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CALL FOR PAPERS & INTEREST - restoring emotion with tuning #2806054 01/24/19 02:05 PM
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The appreciation of music in schools has been so impoverished in the UK that it even made headlines in newspapers at the beginning of January 2019. But in the manner in which music has been delivered during the past century and particularly in recent decades, it's lost relevance, rarely seen other than only as a matter of technical exercise and challenge in Japan and China and as a matter of entertainment rather than the necessity of the means of emotional communication beyond the limitations of words.

When I was young, upon being told that I should be able to hear the difference between the keys, and not being able to, I thought that I was a bad musician and gave up thoughts of being a musician. Research in my teens into historic organ tuning, and thence a decade of experiment and research instigated by contemplating Chopin's 2nd Sonata in Bb minor brought a realisation that it's the modern tuning that has robbed us of the differences between the keys, and that it wasn't my ears at all. It seemed as though Chopin was deliberately intending the effect of the key of Bb minor to express the cold wind whistling over the graves and I knew from historic organs that that is what the tuning would do. The colour has been robbed from us and the true meaning of "Chromatic" is so lost to us now that Colour isn't mentioned in the relevant Wikipedia article.

The consequence of this is that our classical music has been reduced in the number of dimensions in which it communicates and that this has led to increasingly mere mechanical performances that don't engage so well emotionally, leading to a degradation in musical appreciation and of its value as emotional communication and literature.

The result of this is a willingness to cut budgets in musical education and now an uptake of instrumental playing at catastrophically low levels.

Thus an urgency in bringing new direction, new understanding, appreciation and enthusiasms.

The Chopin 2nd Sonata indicated that contrary to established opinion it seemed that unequal temperaments were in use and exploited during the period of our 19th century classical piano music and so I started to do the experiments with the whole repertoire and willing performers using mainly one of the temperaments using 7 perfect fifths.

These experiments started to be picked up here on Pianoworld on http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/1590814/all/Some_sweet_video's:_an_older_p.html

Much research has focused on documentary sources but often documents are made by people wanting to change things rather than to record things as they are. The direction from which I've come has been to take the witness statements from the music itself and it's in this task and direction that the historical pianist has a particular role to play in research rather than in mere repetition of performance. In recent times there have been few other people taking this approach of taking the witness statements from the music but of which the CDs of Enid Katahn are a notable if not singular example.

The desire to take musical witness statements has resulted in a number of recordings publicly available on YouTube and if anyone's interested I can send a list of landmark ones. The recordings of all Chopin 24 preludes* have been referenced in the more recent academic literature (https://zapdoc.tips/the-influence-of-unequal-temperament-on-chopin-s-piano-works.html p36) and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgA1-I5MfNY is a key recording of the 2nd Sonata. The comment by one "A Yuu" is relevant and gives us an indication of the importance of this neglected subject to the wider appreciation of music and how it might reach more with more enthusiasm:
"The moment the unequal temperament starts, I feel the vast emotions. I was entirely captured throughout the UT piece. I felt grief, sweet sorrow, and saw moving images of a person trying to cope and control the meltdown near the end of the piece. For this piece, this is the first time I'm hearing it in full. I am able to only recognize the first few seconds. But other than that, I've never heard of it. I'm not a person who easily cry or get moved by music. But I'm very surprised that the UT made me feel so much emotions and touched. Almost bring me to near tears. As for the ET, I feel nothing. Indifferent. Thank you so much for sharing this. I've learned something new!"

In my experiments I'd dismissed meantone tuning during any period of the influence of the piano but whilst researching for a presentation to the Friends of the London Mozart Players upon consideration of an 18th century barrel organ, putting the Mozart piano sonatas under the lens of meantone tuning brought revelations which I believe to be valid, documented in https://www.academia.edu/37951978/T...asias_K594_and_K608_for_Mechanical_Clock and in an appendix to which I outline a chronology of others tentatively exploring similar ideas.

A subsequent experiment has been made possible by a willing friend putting Beethoven's Tempest through the lens of Meantone on an 1802 piano https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV0bkcSr_Kg and I believe the strangeness, the mysterious quality we here in that performance cements the link to Shakespeare's play which until now has been a matter of mere legend. Whilst this is in Meantone, I though Kirnberger III would display similar characteristics and https://youtu.be/wjPDefnPQNU is the experiment on an 1819 Broadwood.

The comments of piano technician Fred Sturm on the Beethoven Tempest recording typify the predisposition to pure Equal Temperament by the trade and are at odds with the evolving literature on the use of temperament in composition by Beethoven, Schubert and particularly Chopin as referenced above. Assumptions have been made and I believe them to have been damaging to musicianship and appreciation of music as art.

