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Harmony vs Key Colour

  • 1.  Harmony vs Key Colour

    Posted 04-11-2019 10:57
    How can better harmony not be beneficial for the sound of music?

    How can key colour not be beneficial for the sound of music?

    I think there are many discussions that focus on the potential benefits of better harmony and/or key colour. Therefore, I would like to be informed about the potential drawbacks of better harmony and/or key colour instead.

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    Roshan Kakiya
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  • 2.  RE: Harmony vs Key Colour

    Posted 04-11-2019 11:15
    Hollywood is doing a reboot of that too?

    how are they going to top Julie Andrews?

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    Daniel DeBiasio
    Brooklyn, NY
    646.801.8863
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  • 3.  RE: Harmony vs Key Colour

    Posted 04-11-2019 11:25
    That is very funny!

    However, my questions are about the sound of music rather than The Sound of Music.

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    Roshan Kakiya
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  • 4.  RE: Harmony vs Key Colour

    Posted 04-11-2019 11:47
    It seems like we have around sixteen, going on seventeen threads about a similar discussion

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    Daniel DeBiasio
    Brooklyn, NY
    646.801.8863
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  • 5.  RE: Harmony vs Key Colour

    Posted 04-11-2019 12:11
    It depends on what type of music you are playing or composing .

    Pwg

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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  • 6.  RE: Harmony vs Key Colour

    Posted 04-11-2019 12:24
    Peter,

    "It depends on what type of music you are playing or composing."

    Is there any type of music that would not benefit from better harmony?

    Is there any type of music that would not benefit from key colour?


    Daniel,

    "It seems like we have around sixteen, going on seventeen threads about a similar discussion."

    Perhaps this discussion can be unique by focusing on how music would not benefit from better harmony and/or key colour.


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    Roshan Kakiya
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  • 7.  RE: Harmony vs Key Colour

    Posted 04-11-2019 12:41
    A group of very modern musicians visited me yesterday and the pianist was taken with and very enamoured by key colour, especially in the pure home keys.

    Best wishes

    David P

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    David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
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    +44 1342 850594





  • 8.  RE: Harmony vs Key Colour

    Posted 04-11-2019 17:49
    Just wondering whether they have experienced "both sides now" by listening to some modulating music, or perhaps Bach's 48 Preludes and Fugues? 

    Mark Schecter
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  • 9.  RE: Harmony vs Key Colour

    Posted 04-11-2019 17:55
    On  https://jungleboffin.com/mp4/jill-crossland-unequal-tempered-fortepiano/well-tempered-bach.mp3  one of our friend performers played some of the 48 on the 1854 Emrich Betsy. This was on the original strings which at 390 from memory were at breaking point, so the instrument has been now restrung and that tuning on the original strings then wasn't perfect. So not the best example of recording but demonstrating that unequal temperament can be within the limits of not sounding particularly out of tune.

    Best wishes

    David P 

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    David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
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    +44 1342 850594





  • 10.  RE: Harmony vs Key Colour

    Posted 04-12-2019 11:29
    "Better Harmony"
    All tuning is a compromise. Who is to say what compromise is the better? I know people who hate anything but equal temp. To them the harmony of well temps is horrid. Why not let people resonate to their own particular taste. After years of people listening to pop music in equal and the shift to electronically amped sound and now to the digital,, which loses so much of the actual sound as to make it sterile, most have been conditioned and aren't changing as they get older. Everybody resonates with different elements of the music. 
    Personally, I think people hear differently because their bodies are built differently. Just as Hemholtz used glass chambers to amplify different frequencies, the bone structure and cavities in the head and ears amplify sound that are individual to each and everyone of us.
    Tuning needs to be for what makes the client happy, not what you think will make them happy. This is similar to the discussion on voicing for the bench or the audience. 





