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how sharp are your sharps?

Jack Campin 14 Aug 09 - 07:13 PM
Tug the Cox 14 Aug 09 - 07:30 PM
Smokey. 14 Aug 09 - 07:57 PM
treewind 15 Aug 09 - 06:19 AM
Jack Blandiver 15 Aug 09 - 06:38 AM
Jack Campin 15 Aug 09 - 02:52 PM
The Sandman 15 Aug 09 - 03:27 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 15 Aug 09 - 03:35 PM
Jack Campin 15 Aug 09 - 05:54 PM
The Sandman 15 Aug 09 - 06:16 PM
Jack Campin 15 Aug 09 - 06:29 PM
Richard Bridge 15 Aug 09 - 07:21 PM
Richard Bridge 15 Aug 09 - 07:29 PM
Tootler 15 Aug 09 - 07:34 PM
Jack Campin 15 Aug 09 - 08:00 PM
The Sandman 16 Aug 09 - 10:10 AM
GUEST,Dazbo at work 16 Aug 09 - 11:14 AM
treewind 16 Aug 09 - 11:17 AM
GUEST,Dazbo at work 16 Aug 09 - 11:46 AM
treewind 16 Aug 09 - 11:52 AM
The Sandman 16 Aug 09 - 12:32 PM
treewind 16 Aug 09 - 02:31 PM
The Sandman 16 Aug 09 - 02:38 PM
Jack Campin 16 Aug 09 - 06:49 PM
The Sandman 17 Aug 09 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Aug 09 - 01:02 PM
The Sandman 17 Aug 09 - 01:18 PM
Richard Bridge 17 Aug 09 - 01:29 PM
Jack Campin 17 Aug 09 - 01:54 PM
Jack Campin 17 Aug 09 - 02:13 PM
The Sandman 17 Aug 09 - 03:00 PM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Aug 09 - 03:20 PM
The Sandman 17 Aug 09 - 04:08 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 17 Aug 09 - 04:30 PM
The Sandman 17 Aug 09 - 05:02 PM
Jack Campin 17 Aug 09 - 07:04 PM
GUEST,Piers Plowman without cookie 18 Aug 09 - 04:30 AM
Howard Jones 18 Aug 09 - 04:31 AM
The Sandman 18 Aug 09 - 08:13 AM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Aug 09 - 10:43 AM
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Subject: how sharp are your sharps?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 07:13 PM

Over the last few years, playing Scottish music on wind instruments, I've often found myself pitching the fourth and seventh of a major scale somewhere near meantone, when it fits in with what other people are doing and I can pull it off. The tunes often sound purer and more lyrical that way. (Meantone in D would have the F# and C# flatter than the Gb and Db; the major thirds in D major and A major triads will then be close to just intonation). With a recorder you can often do that with a simple alternative fingering; other instruments may require tweaks of embouchure nd breath pressure.

Obviously this is not going to work with a piano accordion in the lineup. Equal temperament, live with it.

Less obviously, it works even less well with a lot of fiddlers. They tend to push these sharps even higher than equal temperament, and maybe even higher than Pythagorean intonation (in which F# is higher than Gb and thirds are treated as dissonances). And the faster and louder they play the sharper those sharps get. To my ear this comes over as abrasive and just plain nasty.

Comments from stringy people?


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 07:30 PM

Yer 'aving a laugh!


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: Smokey.
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 07:57 PM

It can work with a piano accordion; the musette can cover a multitude of sins.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: treewind
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 06:19 AM

I think Jack's interest in this is partly fueled by listening to a lot of middle eastern (especially Turkish) music. They do use different scales there, not just different arrangements of tone and semitone steps, but subtly different intervals. When I first heard music played on the Oud (an unfretted stringed instrument) I though it was out of tune. It was only after I heard a lot more and twigged that it was all identically out of tune in exactly the same places that I understood that it was quite deliberate.


Less obviously, it works even less well with a lot of fiddlers. They tend to push these sharps even higher

Perhaps not if you meet a fiddler who knows Turkish music well?

Anahata


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 06:38 AM

I find I use different intervals on the Turkish Kemence / Black Sea Fiddle when playing solo than I do when playing with a equal-tempered instrument, such as an anglo concertina. What sounds perfectly in-tune for solo-song accompaniment is not in with equal-temperament!


