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1/5 Comma Meantone

meantone ec tenor-treble

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#1 DickT

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 07:25 AM

I have just recieved my new wooden-ended Aeola TT from Theo Gibb. Apart from doing a brilliant job of restoration he has tuned it in 1/5 comma meantone for me. I am not aware of having heard an ec in this tuning before and I was apprehensive about doing it. After consulting on here I decided to go ahead and am glad I did. Chords are definately sweeter and more rounded with no harsh heterodyne beating, at least in the keys I normally play in. When there is any slight discord it is no worse than an instrument in ET (eg f#maj, a chord I never use). On the whole I am very pleased with this tuning and would recommend it to anyone who has doubts.

#2 Mike Pierceall

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 10:56 AM

I have just recieved my new wooden-ended Aeola TT from Theo Gibb. Apart from doing a brilliant job of restoration he has tuned it in 1/5 comma meantone for me. I am not aware of having heard an ec in this tuning before and I was apprehensive about doing it. After consulting on here I decided to go ahead and am glad I did. Chords are definately sweeter and more rounded with no harsh heterodyne beating, at least in the keys I normally play in. When there is any slight discord it is no worse than an instrument in ET (eg f#maj, a chord I never use). On the whole I am very pleased with this tuning and would recommend it to anyone who has doubts.

Congratulations on your Aeola.  Any chance you could record something to demonstrate the effects of the tuning?  What type of music do you regularly play on the concertina?



#3 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 06:29 PM

Fifth comma is pretty much what the English concertina was originally designed for, and the keyboard is perfect for it in having seperate buttons for Eb and D#, and also for Ab and G#, which do away with what might otherwise be "wolf notes"...



#4 Lawrence Reeves

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 08:58 PM

My C/G has never sounded better. Will go all,the way to 1/4 comma on my next Anglo. I play regularly with uilleann pipers and with this 1/5 comma tuning my chords don't clash with their chanter or regs.

#5 DickT

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 04:04 AM

Mike, I play Scottish, English, Irish and Morris tunes and songs. I tried a blues workshop at Buttonboxes and Mouthies in Aberdeen this year and enjoyed it but it is not my genre; my interest in playing music is quite narrow, unlike some on here.

I should be able to do some recording in two weeks or so and by then will have done some more exploration to find any limitations in the tuning.

Having said in my first post thet I had never come across MT before, that might not be correct. I remember criticising concertinas in the past because the G#/Ab and D#/Eb reeds were not in tune. Obviously they were in MT and I was ignorant of the concept.

Dick T.

#6 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 04:23 AM

My C/G has never sounded better. Will go all,the way to 1/4 comma on my next Anglo. I play regularly with uilleann pipers and with this 1/5 comma tuning my chords don't clash with their chanter or regs.

 

Yes, I've tuned quite a few Anglos to fifth comma over the years for people, especially Eb ones, including Paul Davies' and John McMahon's (for the Fisherstreet album Out in the Night) and it works very well.

 

But quarter comma is a bit extreme with other fixed pitch instruments in equal temperament, as Cormac Begley discovered (and I warned him before I did it!) when he got me to tune his concert pitch Ab/Eb the same way as his original(?) tuning high pitch one. I changed the concert one to fifth comma only a couple of weeks later and he's very happy with that, and Jack now wants me to tune his Wally Carroll Eb that way, and maybe his Wheatstone too...



#7 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 04:28 AM

Having said in my first post thet I had never come across MT before, that might not be correct. I remember criticising concertinas in the past because the G#/Ab and D#/Eb reeds were not in tune. Obviously they were in MT and I was ignorant of the concept.

 

You might have come across it on mid-19th century instruments that were still in original tuning, and it'd be very apparent - seeing that in fifth comma the G#/Ab and D#/Eb are half a semitone apart!



#8 Chris Ghent

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 05:14 AM

I put my own C/G in 1/5th (with a root note of G) a few months ago and I love it. I find I don't only hear the sweetness in chords, it seems to be there in single note melody also, perhaps your brain puts intervals together as you play. People around me seem to cope though I am reluctant to offer my A for tuning, it is 4 cents flat...

#9 Hereward

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 06:14 AM

Excuse my ignorance here but does this tuning mean that the instrument would jar with others, say at a session or suchlike?



#10 Geoff Wooff

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 07:47 AM

I think one would need super sensitive hearing to perceive any 'Jarring' with other instruments. I have been using 1/5th Comma Meantone tuned concertinas for 26 years, in bands and sessions, and nobody has yet complained.

