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#3181459 12/31/21 04:03 PM
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My tech has used a Pure 12ths Temperament for the last several tunings of my new August Forster 215, it's my understanding that it's not universally used, but is preferred by some. For me personally, I love how it sounds when playing Rachmaninoff's preludes, yet occasionally it can sound like it's pushing the envelope in regard to some of the compromises it requires (octaves not perfect, etc.)

I'm considering a change back to something more conventional and would be very interested to hear the opinion of the professionals here as to whether they use P12, and their experience with it among customers.


http://welltemperedtune.com/tuning/pure12ths/P12.html


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I have used it for a many years now. If any of my customers have been unsatisfied they haven't let me know yet.


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There are many variations on the application of a "p12 temperament". Can you give us any more details about whether it was set aurally or which ETD was used?

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I've been tuning my M&H BB using pure 12ths for the past 8 years. I did a comprehensive analysis of the iH on my piano and created a spreadsheet that allowed me to test multiple tuning styles while comparing the actual measured partials. The pure 12ths works very well with a well scaled piano and seems to produce a very consistent consonance.

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My tuner does a perfect 12th tuning on my August Förster 215 and I like it better than the "traditional" tuning. To my ear the perfect 12th tuning results in octaves that are stretched by just the right amount.


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Appreciate all of the replies! -

Ron, I'm having the tech over next week if you could let me know what to ask regarding the different P12 options, I'll be sure to ask him.

Prout (BB) and AaronSF, great to know that both of you find P12 to be a good fit for the 7ft sizes.

AaronSF - since the BB and AF215 scales are vastly different hearing your experience on the same piano is esp. valuable. Do you specify to your tech or happen to know any further details on your P12 temperament?

All the Best!


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Originally Posted by blueviewlaguna.
Appreciate all of the replies! -

Ron, I'm having the tech over next week if you could let me know what to ask regarding the different P12 options, I'll be sure to ask him.

All the Best!

I'd be interested in the specific electronic tuning device or app used, and if it is a built-in setting for perfect 12th or something that they created themselves.

Suffice it to say that there are different results achieved using different gear, even with the same goal in mind!

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For me, it is tough to quantify what I do. Although I have tuned using a self-made frequency reference for each note, in the end it comes down to setting the temperament range, then producing 'calm' 12ths. Those 12ths may be more or less calm depending on which way I turn my head. I prefer pure octaves in the very high treble. I prefer the bass stretched enough to not create obvious dissonances with the notes in the C4-C6 range. Not every tuning comes out the way I would like. But, for the most part, when done, for a small time period, the arpeggios sound like an organ.

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I have a suggestion for you. Ask your tech to tune this time using a very "closed" ET (i.e. very "traditional" with extremely clean octaves...no "extra" stretch involved) and play that for a while to see how it sounds. Whether you like it or not is irrelevant at the moment. Next time have him do his "normal" P12 tuning. Now you can compare the "extremes" and get a sense of which one seems to fit your piano and ear better. It may also be that you prefer something in between. But the point is that you need to HEAR the difference before you can decide fir yourself what is better, rather than letting others decide for you.

Again, this is just a suggestion.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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Originally Posted by P W Grey
I have a suggestion for you. Ask your tech to tune this time using a very "closed" ET (i.e. very "traditional" with extremely clean octaves...no "extra" stretch involved) and play that for a while to see how it sounds. Whether you like it or not is irrelevant at the moment. Next time have him do his "normal" P12 tuning. Now you can compare the "extremes" and get a sense of which one seems to fit your piano and ear better. It may also be that you prefer something in between. But the point is that you need to HEAR the difference before you can decide fir yourself what is better, rather than letting others decide for you.

Again, this is just a suggestion.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


The attempt to verbally and or mathematically quantify, (whether via cents or hertz or beats or pick-your-metric), the *extreme* subtleties and nuances and minuscule differences between a tuning that is "not stretched quite enough" and one that is "stretched just a little bit too much" has consumed me for 40 years.

Quite obviously, there'll be outside acceptable limits to both envelopes, with that consensus of being outside the acceptable envelope on this determined by a theoretical supermajority of all the individuals possessing the agreed upon skill sets needed to be competent to make this assessment, ie the combined pro tuner/pro player communities.

The complexity inherent to being able to feel that one is able claim that the solution to this task has been definitively arrived at, is actually of an inherently insoluable magnitude, *if* one fails to account for one basic parameter, that stands at both forefront and in the background of the equation.

Too stretched for *whose* ears, and not stretched enough for *whose* ears?

This assessment is of necessity subjective and dependent on the relevant skills of the individual making this assessment.

While obvious, the above must be divided into two domains, inseparable in reality, but disectable as separate components intellectually.

First domain, does the individual possess the relevant knowledge base and experience in hearing to be considered a credible expert whose opinion should be given weight? That domain has a center of gravity composed of facts, some of which are purely mathematical and physics based, others of which are more a matter of convention and agreement among the supermajority of experts.