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 02:52 PM

Meantone tuning is the norm in historically clued-up performances of Renaissance and Baroque music - there were many variants of the idea, but they all tried to get thirds better in tune. (In mediaeval music, thirds were thought of as dissonant, so messing about with the tuning to make them sound better was irrelevant; fourths and fifths were what mattered).

Scottish traditional music is in some ways a dialect of Baroque music. Connections with Middle Eastern music are a bit of a fluke, but learning to listen microtonally helps with both.

As Sean says, singers tend to like more harmonious temperaments when they get the opportunity. To me a piano in modern tuning always grates as a vocal accompaniment.

Aren't anglo concertinas often tuned in meantone? If you're only playing in two keys there's no need for equal temperament.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 03:27 PM

no, anglos are not often tuned in meantone,.
traditional music is not limited to two keys.
meantone is limiting[in my opinion]


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 03:35 PM

It seems daft to me for players of Renaissance music to play with a "renaissance" sense of intonation because to modern ears it sounds "off" - which it clearly wouldn't have done to listeners in renaissance time. Also, I've noticed that young irish fiddlers don't play with the same intonation as say Michael Coleman. Of course, to contradict myself somewhat, I wouldn't expect string players from the middle-east to adjust their intonation just to please my ears!


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 05:54 PM

no, anglos are not often tuned in meantone,.
traditional music is not limited to two keys.


If you have a D/G anglo you may be able to play some tunes in C or A if they have gaps in the scale, and some modes using the same pitch sets. But you will not be playing in any flat keys, and no way will you EVER need a Gb or Db, so having the F# and C# tuned so they can act as enharmonics is useless.


meantone is limiting[in my opinion]

Folk music is all about creating miracles with limited means. For some instruments, the gain from having pure thirds is immediately obvious - hammered dulcimer and nyckelharpa, for two. The Cajun sound depends on it, and many moothies are tuned nearer to meantone than ET.


It seems daft to me for players of Renaissance music to play with a "renaissance" sense of intonation because to modern ears it sounds "off"

Modern ears adjust instantly. Once you've heard it done right you won't want to go back.


Still no response from a fiddler. It occurred to me that I mainly hear this behaviour in sessions, and it could be that in a noisy environment you tend to play stopped notes high simply to be more audible.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 06:16 PM

most players have 30 key c g anglos,and they play in the scale of d major,using a number of alternatives across the rows.
some anglo players use the instrument to sing with and like to have the option of a number of different keys,for example f major,which has one flat.,
some irish traditional tunes are written to be played in G minor.
equal temperament ,is an advantage in this case.
using a variety of keys,[imo]in an evenings performace gives greater musical interest.
do you play the anglo?
the majority of players play instruments that have a third row of accidentals,it is a small minority that have two row [20 button] instruments whether they are in d g, or c g or bflat f.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 06:29 PM

The only anglos I've tried out or played along with have been two-row with no added accidentals.

Another row doesn't affect the point I was making - you still won't be going far enough round the circle of fifths to need C# and F# as enharmonics for Db and Gb, so they might as well be tuned to give pure thirds from A and D.

If your concept of an "anglo" extends to cover a bandoneon used to play nuevo tango, you're in a different ballgame.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 07:21 PM

I'm not sure I can (I'll rephrase that, I'm sure I can't) accurately pitch (vocally) the difference between say, an F# and a Gb. But two thoughts spring to mind.

I have ALWAYS hated the piano with folk music or song (except blues), and cajun singers ALWAYS sound vaguely sharp-ish to me.

Could these things be connected?

Contrariwise, I recall Jon Loomes' witticism about playing guitar with a melodeon player. "Ive forgotten my tuning fork. Give me an A. NO, FOR GOD'S SAKE, ONLY ONE."

If any sort of squeezebox is tuned a bit wet, surely the range covered by any of its notes is enough to cover the disagreements between any of the principal tuning systems, isn't it?


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 07:29 PM

Thinking further, on a guitar, it's going to depend on how you finger your D.

If you do fret the D string at F# you will have the same fatal tendency as when playing an open E chord to flatten teh G string just a bit.

