploring chords and harmony).

If I had any tendency to subconsciously influence the outcome, it would have been toward the modified meantone. Yet surprisingly (to me), the Pythagorean and Well examples seemed to be preferred.

Of course, this is only one test with one jazz player. But, it has given me something to think about.

At first I also was hesitant to seriously consider tuning in other temperaments. ET is probably the most difficult to master because of all the possible checks one can use to verify it. Edit:I invested alot of myself learning ET. But over time, I started thinking a little differently.

If string players, such as guitarists, can routinely use alternative tunings in order to get certain musical results, and nothing is thought of it... nothing is thought of it at all... maybe pianists and piano players should have that same option. As long as the tension on the various strings does not vary too much from ET, no harm will come to the piano. And, the tuning is easily changed back to ET if the UT is not liked.

Just my $0.02.






Last edited by daniokeeper; 12/02/12 02:24 AM.

Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.morethanpianos.com
(semi-retired)
#1993507 - 12/02/12 04:42 AM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: chuck belknap]  
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 3,166
rysowers Offline
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rysowers  Offline
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Posts: 3,166
Olympia, WA
I think the pianist would react more to differences in the voicing than the tuning. What types of pianos were tuned for this trial and what were their tonal characteristics? It would be interesting to know.


Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net
#1993573 - 12/02/12 10:38 AM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: chuck belknap]  
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,481
Emmery Offline
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Emmery  Offline
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Niagara Region, On. Canada
Guitars and pianos are apples and oranges, and while just about every (even wannabe) guitar player tunes their own guitar, very few pianists do the same with their instruments. I would venture to guess over 90% of guitarists either use an electronic tuner or simply tune the guitar to itself using standard procedured to do so (eg. open A tuned to fretted A off E string expanded up from string to string). Fret positions are a straight line also, so any varience in string inharmonicity cannot be perfectly tuned out on conventional guitars.

The type of precision and stability we get on piano strings far exceeds any guitar I have handled. I put an ETD at finest setting on my guitar and I was amazed how even the slight varience in pressure of my finger (on the same fret position) jerks the spinner around way beyond what is acceptable on piano tunings.

Very few people can tell the difference between mild temperament variations on pianos...it is ludicrous to think the average listener will pick up on a 1 or 2 cent tweak of a note in musical context...smoke and mirrors is what its mostly about.


Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region
#1993588 - 12/02/12 11:17 AM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: chuck belknap]  
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,602
Loren D Offline
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Loren D  Offline
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PA
I don't see any rule that says pianos are to be tuned in ET and ET only. Variety is the spice of life. smile


DiGiorgi Piano Service
http://www.digiorgipiano.com
#1993652 - 12/02/12 02:11 PM Re: Anti-EBVT Conundrum Rant [Re: chuck belknap]  
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,481
Emmery Offline
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Emmery  Offline
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Niagara Region, On. Canada
Variety is fine...as long as its tasteful, othersise it can be hideous.


Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region
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