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#2104575 - 06/18/13 06:42 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Ed Foote]  
Joined: May 2012
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Minnesota Marty  Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Joined: May 2012
Posts: 7,439
Rochester MN
Originally Posted by Ed Foote
It may also be due to the subliminal effects of dissonance still at work, after all these years...

Ah Yes -- And one of the reasons we still have war and conflict. Sometimes tradition overcomes reason. (No, that is not a lead in for ET enthusiasts!)


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
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#2104754 - 06/19/13 06:10 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Minnesota Marty]  
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DoelKees Offline
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DoelKees  Offline
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Joined: May 2010
Posts: 2,408
Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty

Why would Bach write the Well Tempered Clavier if not to demonstrate that a keyboard could be tuned to accommodate all keys?

Perhaps to demonstrate very remote keys don't sound very good in a strong WT? Perhaps to show you need to retune the instrument on a different key center for for example C# major? Or, most likely to me, because it was a fashionable thing at the time to write collections of compositions in all keys. Eg Schickhard produced a set of 24 sonatas in all keys.

Perhaps. All I know for sure is nobody knows for sure why he wrote it.

Kees

#2104808 - 06/19/13 10:08 AM Re: Equal temperament [Re: DoelKees]  
Joined: May 2003
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Ed Foote Offline
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Ed Foote  Offline
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Tennessee
Originally Posted by DoelKees
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty

Why would Bach write the Well Tempered Clavier if not to demonstrate that a keyboard could be tuned to accommodate all keys?

Perhaps to demonstrate very remote keys don't sound very good in a strong WT? Perhaps to show you need to retune the instrument on a different key center for for example C# major? Or, most likely to me, because it was a fashionable thing at the time to write collections of compositions in all keys. Eg Schickhard produced a set of 24 sonatas in all keys.
Perhaps. All I know for sure is nobody knows for sure why he wrote it.
Kees


Greetings,
I don't think it was written to show the need to retune, since playing the C# prelude on the most consonant center makes it a dull, lifeless piece. Many of those "strong" keys provide a beauty that isn't available without contrasts of harmonic values.

What is important is that we know all the plausible possibilities inre temperament, that Bach could have considered. And now, for the first time in history, we can listen to his compositions performed on all these varied approaches and make a value judgement based on our own tastes. Thus, rather than rejecting a temperament on theoretical grounds, we have to expose ourselves to the music and say what we prefer. I haven't heard more than 10 percent of listeners prefer Bach's music performed in ET when given a side by side choice with a WT, ( and I have presented this choice numerous times to classes of technicians and music teachers).

Try them all, make a choice, it is the way that the modern world offers a route to expand our horizons. Trying to ascertain what Bach had in mind by logical reason will only go so far, then we have only to describe our own sensual response. But, that is why music exists.
Regards,

Last edited by Ed Foote; 06/19/13 10:09 AM.
#2104937 - 06/19/13 03:56 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Ed Foote]  
Joined: Feb 2013
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Mwm Offline
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Mwm  Offline
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Ed. Well said. A fitting end to this discussion one would hope..

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#2104939 - 06/19/13 03:57 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Loren D]  
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 152
Unequally tempered Offline
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Unequally tempered  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 152
UK
Hi!

In a good unequal temperament C# provides a key in which thinks can skate, as on ice, without foundation or sticking harmonically together. B major too.

The whole point about Bach's well tempered tuning was that each key was equally usable, not necessarily that each key was exactly the same.

Look up YouTube Chopin 24 preludes unequal temperament for how all keys are playable but all sound a little different.

The contrast for Bach was meantone, in which 4 major keys are most definitely unplayable. That contrast was a good temperament in which all keys were playable, not equal temperament in which they all sound the same

Best wishes

David P


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#2105048 - 06/19/13 08:30 PM Re: Equal temperament [Re: Loren D]  
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BDB Offline
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BDB  Offline
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Oakland
The Chopin Preludes all sound different no matter what the temperament!

I suppose one could take a piece and transpose it into 12 different keys, and show that there is a difference, but I suspect most people would notice the difference in pitch. Or someone with a lot of time on their hands could tune the piano starting with a different pitch 12 times, and play the same piece over and over, showing the different colors that it makes. Even so, I think most people would get bored pretty quickly.


Semipro Tech
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