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29

Music, as an art, is in the ear of the listener. As a musician, I can say there are definitely times when a song sounds "better" in one key than another. The primary reason this is so is when the key fits the "natural" range of a singer or instrument. A song may sound perfect when sung by a female alto, but as those notes sung verbatim would be at the top ...


17

In modern Western music, we use equal temperament where all keys are basically equivalent. Notes are based on 2 n/12. Using A440 as a base, you get the following: A = 440 Hz * 2 0/12 = 440 Hz B♭ = 440 Hz * 2 1/12 = ~466 Hz B = 440 Hz * 2 2/12 = ~494 Hz etc. Historically this was not the case, however. Just intonation ruled the world, where notes ...


14

Here are links to YouTube videos, all three of which were posted by the same person, using the same synthesizer, all three playing Bach's Air on the G String. But each link uses a different tuning system: Equal Temperament: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6XkgNT20Eg Just Intonation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdL8aPQUOk0 Pythagorean Tuning: ...


14

It is often a matter of tradition inside the orchestra that becomes out of control for conductors. When they create their own orchestra they have the pleasure to decide this for themselves. The conservatism from musicians has several reasons: Some Orchestra have a concert hall with a large organ which is tuned for this frequency Wind players usually ...


13

There are physical and psychoacoustics reasons behind it. A vibrating string held by its two extremities can only vibrate at certain frequencies (cycles per second, expressed in Hertz, i.e. 1/second), which relates to the characteristics of the string (e.g. its weight per unit of length, its flexibility) and how it is used (e.g. the vibrating length — which ...


10

I would say yes, and yes. You've explained the problem pretty clearly, and explained its consequence. Choirs frequently find that they sing everything internally, consistently in-tune throughout a piece, but then at the end of the piece, they discover that they are no longer in tune with the reference pitches upon which they started the piece. The frame of ...


9

There is exactly one note that is a diminished 3rd above Db: Fb. Db to Eb is not a diminished third, it is a major second. Those comments are wrong. This question explains the difference between two enharmonically equivalent notes.


9

Schoenberg is talking about the difference between just intonation (which he refers to as "natural semi-tones") and 12-tone equal temperament (which he refers to as "tempered" semi-tones). This is a complicated subject. You can find several long posts about this subject on this site, or you can find a lot of references elsewhere on the Internet. The gist of ...


9

Logic Pro has built-in controls for using different temperaments. Check out the link below: http://documentation.apple.com/en/logicpro/usermanual/index.html#chapter=43%26section=6%26tasks=true It allows you to either select a pre-configured tuning system, or customize your own. MAX/MSP is another solution, but if you don't have programming experience, ...


8

I wish to elaborate on @Tim's answer, which is correct. Actually, it was easier to discern the "color" before the modern system of 12-tone equal temperament for piano tuning. In Chopin's time and before, pianos and other keyboard instruments were tuned to one of many different systems of temperament, some of which sounded quite different in certain keys, ...


7

Microtonal is tricky on MIDI because it separates the space between half-tones into 128 equal notes. I'm surprised any normal MIDI player won't integrate pitch bend as a microtonal parameter - is that how you are doing it? I've been trying to work on a continuous pitch controller in MIDI. the issue is that depending on the MIDI player, the 0-128 can send ...


7

It's almost always a non-issue. Keep in mind that keyboards and pitched percussion are really the extent of the fixed-frequency instruments. All wind instruments use the breath, embouchure, and occasionally tuning slide adjustments or alternate fingerings to adjust tuning on the small scale. Even guitarists have some options for tuning adjustment, but ...


7

Standard tuning for solo violin in classical music is just intonation. Tune the A string and, from there, tune the other strings with just-intonated perfect fifths. Some times, as a compromise you may need to tune the violin temperate, for example when you need to play many open strings in duo/ensemble with a instrument not capable of just-intonation. ...


6

An article by Joe Monzo at http://tonalsoft.com/enc/s/savart.aspx defines the savart as 1/300 of an octave. A savart is calculated as the 300th root of 2, or 2(1/300), with a ratio of approximately 1:1.002313162. It is an irrational number. A savart has an interval size of approximately 4 cents. savart = 1000log10(f2/f1) cents = 1200log2(f2/f1)


6

As a brassplayer, 442 on up seriously sucks. We are placed in the position of playing where the instrument doesn't resonate in the same way. Even 4 cents difference will render the slides too long even if the open instrument can be accomodated to a higher tuning frequency. Fie on brighter tuning!


