Questions tagged [temperament]

For questions generally relating to systems of note frequency assignment. Questions will often include the tuning and/or alternative-tunings tag.

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11
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5answers
1k views

Is it mathematically possible to create an equal temperament which matches just interval ratios?

I've coded a Python app which lets us have any number of semitones in an octave in order to experiment with microtonal music. I would like to ask if there's a possibility to create such an equal ...
5
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4answers
210 views

12-TET and harmonics

I recently found out that 12-TET tuning does not produce perfect fifths or thirds, but that most intervals are a few cents out of key. It's actually a compromise that works very well. I wanted to ...
21
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6answers
4k views

Why did equal temperament become the standard tuning system for keyboard instruments?

Some people seem to make the case that having some keys beat more than others (as is in the case in the older well-tempered tuning systems) is a feature not a bug. But on the other hand, the equal ...
10
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5answers
2k views

Enharmonic key signatures in Bach's Well Tempered Clavier

I have been listening to Bach's Well Tempered Clavier Book 1 and have noticed something intriguing. I have two (related) questions about it. The work consists of 24 preludes and fugues in each major ...
1
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3answers
84 views

Staggered discontinuities in the saddles of accoustic guitar, Why?

I'm puzzled by the little staggered stuffs etched in the saddles of most of my acoustic guitars. (Only one of my guitars don't have these discontinuities, and indeed it's not a guitar per-se, but ...
2
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2answers
129 views

Tuning a keyboard

Is there any software in which I can connect my casio keyboard (mk-210) to use as input and select the tuning in cents or frequency for each note manually to listen to as an output so I can try ...
8
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4answers
380 views

Was equal temperament caused by the invention of the piano, or was it inevitable?

Historically, which key a piece of music was written in made a big difference. Toccata and Fugue in D minor for instance had to be played in that key or it wouldn't sound right. But over the last ...
4
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3answers
125 views

What is the tone name for 7-TET?

Since 7-TET has 7 tones, I thought the tone are okay to be labeled CDEFGAB. But actually, the "E" is closer to just ratio 6/5 than 5/4, and "B" is closer to 9/5 than 15/8. So is it really okay?
9
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10answers
3k views

If equal temperament divides an octave into 12 equal parts, why are the hertz differences not the same but 12ths of two?

Let's take a 440Hz A pitch and the 880Hz A an octave higher. If we divide space between 440Hz and 880Hz into 12 equal parts, we would have: [440Hz, 476.6, 513.2 ... 880Hz.] And this looks ...
5
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4answers
638 views

Is practicing Indian classical on a harmonium a problem?

My Indian classical music teacher asks me to practice alankaars on a harmonium. 1) Will practicing on a harmonium somehow bias my voice towards the western fixed tempered scale on which the harmonium ...
3
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1answer
135 views

How to find music outside the 12TET system [closed]

What are some cultures or bands that don't use the 12TET system and where can I find their music?
23
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3answers
4k views

Why is B♯ higher than C♭ in 31-ET?

I was looking into microtonal series, and started reading a bit on the 31-ET series, and came across something that doesn't quite make sense to me. I noticed this chart on the wiki page for 31-ET ...
2
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3answers
237 views

In meantone temperaments, do A sharp and B flat have different frequencies?

In Pythagorean and Just tuning, according to Wikipedia, there are different frequencies for flat and sharp notes. Most notably, there is a tritone of which there seem to be 2 quite different versions. ...
10
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2answers
187 views

Why does this tonal scale from 1737 have both F and E♯?

I've recently encountered Jean Féry-Rebel's "Les Élémens". (Check out that wild opening; it's hard to believe it was written in 1737!) In the fifth measure of the third staff, why does this ...
4
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1answer
316 views

How to interpret trills in renaissance music?

So I suddenly want to try some 16th century music... I downloaded this sheet music https://imslp.org/wiki/Parthenia_(Various), which includes keyboards works by Orlando, William Byrd, and John Bull. ...
18
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6answers
2k views

Do classical pieces sound different today than the originals due to temperament?

I was reading how classical music used to not be in equal temperament. So each of their keys sounded completely different and that's why they named their pieces after the keys they were playing. ...
5
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2answers
462 views

temperament - its effect on a key

Most of Western music is now played in 12et/edo, where a key change won't make an appreciable difference to how it sounds - providing voicings are the same. Back in other temperamental days, let's ...
-1
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2answers
83 views

Are there similarities between musical temperament and colorimetry? [closed]

It is well known that musical temperament is the basic of music theory, just as colorimetry is the basic of color theory.
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2answers
1k views

Whereabouts is G?

