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So, if I am wrong on the supposition that it is a just interval, then in fact temperament would have nothing to do with it...only that various forms of temperament would change the relative sounds of chromatic semitones played together (we do know there is a difference between a diatonic semitone and a chromatic one at least...technically).

Otherwise, I do agree with what BDB said, and this should be true of all beating intervals in the piano simply to the degree they have beats. The speed of the beating determines whether it is perceived by the ear/brain as a tone (as in difference tone) or as dissonance (harshness).

I still think that the OP is hearing the dissonance more clearly as a result of tuning it and removing a large portion of garbage.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

Last edited by P W Grey; 03/27/22 05:02 PM.

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Just enter Wikipedia Semitone.

Opus2021 why not go back to Forsyths to hear what the semitones sound like on other pianos?Ask them to explain why the various intervals sound as they do.

Temperament is for another day


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Originally Posted by Opus2021
I kind of understand that yes. And it only happens with 2 keys togethe/legato without sustain also.
And so you think this is how it should sound like?

That is right - this is what it should sound like. This is not a mechanical thing in the piano - this is a basic phenomenon of physics when you have two notes differing slightly in pitch.

It is interesting that the effect is so very clear with your piano. Peter Grey may be right that this is because you have just had the piano tuned.

Which is the piece where this bothers you? Could you perhaps photograph the bars concerned in the score and post them, so we can see the context?

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If the piano was slightly out of tune before, the slight differences in the strings would blur the phenomenon to make it less apparent.


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Originally Posted by BDB
If the piano was slightly out of tune before, the slight differences in the strings would blur the phenomenon to make it less apparent.

That is probably true of my piano when I tried it.

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Originally Posted by BDB
If the piano was slightly out of tune before, the slight differences in the strings would blur the phenomenon to make it less apparent.

Similar thing happens when pedal is depressed and many other strings are resonating symphatetically having slightly off frequencies due to inharmonicity, temperament etc...

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Opus,

Additionally, when you played it an octave higher the "wobbling" was twice as fast (approx) and another octave higher made it 4 or more times as fast (as the first one) causing it to be perceived more as a pitch rather than a wobble. If you play it an octave lower than originally it would beat half as fast (approx) more like a pulsation. The math behind this is quite simple.

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Originally Posted by Opus2021
I kind of understand that yes. And it only happens with 2 keys togethe/legato without sustain also.
And so you think this is how it should sound like?

As the composer intended.


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I made a YouTube video to demonstrate the effect of aural 'beats'. Two sources playing a 440Hz tone were recorded together, with one of them gradually increasing in frequency until it is at 460Hz, and then brought back down again.

I think the Opus2021's Schimmel piano sounds beautifully clear and clean and as others have suggested, this may be why the beats are so clear. It's not a fault!

It might help Opus2021 to try slowly playing major thirds, starting with C3-E3 and ascending. Compare the 'beats' with major fifths, starting C3-G3 ascending. The difference between rapid beating intervals and slow beating intervals should be clear. Also on that nice clear piano, it should be easy to hear that C4-E4 beats twice as fast as C3-E3.


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Originally Posted by P W Grey
You need to research the science behind "temperament" and specifically "equal temperament". I think you will get your answer there.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

A semitone is dissonant whatever the temperament. Harmony would be a more appropriate research topic.

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Originally Posted by Mr Dibbs
Originally Posted by P W Grey
You need to research the science behind "temperament" and specifically "equal temperament". I think you will get your answer there.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

A semitone is dissonant whatever the temperament. Harmony would be a more appropriate research topic.

Yes I think that has been shown satisfactorily at this point. Sorry for any "misdirection" on this issue. Nonetheless, I think the OP would benefit from some research in to why pianos sound as they do and what is involved in tuning them. He appeared to be completely oblivious to the concept of beats (as are a high % of pianists) and would do well to expand his knowledge base in this area.

Nonetheless I acknowledge the fact that the specific interval under discussion in fact is not a temperament issue. If the question was concerning any other interval in the scale (e.g. "why does this M3rd seem to pulsate like this..."), it would be.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

Last edited by P W Grey; 03/28/22 10:33 AM.