If you flatten the D string just a bit for that purpose, your G and A chords are going to sound like dogshit.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: Tootler
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 07:34 PM

For those of you pooh-poohing Jack's original post he is absolutely right about the thirds.

I play in recorder ensembles and the aim is to get the chords at cadences as "pure" as possible. (Though the musical directors don't usually put it that way). Usually this involves getting the tonics and fifths in tune - not usually a problem. The third is then added. If the chord is major, the person usually has to ease back a bit with their breath to slightly flatten the note to get a clean sounding chord - you do not want to hear any beating. if the chord is minor you need to blow a little harder to sharpen the note. This is much the same as Jack was saying about C# and F# being slightly flatter than Db and Gb in meantone temperament. String players will need to make similar adjustments to get clean chords. In modern music with big scrunchy chords playing in ET is not a problem as dissonance is often what is wanted but playing in older styles - Baroque and Renaissance, you need to aim for pure chords and again Jack has a point about the nature of our traditional music, not Just Scottish but English and Irish as well. Many of the tunes are pretty old and modern ones are essentially being written an an old style.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 08:00 PM

This podcast gives a good idea of just how different Middle Eastern music can be from anything in Western tradition:

Sami Abu Shumays playing 12 different E's

I am not suggesting anything like that!


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 10:10 AM

Baroque and Renaissance, you need to aim for pure chords and again Jack has a point about the nature of our traditional music, not Just Scottish but English and Irish as well. Many of the tunes are pretty old and modern ones are essentially being written an an old style.
sorry,this is not correct,nearly all the traditional English irish scottish repetoire,has been written since the time of equal temperament.,Please correct,me with detailed lists of tunes and times,if you believe I am incorrect.
J S BACH favoured and expoloited ET.J S Bach[ 1685 TO 1750].but there were others long before him
the majority of the repertoire was not written before ET.
O Carolan for example was 1670 TO 1738.,was a contemporary of Bachs
here is wikepedia on ET.

was one of the first advocates of twelve-tone equal temperament in a 1581 treatise, along two sets of dance suites on each of the 12 notes of the chromatic scale, and 24 ricercars in all the "major/minor keys". His countryman and fellow lutenist Giacomo Gorzanis had written music based on this temperament by 1567. Gorzanis was not the only lutenist to explore all modes or keys: Francesco Spinacino wrote a "Recercare de tutti li Toni" as early as 1507. In the 17th century lutenist-composer John Wilson wrote a set of 26 preludes including 24 in all the major/minor keys.

Historically, there was a seven-equal temperament or hepta-equal temperament practice in ancient Chinese tradition.[1][2] The first person known to have attempted a numerical specification for 12-TET is probably Zhu Zaiyu (朱載堉) a prince of the Ming court, who published a theory of the temperament in 1584. It is possible that this idea was spread to Europe by way of trade, which intensified just at the moment when Zhu Zaiyu published his calculations. Within fifty-two years of Zhu's publication, the same ideas had been published by Marin Mersenne and Simon Stevin.

From 1450 to about 1800 plucked instrument players (lutenists and guitarists) generally favored equal temperament. Wind and keyboard musicians expected much less mistuning (than that of equal temperament) in the most common keys, such as C major. They used approximations that emphasized the tuning of thirds or fifths in these keys, such as meantone temperament. Among the 17th century keyboard composers Girolamo Frescobaldi advocated equal temperament. Some theorists, such as Giuseppe Tartini, were opposed to the adoption of equal temperament; they felt that degrading the purity of each chord degraded the aesthetic appeal of music, although Andreas Werckmeister emphatically advocated equal temperament in his 1707 treatise published posthumously.

String ensembles and vocal groups, who have no mechanical tuning limitations, often use a tuning much closer to just intonation, as it is naturally more consonant. Other instruments, such as some wind, keyboard, and fretted instruments, often only approximate equal temperament, where technical limitations prevent exact tunings. Other wind instruments, that can easily and spontaneously bend their tone, most notably double-reeds, use tuning similar to string ensembles and vocal groups.

