The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #115745   Message #2480193
Posted By: Acorn4
30-Oct-08 - 03:42 PM
Thread Name: Why Only 7 letter names?
Subject: RE: Why Only 7 letter names?
The early keyboards could only play in one or two keys, because the notes were tuned exactly to pitch. if you tried to play in the key of E, for example, it would sound out of tune. On a modern piano, every note is slightly out or "tempered", but the "offness" is so small the ear doesn't notice, but it gives each key you play in a slightly different character. By Bach's time "tempered" tuning meant that you could play in any key, hence the "Well Tempered Clavichord".

Before this the eight notes (white if in C)would be the ones you used the most, and the rest would truly be "acccidentals".