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harpomatic

What's This Tuning Temperament?

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Geoff, Wolf, Adrian

 

There are many alternative temperaments in the Dolmetsch link - take a look towards the end of the page - there are dropdown controls for selecting different MT temperaments - there are loads of 1/4 and 1/5 comma temperaments.

Yes Steve ,

but we need one that will work with a 14 tone scale which is why I use the one I have mentioned on another thread... I can repeat here if anyone wishes.

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Geoff, Wolf, Adrian

 

There are many alternative temperaments in the Dolmetsch link - take a look towards the end of the page - there are dropdown controls for selecting different MT temperaments - there are loads of 1/4 and 1/5 comma temperaments.

I have some of them available with my digital piano... but unfortunately not with a more steady tone...

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Posted (edited)

Thank you, excellent material! So, as I understand, in case of EC (and not necessarily other systems), it is rather tuned to middle C of whatever frequency it happens to be. Will check tomorrow to see how close it really is to modern pitch..

Edited by harpomatic

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Posted (edited)

Albeit my knowledge of temperaments is fairly limited, I would suggest to differenciate between a certain button or keyboard layout (in which respect an EC just like a piano is "in the key of C major" (and/or its parallel modes), or a transposing instrument (which is of course easily done with digital sound processing), on the one hand and the "root note" of a certain tuning (which can be chosen according to any prefered center keys AFAIK) on the other hand.

 

Of course it makes some sense to have these two features in congruence - however I can very well imagine a pianist playing a piece in, let's say, Emaj, in the usual fingering, but adjusting (digitally) the "root note" to E (or whatever may please him or her).

 

Best wishes - Wolf

 

(edited to adjust a comma)

Edited by Wolf Molkentin

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Geoff, Wolf, Adrian

 

There are many alternative temperaments in the Dolmetsch link - take a look towards the end of the page - there are dropdown controls for selecting different MT temperaments - there are loads of 1/4 and 1/5 comma temperaments.

Yes Steve ,

but we need one that will work with a 14 tone scale which is why I use the one I have mentioned on another thread... I can repeat here if anyone wishes.

 

 

Steve,

 

I think excellent though the info on that site is, there is a tendency towards the theoretical rather than the practical, after all what should concern us is how is sounds, not the niceties of cents deflection from ET to the 3rd decimal point! I had a look at the several 1/4 comma temperaments and find it impossible to understand where the figures come from - at least one of them appears simply to have the decimal rounded to the nearest cent, which in practical terms, is good enough for us.

 

On where you start - the wolf (sorry Wolf) can be between any of the 12 fifths, and the choice will depend on the most common keys you want to play in. In terms of reference pitch, again you can calculate from any note, but you will always need to give a reference pitch for that note, or how you arrived at it in relation to an A= ...Hz. On the site, you can see how he uses in one row an A reference, and on another a C, an equal tempered minor third from the A. It has no effect on the temperament itself, or where the wolf is (Ok, let's just call it the unpure of the twelve!), it simply pushes the whole instrument up or down a few cents.

 

I hope this helps and I'm not confusing you more :-)

 

Cheers,

 

Adrian

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Posted (edited)

Adrian, you don't need to apologise every single time - I'm well prepared to stand the offence now... :blink:

 

Edit: On further reading I must say that I would rather prefer the usage of my name instead of it being cirumscribed with "the unpure of the twelve"... (you know, like Judas...) :ph34r:

Edited by Wolf Molkentin

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Regarding the OP's A=442Hz.

 

I recall that some fiddle players tune their fiddles a cent or two high in order to punch through a crowd of other instruments - not really out of tune, but just a touch sharper than everybody else. (Of course, then all the other fiddle players start to do the same thing...)

 

Maybe a previous owner of your concertina deliberately had it tuned to 1/5 comma meantone centred on A=442Hz.

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Posted (edited)

Let me start with a disclaimer that the hundreds of concertinas I've encountered can vary from modern standard pitch for many different reasons; some deliberate, some a function of environment. Finding an instrument that is basically 12-16 cents high of standard (in the order of between +3-4Hz) is not uncommon with vintage concertinas. Society of Arts standard was A=444

 

Another not uncommon variation is 15-20 cents flat which I assume is a result of the 1820 London Philharmonic adoption of A=433 or the French A=435.

 

Far and away the most common pitch variation is the Old Philharmonic at A=454. This always presents concertina tuners with the dilemma of just how much material can be removed from a reed to bring it down to modern standard pitch before it is compromised in regard to sound or response. In some cases I've opted to add weight in the form of small amounts of solder to accomplish lowering an instrument's pitch.

 

There are also occasions when it is best to leave well enough alone. These cases are where a concertina already has thin reeds either from the factory or thinned by improper or excessive tuning or when a high (or low) pitch instrument sounds so good that it would risk its exceptional tone or response by drastically changing its pitch.

