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Temperament for Mozart Piano Concertos? #2312835
08/08/14 08:08 AM
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pinkfloydhomer Offline OP
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Which temperament is Mozart likely to have used on the pianos on which he composed and played his piano concertos?


Nordiska 120CA (Dongbei) upright from about 2004. Yamaha CP33 digital. Sennheiser HD 600.
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Re: Temperament for Mozart Piano Concertos? [Re: pinkfloydhomer] #2312889
08/08/14 10:28 AM
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Ed Foote Offline
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Originally Posted by pinkfloydhomer
Which temperament is Mozart likely to have used on the pianos on which he composed and played his piano concertos?


Greetings,
Hard to say. Temperament was non-standard in his day, with the restrictive Mean-tone running into a lot of new tuning schemes. We have historian-based researchers that say it was all ET by the time of Mozart, and other moss-backs arguing the finer points of departures from the Valotti-Young style of well-tempered tunings.

I have posted three versions of a Mozart piece, (on CDbaby, search for Katahan). I don't think the meantone version sounds good when it hits the wolf, but have received letters from some real die-hard tonalists that thought it was perfect.
Mozart doesn't modulate as wildly as Beethoven, yet, a lot of his music makes coherent use of the resources of a well-tempered piano. I think a Young would be a very good choice. It has only one third that is a full comma (F#-A#), and the C-E is close enough to pure to fake it.
Regards,

Re: Temperament for Mozart Piano Concertos? [Re: pinkfloydhomer] #2312960
08/08/14 12:43 PM
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Also remember that Mozart was performing on a wood frame piano like a Stein. These instruments all had scaling similar to a harpsichord, since they had no iron frame to take up the stress of a modern piano. I think any of the "well" temperaments should be OK. You might want to find a recording played on a modern reproduction of a Stein, like one by Belt, or one of the harpsichord builders. The sound is completely different, and the effects of temperament are different too.


Seiler 206, Chickering 145, Estey 2 manual reed organ, Fudge clavichord, Zuckerman single harpsichord, Technics P-30, Roland RD-100.
Re: Temperament for Mozart Piano Concertos? [Re: pinkfloydhomer] #2312971
08/08/14 01:20 PM
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Here's an excerpt from the Piano Encyclopedia confirming what's been said. Scroll down two or thee paragraphs. Take your pick.


Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm
Re: Temperament for Mozart Piano Concertos? [Re: pinkfloydhomer] #2313005
08/08/14 02:27 PM
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When I was in Vienna last week I got the chance to see and play on instruments that were known to Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Schumann, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin. Not one of them was like our modern piano until we get to the 1860 Streicher concert grand that had all the same ingredients except for the action, which was still a Viennese action. All very beautiful and enlightening.

Anyway the Streicher was the only one fully equal, and even the 1819 (can't remember the make....) that Schubert played was different.

Our guide mentioned something like Werckmeister, but don't quote me on that. All I know is it wasn't 'equal' although you could play in all the keys.

The other interesting feature of the pianos of Mozart's day, and even up to Schubert in Vienna, was that they didn't have lid-stays. The bass overpowered the treble if you put the lid up, but blended better if the lid was down, so the lid didn't have a propstick at all!

On the Schubert piano, there WAS a propstick, and that was down to fashion only - because the Viennese musicians felt that the pianos were too loud with the lid up. So in order to combat the volume, they put a wooden baffle over the top of the strings! It's true, I saw it with my own eyes and played it, I couldn't believe it.

It's also amazing the clarity and purity of tone these pianos all have. Today our pianos sound very very dark in comparison - even our clear Bosendorfers and Bluthners are darker than what Mozart and Beethoven knew, the volume is much greater today and there is less variation in tone a. between the registers and b. with the una corda on. On some pianos it was still the fashion to use a moderator instead of unacorda.

