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Hi everyone,

 

I reckon you trust me being well aware of previous discussions insofar.

 

Here‘s what I‘m after: I‘m just acquainting myself with this beautiful brass-reeded instrument, which appears to be in higher pitch and meantone tuning.

 

However, having adjusted my ears to the different sound of temperament tuning, I still notice some slightly odd notes. So I upgraded my tuner, tried quarter comma meantone tuning and tried to calibrate the pitch.

 

Result is that every note (with the exeption of the two added enharmonic notes of course) falls well with the plus/minus 5 cent range, but only if I choose 449 (instead of 452 as expected).

 

I do not intend to take it down anyway, as I want to use it as a solo instrument, or to accompany my (or my wife‘s) singing. So would you recommend to find the best-fitting pitch (probably 449) and touch just few reeds which are actually annoying me - which would rather mean to take them up one to three cents?

 

Is quarter comma meantone the appropriate approach? Unfortunately, I can‘t try 1/5 comma as my tuner doesn’t provide that, but from what I’ve read 1/4 comma is what has been in use around 1860 - which I‘m told the instrument has been fabricated...

 

Thank you in advance for any input - 🐺

 

Edited by Wolf Molkentin
re-corrected auto-correct

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Thank you for the reassuring reply Alex - I want to make sure to do the instrument justice, as any taking-up would increase the degree required to take it down to concert pitch at some point later. I however won’t be the one, and a few cents are doing no harm anyway I guess.

 

Filing brass reeds at the tip is straight  forward I reckon...

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Nice concertina Wolf  !!

 

Firstly  I  never use  these  pre-programmed  temperaments   that modern tuners provide  and I suggest you question your tuner  as to  what values it is actually  ascribing to each note.  If   the actual basis  of its  1/4 Comma  setting  was  C  then  it might well show  you a best fit  of  449 hertz  for A. When actually  the  pich might be is  closer to 452hz. with  A as the centre point of the Meantone values.  I'll admit I have not thought this  through  completely  yet  but  see  if you can discover  what  your tuner is programmed to.

 

 Electronic  tuners  are   made to measure     12 notes  to the octave  and the EC has 14  so  this is the way I would proceed:

 

Turn off the 1/4 Comma  programme and start with the ET setting.    Measure the pitches of  the D#'s  and Eb's  and find where  they  are equally  sharp and flat  and  see if the  A's  are  sitting at the centre point between  the  D#'s and Eb's.   That should tell you  IF  A is the Zero point of  the  Meantone  and what pitch it was originally ( or the last time) tuned to.

 

So usually  Meantone EC's are tuned with the   A as the zero point , because this gives  a reasonable spacing of the  enharmonics.,.. which might be sharp or flat  of  today's  standard pitch...  

 

If you require  actual  'cent' offsets  for each note  I have them to  hand  or you'll find them on the forums somewhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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Agree with Geoffs point about the  pitch centre for 1/4 comma.

 

Also be aware that electronic tuners in pitch detect mode (the normal default)  usually are unable to distinguish between enharmonic notes so if you see for example an Eb that is seriously flat eg 20+ cents, then it perhaps should be D#

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18 hours ago, Theo said:

Also be aware that electronic tuners in pitch detect mode (the normal default)  usually are unable to distinguish between enharmonic notes so if you see for example an Eb that is seriously flat eg 20+ cents, then it perhaps should be D#

 

I noticed that, finding that the tuner has the rather common note, just as you are saying: no D# and no Ab (but rather 40 cents then...).

 

As to the root note, isn‘t it the other way around insofar 439 should indicate C as the root (equivalent to 452 in ET)? I‘ll have to check that with the tuner set to ET...

 

Re the „center“, I have read a lot today - wouldn’t the 🐺 fith between G# and Eb prompt exactly to add the 13. and 14. note (enharmonics Ab and D#)? so A and D are in the middle of the entire circle of fifths as used in 1/4 meantone, not just for an EC? this is what I seem to find in any table or diagram... (with some calling the tuning „D-based“, which figures in fact as the root with the best overall approximation to just intervals).

 

my tuner says „Aron“... but gives me the choice of a key (!?), however I didn‘t notice many differences as yet.

 

thanks again and best wishes - 🐺

 

 

Edited by Wolf Molkentin
expanded

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Further examining seemed to confirm my understanding that meantone tuning in „the key of C“ (or in fact whatever; see below), according to my tuner, is providing a just major third above (E) and below (Ab, whereas G# to C wouldn’t form a third anyway, but a diminished fourth) and the 🐺 (as mentioned above) between G# and Eb (in fact a diminished sixth).

 

Setting the tuner to „the key of D“ resulted most notably in indicating the Bb as way too sharp (because apparently an A# would be expected instead), and I reckon the Eb would deemed wrong as well this way... (whereas setting it to „the key of A“ should even compromise the F, interpreting the respective note as an E#).

 

This leads me to the notion that the odd intervals in meantone temperament are depending not from the tuning of white and black keys (the latter in two - enharmonic - variants each), but where the sharps and the flats end resp. are being replaced with one another.

 

Re the tuning I should be fine with 1/4 comma meantone „in the key of C“ (which seems to just say: no shifting in the circle of fifths, just the normal D-centered, as known from ancient Pythagoran tuning, or A-centered if we would choose D# over Eb) then, regardless of the root note (which may be A). It‘s just the slightly odd sounding notes that are indicated as flat...

 

Objections, corrections? Thanks again in advance - 🐺

 

Edited by Wolf Molkentin

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I  was not making great sense of you last post here Wolf... I know it is not easy  to  explain these things... but reading it through a few times  I get the conclusion that you will just tackle  the  slightly odd sounding notes  and leave all the others.  This sounds like a good plan.