 

As far as temperament I have encountered 1/4 comma mean tone often in untouched vintage english concertinas that are 150-160 years old. I've refurbished one C/G Jeffries anglo whose tuning appeared to be untouched and that was tuned to 1/4 comma mean tone. I persuaded the owner of a wood end 30b Jeffries in high pitch Ab/Eb to keep the instrument in original 1/4 mean tone and high pitch. It had a wonderful sound! To my knowledge I've never encountered an anglo whose original tuning appeared to be 1/5 comma mean tone.

 

Geoff Woof and Paul Groff would have some more informed opinions. Both of them were way ahead of the curve in recognizing alternate tunings and their possible advantages

 

Greg

Edited by Greg Jowaisas

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Posted (edited)

Wolf, this confirms my thinking of EC, in this case (nonET-tuned), as an instrument in C, piano- like. Don, yes, and pedal steel guitar is tuned to A442 -443, and going into various tempered tunings from there(mainly elders are still at it), or tuning Et. But that's the origin of the pitch creep, that took us up to 454 once before...

Greg, very informative, thank you for further clarification of this curious topic, you are among the very few who have hands on experience with so many instruments - that's a unique vantage point you got there, much appreciated! On your points about tuning reeds - confirms all my observations about the subject. I want to share a tip, perhaps not so much for your benefit - first you may know this, second - this is not a permanent "trick", can't be used in a professional situation of your kind, but perhaps for easy experimentation, and for friends here that are servicing their own concertinas. Ok, so, in tuning harmonicas (for my own use), I always prefer to go down. This allows for adding weight as a means of tuning down, as Greg mentioned. It's a common technique, has its pros and cons, but it works fine when done right. You can often see some extreme examples of this in accordions. Now, here's my tip, that I discovered while looking for a temporary/reversible way to accomplish this: any sticky matter, in its tiniest of amounts will accomplish the task. I first experimented with adhesive putty. Very effective. The amount, equal to a grain of sand, landed on a reed can take you very far. At first, I thought that surely the putty will "swing off" the reed within a minute of use (harmonica, moisture, extreme bending - conditions that never occur in bellows-driven free reeds). To my surprise, the harmonica that I retuned this way is still good after 14 years of use... At the same time, the action is perfectly reversible, one swipe with a blade. Easy to fine tune by removing or adding tiny amounts. My current favorite is "white out", the office product... Especially in pen form. You can put a tiny dot on a reed, nice and neat. It will stay on forever. Will take you down by a quarter tone, depending on size. Add another dot, on top of the first - go down some more. Much like solder, except it is totally reversible with one scrape of a blade. It stays on forever, but as a commercial/professional operator, like Greg, I would rather do the traditional, permanent and dependable use of solder and other techniques. However, for my own use, where I am my own customer, shipping and handling is much cheaper - my "forever" have been tested for well over 14 years, under most extreme conditions, without a single fail. One nice thing about whiteout - it scrapes off in tiny increments so easily, like chalk. I prefer to land a slightly larger dot, and then finetune by removing tiny amounts.

Edited by harpomatic

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Adrian, you don't need to apologise every single time - I'm well prepared to stand the offence now... :blink:

 

Edit: On further reading I must say that I would rather prefer the usage of my name instead of it being cirumscribed with "the unpure of the twelve"... (you know, like Judas...) :ph34r:

Sorry about that Wolf, just trying to weave a little renaissance symbolism into the debate - forgotten I'd used that before. I must be getting old!

 

Hope to see you again soon,

 

Adrian

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Once upon a time, there was an article on c.net - Notes on Concertina Pitch, Wes Williams, 2001

 

I found it useful and interesting. In this context, it may be of interest - if you can find it (I couldn't):

 

 

The requested URL /ww_pitch.html was not found on this server.

 

Roger

I found a copy in the Wayback Machine:

https://web.archive.org/web/20150303120725/http://www.concertina.net:80/ww_pitch.html

 

 

Isn't it strange how these things come back to haunt you? At the time I wrote that I hadn't realised that cents were logarithmic. It just shows how much more is now available on the net, and how much more we now know. But I'm quite chuffed that Dolmetsch quoted me and re-used the table.

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Isn't it strange how these things come back to haunt you? At the time I wrote that I hadn't realised that cents were logarithmic. It just shows how much more is now available on the net, and how much more we now know.

 

Cents are linear with pitch (1 cent = 1/100 of a semitone). And pitch is logarithmic with frequency. Easy to see: doubling the frequency raises pitch by an octave. I figured that out long before there was an internet.

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Geoff, Wolf, Adrian

 

There are many alternative temperaments in the Dolmetsch link - take a look towards the end of the page - there are dropdown controls for selecting different MT temperaments - there are loads of 1/4 and 1/5 comma temperaments.

Yes Steve ,

but we need one that will work with a 14 tone scale which is why I use the one I have mentioned on another thread... I can repeat here if anyone wishes.

 

I have a 40 button English Wheatstone that is over 170 years old.

it has 14 notes to the octave and tuned to 448hz 1/4 comma meantone as proposed by OTTO GIBELLIUS, Propositiones mathematico-musicae, Munden, 1666.

it has C as the root = 0 cents and is identical to Aarons meantone except for the extra 2 notes Dsharp = -31.5 cents and Gsharp = -28 cents.

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