On account of the above and of increasing interest in the subject it seems that it might be appropriate to put temperament on the table for discussion, as an alternative to the ubiquitous tuning of the now modern universal piano which in my opinion has removed interest from our music and led to its decline in relevance to most.

Whether it is too soon or not remains to be seen but a group of friends have earmarked 6th May at Hammerwood Park, East Grinstead, England, and possibly a similar event at the Conservatoire de Nice in France.

The Hammerwood Conference will have access inter-alia to instruments from which such musical witness statements can be derived
Stodart 1802 in meantone, helpful to examination of 18th century music
Broadwood 1819, Beethoven model
Emerich Betsy, 1854, from which Brahms Streicher derived
Broadwood 1859, https://youtu.be/9QaW4rrjkd0
Bechstein 1885
Broadwood 1905.

In addition in absence of two identical modern pianos from one of the leading manufacturers, one tuned to Equal Temperament and on e tuned to a "Well Temperament" we're delighted to have sponsorship of www.pianoteq.com with the use of their software to demonstrate virtual instruments in different tunings on the fly.

There are three potential issues of relevance - (1) historical authenticity, and irrespective of (1), (2) enhancement of resonance of the piano by means of numerous notes of the musical scale being tuned to the harmonics of many of the strings themselves, (and whether this is relevant to historical pedalling techniques) and (3) whether use of unequal temperament has a value in re-engaging modern musicians in encouragement to listen more to the sounds and the emotion, together with audiences for classical music on a wider basis.

Any expressions of interest from anyone who would like to participate in any way, perform, speak or merely to listen are welcome and it would be great to hear from you on my email address antespam@gmail.com or telephone 01342 850594.

May 2019 be a year of classical music revival!

Best wishes

David Pinnegar

* Chopin 24 Preludes in Unequal Temperament https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdsFLIo9l88 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A34K-fj5nHs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpqrynlohR4 Chopin 4th Ballade https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJT5Q6HooyA


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Re: CALL FOR PAPERS & INTEREST - restoring emotion with tuning [Re: Unequally tempered] #2806170 01/24/19 06:12 PM
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Quote
The result of this is a willingness to cut budgets in musical education and now an uptake of instrumental playing at catastrophically low levels.


I do not agree at all. Budget cuts are due to local authorities being very cash-strapped since the 2008 global financial recession. Budgets have not been cut as a result of equal temperament affecting enjoyment of music.

I am a high school English teacher as well as a piano technician, and I see an acoustic piano catastrophe in the making. I can really only speak for Scotland, but I suspect other parts of the UK may be the same. In the early 1970s, there was a buying spree of new acoustic pianos for schools. The English makes Knight, Marshall & Rose (and their other brand Welmar), and Danemann were popular. All good pianos, and all now more than forty years old. What other equipment in a school lasts forty years?

Generally, local authorities would offer a contract for tender every year or perhaps three years, for technicians to bid for six-monthly piano tuning and maintenance in their schools.

Following the 2008 recession, many local authorities stopped offering these contracts, leaving it up to individual schools to get this work done, out of their existing budgets. So it didn't get done. This was well illustrated in one school I worked in, where the pianos had records of tuning stuck inside them. All through the 1990s and early 2000s there were six-monthly dates. Then, from 2008, it became annual. Then, nothing since 2013.

These neglected pianos, apart from being sourly out of tune, begin to accumulate small faults - a detached pedal rod here, a drifted centre pin there, so that they are then considered unplayable, and relegated to a store cupboard.

I do not believe that equal temperament has anything whatever to do with any cut in music budgets in schools.

I am not arguing against historical temperaments. I am sure they are interesting, and it is certainly thought-provoking to consider that Chopin's Preludes were intended for the effects of non-equal temperaments. But Chopin's Preludes are only one tine part of the piano repertoire, and a much tinier part of music repertoire as a whole. By Liszt's day, the piano had become much what it is today, and he fully explored and exploited its orchestral potential. Does it really matter if his magnificent transcriptions of orchestral works are played in equal temperament?

Anyway, I'm not going to get into discussions of historical temperaments; I don't know enough about the subject. But at least one of the assertions made in that lengthy post, seems to me entirely too large a leap from fact to supposition.

Re: CALL FOR PAPERS & INTEREST - restoring emotion with tuning [Re: David Boyce] #2809190 01/31/19 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by David Boyce
But at least one of the assertions made in that lengthy post, seems to me entirely too large a leap from fact to supposition.