The shorter sustain period of the instruments sheds light on two things for me: 1. The use of the pedal - when we use the pedal today the long sustain really does alter the clarity of the instrument, and for Mozart, virtually no pedal except for on very special circumstances is required. Even an undamped piano of Mozart's day (some square pianos didn't actually have dampers at all) still sounds far clearer than our modern piano with the pedal open. The notes clear faster, it's as simple as that.

Tempo in slow movements wouldn't have been as slow on Mozart's or even Schubert's piano. Simply it would have been impossible to produce a legato at a very slow tempo.

For me, all this almost raises more questions than it answers: We know Mozart wanted a better instrument all the time, and Beethoven too. What would they have done with our modern pianos? It's not a question of would they have approved - they probably would. It's a question of how would they play on our modern instruments? With baroque sensibility? Even Mozart starts to sound Baroqueish on his own pianos, it's funny, once you get in to historical performance it becomes a continuum rather than different periods!

Anyway I'm rambling off topic. In answer to the OP's question..... I don't know! Are you hoping to give a historically informed performance of one?

Re: Temperament for Mozart Piano Concertos? [Re: pinkfloydhomer] #2313070
08/08/14 04:21 PM
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Young 1799 or Vallotti-Young would be good choices.

Re: Temperament for Mozart Piano Concertos? [Re: pinkfloydhomer] #2313104
08/08/14 05:46 PM
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Claudio Di Veroli created a Concise Guide to the Most Useful 12-Note Unequal Temperaments for the Verituner User Guide. It can be downloaded here:

http://www.veritune.com/download/Verituner-iOS-App-User-Guide-1.1.pdf

On page 83, he suggests the Almost Equal temperament for Mozart and other composers of the Classic and Romantic periods. He's fine with ET as well. In footnote 2 he says "Although not supported historically, there are some circumstances in which a well temperament might be used advantageously for performances of Classic era music, i.e. for the performance of predominantly diatonic music in keys that are favored by the temperament." Di Veroli is in the camp that believes 'With the universal acceptance of the piano after 1770 came universal acceptance of equal temperament.' i.e. unlike Jorgensen, he believes ET was in wide use earlier rather than later. So it is not surprising that he would suggest Almost Equal, and even ET, as suitable for Mozart and others. (See page 66 of the Verituner User Guide.)

Almost Equal is a very mild well temperament. It is in fact a temperament Dr. Di Veroli himself designed. When I first heard of it, it was called Di Veroli Almost Equal. In its listing in his Concise Guide, he did not want the temperament name to include his. He told me the temperament was simply representative of a number of well temperaments that were close to ETónot a unique creation of his making.

Jason Kanter's rollingball website includes an entry for Almost Equal, although it is listed as Di Veroli:

http://www.rollingball.com/TemperamentsFrames.htm [click the Modern Well link]

David Bauguess

PS: The Almost Equal offsets from ET for entering in an EDT are in the table on page 100 of The Verituner User Guide.

Dr. Di Veroli's website, with information about the 3rd edition of his temperament book is here:

http://temper.braybaroque.ie/

Last edited by DavidWB; 08/08/14 06:39 PM.

David Bauguess
Re: Temperament for Mozart Piano Concertos? [Re: pinkfloydhomer] #2313122
08/08/14 06:43 PM
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I used to use The DiVeroli AE for an ET substitute but now use Ron Koval's series of temperaments. I like his Koval 1.3 (EqWell) over the AE and Ron's Mild Victorian is not too far afield for modern ears either. Unless you desire something historic, Ron Koval's are very pleasant.


Regards,

Jon Page
Piano technician/tuner
Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
http://www.pianocapecod.com
Re: Temperament for Mozart Piano Concertos? [Re: Jon Page] #2313125
08/08/14 06:52 PM
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Chris Leslie Offline
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Originally Posted by Jon Page
I used to use The DiVeroli AE for an ET substitute but now use Ron Koval's series of temperaments. I like his Koval 1.3 (EqWell) over the AE and Ron's Mild Victorian is not too far afield for modern ears either. Unless you desire something historic, Ron Koval's are very pleasant.

