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Posts posted by cboody

  1. 4 hours ago, David Barnert said:

    FWIW, The “R” field in the abc protocol allows abc software to make subtle genre-specific changes to the lengths and/or accents of notes (much more subtle than xxx -> x>xx) to make the playing sound more organic. A live musician might do this instinctively without realizing it. A machine needs to be told the genre, and then applies pre-programmed rules specific to that genre. Phil Taylor’s abc app, “BarFly,” which (sadly) no longer runs on modern Macs, implemented this quite nicely. I don’t know of any other abc app that does.

    EasyABC (actually abc2midi) has the capability based on Barfly.  You can turn the capability on and off in the menus. I may be able to find a link to details if someone really wants it...

  2. On 2/12/2019 at 4:04 AM, Wolf Molkentin said:

    Hi Chuck,


    I hoped you'd chime in, so thanks a lot for your thorough reply.


    Being aware that you appear to be much more into all that stuff (from previous posts already) I nevertheless will reply to your points one by one in order to overcome possible shortcomings in my understanding:



    I understand that I guess - however my point was that any shift would not affect the values of a certain note, as long as we would be strict with the enharmonics. Do you agree?


    The way forward seems to be a problem of divergent nomenclature then I reckon: I found the label "C-centered/based" and "D-centered/based" for just the same choice: the root of Dmaj would be the only one that has not a single compromised interval - whereas the first ones to differ from the meantone pattern would be the minor second of the root G (giving an augmented first instead) and the augmented fourth (tritone) of the root A (giving a diminished fifth instead). C-centered it might be called insofar as major scales (and of course the respective modes) from Bb to A would be uncompromised, extended to a range from Eb to E with the EC through the 13. and 14. note (D# and Ab that is), all very useful based upon the "white keys" as a starting  point, with Cmaj (nearly) right in the middle).

    Well, I’m not at all sure what you mean here, but you are correct about the 8 available keys.  The difference between C base and D base is the F and C arebetter in C base and the F# and C# better in D base.  That said, the difference is scarcely discernible, more so in 1/4 comma.

    On 2/12/2019 at 4:04 AM, Wolf Molkentin said:



    A range from Eb to E maj and the respective parallel modes (see my comment on point 1.) would be fine for me, at least with a treble concertina. For a Duet concertina (and possibly a TT EC too) I might in fact prefer 1/5 comma.



    I seem to have finally found that, as I had assumed when I started, the center is C (as to the valid major scales available around Cmaj) resp. D (as to the only completely uncompromised set of intervals resp. all 12 steps, see comment to point 1.), the pitch is A=449 Hz, indicating C as the pitch center re ET tuning (the C equals the C in old pitch, based upon A=452 Hz.).

    I think you may be confused here.  If D is the scale which is completely Uncompromised in some meantone tuning then D was the basis for the tuning of the scales. One could, I suppose, use some other note (C or A?j to derive a tuning note that matches some standardized pitch center, but then the question arises as to how you get the pitch of the D.  An unnecessary and confusing issue, particularly in the days before electronic tuners. 


    It is probably a mistake to assume anything more than an approximation of a standardized C or A.  Pitch levels varied wildly and quite beyond the low pitch and high pitch "standards" often referred to.


    im not sure how you got the A 449 and A452 numbers.

    On 2/12/2019 at 4:04 AM, Wolf Molkentin said:



    I'm aware that the "wolf" term stems from Pythagorean tuning, but I believe it is quite common for at least discussing 1/4 comma meantone temperament - which makes sense insofer as the single "bad" "wolf" fifth is even worse than with Pythagorean tuning (not flat but sharp, and even more so). In the system indicated above (however it may be called) the "wolf" is between Eb and G#, just as in Pythagorean tuning. Any shift of the center would put the wolf around the circle of fifths, as I seem to understand.


    So, to sum it up, my EC seems to be tempered to the key of Cmaj (which would make sense for a basically diatonic instrument in the key of Cmaj, which has all the accidentals as flats or sharps, like black keys), providing a range of major scales from Eb to E, and two more major triads (Ab and B). This is a very fine choice IMO.


    Please correct as needed - ?


    I think your conclusion is perfectly appropriate as long as you play alone or with instruments that can be tuned to match you in some way.

  3. On 2/12/2019 at 7:21 AM, Wolf Molkentin said:


    this would be the - deeply missed, for playing and listening to the music of JSB and other baroque writers - beauty of a (resp. one of the) "well-tempered" tunings (I'm aware that some wouldn't accept the term "tuning" beyond Pythagorean and just tuning) I reckon...