Second domain, personal taste and individual preference, which is simply prima facie inarguable, and devoid of objective metrics which *could* be argued. A final tuning either pleases or does not please a listener, there is no argumentation possible there, and there will be wide variations based upon neurological uniquenesses between individuals in how their nervous system reacts to even the smallest differences between two very slightly different tunings.

And yes, I've started the new year with perhaps too much coffee.

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I strive to tune pure 12ths. Among other reasons, I find that it results in the desired stretch regardless of the scaling of the piano: closer to 2:1 octaves for small pianos and closer to 6:3 octaves for larger pianos. If someone desires more or less stretch, they may tune with slightly wide or narrow 12ths.

You can also compare the "relative" stretch of pianos with different scaling. The aural test for a pure 12th is the M6/M17 test. Can't say I have done a real study, but it seems most pianos that others have tuned have wide 12ths. I assume they are tuned with ETDs.


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Originally Posted by UnrightTooner
I strive to tune pure 12ths. Among other reasons, I find that it results in the desired stretch regardless of the scaling of the piano: closer to 2:1 octaves for small pianos and closer to 6:3 octaves for larger pianos. If someone desires more or less stretch, they may tune with slightly wide or narrow 12ths.

I'm not familiar with the difference between 2:1 octaves and 6:3 octaves. Mathematically and physically the two ratios are equivalent. How do they differ in the piano tuning world?

Originally Posted by UnrightTooner
You can also compare the "relative" stretch of pianos with different scaling. The aural test for a pure 12th is the M6/M17 test. Can't say I have done a real study, but it seems most pianos that others have tuned have wide 12ths. I assume they are tuned with ETDs.

Could you elaborate please? I thought the aural test for a pure 12th was just that it was a pure 12th i.e. beatless.

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Originally Posted by Mr Dibbs
Originally Posted by UnrightTooner
I strive to tune pure 12ths. Among other reasons, I find that it results in the desired stretch regardless of the scaling of the piano: closer to 2:1 octaves for small pianos and closer to 6:3 octaves for larger pianos. If someone desires more or less stretch, they may tune with slightly wide or narrow 12ths.

I'm not familiar with the difference between 2:1 octaves and 6:3 octaves. Mathematically and physically the two ratios are equivalent. How do they differ in the piano tuning world?

Originally Posted by UnrightTooner
You can also compare the "relative" stretch of pianos with different scaling. The aural test for a pure 12th is the M6/M17 test. Can't say I have done a real study, but it seems most pianos that others have tuned have wide 12ths. I assume they are tuned with ETDs.

Could you elaborate please? I thought the aural test for a pure 12th was just that it was a pure 12th i.e. beatless.

The partials in piano strings are not integer multiples of the fundamental. So the 2:1 octave uses the 2nd partial of the lower note and the fundamental of the upper, striving to tune these two beat-less. The 3rd partial of the upper note and 6th partial of the lower note can also be tuned beat-less, but their frequencies differ from integer multiples of the fundamental more than the 2:1 partials do - so a 6:3 octave will be "wider" than a 2:1 one (with a 4:2 octave in between).

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Personally, I would consider the following as extreme limits:

1) The parameters for tuning given for testing a prospective PTG member I would consider on the "narrow" or "closed" side of things. No stretch allowed beyond what is necessary to accommodate consistent tempered 5ths AND tempered 4ths. Pure 2:1 octaves in the high treble.

2) On the opposite end I would consider the "New" tuning (ET based on completely Pure 5ths) to be extreme (and for me unacceptable).

I have experienced both. Additionally, I learned, essentially by chance, that my general aural/analog form of tuning is in fact (and has been for a long time) VERY close to P12 tuning scheme. This is what seems to satisfy MY musical ear the best. I have played on others tunings which I also enjoyed.

It seems though that a strong factor in what is "good", "great", or "not so hot" is largely the consistency with which the tuner carries out his/her procedure, as well as the quality of the unisons.

My .02

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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Originally Posted by P W Grey
Personally, I would consider the following as extreme limits:

1) The parameters for tuning given for testing a prospective PTG member I would consider on the "narrow" or "closed" side of things. No stretch allowed beyond what is necessary to accommodate consistent tempered 5ths AND tempered 4ths. Pure 2:1 octaves in the high treble.

2) On the opposite end I would consider the "New" tuning (ET based on completely Pure 5ths) to be extreme (and for me unacceptable).

I have experienced both. Additionally, I learned, essentially by chance, that my general aural/analog form of tuning is in fact (and has been for a long time) VERY close to P12 tuning scheme. This is what seems to satisfy MY musical ear the best. I have played on others tunings which I also enjoyed.

It seems though that a strong factor in what is "good", "great", or "not so hot" is largely the consistency with which the tuner carries out his/her procedure, as well as the quality of the unisons.

My .02

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


There are always interesting outliers.

Had a cranky old client, retired dean of a music dept. Hated anything not classical with a passion.
Rock was feces, jazz was poison, etc.
The closest he ever got to praise was simply to not complain or criticize.

First visit, did a VERY good tuning (ie CLEAN unisons), in context of this discussion probably about 3/4 of the ways from a PTG tuning towards a pure 12ths tuning.

