Klarinet Archive - Posting 000147.txt from 2010/11
From: "Tom Servinsky" <tompiano@-----.net>
Subj: Re: [kl] RES: Orchestral Pitch
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2010 21:36:21 -0500
The type of tuning devices you are referring to are not the basic tuning
devices I was referring to.The basic tuners are set up with pitches simply
to the international tests and standards.
Yes, many of the more sophisticated devices can get into very elaborate
temperaments. I have at my disposal numerous variations on many of the
historical temperaments such as well-tempered and even mean tone
As also a working symphony musician, conductor, and concert level piano
technician, my foot is in all camps on this subject and am constantly
marveled at the variation in interpretations on this subject.
I'll still stand my ground on the term equaled tempered not being applicable
to the tuning scheme for orchestral play. "Just Tuning" is what commonly
occurs and is the only way to correctly manage the incredible about tuning
issues facing any orchestral scenario at any given moment. Musicians learn
to adapt quickly and keep a good sense of where they are in terms of their
The better the musician and group, the more refined they are able to
collectively agree and adapt to all of the tuning possibilities.
As far as your comments:
>Outside the piano world, however, equal temperament has a precise
>scientific meaning that corresponds to the tuning on the electronic devices
>professional musicians use, such as the Korg and other machines and the
>Cleartune iPhone app. It refers to the division of the octave into 12
>equal semitones produced by a frequency ratio between any two consecutive
>semitones of 2^(1/12). This division is made irrespective of what the
>machine is tuned to: A=440Hz, A=442Hz, or whatever.
However, the division of the 12 semi tones of 2 (1 1/2) only defines the
exact breakdown of the pitches as a definite and exact position. That's how
the International Tests and Standards arrived at those defined pitches in
the first place. If you want to call it Equaled Tempered because they are
all equal, ok, I'll grant you that. But are they tempered? No. They are
simply 12 equal divisions within the 12 semi-tones.
Real tempered pitches in terms of temperament are no where near as exact as
the 12 semi-tone theoretical placement set forth by the International Tests
and Standards. They are all tempered intervals in accordance to the level of
inharmonicity how a tuning situation can be resolved.
The history of temperament really is rooted in the world of stringed
instruments with inharmonic issues and how one has to tune an instrument
with specific tuning obstacles in order to make it into a workable, useable
Not trying to make an argument, but simply stating that this is another
example on how terms have become loosely defined ( and re-defined), and in
cases, miss-used from their original intent.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tony Pay" <tony.p@-----.org>
To: "The Klarinet Mailing List" <klarinet@-----.com>
Sent: Friday, November 12, 2010 8:27 PM
Subject: Re: [kl] RES: Orchestral Pitch
> On 13 Nov 2010, at 00:23, Tom Servinsky wrote:
>> By tuners I'm assuming you're referring to the basic electronic tuning
>> that most musicians carry with them. Pitch on those tuning devices are
>> not tuned to equaled
>> tempered scales. They are in fact set chromatically to the international
>> standards of pitch which should not be confused with as an equaled
>> tempered scale. Two entirely different relationships.
>> My other hat that I where is that of concert piano technician and deal
>> with these issues daily. I'm also a former Certified Tuning Examiner for
>> the Piano Technicians Guild.
> Given your piano technician credentials, the term 'equal temperament' may
> be used by you in a specialised way -- perhaps corresponding to the tuning
> that you organise for a piano in order for it to be deemed 'well-in-tune'.
> I know that the anharmonicity of piano overtones means that some
> compromises, like stretch tuning -- and perhaps others with which I am
> unfamiliar that you and your colleagues will know about -- are necessary.
> Outside the piano world, however, equal temperament has a precise
> scientific meaning that corresponds to the tuning on the electronic
> devices professional musicians use, such as the Korg and other machines
> and the Cleartune iPhone app. It refers to the division of the octave
> into 12 equal semitones produced by a frequency ratio between any two
> consecutive semitones of 2^(1/12). This division is made irrespective of
> what the machine is tuned to: A=440Hz, A=442Hz, or whatever.
> Interestingly, the iPhone app is very sophisticated, offering a variety of
> temperaments other than equal temperament:
> Stretch tune Guitar
> Violin Family (never heard of this)
> Pythagorean Just
> Standard Just
> A variety of meantone temperaments
> A variety of 'Well Tempered' tunings: Almost-equal, Aron-Neidhardt,
> Barnes's Bach, Kellner's Bach, Kirnberger III, Shifted Vallotti/Young,
> Vallotti, Werckmeister I/III.
> A variety of French temperaments
> ...or you can add your own.
> It's worth adding that professional musicians, if they are wise, use such
> machines only to a very limited extent. As Keith has indicated, we
> habitually adjust intonation on the fly, tempering intervals according to
> a system that might be called, 'locally just'. The references I provided
> in my previous post, particularly the second one, engage in quite detailed
> discussion and argument about this.
> Tony Pay
> 79 Southmoor Rd
> Oxford OX2 6RE
> tel/fax +44 1865 553339
> mobile +44 7790 532980
> Klarinet mailing list
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