Yes - I'm sure that you're right in your narrative but on the other hand, the budget cuts for English Literature are not as severe as they have been for music and music is very much understood only on the scale of entertainment.

The faster someone plays, the louder, and the faster louder the audience clap all the more.

And many musicians aren't listening. They're looking at performance merely as a technical feat. Once that feat is accomplished, particularly in the Chinese psychology, it's on with the next.

Beethoven's writing for the piano as an orchestra simply is unknown nowadays.

Liszt's work benefits from an unequal temperament, as does even Debussy.

Originally Posted by David Boyce

Anyway, I'm not going to get into discussions of historical temperaments; I don't know enough about the subject.


The point of the event on 6th May is to put temperament on the agenda, to enable people such as yourself to be informed, to be able to hear, and particularly hear how the sound of the instrument is improved when notes of the scale are arranged to be on the frequencies of many of the harmonics of the bass strings. So I hope that many technicians in your position will be coming along.

An improvement in getting musicians to listen, to express more, will be no bad thing and technicians are at the heart of providing that substrate upon which musicians can work.

What's more, it's even better for your business as a tuner. The reason for this is that with equal temperament nothing locks together particularly, it's all at sea, which is why people will tolerate the instrument going progressively out of tune. When one has become used to a temperament requiring exactitude of unisons, and exactitude of many perfect intervals, as soon as those features start to be lost, the tuner is in demand again.

Best wishes

David Pinnegar


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http://hammerwood.mistral.co.uk/tuning-seminar.pdf
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Re: CALL FOR PAPERS & INTEREST - restoring emotion with tuning [Re: Unequally tempered] #2809331 02/01/19 07:46 AM
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"the Chinese psychology". Really?

Re: CALL FOR PAPERS & INTEREST - restoring emotion with tuning [Re: Unequally tempered] #2809644 02/01/19 08:34 PM
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In doing some more research on the battle of concepts of the scale, an important article on minimum entropy scales http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=...pt=sci_arttext has a very helpful diagram
[Linked Image]
One major assumption of the authors of that concept is demonstrated by that particular chord - it's not one we see often in music - the tuning that derives from its logic is a theoretician's rather than a musician's scale.

The result of the stretched octave logic tunes the instrument's scale to its own inharmonicity. The inharmonicity is what takes the instrument into the realms of the metallic. This might be the sound that piano manufacturers want but it's not the sound through which to express meaningful music, or rather music meant to convey meaning.

We can see the logic of stretching the scale so that that E above middle C has both the red and the purple harmonic coinciding. And then actually the major third C-E becomes wider and more harsh. Who's been jibing at wide thirds in Unequal Temperaments? This concept makes them worse, universally so none are sweet.

If instead we start out from the concept of Kirnberger III which has a perfect C-E third, and we don't stretch the middle three octaves at all, and we tune Tenor C downwards harmonically - that's C2 downwards, then for the chord of C major we have perfect C2E2, C3E3, C4E4, beatless. We have C1 tuned so that its 4 harmonic falls on C3 and the 5th harmonic on E3 and 3rd and 6th harmonics very near to their respective G2 and G3. The sound is wonderfully pure and resonant. When we shift up to C# then with a perfect fifth on C#G# the even harmonics add up, and the 3rd coincides too, and the 5th harmonic is so shifted from F3 it's not associated with it at all. This means that we remove it from resonating with the sustaining pedal down. So at once we remove confusion in the sound, allowing Chopin and Beethoven pedalling to be sustaining passages for many bars, and as the pantalon, and we make the sound more coherent in the technical sense, more resonant. And as we slip from one key to another we really do get a different timbre in the built up chords, chromatically, as in a spectrum that we see in the rainbow.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QaW4rrjkd0
is in Kirnberger III temperament. This genre of temperament has much to give the instrument both musically and in improvement to its tonality, and the modern instrument likewise.

Best wishes

David Pinnegar

Last edited by Unequally tempered; 02/01/19 08:35 PM.

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http://hammerwood.mistral.co.uk/tuning-seminar.pdf
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Restoring life to music . . . and music to life . . . and a good deal more!
Re: CALL FOR PAPERS & INTEREST - restoring emotion with tuning [Re: Unequally tempered] #2809903 02/02/19 02:55 PM
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Corrected perma-link to the paper cited above is:

http://ref.scielo.org/hfdv78
Revising the musical equal temperament

which in turn refers to an earlier paper by the same author:

http://ref.scielo.org/nvnkmz
Entropy-based tuning of musical instruments

PDF downloads are also available there for free.