J. S. Bach wrote The Well-Tempered Clavier to demonstrate the musical possibilities of well temperament, where in some keys the consonances are even more degraded than in equal temperament. It is reasonable to believe that when composers and theoreticians of earlier times wrote of the moods and "colors" of the keys, they each described the subtly different dissonances made available within a particular tuning method. However, it is difficult to determine with any exactness the actual tunings used in different places at different times by any composer. (Correspondingly, there is a great deal of variety in the particular opinions of composers about the moods and colors of particular keys.)

Twelve tone equal temperament took hold for a variety of reasons. It conveniently fit the existing keyboard design, and was a better approximation to just intonation than the nearby alternative equal temperaments. It permitted total harmonic freedom at the expense of just a little purity in every interval. This allowed greater expression through enharmonic modulation, which became extremely important in the 18th century in music of such composers as Francesco Geminiani, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach and Johann Gottfried Müthel.

The progress of Equal Temperament from mid-18th c. on is described with detail in quite a few modern scholarly publications: it was already the temperament of choice during the Classical era (2nd half of the 18th century), and it became standard during the Early Romantic era (1st decades of the 19th century), except for organs that switched to it more gradually, completing only in the 2nd decade of the 19th century. A precise equal temperament is possible using the 17th-c. Sabbatini method of splitting the octave first into three tempered major fifths. This was also proposed by several writers during the Classical era. Tuning with several checks, thus attaining virtually modern accuracy, was already done in the 1st decades of the 19th century. Using beat rates, first proposed in 1749, became common after their diffusion by Helmholtz and Ellis in the 2nd half of the 19th century. The ultimate precision was available with 2-decimal tables published by White in 1917


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: GUEST,Dazbo at work
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 11:14 AM

Jack,

You seem to under the misapprehension that a 30 button anglo concertina isn't fully chromatic, it is. Many anglo players play all sorts of music in all sorts of keys.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: treewind
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 11:17 AM

Sami Abu Shumays playing 12 different E's

Absolutely bloody amazing!
I learnt a lot, but also learnt how much more I don't know.
Thanks for that...

Anahata


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: GUEST,Dazbo at work
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 11:46 AM

Well, for the 3rd to 6th Es I couldn't tell any difference.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: treewind
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 11:52 AM

About Anglo concertinas: 20 key instruments are in meantone, if that's tuning with all the harmonics nicely matched, and can sound very sweet as a result. 30 key (and more) instruments are tuned in equal temperament. As Dazbo says, they are fully chromatic and though many players don't bother with remote keys you have to assume somebody will use those extra keys. I have a song accompaniment in F minor that I play on a C/G Anglo, and with practice I can play the Savage hornpipe in the original key of B flat on it. Yet tunes in D or A have G# as an accidental, or as part of an E major chord which is also A flat as used in the F minor song, so at best it's got to be equally out-of-tune for both. Anyway I play some tune arrangements along with an English concertina; that's in equal temperament obviously, and they have to work together.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 12:32 PM

anahata, exactly,if someone wants to have their 20 key box tuned in meantone,ok, but dont expect to be welcomed by other free reed players,who are tuned in equal temperament.,
neither will they fit with fretted instruments such as guitars,who are also in equal temperament,particularly if the player is using standard tuning.
why should a guitarist ,have to accomodate ,a mean tone instrument by leaving all the thirds of a chord out.
meantone boxes are ideal for solitary players who like to play on their own.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: treewind
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 02:31 PM

"meantone boxes are ideal for solitary players who like to play on their own."
...or with instruments that can accommodate. Fiddles and most wind instruments when played properly can do this.

In classical music, groups like string quartets are very careful about matching their intonation to a scale appropriate to the key they are in to get a really pure sound, but then of course that all goes out of the window when they are joined by a piano!

Anahata


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 02:38 PM

true Treewind,but most people on this forum are folk players,andmost sessions are geared towards ET,because there are fretted instruments and free reed instruments,mean tone is socially unacceptable,unless prearranged.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 06:49 PM

J S BACH favoured and expoloited ET.

Urban legend. He probably never played an ET instrument in his life and never advocated it. "Well tempered" does not mean "equally tempered", and the WTC uses the distinctive sound of different keys in a big way.