 

As  this instrument  is still in   Meantone  and  at a different pitch standard  we can assume it has not  been tuned  'in modern  times'  and in fact probably no  work has been done on those  reeds  for perhaps a 100  years.  So, with that in mind  I would  be inclined  to  clean  each and every reed  as  grime  build up  on the tongues  will alter the pitch, flattening  notes .

 

Well, good luck with the project.

Geoff.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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Geoff and Wolf, as far as know it was fine tuned to its original tuning by Colin dipper 6 or 7 years ago.

Edited by scoopet

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1 hour ago, scoopet said:

Geoff and Wolf, as far as know it was fine tuned to its original tuning by Colin dipper 6 or 7 years ago.

 

You beat me to mention that, Simon 😊

 

Maybe we could take the general discussion up again at some point later - I seem to understand the concept of 1/4 comma meantone much better now - and the remaining confusion seems to be about this particular tuner and the convention of setting a „key“ for the tuning/temperament, which might mean different things:

 

• root note as to meeting the pitch of the respective ET (supposedly A=452 Hz) with which single note (tuning)

 

• center of the tempering as located opposite to the wolf fifth (in the circle of fifths)

 

• possibly instead of the latter meaning: C as having the wolf conventionally (as transfered from Pythagorean tuning) between G# and Eb

 

As I‘m unable to measure at the moment I‘ll still have to verify whether or not my assumtion re the conventional meaning of „C“ is what my tuner (piascore/plusadd) is about.

 

Re the project I reckon you‘re right Geoff - notes will be either well within the margin or - as including the wolf fifth via constructing the interval - way out of tune. As long as I‘m getting such a result only from the two enharmonics the scheme should be adequate IMO.

 

Geoff, one question I‘d nevertheless like to raise again: when you‘re mentioning A as the appropriate center, it‘s about the relation to ET, isn’t it? inner relations of the temperament wouldn’t vary, would they? spacing of the enharmonics would be more equal when A would still be in common, but from A or D within the temperament the spacing to G#, Ab, Eb and D# would be independent of any center to my best understanding...

 

Well, I cannot resist to mention the formula going through my head what setting a center or key can‘t mean IMO, now that I seem to be able to reshape it:

 

• NOT: changing the internal relations between any single note by the name of C to B natural, the five sharps and the five flats (and in fact any other note such as ## or bb as well - as long as being strict with the names and thus the natural note it derives from and thus avoiding enharmonic confusion).

 

Reason for that: the pattern is only broken through the inclusion of the wolf fifth, which would imply crossing the „border“ between sharps and flats. 

 

Best wishes - 🐺

 

Edited by Wolf Molkentin

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Speaking as one who (a) has never tuned a concertina, and (b) is unfamiliar with the abilities and drawbacks of modern electronic tuners, might I suggest that rather than trust the tuner to parse the temperament, just use it to give you raw frequencies and do the math yourself, tuning each reed to the frequency you have calculated.

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David, apart from my being fascinated by this entire temperament topic, your advice would be a good one if I was sure about the pitch level. As I am not, and want to touch as few reeds as possible, I would love to have a fitting scheme on the tuner (and reckon I have one, or find it if double-checking should prove me wrong), and then basically trust my ears where an adjustment to it would be required.

 

Best wishes - 🐺

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If Colin tuned the concertina you should not discount the possibility that he tuned it to 1/5th comma meantone.

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1 hour ago, Theo said:

If Colin tuned the concertina you should not discount the possibility that he tuned it to 1/5th comma meantone.

 

Thank you for the hint Theo - however Simon had been informed that he downright refused, or at least was reluctant to alter pitch or temperament. So I went for 1/4 comma, which seems to fit...

 

There‘s just one (flat) pull D and a pair of (important) F# which are really annoying me at the moment. I seem to understand that with 1/5 comma these sharps would supposed to be still higher, so they‘re clearly too low (have to check the valves, in the case of the D I can rule them out as I  swapped the two reeds temporarily, resulting in a flat push D instead).

 

Best wishes - 🐺

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Wolf,

 

so this is the George Case  I have played  when it belonged  to Simon  ?   So, if  Colin Dipper  tuned it  to itself  in 1/4 Comma  then it should remain   basically correct  apart from  the  odd note  as  you suggest.

 

You  certainly do get  'wordy'... must be the Lawyer  in you coming through.      So,  you have  a D  reed that is  out of tune because you swapped  the suck and blow reeds  and two F#'s that  appear wrong.. is that correct ?   If so,  measure the pitch  of the  other F#s  which sound fine  and  note the difference  in pitch  between the goods and tha bads...  Do this  with the simple  ET setting on your tuner  and  do not worry about  those  other temperament settings.  

 

Or, if you are  concerned  give us a list  of the pitches of all the notes,  in 'cent'  deviations from Equal Temperament  and  someone here will be able to suggest  where  the zero point is.

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Geoff,

 

re the technical issues you have it right. As to

 

19 minutes ago, Geoff Wooff said:

you have  a D  reed that is out of tune because you swapped  the suck and blow reeds

 

I may just have to clarify: I'm sure one reed (and I believe I know which one) is out of tune because the pitches 1. differ und 2. remain the same regardless of the blow or suck position.

 

Apart from that, I'm not advocating for my case (pun inevitable here) but in order to have my understanding of this temperament reassured or falsified resp. corrected. If this doesn't happen it will be either my fault, or it's just not possible to find a common langue by exchanging posts in this difficult matter - whatever, I'll leave it at that for now....

 

Thank you again for your input - 🐺

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a general question:

 

given a third would be "pure" (as the "good" thirds in 1/4 comma meantone tuning), is there still a (lower) "difference tone" supposed to be heard by humans?

 

the thirds of the George Case concertina, particularly the higher ones, have it, albeit sounding sweet...

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