  • 11.  RE: Harmony vs Key Colour

    Posted 04-12-2019 13:01
    Keith,

    The ears of people who have listened exclusively, or almost exclusively, to music in equal temperament throughout their lives have probably become accustomed to hearing music in equal temperament. Therefore, your point about some people hating anything but equal temperament does make sense. Therefore, key colour is likely to be unfavourable due to this reason.

    However, quasi-equal temperaments that fall between well temperament and equal temperament could be desirable for any type of music. There is a thread by David Pinnegar called "Improving piano tone through tuning and temperament", that nearly has 200 replies, in which he mentions that the "shimmer noise" or the "layer of gloss" of equal temperament should be reduced because his "focus has been to identify temperament which reduces shimmer noise from the sound, allowing greater focus to the music and the harmony." There may be quasi-equal temperaments that can achieve this effectively.

    Quasi-equal temperaments reduce key colour, which is beneficial for those that are accustomed to hearing music in equal temperament, and could also provide better harmony by reducing the "shimmer noise" or the "layer of gloss" of equal temperament that David has referred to in his thread.

    In conclusion, if quasi-equal temperament is more harmonious than, and rather close to, equal temperament, it should replace equal temperament. Quasi-equal temperament should become the new standard tuning.

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    Roshan Kakiya
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  • 12.  RE: Harmony vs Key Colour

    Posted 04-12-2019 13:33
    All very interesting discussion. However equal temperament only applies to fixed keyboard instruments. I find it hard to believe that orchestras, string quartets, etc. play in equal temperament.

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    Larry Messerly, RPT
    Bringing Harmony to Homes
    www.lacrossepianotuning.com
    ljmesserly@gmail.com
    928-899-7292
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  • 13.  RE: Harmony vs Key Colour

    Posted 04-13-2019 02:40
    Roshan Kakiya wrote:
    In conclusion, if quasi-equal temperament is more harmonious than, and rather close to, equal temperament, it should replace equal temperament. Quasi-equal temperament should become the new standard tuning.

    With this, I feel you've taken your argument too far. If you wish to advocate for the aesthetic validity of your particular choice of temperament, fine. If you want to argue endlessly with poetic flourishes that somehow temperament x or y is more musical, at bottom a subjective judgement, knock yourself out. 

    But following is my opinion, which has not changed after plenty of opportunities to experience alternatives: the western musical world has made its choice of the most practical and overall pleasing compromise, and has built an entire world full of instruments designed around equal temperament at A=440-442. This works more universally than any other system. If one instrument is to be used for many different musics from a range of historical periods, this is the best compromise. 

    If you can devote an instrument to a particular temperament and use it only for music that works well in that temperament, more power to you. But unless you are dealing with a specialist whose entire repertoire works within the "more harmonious" keys, there is a price to be paid in other keys, any and every time the music ventures afield. 

    I hear unequal temperament as out of tune, even in near keys. I play music in all keys. I play music from across the last four hundred years. And I play with a wide variety of other instruments. I tune in equal temperament and expect others to play in tune in equal temperament. I think there are enough opportunities under the best of circumstances to experience audible anomalies without deliberately introducing  into the foundation wrinkles that conflict with the training nearly all western musicians have grown up with. 

    I think the suggestion that a particular tuner's idea of a "better" tuning system should supplant the extant paradigm of the bulk of the western world's music and instruments is short-sighted, unachievable and grandiose. 

    By the way, I've tuned unequal temperaments as required for certain concerts, but would never consider imposing anything of the sort on an unsuspecting musician, just because "I" think "my" version is more harmonious. The real world has settled on ET. It is and should remain the default, unless and only if someone requires an alternative for a special situation.  

    Just my humble opinion, of course. 

    Mark Schecter, RPT
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  • 14.  RE: Harmony vs Key Colour

    Posted 04-13-2019 03:02
    Hmmm . . . Mark - I agree and disagree.