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Well put Peter. It seemed the OP was not expecting any interval to pulsate nor to sound awful. Beats, temperament, dissonance and harmony are part and parcel of the pianos Forsyths purvey.


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When I'm tuning I hear like a tuner...beats beats beats. After I rest for about ten minutes and come back to play, I hear like a musician...not so much in the beats department...I hear relationships, harmony, dissonance...all that good stuff. I have to think to hear beats. Yes I know they're there but I don't hear them like when I'm tuning (unless of course I did a lousy job...LOL!)

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I find it difficult to be believe that the piano was designed this way.Although it is not a model from higher lines, the Wilhelm Schimmel is a respected model.The pianist Joe Fleetwood reviewed a Wilhelm Schimmel grand on Piano Buyer.I realise you people are professional people, it is just difficult to believe.

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Originally Posted by P W Grey
Originally Posted by Mr Dibbs
Originally Posted by P W Grey
You need to research the science behind "temperament" and specifically "equal temperament". I think you will get your answer there.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

A semitone is dissonant whatever the temperament. Harmony would be a more appropriate research topic.

Yes I think that has been shown satisfactorily at this point. Sorry for any "misdirection" on this issue. Nonetheless, I think the OP would benefit from some research in to why pianos sound as they do and what is involved in tuning them. He appeared to be completely oblivious to the concept of beats (as are a high % of pianists) and would do well to expand his knowledge base in this area.

Nonetheless I acknowledge the fact that the specific interval under discussion in fact is not a temperament issue. If the question was concerning any other interval in the scale (e.g. "why does this M3rd seem to pulsate like this..."), it would be.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor
Thank heavens! I tried this on my piano, I do not quite hear that extent of vibrating.Some yes, not what I would consider abnormal.Its not exactly a nice interval when it is sustained .I now am wondering if I should record it and listen to it.Actually it has been tuned on this past Friday.


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What is the specific music under investigation here? How long is this dissonant combination supposed to be held in context?

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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Originally Posted by tre corda
I find it difficult to be believe that the piano was designed this way.Although it is not a model from higher lines, the Wilhelm Schimmel is a respected model.The pianist Joe Fleetwood reviewed a Wilhelm Schimmel grand on Piano Buyer.I realise you people are professional people, it is just difficult to believe.

This reads as though you would have expected a properly designed, respected model of piano not to exhibit beating semitones.

As has already been described and illustrated in this thread, a semitone will always beat, especially noticeably in the mid-range,
... even more so if the fundamentals of the two notes are strong
... and on an instrument with multiple strings, pipes, etc. on each note, even more so if those strings, pipes etc. are properly tuned as a clean unison.

This goes for any instrument or tone generator, regardless of its design. One can demonstrate the same semitone beating on a violin (or in the example shown in this thread, a viola), organ, two tuning forks, etc. I don't see anything to "believe" about any "design".


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Originally Posted by Mark R.
Originally Posted by tre corda
I find it difficult to be believe that the piano was designed this way.Although it is not a model from higher lines, the Wilhelm Schimmel is a respected model.The pianist Joe Fleetwood reviewed a Wilhelm Schimmel grand on Piano Buyer.I realise you people are professional people, it is just difficult to believe.

This reads as though you would have expected a properly designed, respected model of piano not to exhibit beating semitones.

As has already been described and illustrated in this thread, a semitone will always beat, especially noticeably in the mid-range,
... even more so if the fundamentals of the two notes are strong
... and on an instrument with multiple strings, pipes, etc. on each note, even more so if those strings, pipes etc. are properly tuned as a clean unison.

This goes for any instrument or tone generator, regardless of its design. One can demonstrate the same semitone beating on a violin (or in the example shown in this thread, a viola), organ, two tuning forks, etc. I don't see anything to "believe" about any "design".
Which is what I was getting at when I asked the OP to play another pair of semitones next to his "problem" ones. I was totally ignored...


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... but it seems the OP had left the room with Ambozy's by then.

Last edited by Withindale; 03/30/22 06:44 AM.

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Yes, and it is also conceivable that the tuner tuned in such a way as to (unintentionally) make THAT interval (if you want to call it an interval) stand out different from other like intervals.

And then there's acoustics...

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