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adrian brown

¼ Comma Meantone - Et Comparison

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There's been a lot written about meantone tuning recently on this forum, but I don't think there are any practical audio comparisons. Since I have anglos in both ET and ¼ comma meantone, I've recently made a short youtube movie to demonstrate and hopefully demonstrate the difference. Unfortunately, I only have Bb/F anglos in both temperaments, so the recording will sound a tone lower than most people would be used to. I've selected four contrasting sorts of pieces and edited the video so that the differences can be directly heard. I've discussed some of the issues, so it is a bit on the long side, but I do hope it will help anybody who is unsure of the scale of difference between the two.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HT9fStxlbBQ&feature=youtu.be

Adrian

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Thank you Adrian for this useful video. The theory from elsewhere in the forum may have bamboozled me in places but now that I can hear the difference I understand it so much better.

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Many thanks, it was a pleasure listening to your fine playing. Thanks for making the video, there was some effort involved in that but it demonstrated very well meantone compared to ET. Liked how you demonstrated some of the dodgy bits where notes can clash. I do enjoy playing my 1/5 meantone english concer.

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This is excellent; thanks. The selections and commentaries do a very effective job of highlighting the differences between the tunings. And of course the playing is delightful.

 

As a generalist with a penchant for wandering away from the home keys on my own 40-button Anglos, I've long been resigned to equal temperament, and your video is a vivid reminder of why that's the best choice for me. Still, the sweetness of your Suttner's harmonies is a strong argument for having a dedicated instrument just for playing core Irish repertoire with a select few pipers, fluters and/or fiddlers. I must remember to buy a lottery ticket.

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

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Great! I'm glad my video has been useful - I was a little concerned it was over long and my commentaries too rambling! However I hope I don't come across as an equal temperament apologist! And that I have succeeded in pointing out the limitations of equal temperament, as well as those of meantone? While it's easy to do the latter, because of the sudden clash you get when you have the wrong enharmonic in a chord, the former is more subtile and has more to do with the style of the music you're playing. My intention was also to show just how ghastly the first piece sounds in ET, once your ears have been accustomed to meantone...

The bottom line is that since I have one enharmonic pair on my meantone concertinas: D# pulling and Eb pushing, I only run into problems on the sharp side in B major, when my f# chord gets a Bb instead of an A#. In the flat direction, it's in Eb major that the problems start, because I need an Ab and only have a G#. I can fake it if I am merely modulating into these keys for a while, and I could extend the number of possible keys by adding more enharmonics. However, I need my Bbs and G#s in both directions for my style of playing and this would be too big a compromise to pay for the extra remote keys.

 

In chromatic passages, it's usually possible to get away with it by suppressing certain notes, or hiding them with your phrasing.

However with equal temperament, if I want to play renaissance music, or any close harmony, the problems start on the very first chord!

Adrian

Edited by aybee

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However I hope I don't come across as an equal temperament apologist! And that I have succeeded in pointing out the limitations of equal temperament, as well as those of meantone?

No worries; the demonstration certainly didn't come across (to me, at any rate) as an apology for e.t. Its limitations, too, ring out loud and clear. Different repertoires and different aesthetics call for different approaches, and short of having multiple instruments in different tunings (the ideal solution), one chooses one's compromises. You've simply helped me to clarify why I choose mine.

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

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Excellent demo. 1/4 comma is a bit limiting for key centers, but I do find 1/5! Comma a good compromise for most of the music I plat, particularly since the EC gives options for Ab-G# and Eb-D# (given the center point of the tuning of my instrument those are the really bad notes.

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Many thanks for your kind comments, I'm really happy to have been able to help.

 

Excellent demo. 1/4 comma is a bit limiting for key centers, but I do find 1/5! Comma a good compromise for most of the music I plat, particularly since the EC gives options for Ab-G# and Eb-D# (given the center point of the tuning of my instrument those are the really bad notes.

 

I was just wondering if somebody with access to both a 1/5 comma instrument and an ET one, might consider making a similar video or audio recording to compare?

 

I realise that the English system with its two enharmonic pairs is more flexible than an anglo and that even with 1/4comma MT, you can go that extra fifth further than I can before the wolves are at the door!

 

Adrian

Edited by aybee

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I was just wondering if somebody with access to both a 1/5 comma instrument and an ET one, might consider making a similar video or audio recording to compare?

 

I realise that the English system with its two enharmonic pairs is more flexible than an anglo and that even with 1/4comma MT, you can go that extra fifth further than I can before the wolves are at the door!

 

Adrian

I do have an ET instrument along with the 1/5th Comma's... but I've no time this week.. but I might get a chance soon... don't hold your breath but I am thinking about it...

 

Nice Video Adrian!!

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