Equal temperament was not generally used in classical music until about the 1920s, and not universally even then. (Many people thought they were using it earlier, but had no practical way to achieve it). Listen to Elgar's recordings to hear a whole orchestra playing in non-equal temperament, sometimes in extreme flat keys. Scottish fiddlers of the older generation (Hector Macandrew, Ron Gonnella) played in a similar style. You hear some *very* unequal temperament in present-day Cape Breton fiddling.

The only traditional music to be influenced by ET is stuff composed on the piano accordion. Some of the Scottish flute music on my CD-ROM comes from manuscripts with charts that were stating explicitly different fingerings for G# and Ab as late as the 1850s. (Quantz's "On Playing the Flute", published a few years after Bach died, not only specified fingerings that split enharmonics all over the instrument's range, he advocated an extra key to help do it in hardware).

I think we can quietly forget about all that Wikibollocks. Did you write it yourself?


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 07:45 AM

Jack,I did not,why do you have to be rude?
please answer my question.
your attempt to dismiss ET,is a red herring,it does not prove that traditional musicians were using mean tone,if they were not using ET,as you state,that does not mean they were using mean tone.
if they[Bach,OCarolan] were using a well tempered scale,and not a mean scale,Why should we use a mean tone scale now.
if you wish to use a mean tone scale ,that is your CHOICE,I will continue to use equal temperament,because it allows me greater flexbility,plus I enjoy playing in different keys in equal temperament,each key has a different flavour,and this I find pleasing.
each to their own.
finally, before you dismiss wikipedia as bollocks,please provide a substantial list of tunes that are in the traditional repertoire,and PROVE when they were composed and that they were intended to be played in mean tone.
do you believe O carolan intended his tunes to be played in mean tone.if so please provide documentary evidence that this was the case.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 01:02 PM

Hello, Jack. It's nice to hear from a recorder player.

I've encountered the issues you are talking about. In workshops, I've been taught that when playing a major chord, lower the pitch of the third a bit. When playing a minor chord, raise it. And when doing that, Listen to the Group. That is key. It is amazing what the hearing brain can accomplish without the left brain being able to verbalize it.

Lately I've come to realize that I have always found the sixth irritating and tend to avoid any tunes where the sixth is prominant. So I hosted a session where we played a couple of those tunes. The consensus was that they sounded better if we lowered the sixth a bit and played it gently.

On the page,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagorean_tuning

There's a chart which shows how the sixth (and the seventh) differ between equal temperment and ancient Pythagorean tuning. The difference is expressed in cents, whatever they are exactly. My piano tuner tells me that when a piano is 5 cents off, serious players can't stand it anymore and call in the tuner. The chart shows that the sixth is more than 5 cents off when it's in tune. The seventh is even worse.

But how do you deal with these issues in a session where people with varying skills are playing instruments with varying timbres? Well, at my house, I told them 'Listen to the guitar.' This freaked out our guitarist who protested that nobody ever listened to her before. However, it sure helps the flutes and recorders play in tune with the group.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 01:18 PM

Guitars are fretted for equal temperament.
if the guitarist is proficient he can use modal dyads[power chords]which avoid the major and minor third.
Leenia,how does listening to the guitarist help?


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 01:29 PM

Ah, now that is interesting - if a guitarist in standard (Spanish) tuning drops his bottom E to the D below, he now has a one-fingered power chord on teh bottom three strings.

So waht? I hear you ask.

Answer - watch "metal" guitarists. Those chugging guitar sounds are achieved largely by dancing left hand fingers always playing thoe power chords up and down the bottom three strings. Has metal taken the guitar back to pythagorean tuning?


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 01:54 PM

if they[Bach,OCarolan] were using a well tempered scale,and not a mean scale,Why should we use a mean tone scale now.

For Bach, "well tempered" meant some variant of meantone (he tried a lot of them). For Carolan we have no idea except that he saw himself as working within the Continental European idiom we now call baroque, and if he expected people used to playing Geminiani to suddenly use a special tuning of his own, he would have had to say so.

How on earth would you keep a harp in ET using the resources Carolan had?

finally, before you dismiss wikipedia as bollocks

I was dismissing that particular article as bollocks. The Wikipedia article on exterior algebra is great. The one on lindane is shit too.

please provide a substantial list of tunes that are in the traditional repertoire,and PROVE when they were composed and that they were intended to be played in mean tone.