Jon, how do you know that those temperaments would be suitable for the type of fortepianos, reproductions included, used by Mozart in his day?

Last edited by Chris Leslie; 08/08/14 06:54 PM.

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Re: Temperament for Mozart Piano Concertos? [Re: pinkfloydhomer] #2313207
08/08/14 10:25 PM
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Greetings,
All of the well-temperaments are the same shape. They all have the same progression in tonic third width from C-E being the smallest and most consonant to F#-A# which was often at the limits of tolerability, (21 cents). The differences between temperaments are found in how evenly the changes occur, and how extreme the extremes are. We find that typical temperaments discussed in the 1700's would often have one, two, or three thirds that were as wide as musical use could use, and the consonance clustered more around the traditional meantone keys. Eveything was useable, but some keys would do a poor job of calming anybody.

The Young, in ideal form, offers a palette of thirds that range from about 7 cents to 21 cents. I would certainly feel comfortable tuning it for an all Mozart program. I would also like to use it for an all Beethoven/Mozart/Bach/Schubert/ program, too.

Mozart rarely moves into the most extreme keys, so if you are looking for maximum consonance, you may want a temperament that has great contrast, which also will provide great consonance in a limited number of keys.

The progressively increasing "color", or dissonance, or "expression", that the wider thirds provide is an easy to use palette for one that is attempting to compose something that will engage the listener. That is what controlled dissonance does. Consonance soothes us, dissonance demands attention. So, as the thirds get wider, we get closer to the edge of our seat. Listening to Mozart in various temperaments allowed us to find where the tuning became a distraction, and then, back up from that degree of contrast.
Regards,

Re: Temperament for Mozart Piano Concertos? [Re: pinkfloydhomer] #2313227
08/08/14 11:12 PM
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But Ed, you have missed the point. The question is with instruments of Mozart's day that have very different partial structure to modern pianos, with consequences for the degree and style of tempering. A degree of colour on a Stein for example, for a given temperament, will be different to that on a Steinway.


Chris Leslie
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Re: Temperament for Mozart Piano Concertos? [Re: pinkfloydhomer] #2313333
08/09/14 09:02 AM
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The construction of Mozart's piano is irrelevant to the discussion, and did not need to be asked by the OP.

The question is what temperaments would Mozart have heard and used.

The harpsichords on which he performed, the organs he heard and played, and the pianofortes would all have had various (or the same possibly) temperaments.

Re: Temperament for Mozart Piano Concertos? [Re: Chris Leslie] #2313347
08/09/14 09:35 AM
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Ed Foote Offline
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Originally Posted by Chris Leslie
But Ed, you have missed the point. The question is with instruments of Mozart's day that have very different partial structure to modern pianos, with consequences for the degree and style of tempering. A degree of colour on a Stein for example, for a given temperament, will be different to that on a Steinway.


Hi Chris,
I have missed points all my life, since I tend to wander around cool ideas like a four-year old at a petting zoo.

The point I would have liked to have made is that the effect of temperament comes from the contrasts between keys, not the limits of a given temperament's consonance or dissonance. I have heard forte pianos tuned in ET as well as many different temperaments, and think the instrument requires stronger contrasts than the modern piano to speak with as colorful a language. In retro, the modern piano may not need a Kirnberger to get the colors out there properly. Contrasting a 21 cent third to a 5 cent third on a Steinway D creates, perhaps, more contrast than the same played on a Stein, or Cristofori. It sure seems to be more of a contrast.