6

My answer is no, it isn't really possible to use a fingering technique to play an A440 recorder at A415. No professional would even try; they would instead, as Wheat noted, have a real A415 instrument or, if extremely confident and well rehearsed, transpose on-the-fly down a half-step. One can indeed bend most notes up or down quite a bit using half-holes, ...


5

Orchestras tune higher if they can get away with it because higher pitches sound more brilliant. This has led to inflation of standard pitch over time. There are, however, practical limits to how much inflation is possible, since audiences will cry foul if the result is closer to the next semitone up. Also, some instruments, such as pianos, can be damaged ...


5

Probably before temperate tuning, where each note is the same distance from the next, it would have been possible to discern - maybe because an instrument could sound in tune in one key, but not in a different key ! Please look at Wheat's answer for enlightenment on tuning. Someone who has absolute ('perfect') pitch will be able to tell, because they ...


4

Denemo (music score editor. free.) supports a few temperaments. Some Synth plugins (vsti...) lets you choose the temperament. Ideal, if you want to play live with a midi keyboard. Edirol Orchestral was one, but I think it's discontinued.


4

Assuming that the intonation and tambre of the instruments/voices were maintained, there is one main difference that is dependent on the way you listen to music. People with strong relative pitch listen to a piece as a progression of intervals. The arpeggio C-E-G would be heard as M3-m3. This is a very effective way to think of music, but is also not the ...


4

With g being the new frequency, f being the frequency of reference, and k being the interval in number of semitones: g = f * 2ˆ(k/12) With k = 12 (one octave), you get g = 2 * f. With k = 0 (unison), you get g = f. In between, you get an exponential curve (power of two). For the frequency difference between g and f: g - f = f * [2^(k/12) - 1] Note ...


4

As per the app you were asking, Pythagorean is the temperament you're looking for. The perfect fifth is the 2:3 frequency ratio (and small rational number frequency ratios are required for the sympathetic vibrations to work). So if your A string is 440 Hz, the tuning is as follows: E 660Hz A 440Hz D 293.33Hz G 195.56Hz If you tune by ear from A, your ...


3

I recently bought a recording of Schubert's "Die Schöne Müllerin" sung by a baritone. This song cycle has always been published in two versions, high-key (for sopranos and tenors) and low-key (for altos, baritones and basses). The recording has the low-key version. Throughout, the piano writing sounds too thick and heavy. The high-key version does not. ...


3

I like your baby/island question, and it actually has some interesting answers. Not counting for timbre, range, or tuning system, there is nothing inherent in one key center or another that makes them more or less enjoyable. However, if you took those babies on their islands and switched them for a day, they would probably think that the other island's ...


3

I found Mutabor which kind of does what I want. Also, there is a Python module called music21 that seems to do something of what I want. Not yet satisfied. It is sad these things are not well developed yet, given how long there has been interest...


3

It's interesting to note that before the standardization onto A=440 in the 1910-1930 period, orchestral woodwind and brass players had to own two sets of instruments, one of which could be tuned to the lower standard pitch, and one of which could be tuned to the higher standard pitch. That's the only way they could get work with different orchestras who ...


3

You are working with a violin. It has four strings tuned in perfect fifths. Intonation on a violin, which has no frets, is something that you produce with your fingers, not with an electronic measuring device like your tuner. You can produce any kind of intonation or temperament on a violin that you can train your ears and fingers to recognize. You are not ...


3

I do not play recorder, or harpsichord, but I have friends who do, as I'm a fan of Baroque music. Let me tell you what I do know. A=440 and A=415 are exactly one half-step or 100 cents apart (relative to 12-tone equal temperament). I don't have a definitive answer, but the problem is that neither the recorder nor the harpsichord are (typically) tuned in ...


2

Midi actually has a 20-year old ratified specification extension just for this. Any synth that supports that extensions should support those temperaments (although you might need an approriate midi interface too). The wikipedia page for the extension page lists a numer of soft-synths that support the extension.


2

I can't speak for all of the orchestras on that list, but I can at least offer independent hearings of the rumors about the BSO tuning to A = 444. (This came up in a discussion with my voice teacher of the challenges when I was grumbling about being able to hit high notes more easily if the pitch standard were lower!) At any rate, she also mentioned that ...



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