But it is this lighter version of Meantone. I can imagine situations where 1/4 Comma MT might generate a reaction, either from oneself or others. There is one note which I have had problems with when playing with pipers and that is C... where sometimes the piper chooses to play an harmonic C natural which is considerably flatter than an Equal Temperament C.

Edited by Geoff Wooff, 01 June 2016 - 07:49 AM.


#11 Hereward

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 09:27 AM

Thank you Geoff. I'm not about to rush to my nearest repairer and have mine re-tuned but it's always good to know such things.



#12 Geoff Wooff

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 09:43 AM

Thank you Geoff. I'm not about to rush to my nearest repairer and have mine re-tuned but it's always good to know such things.



I should qualify my remarks by saying that tuning clashes will be very slight in the keys of C,G,D and A used at most sessions .

One can go out to F and Bb in the same way but if using an English tuned to 1/5th Comma, centred to balance the offsets of the G#/Ab and D#/Eb then there will be a limit when joining with others who remain in Equal Temperament but are playing in Eb or E... or keys beyond that.

Edited by Geoff Wooff, 01 June 2016 - 09:53 AM.


#13 Mike Pierceall

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 11:03 AM

Fifth comma is pretty much what the English concertina was originally designed for, and the keyboard is perfect for it in having seperate buttons for Eb and D#, and also for Ab and G#, which do away with what might otherwise be "wolf notes"...

I've never come across an English tuned in fifth comma although, as you say, they were originally designed with that scheme.  Did they come out of the factory that way, and, if so, why would they have been altered to equal temperament?  My 1909 Aeola, for instance, is tuned to old pitch but in equal temperament.



#14 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 12:14 PM


Fifth comma is pretty much what the English concertina was originally designed for, and the keyboard is perfect for it in having seperate buttons for Eb and D#, and also for Ab and G#, which do away with what might otherwise be "wolf notes"...

 

I've never come across an English tuned in fifth comma although, as you say, they were originally designed with that scheme.  Did they come out of the factory that way, and, if so, why would they have been altered to equal temperament?  My 1909 Aeola, for instance, is tuned to old pitch but in equal temperament.

 

In another post in this thread (replying to DickT) I stated that "You might have come across it on mid-19th century instruments that were still in original tuning ..." (yes, they came out of the factory that way) and by the 1860s equal temperament tuning started to take over in general use, allowing instruments to play equally well in ALL keys - something very desirable for Romantic composers like Hector Berlioz, who promoted it decrying the "barbarity" of meantone. But all "chromatic" tuning systems are compromises, to a lesser or greater degree, and the downside of ET is that it makes all keys equally out of tune, and hence its harshness.

 

Meantone tended to continue to be used for tuning Anglo concertinas into the early 20th century, and Jeffries Anglos can sound especially glorious in their original tuning!


Edited by Stephen Chambers, 02 June 2016 - 07:22 AM.


#15 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 12:17 PM

I forgot to mention I once read that Giulio Regondi had a concertina in equal temperament to play with a piano, and another in meantone to play with an orchestra...



#16 Little John

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 01:41 PM

It seems that mean-tone tuning, and fifth comma in particular, is gaining in popularity; but what of well temperaments, e.g. Werckmeister III or Young's? Especially for duets which don't have the advantage of duplicated accidentals?

 

From what I can understand, Young's well temperament has many of the advantages of fifth comma, but without a wolf fifth in sight. Also no note deviates more than 12 cents from ET so playing with others shouldn't pose a problem. Does anyone have any experience of any of these well temperaments on a concertina?



#17 Theo

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 04:02 PM

 Also no note deviates more than 12 cents from ET 

 

That is also true of 1/5 comma MT, without enharmonic notes tuned differently



#18 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 04:04 PM

It seems that mean-tone tuning, and fifth comma in particular, is gaining in popularity; but what of well temperaments, e.g. Werckmeister III or Young's? Especially for duets which don't have the advantage of duplicated accidentals?

 

The Baroque era Werkmeister III is very good in C, F, Bb, E minor and A minor, and good in most other keys, though considered poor in Db/C#, F# and C minor.

 

Young's (1800) is very good in C, D, F and G, and good in most other keys, though considered poor in Db/C#, F#, Ab/G# and B.

 

So many temperaments, so little time! :unsure:







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