So, as soon as we leave the tapioca security of ET, we are faced with a question of where is the line between optimizing and ruination. We can only experiment to find the degree of newness that colors the music without drawing attention to itself. That is my definition of a poor tuning, one that calls attention to itself. At some point of well-tempering, these temperaments create sounds that do call attention to the tuning instead of the music it is supposed to serve. That is the point of "too much". I have been using this stuff for a while, and I know that Beethoven concerti on a Steinway D in a Young temperament was a potent combination and totally impressed the faculty. No one knew I had tuned it that way but the artist, and there were lots of comments afterwards, all dancing around the same thing, the piano's voice in the piece.

That leads me to believe that a modern piano can most accurately create the intended emotional manipulation of a piece with less contrasts between the keys than the older instrument. I love the juxtaposition of consonance and dissonance in the Classical music, and really miss it when ET has taken over. Others may not have developed such an obtuse fascination with the sensual qualities of tonality, and maybe I should be pitied, but I know what I like and I know how to get it. I am grateful that there are many pianists around here that agree with my tastes. ( I have drunk the Kool-aid and know that composers were temperament aware and used the resources to create their pieces)

There is also the other side of the equation when we attempt to form value judgements. The audience. This is not the same instrument as Mozart had, and it is not the same audience. Not only are modern audiences hearing things they have heard many times, (unlike the listener of 1750 who might hear one of these pieces once in their life), but the skill of listening is different. It is the same notes, so what can be done to help this music create the same response as it did when played by the author? Leaving modern tuning behind is a cheap, easy, way to create a new approach. Musicologists have a hard time with this, as the use of inequality in composition would make their theories of classical composition incomplete. I have little use for the theorists and historians when a plausible alternative to ET creates epiphany in the listener or performer. I don't see a lot of value in doing something the same way, all my life.
Regards,



Re: Temperament for Mozart Piano Concertos? [Re: Ed Foote] #2313361
08/09/14 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Ed Foote
I have been using this stuff for a while, and I know that Beethoven concerti on a Steinway D in a Young temperament was a potent combination and totally impressed the faculty. No one knew I had tuned it that way but the artist, and there were lots of comments afterwards, all dancing around the same thing, the piano's voice in the piece.


I find it interesting that we are keenly aware of tuning issues when listening to a solo violinist or singer, preferring that it be in tune rather than not so we can enjoy the music and the tonal quality of the instrument.

Yet, in your quote above, it appears that the 'in-tuneness' of the piano for that particular piece was so unusual that it was the first time those listeners had heard, in addition to the music, the tonal quality of the instrument.

Why should that be a bad thing? Why shouldn't people be able to get used to it?

(Ed: I apologize for taking your comments out of context.)


Re: Temperament for Mozart Piano Concertos? [Re: prout] #2313383
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Originally Posted by prout
Originally Posted by Ed Foote
know that Beethoven concerti on a Steinway D in a Young temperament was a potent combination and totally impressed the faculty. No one knew I had tuned it that way but the artist, and there were lots of comments afterwards, all dancing around the same thing, the piano's voice in the piece.


I find it interesting that we are keenly aware of tuning issues when listening to a solo violinist or singer, preferring that it be in tune rather than not so we can enjoy the music and the tonal quality of the instrument.

Yet, in your quote above, it appears that the 'in-tuneness' of the piano for that particular piece was so unusual that it was the first time those listeners had heard, in addition to the music, the tonal quality of the instrument.

Why should that be a bad thing? Why shouldn't people be able to get used to it?


I think it is a good thing. The attention that night actually went everywhere except the piano's tuning. The dean of the school, a trumpet man, told me later that he had never heard the piano sound so good. The conductor of the orchestra mentioned that he had never heard the group play so well in tune, and several members of the faculty expressed amazement at the expression the pianist was getting in the intense passages. Nobody but the pianist said anything to me, so I consider it a successful night.

The effect of too much tempering is to break the mystery that the music creates. The effect of not enough is a performance with too much "meh" in it. I don't think the modern tuner will be able to gauge the proper amount without trying these things out in a variety of uses, but when it is right, there is a more powerfully affecting musical experience that awaits the listeners.
Regards,

Re: Temperament for Mozart Piano Concertos? [Re: pinkfloydhomer] #2807266
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Last year I was invited to talk about temperaments to the Friends of the London Mozart Players.

