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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000124.txt from 2010/11

From: Simon Aldrich <>
Subj: [kl] A History of Performing Pitch
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2010 01:45:26 -0500

I would echo Ian White's recommendation of Bruce Haynes' fascinating
book, "A History of Performing Pitch: The Story of "A""
From the book's description: "This is the first complete survey of
the historical pitch standards used by musicians during the last four
centuries. Written from a practical perspective and addressed to
performers it is the first book to attach frequency values to pitch
names and describe where, when, and why various historical pitch
levels were used. What distinguishes this book from previous pitch
studies is that it has been written since the rise of the early music
revival within the context of the growing understanding of how 'early'
instruments work. This development has provided a new source of
empirical information not previously available, which allows this book
to base its conclusions on a much larger and more relevant sample than
has ever been possible before. It refers to the original pitches of
some 1,382 historical instruments, including cornetts, Renaissance
flutes, traversos, recorders, clarinets, organs, pitchpipes, and
automatic instruments from all over Europe and compares this
information with music and written texts. While this study avoids
categorical answers where historical information is not yet sufficient
to justify them, it locates a number of historical pitch levels,
discovers several that were previously unnoticed, and disproves
several common myths about pitch."

For Haynes' book, 75 old clarinets were tested to find their pitch
standard (diapason); clarinets made by Lotz, Griesbacher, Grenser,
Amlingue, Denner, etc.

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