    Yup. That is the issue in a nutshell. One should note that ET is not the only "well tempered scale.


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  4. On 2/12/2019 at 4:05 AM, Little John said:


    I'm afraid this just muddies things.


    1. The reason for choosing a particular starting (centre) note is to minimise the deviation from other instruments playing in equal temperament (ET). As it happens, A is the best starting note if you play mainly in the "folk" keys of G and D.


    2. Whether you choose 1/4, 1/5, 1/6 comma or any other mean tone tuning (other than 1/12 comma, which is ET) you are limited to six* keys; usually ranging from two flats to three sharps. Those six* keys will all sound equally good. (*Eight keys on an English concertina with its additional accidentals.)


    3. All temperaments are a compromise. 1/4 comma gives pure major thirds but narrow fifths; 1/12 comma (= ET) gives almost perfect fifths but horribly wide major thirds. In between you trade one off against the other. 1/5 comma is a good choice because it gives decent major thirds at the same time as acceptable deviation from ET instruments.

    Well, you said it differently, but we don’t disagree in any substantive way.

  5. Well...just to clarify, or muddy, things a bit.  My term scale below refers to the major scale. 


    1. The reason for a particular starting note being chosen with mean tone tuning is that the farther you deviate from the scale of the chosen starting note the farther the scale sounds out of tune and the worse important chords will sound. 


    2.  1/4 comma and 1/5 comma meantone tunings arean attempt to deviate enough to allow the advantages of meantone tuning to apply to a wider range of keys.  


    3.  The range of good sounding keys is narrower with 1/4 comma tuning, so realize that if you leave it tuned that way you’ll want to be sure you’re happy with the available keys.  I’m not advocating you change the tuning, though 1/5 comma would be my choice.


    4. You can see from the above why knowing the chosen starting point is crucial. 


    5. If your tuner gives Hz I’d recommend you get those numbers for the entire instrument. It should help determine starting note.  And/or if your tuner allows you to set the starting pitch for the 1/4 mean try each starting note and frequency and check the scale for the other notes. The starting note used will be the one where the scale deviates the least.  Then you will know which notes need adjustment. 


    6. The wolf tone you refer to is mediated by the 1/4 or 1/5 meantone tuning, so strictly speaking it doesn’t occur anywhere. I believe that term is usually only associated with Pythagorean tuning, but I might be very wrong about that.


    hope this helps!





  6. To muddy the waters in this discussion a bit: what version of Scarborough Fair are we talking about?  On this side of the pond most people would think of the Simon and Garfunkel version.  Does that now mean we should be matching it with an American tune?


    i understand and respect the idea of trying to keep traditions pure, but I also think there is considerable interpenetration of repertoires across what used to be called the British Isles.


    That said I also note that English repertoire stands somewhat more separate than Irish and Scottish.  As I said a tough pancake. (Five points to the first person to identify my source for that).

  7. Well, part of the issue here is that you selected a relatively low pitch to look at. The preferred length for a given note with a given reed size and thickness gets progressively more problematic as the notes get lower, what’s wanted is a significantly longer reed, which will in turn have issues with speed of response. So, all of the reed lengths are compromises of various sorts. The first tenancy is increased first harmonic, and the next is Increased second harmonicas you see here. I’ve insufficient recollection of the details of vibration of concertina reeds to-provide chapter and verse, but if you want to prove your thesis I’d suggest trying A4 and perhaps some other notes. You may be correct for the given note, but incorrect for the instrument in general.

  8. Chuck, I've double checked bar 9 and it is as printed in the book. I've had to correct a couple of bars in one tune where the bar was overful in one voice (that'll teach them to use 32nd notes or demisemiquavers as we like to call them over here!) but I generally leave the pitch alone unless there's a glaringly obvious mistake. When I get chance I'll scan the section in question and email it to you.

    I think the error is in the reader on the iPad, jot your transcription. Checking will have to wait. My wife is suddenly hospitalized.

  9. Thanks for this effort Pete. Will you make a single abc file available when you finish? If so I'll be happy to make a completed book (PDF) with a table of contents and cover.


    Incidentally you might like to know your transcription won't work on either of the common iPad abc programs. Not because you are wrong but because they are incomplete in their capabilities!

  10. Not a new thing. I think there are references in passing to this in my 1977 dissertation, though that work dealt with non compositional use of the computer. I know that a couple of college kids did a similar thing creating "Bach" chorales using the probability information in one of the standard harmony books, because I helped with it. Still, an interesting project, and one that I hope continues to develop. Can the program, in the future, produce Scottish or Cape Breton tunes distinguishable from Irish?

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