I already did - a few hundred mid-19th-century Scottish flute tunes. Buy my CD-ROM and you get a few of them transcribed, along with bibliographic details and the fingering chart for six-hole flute which cannot possibly permit ET playing.

Meantone is not the only non-equal temperament used in traditional music from the British Isles. The Highland pipes are wildly different, with a sharp D, a neutral C, a sharp upper G and a just lower one. You sometimes hear Highland fiddlers trying to fake some of that. And there are a few Shetland tunes that use a neutral seventh (this probably comes from Scandinavia) - you get the same thing in Cape Breton fiddle music sometimes, see the Greenberg & Dunlay book. Neutral thirds and sevenths are a doddle on a recorder if you're playing in the usual keys.

ancient Pythagorean tuning

Pythagorean tuning is more mediaeval than ancient. The ancients thought about it but seem not to have used it extensively in practice. In the Middle Ages it was the only way to go. It makes particular sense when playing mediaeval-style music on the harp.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 02:13 PM

how does listening to the guitarist help?

Because the guitar is the least flexible instrument there. The others can play in ET if they have to, the guitar has no option.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 03:00 PM

Jack,have you never heard guitarists bending notes, those thirds can be bent,just like the third note can be bent on a harmonica,
it all depends on the guitarist,my whole point about modal dyads,the major and minor thirds can be left out,then your recorder player,has complete freedom.
Jack thats one of the advantages of DADGAD,and other open tunings,it is easaier to do it,but it can be done in standard tuning.
now here is one way round those dissonances of equal temperament,on an english or anglo concertina,instead of holding a major third for a crotchet[whole beat ]you play one note for half a beat,then touch the lower third for half a beat.here is an example of that.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K4-2laAOkI&feature=channel_page


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 03:20 PM

How does listening to the guitar help?

Many not-too expert players think that if they finger their instrument as shown in the fingering chart, then the note is going to be right. (I thought the same till I started going to workshops.) Howcver, this is not automatically the case. Notes can vary with amount of breath, with the shape of the mouth or throat, with the length of a note, with the age of strings and with placement of fingers with respect to a fret. There are probably other factors I don't know about.

Our guitarist tunes the instrument right before we start. It's a very stable instrument, and she's good. So we use her as a reference, a musical platform to which the rest of us refer. Other instruments which are very stable could serve the same purpose. The important thing is not just to play, but to play and listen.

To give an example, I used to know a trio of players. One played hammered dulcimer, one played banjo, and one played fiddle. The fiddler constantly played sharp. He either never listened to the overall sound or he had a tin ear. I guess a tin ear can't be changed, but he probably just needed to listen to the others.

Most of the time, all this has nothing to do with what scale we are using. Most people of today are accustomed to such awful pop and rock music that music which is simply in tune (never mind what kind of tune) comes as a refreshing treat.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 04:08 PM

leenia ,
I meant something else,I am very well acquainted to listening to other musicians.
you are assuming that a guitarist is playing in standard tuning,you are also assuming that a guitarist in standard tuning is not using modal chords.
if a guitarist is not playing thirds in his chords,the guitarist ET thirds will not be there to guide you.
more and more guitarists are using modal chords[without the thirds]in both standard tuning and in open tunings,when accompanying trad music,in fact to a limited extent I sometimes to do this on the concertina,although occasionally Ilike it.
finally all rock music is not awful,it may be too loud,but some of it is good,and some of it shares the same mode as flamenco music.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 04:30 PM

On the subject of Bach and temperament, Richard Troeger in Playing Bach on the Keyboard - A Practical Introduction devotes a chapter to this. As Jack says above, by and large various WT rather then ET is implied by most contemporary accounts. However he does quote a paper by Rudolf Rasch (Does Well-Tempered Mean 'Equal-Tempered'? in Bach, Handel, Scarlatti: Tercentenary Essays, ed Williams, CUP, 1985) saying: "On the other hand, Rudolf Rasch has demonstrated convincingly that equal temperament was probably expected for collections that spanned most or all of the tonalities. His evidence includes the views expressed by important early eighteenth-century musicians...".

