Theory Stuff / Equal Temperament
April 17, 2019 at 3:32 PM #71008
This is an interesting visual lesson, that kind of, almost helped me to get the equal temperament issue. Any feedback appreciated. I’m still stuck on the whole idea of tuners tuning for equal temperament…which is what I thought I heard (or do I have that backwards?) If so then, if we tune to perfect fifths by playing two strings together, we are no longer tuned to equal temperament. (Should I just pull all my hair out now & be done with it??)April 17, 2019 at 3:41 PM #71009
OK…pianos & guitars are tuned to equal temperament. Violins are capable of acoustically pure overtones, which you can not get in equal temperament, so that’s why fiddles have a magical appeal which is impossible in fretted instruments and pianos. I have always annoyingly had a feeling for this, but now I (think) it makes sense. Don’t it? Now the only problem is….it takes an elevated level of ability to consistently achieve those acoustically pure overtones…..April 17, 2019 at 3:53 PM #71010
Another related issue is that since the A440 pitch standard wasn’t adopted until the 1900’s, we really don’t know what the music written by the masters actually sounded like in relation to overtones! (Exactly I mean) It’s the magical overtones that really give great music it’s soul.
And it explains why & how composers had to choose the particular key for a particular piece. (And why transposing don’t work…unless you are in equal temperament)
And, if you believe in string theory, all matter is actually made from vibrations of different frequencies…well…just music! (So we are actually living in a fiddle tune??)April 17, 2019 at 4:46 PM #71013Steve SraderParticipant
Rodger interestingApril 17, 2019 at 5:11 PM #71014Gunnar SalyerParticipant
Ouch. Very painful even to read across. I hope you come to a conclusion without pulling out all of your hair.April 18, 2019 at 12:42 AM #71030
Well, Gunnar, I had it cut real short…so I can’t actually grab it and I do have a sore hand, so my hair is pretty safe for a while….April 18, 2019 at 1:31 AM #71032Gunnar SalyerParticipant
LolApril 18, 2019 at 7:32 AM #71056cricketParticipant
Rodger, I didn’t have time to watch, etc., in a hurry…but I have read all of this stuff about equal temperament, just intonation, etc., and it’s fascinating. Once I read about it, I understood why I have always had a struggle with tuning my guitar. Well, not me, really, but going along with whoever I’m playing with. I’ve always used a 440 A tuning fork…then I tune to that…but I tune chords to go with the 440…not strings individually…to me, if I’m playing in C, let’s say…the thing sounds out of tune if I just get an electronic tuner and tune each string according to that…but if I play c chords after usiing the 440 A, I can get them closer. I’m not perfect of course, but the string sound closer, though off key slightly…to my ear. I like fiddle because perfect fifths are so much easier to sound nice together…perfect fourths not as easy, still easier than 3rds. This is one reason I don’t like BLack Mt. Rag tuning…that 3rd on the high string is just way off-sounding to me…no matter how much time I spend tuning it, it never sounds right. I did tune down away from the current 440 standard once (cant’ rember the number at the moment), the older one they used before they started with equal temperament and all that, and I tuned that way for about a year. What I didn’t like about it was I couldn’t ever play with youtubes, or then I joined the BG band and started going to their jams and of course had to tune to 440. But I had a little gig once playing for a historic river walk…just sitting on the bank playing, got my daughter to thump along on banjo…then as people walked along and stopped for little historic info sites, they’d hear some fiddling and banjo at our area…anyway, we were in the old tuning…the weird thing we noticed was that the deer never left…they were crossing the path, then stopped to look at us, went behind a nearby tree, cocked their heads around the side and watched the whole time we were there…lol. We were thinking they liked the way we were tuned!April 19, 2019 at 12:08 PM #71114
If the deer came to hear me play, I’d take that as a greatest compliment.April 20, 2019 at 7:43 AM #71148cricketParticipant
We thought it was kinda strange…lol…but we were happy to play for the deer. We kept it on the gentle side, to try to keep them there.May 18, 2019 at 4:09 PM #72117John (BGD)Keymaster
It is OK to tune your guitar using the fifths method, because the fret spacing is already adjusted for equal temperament. So those are equal temperament fifths, not perfect fifths.
I wouldn’t think that the 440 Hz standard would alter the overtone series as opposed to, say, a 420 Hz standard. I guess there is a chance that the top and bottom plates of some instruments have been “tuned” to a standard other than 440 Hz, and so would sound better tuned to an older standard.
The main reason we don’t have more than 12 notes in an octave is that the average ear can’t really resolve the difference between notes closer than one semitone apart. The ear will simply hear beats and roughness.
Interesting that he uses color for a visual effect. It is unfortunate that our eyes cannot see one complete “octave” of color! We can only see from 430 THz to 770 THz.
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