    The nature of much of the 19th century music indicates benefits to be obtained in unequal temperament and is exemplified well by many composers' choice of keys. It makes a good deal of sense then to play and hear key characteristics in a tuning in which they can be heard.

    Much of bad experience of unequal temperament comes as a result of percussive playing, people who have not been introduced to the Beethovian concept of the piano as a reduction of the orchestra, and many people playing Beethoven don't understand that.

    Exploration in temperament leads to explorations of musicality.

    There are no right answers but a spectrum of interesting ones.

    That in itself is why universal equal temperament is not right per se, and is ceasing to be interesting. Exploration of the unequal temperament possibilities does no harm and may well do quite a lot of good, even if that is in people returning to ET having been on the journey.

    The problem with UTs is often the key of A flat and today I'm going to be driving 8 hours to introduce a UT enthusiastic top pianist to a Steinway C I tuned last month. The owner of the Steinway C is ecstatic about how it sounds, how it has changed tone, eliminating a lot of vibrational beating noise, and has had no problems with the worst keys. But my other pianist friend is doing duets of Schubert in F Minor and A flat major, and is having problems with sounds that he doesn't like. So is it conditioning? Our taste? Technique of sensitivity? These are all in issue and worthy of experiment.

    All encouragement to all who go and do the experiments.

    Best wishes

    David P

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    David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
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    +44 1342 850594





  • 15.  RE: Harmony vs Key Colour

    Posted 04-25-2019 08:56
    Mark,

    "...there is a price to be paid in other keys, any and every time the music ventures afield."

    Quasi-equal temperament avoids this problem almost entirely. The word "quasi-" means almost so the term "quasi-equal temperament" means almost equal temperament. There can be no wild keys because key colour is reduced extensively. This means that quasi-equal temperament is as practical as equal temperament. This also means that quasi-equal temperament will still sound in tune, rather than out of tune, to those whose ears have become accustomed to equal temperament.


    "...the western musical world...has built an entire world full of instruments designed around equal temperament..."

    If instruments have been designed around equal temperament, they will certainly be compatible with quasi-equal temperament.


    Quasi-equal temperament can be more harmonious overall by reducing the shimmer noise/layer of gloss of equal temperament. Therefore, if quasi-equal temperament is more harmonious than, and rather close to, equal temperament, making quasi-equal temperament the new standard tuning is a logical thing to do.


    After taking all of these points into consideration, this is my final question:

    How can quasi-equal temperament not be beneficial for the sound of music?

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    Roshan Kakiya
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  • 16.  RE: Harmony vs Key Colour

    Posted 04-13-2019 13:02
    Larry,

    You are correct in that orchestras and all non-fixed tone instruments do not play in equal temperament UNLESS they are required to by playing along with an ET tuned piano. Without thinking they will adjust they're pitches on the fly to be in tune (essentially) with the piano. Their musical ear requires it.  I distinctly recall this phenomenon from my younger cello playing days in orchestra and small ensembles. At the time I didn't know WHY there was a difference...just that there was and I had to adapt. Of course now I thoroughly understand what was happening.

    I believe they would be much more at home with a piano tuned in Kellner or similar, provided the music does not move into the wilder keys. I don't know how I (or others) would react to playing in one of the "collateral" keys since I've never had that experience.

    Pwg

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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  • 17.  RE: Harmony vs Key Colour

    Posted 04-12-2019 16:04
    High on a hill was a lonely goatherd
    Loud was the voice of the lonely goatherd

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    Daniel DeBiasio
    Brooklyn, NY
    646.801.8863
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  • 18.  RE: Harmony vs Key Colour

    Posted 04-12-2019 16:49
    Folks in a town that was quite remote heard.
    Lusty and clear from the goatherd's throat heard.

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    Roshan Kakiya
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  • 19.  RE: Harmony vs Key Colour

    Posted 04-12-2019 18:57
    A prince on the bridge of a castle moat heard
    Men on the road with a load to tote heard

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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