Not all poor guitarists are happy with the attempt at ET that the guitar makes. Here is a guy (also called Guy) who produces guitars with wiggly frets to compensate for string properties amongst other things: Paul Guy FAQ. If I read it correctly, he produces several varieties with different temperaments. The classical guitar duo of Alfonso Montes and Irina Kircher also use classical guitars with wiggly frets (designed by Walter Vogt this time); you can see a picture of Alfonso's guitar here: Alfonso Montes, with the non-straight frets clearly visible. In both cases, the underlying attempt is to produce better ET on the guitar, though the method can be adapted to produce any desired temperament (I think Vogt started with a guitar with movable frets for every semitone and I was under the impression that Montes-Kircher had adjustable frets, but it doesn't look like it in the image).

Various guitarists in jazz have of course experimented with microtonal effects on the guitar.


Mick


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 05:02 PM

to clarify ,I am not arguing for the sake of arguing,but pointing out that it is possible to play on an ET instrument e .g.the guitar,avoiding the problematical thirds,so that it is pleasing for the mean toners,by using modal chords,playing modal chords is easier in open tunings,plus open tunings provide sympathetic ringing.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 07:04 PM

Can any guitarist tune normal tertian-stack chords on the fly at normal speed by pitch bending? It would be quite a trick. I'm not saying it can't be done, but I'd be curious to know who's actually done it. The usual fudge jazzers use is to damp the chords so fast you can't perceive much definite pitch at all except the attack.

The accompaniments you see in Scottish music books before 1800 are never power chords - sometimes bare octaves, otherwise they use only major and minor triads with a very occasional dominant seventh (which is is usually only on the very last cadence in the tune). And quite often a unison bass line which might be an invitation to improvise a thoroughbass, though keyboard instruments and harps were pretty rare in Scotland until the 1780s, lutes were extinct, and guitars were basically toys you'd never use along with real instruments, so there weren't many options for doing that.

I just had another look at Quantz. I hadn't noticed before that he's quite explicit about what he wants his fingerings and extra key to achieve: he says straight out that flats are always a comma higher than their nearest sharp. That remained the standard text on the flute for nearly 100 years. I also looked at Rameau's harmony book (1722) - no mention of equal temperament at all, only just ratios. And that was the most influential theoretical treatise of the entire century.

I also just checked out Charles Rosen's "The Classical Style". He has a lot of thoroughly unconvincing fluff about equal temperament in the 18th century, but the earliest solid example he comes up with is from one of Beethoven's late quartets: B-double-flat in the violin against A in the viola. Those had to be the same pitch class. But that's in the 1820s, and the reason Beethoven did it was wildly unlike anything in folk - the violin is playing in the minor while the viola is in the relative major.

I was once in a band with a fiddler like the one leeneia described. We ended up dissolving the band so we could reform a new one without her. Some fiddlers just seem to have missed their true vocation as chainsaw sculptors.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: GUEST,Piers Plowman without cookie
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 04:30 AM

How sharp are my sharps? Why, my sharps are so sharp I have to watch out that I don't cut myself on them.

And my flats are so flat, they only have one side.

And my naturals are so natural, children under 18 need to be accompanied by an adult.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 04:31 AM

Perhaps the Good Soldier would be interested in this:

http://www.cafepress.co.uk/qclf.2054904


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 08:13 AM

jack ,have you ever tried dadgad,or orkney[cgdgcd]and other open tuning,it is very easy to play modal chords,or dyads.
Howard,I have nothing against meantone,but it is not exactly sociable in a session,it starts to create exclusivity.[them and us syndrome]
it is fine if all the musicians prearrange their gatherings as many do for early music etc,but in the 21st century fixed free reed instruments accordions, most concertinas[including most anglos]are in equal temperament],so it jusnt doesnt do in a truly open session.
open tunings on a guitar allow easy modal chords,and if the guitar is used as a rhythm instrument,that give the freedom to meantoners,to have their sharps as sharp as they like.


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Subject: RE: how sharp are your sharps?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 10:43 AM

Please be assured that my remarks above, about 'listening to the guitar' were intended to help the average player and were not aimed at any particular person here. The first post was about modifying certain notes of the scale to make music sound better, and that topic was what I was adding to.


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