# Tagged Questions

For questions generally relating to systems of note frequency assignment.

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### “∞-TET”: Is there music that doesn't use discretely pitched notes?

Is there music that doesn't use notes with discrete* pitches, but rather has instruments playing continuously changing frequencies? I know there are microtonal tunings as high as 72-TET, but is there ...
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### keyboard instrument with only some of the black keys

I have a vague memory of seeing a photo of an ancient keyboard instrument (a calvichord?) that had only some of the black keys - maybe just B flat and F sharp. Alas, I can't find anything similar now....
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### Continuous Music Theory

Is there a musical theory of harmony or a system of chord-understanding that does not rely on the 12-tone temperament? For example, a fretless instrument has (theoretically) an infinity of tones ...
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### How do you flatten a pure fifth by a fraction of the syntonic comma?

According to Wikipedia, the size of the perfect fifth in 1/4 comma meantone is "flattened by one quarter of a syntonic comma, with respect to its just intonation used in Pythagorean tuning (frequency ...
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### Why does it take 700 cents to get to a perfect 5th, which is 3/2 (one and a half) from the root?

I think I have the wrong perspective. If you take an octave and express it in cents, you get 1200. Half of that is 600. A perfect 5th is 1.5 (3/2) of the root. But 600 is not a perfect fifth, 700 ...
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### What does a capo really do to chords?

Practically, a capo will shift each string by a half tone per position, but what does it do to the intervals they produce with each other? My shot is that e.g. * without capo if we fret the simplest ...
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### What is the difference between temperament and intonation?

We talk of equal temperament but just intonation. From wikipedia, tempering is described as "the process of altering the size of an interval by making it narrower or wider than pure." where ...
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### Term & abbreviation for number of tones or notes per octave - independent of temperament or intonation

In the context of characterizing a completely arbitrary instrument or piece of world music, when trying to describe the number of notes or tones per octave we tend quickly to get grounded in notions ...
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### Tuning type setting on Yamaha CP5?

I would like to change the tuning type on a Yamaha CP5. I could not find anything relevant in the manual, surprisingly, since cheaper models (like P-140) routinely have this setting. There is a thread ...
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### Is there any support for microtonality and temperaments in (or beyond) the MIDI specification?

The number of tones (or notes) per 8ve is just one of many potentially customisable aspects of any instrument. Standard midi, however, is pretty much clamped to western 12-tone equal temperament. ...
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### B -> C and E -> F, No Sharp?

The keyboard has these notes: A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G# Why do B and C and E and F not have a sharp note between them? If they did, the keyboard would look like this: A A# B B#...
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### What is the significance of Pythagorean comma (as in why is there a need to end in the same place)?

The following two links provide a brief introduction to Pythagorean comma: Pythagorean Comma - Indiana University The "Pythagorean Comma" - Jody Nagel The wikipedia article on this subject is also ...
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### “Tritone” intervals in n-tone equal temperament

In 12-tone equal temperament, the tritone interval is made of three whole tones (six semitones) and is considered, if I am not mistaken totally, as the most dissonant interval. I have two questions: ...
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### Colour of keys in the era of equal-temperament

As I understand it, the great bulk of music from the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras are at least these days performed on equal temperament instruments. And yet there is still a great deal of ...
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### Does 'just' or 'well' temperament center around the key of a given piece, or is it key-agnostic?

I'm going to be recording some piano music in the near future, and I'm interested in the (possibly crazy) idea of tuning the piano to a non-equal-tempered system for the recording. I am recording ...
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### How do I tune my cello to play the second Bach suite(prelude)?

None of the videos on youtube are is concert pitch.
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### How were tuning/temperaments indicated on scores (if they ever were)?

Bradley Lehman claims that the details of the intended tuning for the Well-Tempered Claivier are encoded in the squiggle at the top of the manuscript (related wikipedia link). Are there other (...
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### In C major, if the third note is 14 cents sharp from JI, does the V/VI have a third that is 28 cents sharp?

In the key of C major, the note "E" in equal temperament is 400 cents above the root, but in just intonation it would be a ratio of 5:4, or 386 cents above the root. If this is true, is it not also ...
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### How does the harmonic series affect consonance?

