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Italian Tuning

cnd 13 Aug 16 - 10:30 AM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Aug 16 - 12:14 PM
leeneia 13 Aug 16 - 12:54 PM
cnd 13 Aug 16 - 01:27 PM
cnd 13 Aug 16 - 01:33 PM
leeneia 13 Aug 16 - 04:28 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Aug 16 - 06:10 PM
Long Firm Freddie 14 Aug 16 - 03:14 AM
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Subject: Italian Tuning
From: cnd
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 10:30 AM

In the George Washington thread below I linked a paper that talks about "Italian Tuning." I'll post the link here later (or someone else can if they want to) but has anyone else heard anything about it?


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Subject: RE: Italian Tuning
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 12:14 PM

Google "Italian Tuning" and what you get is stuff about tuning engines and so forth. Nothing of any relevance to music.. So shouldn't this thread be in BS?


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Subject: RE: Italian Tuning
From: leeneia
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 12:54 PM

I don't see anything in that thread about Italian tuning. Please link to the article again.


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Subject: RE: Italian Tuning
From: cnd
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 01:27 PM

McGrath, if you read the paper I linked there, on page 12 they mention "Italian" tuning, for instruments, not cars, hence why it's not in BS. I guess it's kind of misleading to say it "talks" about the tuning, but it mentions it. My bad, I was in a hurry. I will put the quote here below:

"We played in what they call 'Italian' tuning, you know, where they tune 'em up. It was an altogether different tuning from what I ever done before. Guitar, fiddle, banjer, everything; all the instruments were tuned like that. We all tuned 'em up with the violin.

"And the feller that knowed about it, feller by the name of [John] Sparrow. He knowed how it was tuned up. And my brother had quite a time tuning the banjo with it. Some way or other Sparrow showed him how to do that. And the way we played nearly all of the pieces was in that Italian tuning.

"I used to call it cross-key but they said it wasn't exactly that. But it would sound out all right. That man that recorded those records said that was music like he had never heared. That's what he said."

http://www.1001tunes.com/fiddlers/PopeMtneers.pdf

For examples of "Italian" tuning, he said most of his bands' songs (Pope's Arkansas Mountaineers) were in that style tuning.

Here's a link to the song George Washington the other thread was about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKYkEcYi80E

And another song by them. Not sure if the tuning's the same though. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67cUXwJNth4


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Subject: RE: Italian Tuning
From: cnd
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 01:33 PM

This Wiki article mentions Italian tuning

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross_tuning


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Subject: RE: Italian Tuning
From: leeneia
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 04:28 PM

Thanks for repeating the link, cnd. Here's the relevant part from the interview with Tip McKinny, an old-time musician who recorded about 1928:
--------------
Interviewer: That guitar sounds pretty good on the records. What
tuning did you use?


Tip: We played in what they call 'Italian' tuning, you
know, where they tune 'em up. It was an altogether
different tuning from what I ever done before.
Guitar, fiddle, banjer, everything; all the
instruments were tuned like that. We all tuned 'em up
with the violin.

And the feller that knowed about it, feller by the
name of Sparrow. He knowed how it was tuned up. And
my brother had quite a time tuning the banjo with it.
Some way or other Sparrow showed him how to do that.
And the way we played nearly all of the pieces was in
that Italian tuning.

I used to call it cross-key but they said it wasn't
exactly that. But it would sound out all right. That
man that recorded those records said that was music
like he had never heared. That's what he said.
==============

I have a keyboard next to my computer, and I found a piece by Tip's band (Pope's Arkansas Mountaineers) called 'Birmingham'. It sounds like it's in Eb, but I think they tuned all their strings high and played in the key of D.   

However, I don't see why Tip would say that something so simple was "an altogether different tuning."


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Subject: RE: Italian Tuning
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 06:10 PM

Sounds as if they just tuned a bit higher.

I've known some sneaky session players who will do that to keep strangers from joining in. A couple of tones higher, and it always seems to make things brighter. So long as the strings don't break.


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Subject: RE: Italian Tuning
From: Long Firm Freddie
Date: 14 Aug 16 - 03:14 AM

Another wiki article describes Scordatura (Italian for mistuning). It can be any retuning from simply tuning all strings up or down by the same amount or different strings by differing amounts.

Scordatura

LFF


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