I was expecting to be talking about the perfect fifth based temperaments derived from Werkmeister - Kirnberger III, Kellner, Valotti but as many instruments were tuned to Meantone in the 18th century I explored Mozart with 1/4 comma meantone and found surprising and enlightening results https://www.academia.edu/37951978/T...asias_K594_and_K608_for_Mechanical_Clock

1/6 Comma Meantone is often mentioned in connexion with Mozart and distinguishing between major and minor semitones. The results aren't really grossly different from the other temperaments but 1/4 Comma Meantone is gloriously harsh, like an X-Ray into the music. For those who like flesh on the bones, the milder temperaments are more comfortable.

Using Pianoteq www.pianoteq.com it's possible to do the experiments with temperaments, modern and historic instruments now as never before and unimaginable when I first started my investigations.

Best wishes

David P


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Re: Temperament for Mozart Piano Concertos? [Re: pinkfloydhomer] #2807272
01/27/19 08:28 AM
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Recently I posted the beat rates of Thomas young 1 temperament.

You might want to check that out as well.

IMO it might well be suitable to Mozart Concertos, because he switches to minor keys also in his concertos.

Re: Temperament for Mozart Piano Concertos? [Re: pinkfloydhomer] #2807479
01/27/19 05:52 PM
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Thanks for sharing, interesting and the duck analogy is funny. Not that I agree with everything. Some comments:

- Schubart is just one of the many "key-interpreters" and they don't agree that much, except maybe on D-major. I think that's because if you wanted trumpets and timpani in the baroque and earlier D was the best key for those (unvalved) instruments.
- I find the Mozart on organ in MT as out-of-tune as with mixtures, though softer of course.
- WTC (Bach 48) can't be played in MT even on stopped flutes IMO, except the d minor from book 1 where only wolf M3 is actually a diminished 4th, so maybe OK to sound out-of-tune.
- "Dissonance" and "out-of-tune" are different concepts. A dominant V chord has a dissonance, but this does not sound better when also out of tune, for example.

Interesting to me that you apparently do like say WTC on stopped flutes in 1/4' meantone, whereas I don't, so it really seems "best" tuning is a personal thing.

Kees

Re: Temperament for Mozart Piano Concertos? [Re: pinkfloydhomer] #2807742
01/28/19 11:56 AM
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May we also not forget that the use of the term "equal" was not the same then as it is used now. We use it to describe the mathematical division of the scale into semitones of precisely the same width. They used the term to describe the fact that they could play "equally" in all the keys, whereas previous tuning systems made it difficult or impossible to use certain harmonies. That's a significant difference IMHO.

Pwg


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Re: Temperament for Mozart Piano Concertos? [Re: pinkfloydhomer] #2808976
01/31/19 12:46 PM
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I agree with Peter. We really do not know exactly which temperaments either Bach or Mozart used because they did not write anything about that. We can only surmise from the choices of key signature and what was known at that time. There were several temperament theorists who imagined temperament evolving to the state where all key signatures would be equally useful and some could calculate what ET as we know it would be. That still did not mean that anyone ever could or ever did tune a keyboard instrument of those eras to the exacting standards of ET that we know today.

Virtually any 18th Century Well Temperament, 1/6 or 1/7 Comma Meantone Temperaments would make Mozart's music sound the way it should. Many university harpsichord technicians have adopted the Vallotti temperament but for one reason only: it is the most practical. It is easy to tune and remember. The differences between all of these can be seen on color graphs such as those by Jason Kanter but when the actual music is played using any one of the many there are, all of them exhibit very similar characteristics.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
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by navindra. 09/15/19 04:12 PM
Yohan Kim
by pianoloverus. 09/15/19 03:54 PM
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