NOTE: for the purpose of this question, assume we are talking about 12-TET and assume that references to overtones in the harmonic series are being referred to in relationship to the 12-TET note that ...
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### Appropriate temperament for violin

I'm new to violin (and music in general). I am learning through the Suzuki method, but after I get down the fundamentals I hope to learn Irish and American fiddle tunes. I recently discovered an IPad ...
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### Why is 16/9 used for the minor seventh instead of 7/4?

Does the 16/9 sound less dissonant than 7/4 (less uncomfortable) due to consisting of only the 3rd undertone (squared), or the 7/4 would sound "better" (I know, it's quite subjective what sounds good ...
389 views

### What kind of temperament to play Monteverdi with?

We would like to perform excerpts from Monteverdi's Orfeo on period instruments. According to recent research, what is the most authentic temperament that could have been used for the keyboard ...
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### How can I play my new tenor recorder (a'=440) along with someone playing a harpsichord (a'=415)?

From an article I read online, I believe I've understood that it's possible to treat the middle C (fingers covering all holes) on the tenor as if it were a D flat, and all higher notes on the ...
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### Why are pianos traditionally tuned “out of tune” at the extremes?

My understanding is that the vast majority of western music uses equal temperament, i.e. all semitones have a frequency ratio of the 12th root of 2. However I can hear in my piano that the notes at ...
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### Is there a sound theoretical reason why a capella choirs “drift off” of the starting pitches in a piece?

Is the "comma pump" an empirical problem, or merely theoretical? It's a standard music theory exercise to show that certain chord progressions don't actually quite work. For example, in the I-IV-ii-V-...
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### Can we tell by ear if a piece is in sharp or in flat without relative or perfect pitch?

I remember a masterclass where the piano teacher commented a piece from Chopin with something like "and after this modulation we enter the world of sharps". This left me wondering if it was a poetic ...
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### What frequencies should the violin and viola be tuned to?

I'm using this app to tune my violin, it supports many temperament options. What I want to do is tune the A string to 440Hz first, then comparing the other strings sympathetically to the adjacent ...
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### Natural vs tempered semi-tones

I am reading "Fundamentals of Musical Composition" by Arnold Schoenberg. Chapter XI, page 99, states: Chromaticism is difficult partly because the natural semi-tones differ in size from the ...
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### What is the savart unit in Persian music theory?

i was heard about savart unit in persian music that divides a chromatic interval into smaller units. persian musicians using an interval smaller than the chromatic intervals, called: kron. they ...
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### What note(s) are a diminished 3rd above D-flat?

In What is the interval between Db and D# some of the comments indicate that the interval Db->Eb can be considered as a diminished third. I would think that Fbb (double-flatted F) is a diminished ...
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### What is the frequency interval length of k semi-tones? (k = 1…11)

Go up 12 semi-tones from frequency f on a guitar, and the frequency interval difference in terms of f is f = 2f - f. What is the formula for the intermediate 11 non-trivial intervals? So for k=2, ...
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### Does it really make difference to play a song in a different key?

I hear sometimes players and composers say that this song won't sound good in F Major for example, and you should play it or write it in G Major (this was just an example). In other words, it seems ...
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### Software for microtonal MIDI?

I'm looking to make some microtonal music (19/22 tone equal temperament). I want to produce it with midi. Timidity++ used to be able to produce a WAV file from a microtonal tuned .MID file, but it is ...
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### Non-fixed-frequency instruments playing by themselves versus with fixed-frequency instruments

[I don't know a better term than "non-fixed frequency instruments" but I mean things like string instruments, voice, trombone as opposed to things like a piano which has a fixed (typically 12-et) ...
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### Evidence of Just Intonation in Recordings with Non-fixed-frequency Instruments

I wonder the extent to which string quartets or a cappella choirs are non-ET. They are often cited as examples of the tendency towards just intonation when not using fixed-frequency instruments but I'...
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### Examples of songs or phrases played in different temperaments

I've read about the fact that 12 tone equal temperament is a relatively recent phenomenon, and that historically, each key would have a different character due to the unequal temperament. I'm curious ...