Re: CALL FOR PAPERS & INTEREST - restoring emotion with tuning [Re: Unequally tempered] #2810267 02/03/19 03:34 PM
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Stretching theoretical ET slightly in order to minimise entropy is not new or innovative as suggested in the paper. It is normal. Experienced aural tuners who really listen to the whole piano have been doing it since the beginning but without necessarily knowing the theory.


Chris Leslie
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Re: CALL FOR PAPERS & INTEREST - restoring emotion with tuning [Re: Unequally tempered] #2810308 02/03/19 05:22 PM
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Yes. It's really at the heart of stretching theory. But I'm saying and demonstrating that there is another way to tune a piano, which _perhaps_ arguably was the original way historically, which improves the sound of the instrument and makes the instrument richer and more musical.

An example recently was when I tuned a full size concert Kawai which had been so harsh as to annoy audiences but which when tuned to Kellner became significantly tamed and more musical
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCWcwSFp_Pc
to the delight of its owner and audiences to concerts performed on it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uE6SnNlpy_E
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AF64GPfYw0Y

Best wishes

David P


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- http://www.organmatters.com -
http://hammerwood.mistral.co.uk/tuning-seminar.pdf
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Re: CALL FOR PAPERS & INTEREST - restoring emotion with tuning [Re: Unequally tempered] #2810472 02/04/19 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Unequally tempered

An example recently was when I tuned a full size concert Kawai which had been so harsh as to annoy audiences but which when tuned to Kellner became significantly tamed and more musical
David P


Eh... this would be a lot more fun with a "before and after" sort of presentation, with a solid ET vs an UT. The second recording has some iffy unisons in the 4th and 5th octaves which takes away my ability to really concentrate on the interaction of intervals, and if/how that changes the overall impression. I have to say that it would frankly be unnerving to hear the key of C major seem so soured in the Chopin as it does with the Kellner temperament, speaking both as a pianist and a technician. The G5, D#5, and E5 against the rest of the accompaniment just sounds like nails on a chalkboard to my ears.


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Re: CALL FOR PAPERS & INTEREST - restoring emotion with tuning [Re: Unequally tempered] #2810732 02/04/19 06:21 PM
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I dunno….. I think, if a technician was told that a piano was too harsh or clangorous, the technician's first thought, apart from solid unisons and octaves, would be to try some hammer voicing, not to try a different temperament.

Of the various recordings I have of Chopin's 4th Ballade, all, as far as I can tell, are in ET, and none sound in any way unpleasant to me. But the "sour" intervals in that recording with the Kellner temperament do sound unpleasant to me.

When I have enjoyed the lush sound of a good piano well-voiced and well recorded (or live in recital), and beautifully played, I've never felt that there was anything lacking, in the ET-tuned sound.

Historical, unequal temperaments are undoubtedly interesting to discuss and explore, but I don't think they amount to as big a thing as is sometimes claimed for them.

To me, it's perhaps on a par with performances on 'historical' instruments - restored or reproduction fortepianos etc. It can be interesting and illuminating, and can perhaps shed light on certain things: Beethoven sonatas might have a greater clarity in the left hand, in the sound of a fortepiano than they do on a modern concert grand, for instance. But while that can be informative and useful, it doesn't to my mind constitute sufficient argument to never play Beethoven on a modern concert grand.

As far as I know, no piano maker suggests that their pianos sound better in a non ET. Nor is there a clamour by the worlds great concert artists to perform and record in a non ET. And classical concert pianists might be considered the absolute 'monarchs' (see how gender-equal my language is...) of the instrument, more qualified than anyone else to pronounce on what is or isn't good in pianos.....

Re: CALL FOR PAPERS & INTEREST - restoring emotion with tuning [Re: Unequally tempered] #2810734 02/04/19 06:22 PM
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But a temperament seminar in Nice might be enjoyable...… I, a Scotsman, could be a heretic, and "me promener sur le Promenade Des Anglais"!

Re: CALL FOR PAPERS & INTEREST - restoring emotion with tuning [Re: David Boyce] #2810864 02/05/19 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by David Boyce
I dunno….. I think, if a technician was told that a piano was too harsh or clangorous, the technician's first thought, apart from solid unisons and octaves, would be to try some hammer voicing, not to try a different temperament.

Of the various recordings I have of Chopin's 4th Ballade, all, as far as I can tell, are in ET, and none sound in any way unpleasant to me. But the "sour" intervals in that recording with the Kellner temperament do sound unpleasant to me.

