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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000153.txt from 2010/11

From: Jennifer Jones <>
Subj: Re: [kl] RES: Orchestral Pitch
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2010 06:34:21 -0500


With your experience playing period clarinets, (or modern clarinets
for that matter), do you find that certain clarinets "sit" better at
certain pitches, e.g., 440Hz or 442? Does this vary with season,
e.g., winter vs. summer? I thought it interesting that the high
clarinets website from the university of Edinburgh mentioned an Eb
sopranino clarinet that has a particularly flat lower register.
(1041) Clarinet in Eb, M=FCller type (possibly continental Europe, c 1850)

It is mind blowing to me (and well outside my narrow experience) that
clarinets could be designed for specific centering pitches within 3 Hz
of one another. With all the variations in temperature and humidity
between performance venues, seasons and the huge number of variables
in simply designing and machining the instrument, that sort of
precision seems difficult.


On Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 5:27 PM, Tony Pay <> wrote:
> On 13 Nov 2010, at 00:23, Tom Servinsky wrote:
>> By tuners I'm assuming you're referring to the basic electronic tuning d=
>> that most musicians carry with them. Pitch on those tuning devices are n=
ot 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 tempere=
d scale. Two entirely different relationships.
>> My other hat that I where is that of concert piano technician and deal w=
ith 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'.=
=A0I know that the anharmonicity of piano overtones means that some compro=
mises, 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 scienti=
fic meaning that corresponds to the tuning on the electronic devices profes=
sional musicians use, such as the Korg and other machines and the Cleartune=
iPhone app. =A0It refers to the division of the octave into 12 equal semit=
ones produced by a frequency ratio between any two consecutive semitones of=
2^(1/12). =A0This division is made irrespective of what the machine is tun=
ed to: A=3D440Hz, A=3D442Hz, or whatever.
> Interestingly, the iPhone app is very sophisticated, offering a variety o=
f temperaments other than equal temperament:
> Stretch tune Guitar
> Violin Family (never heard of this)
> Pythagorean
> Pythagorean Just
> Standard Just
> A variety of meantone temperaments
> A variety of 'Well Tempered' tunings: Almost-equal, Aron-Neidhardt, Barne=
s'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. =A0As Keith has indicated, we habi=
tually adjust intonation on the fly, tempering intervals according to a sys=
tem that might be called, 'locally just'. =A0The references I provided in m=
y previous post, particularly the second one, engage in quite detailed disc=
ussion and argument about this.
> Tony
> --
> Tony Pay
> 79 Southmoor Rd
> Oxford OX2 6RE
> tel/fax +44 1865 553339
> mobile +44 7790 532980
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