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Post new topic Kirnberger or Werckmeister Temperments
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Author Topic:  Kirnberger or Werckmeister Temperments
Scott Swartz


From:
St. Louis, MO
Post Posted 2 Dec 2002 11:34 am     Reply with quote

As discussed in this thread,
http://steelguitarforum.com/Forum5/HTML/004545.html

I have put a G6 + E7 tuning on my back neck.

Obviously with the multiple uses of a given note at the zero fret, JI will not work and ET sounds a little sour.

Currently, I have it tuned up with quarter comma meantone, with the fifths narrowed about 3.6 cents (from ET). The exact numbers I took from my Peterson strobe tuner.

I started with A = 0 cents offset (in the circle of fifths), and raised everything 5 cents (so the E open position is more in tune ala the Newman charts).

This is pretty good with the nice sounding thirds, and the fifths and 7ths sound very close.

For further optimization, I was thinking about experimenting with the Kirnberger and Werckmeister temperments.

Essentially, these temper the fifths unequally, rather than the equal temperment of meantone, making some of the fifths perfect. The downside is that certain keys have thirds even sharper than ET, but for PSG I am thinking the temeperment can be done so these notes are not those available open, pedals, or levers.

Here is a link for discussion of these:
http://pages.globetrotter.net/roule/temper.htm

Has anyone experimented with these?


[This message was edited by Scott Swartz on 02 December 2002 at 01:04 PM.]

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Earnest Bovine


From:
Los Angeles CA USA
Post Posted 2 Dec 2002 1:32 pm     Reply with quote

We steel players use only about half of the major thirds, so we don't have to tune as many intervals as Kirnberger and Werckmeister are designed for. In other words we can be a little closer to pure, and further from equal, temperament.
For example on my E9 I tune these major triads (and their relative minors) to sound good: G,D,A,E,B,F#,C#. The others are wolves. In those major triads my fifths are 2 or 3 cents wider then equal-tempered, making the major thirds about 10 cents wider than equal tempered.
The diminished fourth in the d'Anglebert example on the page you cited would lie at the 1st fret, and would be very wide, almost 20 cents wider than E.T., in my tuning. It sounds fine.


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chas smith


From:
Encino, CA, USA
Post Posted 2 Dec 2002 11:00 pm     Reply with quote

"it is significant that the great music theorists ... presented just intonation as the theoretical basis of the scale, but temperament as a necessity".

So the temperments, K and W are compromises between Just and Equal. I think first and formost that temperments are mainly for fixed pitch instruments where the plan is playing similar pieces in many different keys and wanting them to sound pretty much the same.

We have the good fortune to not be playing a fixed pitch instrument and the bad fortune to have to, at times, play in tune with fixed pitch instruments so I end up with all manner of hybrid tunings, depending on the situation.
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Earnest Bovine


From:
Los Angeles CA USA
Post Posted 3 Dec 2002 7:58 am     Reply with quote

Quote:
similar pieces in many different keys and wanting them to sound pretty much the same.
One of the interesting things about Kirnberger, Werckmeister, and other tunings is that the different keys _don't_ sound the same. But instead of saying that some keys are not musically useful, a composer can exploit the distinctive sound of each key.
In a sense we do this on steel. We know from experience that certain chords sound different in different positions. For example I may go out of my way to end on an especially pure major triad.

Slightly off topic: The latest biography of Bach (Wolff) joins the old fray about which tuning system Bach used for the Well-Tempered Clavier, which was the work that used all 24 major and minor keys. Wolff's well-researched book (my favorite Bach biography) states that Bach used the Werckmeister tuning. I can dial up Werckmeister, and various pure and just tunings, on my Yamaha P-80, and have been playing the Well-Tempered Klavier using Werckmeister in the few weeks since I read Wolff's book. And I prefer it over equal temperament, even tho some keys sound arguably "worse"!

For those who care, the book is
Christoph Wolff:
Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician
W.W. Norton and Co. (599 pages; Hardcover)

and here are a couple of reviews: http://www.classicstoday.com/features/f1_0900.asp http://www.wwnorton.com/catalog/fall99/johann.htm
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Jeff A. Smith


From:
Angola,Ind. U.S.A.
Post Posted 3 Dec 2002 4:32 pm     Reply with quote

Quote:
Wolff's well-researched book (my favorite Bach biography) states that Bach used the Werckmeister tuning.
Could you say a little more about his documentation and reasons for concluding this Earnest? I have no reason to doubt his findings, but I'd like to know more. It's such a hot topic for debate.

Thanks,

Jeff
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Earnest Bovine


From:
Los Angeles CA USA
Post Posted 3 Dec 2002 5:26 pm     Reply with quote

Quote:
Could you say a little more about his documentation and reasons for concluding this Earnest?
No, sorry but I don't remember. In 600 pages there was only a sentence or 2 about this. There are thousands of footnotes in the book, but I don't recall whether he cited a source on this. BTW the book is back at the public library now.
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Jeff A. Smith


From:
Angola,Ind. U.S.A.
Post Posted 4 Dec 2002 4:41 pm     Reply with quote

Quote:
BTW the book is back at the public library now.
Great vacation idea for me.

[This message was edited by Jeff A. Smith on 04 December 2002 at 04:41 PM.]

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