In 12TET, concert G is always at a particular pitch, frequency, etc. However, on instruments such as violin, players will stray slightly to make a note sound more in tune, dependent on key. (As in ...
7
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3answers
376 views

Are there any tuning differences between the C# Major Scale and Db Major Scale? [duplicate]

I am looking for a little clarification related to the differences between sharp (♯) and flat (♭) notes in music theory. Some people say C♯ and D♭ are the same, but some say they are not. Some say ...
8
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2answers
1k views

What do you call a scale with 19 notes per octave? Howabout 17 notes per octave?

I know that a 12-note scale (as in the currently ubiquitous 12 equal temperament) is called "chromatic". In a chromatic system, there are sharps and/or flats, but no neighboring sharps and flats. ...
9
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3answers
440 views

What is a 'temperament', in the most general sense?

In Does this scale have a name: 1, 15/14, 15/13, ..., 15/8?, some commenters to the question opined that the OP was looking for a 'temperament', not a scale. This surprised me as I've while I've ...
4
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1answer
215 views

Is this music (flow my tears) here being played in 31 TET or a form of renaissance unequal temperament such as quarter comma meantone?

While looking for 31TET music I stumbled across this recording of "flow my tears" my John Dowland The video description and the album artwork indicate that it's ...
10
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2answers
622 views

Do the EDO and TET acronyms mean the same thing?

In the context of dividing an octave into n intervals, I understand n EDO to mean n Equal Divisions per Octave and n TET to mean n Tones Equal Temperament. Do the EDO and TET acronyms mean the same ...
2
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1answer
509 views

Equal temperament nearest possible to the just intonation

It is ever possible to have an equal temperament without using the pure octave. In this case we can produce equal temperament where an universal half tone is used. It will permit to stay nearest ...
4
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3answers
2k views

How to compensate for inaccuracy of equal temperament?

It is a widely recognized fact that equal temperament gives inaccurate intervals (particularly, the major third). People usually ignore it, but some people try to actually fix this. I have heard that ...
2
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3answers
580 views

Tuning a string instrument with well temperament

When I practice the cello, sometimes it is noticeable that, when playing big chords, they tend to be out of tune - the C string sounds a bit too flat. This is the issue of tuning by 5ths for any ...
4
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4answers
3k views

On Tuning: What's in a Temperament? (Well-Temperament vs. Equal Temperament)

I just had my whole world shattered this morning when I was unwise enough to do a "quick" Google search on what exactly "equal temperament" means before I had started my work. Of course, the loudest ...
5
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2answers
249 views

software to determine the tuning (temperament) of a recording?

Case in point: Glenn Gould's recording of the WTC. The liner notes mention nothing about the tuning (in fact, I doubt the author understood the difference between equal and well temperament). This is ...
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5answers
422 views

Equal temperament

Practically speaking: Does equal temperament only mean arranging a set of intervals (scale) such that it can be repeated (similarly t o what is defined in 12 tone equal temperament as an octave)? ...
25
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9answers
5k views

With modern electronic technology is temperament unnecessary?

I am a Physics student but also love math and music, and know a little bit about tuning because it is related to mathematics. So as far as I understand, Just Intonation is more consonant than ...
10
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5answers
364 views

“∞-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 ...
2
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1answer
272 views

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....
9
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3answers
270 views

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 ...
2
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2answers
195 views

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 ...
6
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5answers
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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 ...
3
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5answers
19k views

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 ...
9
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3answers
1k views

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 ...
1
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1answer
196 views

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 ...
1
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1answer
1k views

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 ...
4
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5answers
952 views

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. ...
15
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8answers
41k views

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# C ...
6
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2answers
2k views

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 ...
7
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3answers
479 views

“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: ...
2
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3answers
809 views

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 ...
2
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2answers
282 views

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 ...
2
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6answers
2k views

How do I tune my cello to play the second Bach suite(prelude)?

None of the videos on youtube are is concert pitch.
12
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1answer
157 views

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 (...
2
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1answer
570 views

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 ...
13
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4answers
2k views

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 ...