He hated it, said the whole treble was terribly flat. I needed his nod of approval, early in my career, so retuned it quite a bit sharper on the spot. It was at my extreme upper edge of acceptable, definite octave beating I normally avoided.

Said it was much better, but still flat, and he could live with it, but he didn't love it. But he could live with it. I could leave.

My spidey sense tingled. If I left, I'd be another crappy tuner he'd never recommend.

So I called my at the time wife, told her I'd miss dinner, and just went crazy going TOO sharp.

Ouch, this hurt. Cats being tortured. WRONGWRONGWRONG.

But he loved it, and he became an ally for years.

One in a thousand will be like that.

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Welcome to a world you didn't know existed!

Originally Posted by Mr Dibbs
Originally Posted by UnrightTooner
I strive to tune pure 12ths. Among other reasons, I find that it results in the desired stretch regardless of the scaling of the piano: closer to 2:1 octaves for small pianos and closer to 6:3 octaves for larger pianos. If someone desires more or less stretch, they may tune with slightly wide or narrow 12ths.

I'm not familiar with the difference between 2:1 octaves and 6:3 octaves. Mathematically and physically the two ratios are equivalent. How do they differ in the piano tuning world?



Originally Posted by UnrightTooner
You can also compare the "relative" stretch of pianos with different scaling. The aural test for a pure 12th is the M6/M17 test. Can't say I have done a real study, but it seems most pianos that others have tuned have wide 12ths. I assume they are tuned with ETDs.

Could you elaborate please? I thought the aural test for a pure 12th was just that it was a pure 12th i.e. beatless.

https://my.ptg.org/HigherLogic/Syst...4a80-a7f3-b7e846864be8&forceDialog=0


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Originally Posted by P W Grey
Personally, I would consider the following as extreme limits:

1) The parameters for tuning given for testing a prospective PTG member I would consider on the "narrow" or "closed" side of things. No stretch allowed beyond what is necessary to accommodate consistent tempered 5ths AND tempered 4ths. Pure 2:1 octaves in the high treble.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


I would like to clarify the above statement so as to try to avoid misunderstanding. The primary (if not only reason) that the PTG tuning exam parameters are set up this way is because it it AURALLY VERIFIABLE.

Some have mistakenly concluded that the PTG exam parameters is a statement about how to put the BEST tuning on a piano. No, no, no...this is not what it's about. In fact one can easily argue that tuning a nice piano this way is NOT the best tuning for that piano so as to make "come alive"! It is set up this way so as to be able to objectively check to see if the applicant: 1) is capable of following simple instructions (once), and 2) be able to objectively measure...compare.. and then (most importantly) aurally verify if (or if not) any discrepancies that appear are in fact in discrepancies, without getting into arguments about what one person "thinks" is better than what another one does. It is a straightforward application of standard tuning principles with no bells or whistles attached. Finally it 3) clearly shows whether the applicant has a clear understanding of the underlying tuning principles that constitute ET.

I just wanted to say that.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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Perhaps one of you who is adept at posting recordings on the internet could post a little demonstration:

Pick a note, like A-440, on a piano. Then tune an octave away, one string at a time, 2:1, 6:3, and 4:2, one per string by muting the other strings. Then play the octave note by unmuting different pairs of strings. Do not play the note you started with at the same time, just the one note. That way you can demonstrate what the difference is.


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Originally Posted by BDB
Perhaps one of you who is adept at posting recordings on the internet could post a little demonstration:

Pick a note, like A-440, on a piano. Then tune an octave away, one string at a time, 2:1, 6:3, and 4:2, one per string by muting the other strings. Then play the octave note by unmuting different pairs of strings. Do not play the note you started with at the same time, just the one note. That way you can demonstrate what the difference is.

That would merely show that human pitch perception is not adequate to tell the difference. You know that. That is not the point and you are trying to muddy the waters for your own amusement. The same could be done with tuning in meantone and then playing a simple melody. It would likely sound the same as in ET. But add harmony and the difference will be obvious.

I think a better demonstration would be to compare the tunings of an entire piano with different stretch schemes but playing a downward arpeggio encompassing the entire keyboard and then repeating the top note. Doing this on a keyboard with theoretical pitches can be an eye opener. That last, repeated, top note sounds much better "in tune" when played a semitone higher. Trying this demonstration with various stretch schemes on various pianos is part of what has convinced me that striving for pure 12ths results in an appropriate stretch regardless of the piano's scaling.


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Yes, no one listening to one simple octave could identify what the width is simply in that singular context. One might conclude that they sound slightly different but that's about it (until you expand the thing so far that clear audible beats are there).


The major difference (I believe) in any of these scenarios is that when the musician starts playing the piano the brain instantly recognizes the "sizes"of intervals and calculates subconsciously what higher and lower pitches (in general) "should" sound like (just like it calculates the heights of stairs the instant ones foot begins climbing and quickly senses any deviations along the way resulting in possible injury).

Therefore, a well executed ET can sound quite good at various octave widths as long as they are consistent and blended well with other intervals.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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