When I have enjoyed the lush sound of a good piano well-voiced and well recorded (or live in recital), and beautifully played, I've never felt that there was anything lacking, in the ET-tuned sound.

Historical, unequal temperaments are undoubtedly interesting to discuss and explore, but I don't think they amount to as big a thing as is sometimes claimed for them.

To me, it's perhaps on a par with performances on 'historical' instruments - restored or reproduction fortepianos etc. It can be interesting and illuminating, and can perhaps shed light on certain things: Beethoven sonatas might have a greater clarity in the left hand, in the sound of a fortepiano than they do on a modern concert grand, for instance. But while that can be informative and useful, it doesn't to my mind constitute sufficient argument to never play Beethoven on a modern concert grand.

As far as I know, no piano maker suggests that their pianos sound better in a non ET. Nor is there a clamour by the worlds great concert artists to perform and record in a non ET. And classical concert pianists might be considered the absolute 'monarchs' (see how gender-equal my language is...) of the instrument, more qualified than anyone else to pronounce on what is or isn't good in pianos.....


👏


Chris Leslie
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Re: CALL FOR PAPERS & INTEREST - restoring emotion with tuning [Re: Unequally tempered] #2811103 02/05/19 05:36 PM
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David,

I am not familiar with Kellner. Where would I find info on this?

Pwg


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Re: CALL FOR PAPERS & INTEREST - restoring emotion with tuning [Re: Chris Leslie] #2811195 02/05/19 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris Leslie
Stretching theoretical ET slightly in order to minimise entropy is not new or innovative as suggested in the paper. It is normal. Experienced aural tuners who really listen to the whole piano have been doing it since the beginning but without necessarily knowing the theory.


It always amuses me how easy it is to over-think and over-complicate the job of tuning pianos. No matter how you tune it, one days worth of temperature changes can get you a whole new exotic temperament quite by accident.


David L. Jenson
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Re: CALL FOR PAPERS & INTEREST - restoring emotion with tuning [Re: Unequally tempered] #2811200 02/05/19 10:55 PM
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Sour intervals - there is one sour interval that it's taken me years to find out how to tame. It's the Tenor C# to middle octave or treble octave F and I only discovered the secret last year. One tunes the central three octaves of the instrument straight - no stretch, and then the bass below that harmonically to the harmonics that fall on the scale notes of the tenor and middle octaves.

Kellner - has 7 perfect fifths, and starts from a comfortable warm C major triad. http://www.hpschd.nu/tech/tmp/kellner.html gives instructions and you can find out all about it from source at https://www.jstor.org/stable/41640471

It's basically a modified Kirnberger III which overcomes shortcomings of Werkmeister III and is more audible than Vallotti which many consider insipid and which isn't strong enough for me to hear.

East Grinstead, by the way, might not be the South of France but is still rather pleasant. https://www.hammerwoodpark.com

Best wishes

David P

Last edited by Unequally tempered; 02/05/19 11:04 PM.

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David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
- East Grinstead, Sussex, UK -
- http://www.organmatters.com -
http://hammerwood.mistral.co.uk/tuning-seminar.pdf
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Restoring life to music . . . and music to life . . . and a good deal more!
Re: CALL FOR PAPERS & INTEREST - restoring emotion with tuning [Re: Unequally tempered] #2811334 02/06/19 10:30 AM
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In my area, it was discovered some 30 years ago that "Well Temperament 'eats' poor scales." That ties in with the comment about overthinking tuning and how complicated but with often unsatisfactory results electronic tuning can be. There are so many pianos with a poorly scaled low tenor but if you know how to tune virtually any Well Temperament by ear, the problem disappears quite nicely and actually holds up well through those temperature and humidity fluctuations.

I found the solution for tuning the piano on my own 27 years ago and I am sticking with it. Electronic tuning programs cannot replicate it but anyone who can tune by ear does it easily and naturally.


Bill Bremmer RPT
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Re: CALL FOR PAPERS & INTEREST - restoring emotion with tuning [Re: Unequally tempered] #2811650 02/06/19 08:22 PM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 2,700
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P W Grey Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 2,700
Bill,

I second that. Once I started down the UT road I was pleasantly mystified at how well the structure of the tuning withstood climatic changes (WAY better than ET) as well as its accommodation of crummy scales.

Since the highest % of players use less than two sharps or flats, these simpler keys are already "on the edge" of playability in ET, so as they start to drift they get just plain bad. These same keys in UT are well within the realm of "nice" and have much farther to go "out" before getting bad (in fact, they often don't get bad at all).

Pwg

Last edited by P W Grey; 02/06/19 08:27 PM.

Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8

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