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DickT

Mean Tone For An Ec

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Theo Gibb is about to start work on an Aeola TT for me. The subject of tuning has come up; ET or mean tone? I play both tunes and songs and for the latter would like the sweeter 3rds but do not wish to compromise playing tunes with other people. For tunes I use all the normal folk keys but use some less common ones for song e.g. Fm.

 

Has anyone direct experience of a MT-tuned EC? What advice can you give?

 

Many thanks

 

Dick Trickey.

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Theo Gibb is about to start work on an Aeola TT for me. The subject of tuning has come up; ET or mean tone? I play both tunes and songs and for the latter would like the sweeter 3rds but do not wish to compromise playing tunes with other people. For tunes I use all the normal folk keys but use some less common ones for song e.g. Fm.

Has anyone direct experience of a MT-tuned EC? What advice can you give?

Many thanks

Dick Trickey.

(originally posted by mistake in Buy and Sell)

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1/4 comma with its perfect thirds can be very sweet and was the early default way of tuning english concertinas.

 

1/5 comma is not quite as sweet but an improvement over equal temper (chords are sweeter and the 3rds do not beat as much). It is gaining popularity with the Irish Trad anglo players.

 

Greg

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I have been using 1/5th Comma Meantone on my EC's for at least 30 years playing various genres of music from ITM through to Bach. The reason for my use of this temperament is to sweeten those grating thirds whilst making a reasonable compromise when playing with others who play in ET. With this aspect I've had no problems but getting out as far as Fm is beginning to push the boundaries. The F minor chord itself should be ok but it depends what other chords you use along with it. Once you start mixing notes from the sharp keys with the flats ie. F min is ok with F/Ab/C ' as long as you use the Ab and not substitute the G#) but if your F min songs use a Bb min chord of F/Bb/Db which would mean using the C# for the Db note then this will be problematic.

 

I'll have a try and see what it sounds like.

 

After a few trials I think Fm. is not too much of a problem but , as is the same in ET, a chord inversion or just shifting octave of one note of a chord can alieviate a perceived harshness. Removing a clashing note from a chord can equally be a simple solution .

 

I do not see any reason to move to Meantone for single line melody playing and it is just because I like those handy Maj.thirds that I adopted it all those years ago.

 

PS; another advantage of the 1/5th Comma over the 1/4 comma is that at the outer limits the sour intervals are less severe.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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Theo Gibb is about to start work on an Aeola TT for me. The subject of tuning has come up; ET or mean tone? I play both tunes and songs and for the latter would like the sweeter 3rds but do not wish to compromise playing tunes with other people. For tunes I use all the normal folk keys but use some less common ones for song e.g. Fm.

 

Has anyone direct experience of a MT-tuned EC? What advice can you give?

 

Many thanks

 

Dick Trickey.

I have made this suggestion before, but it won't harm to repeat it.

 

Many sophisticated midi keyboards and Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) allow the temperament of their scales to be changed. This means you can experiment with different tuning systems by pressing a few buttons or making a few mouse clicks. This seems a good thing to try before metal is filed off reeds.

Of course, it won't sound like a real concertina, but it will give you some idea of what differences different tunings will make.

 

You might already have a suitable DAW or keyboard, or know somebody who can lend you a keyboard. There might even be free DAWs you could download to experiment.

 

I hope this helps,

 

Steve

Edited by Lofty

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I have made this suggestion before, but it won't harm to repeat it.

 

Many sophisticated midi keyboards and Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) allow the temperament of their scales to be changed. This means you can experiment with different tuning systems by pressing a few buttons or making a few mouse clicks. This seems a good thing to try before metal is filed off reeds.

Of course, it won't sound like a real concertina, but it will give you some idea of what differences different tunings will make.

You can get a 'real' concertina sound using Thumbjam on an IOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) using Michael Eskin's excellent concertina instrument samples. You will have to create your own 'scale' for the meantone temperament that you want to try. You do not need a midi keyboard to use Thumbjam.

 

I also have copy of Phil Taylor's baritone EC sound font file (.sf2) that you might be able to use in other midi controllers/DAWs:

 

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/kx6ude5uwzoan15/AAAy6ZJJMRRuwHVxgx16tfDZa?dl=0

 

But Phil's samples are 5-15 cents out of tune so this may be a problem for you. I have been meaning to create a new sound font file using some re-tuned samples. I will try to do that this week-end and I will put that into the same drop box folder.

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Many thanks to you all for the advice. Geoff, your input was exactly what I needed and thanks for trying out Fmin. Steve, I have a version of Cubase but have never used the virtual instruments on it; I will investigate the possibilities. Don, if I can manage to get something going in Cubase I will try your sound fonts.

 

Dick.

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