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Tuning fork Entry

Post 1


Hi, h5ringer, I left a note about the question of temperament on fretted instruments under your Entry, though I should have left it here.

Just intonation is not a useful solution for fretted instruments and the most likely truth is that equal temperament was applied there from the earliest times. You may have come across my entry on the vexed question of temperament A1339076

Bach apparently took Rameau's advice in the 1730s and changed over from well- to equal-tempered tuning. David Ledbetter's excellent book on 'the 48' asserts that the first 24 preludes and fugues were written with well-tempered instruments in mind, and the second 24 for equal temperament. The evidence seems to be (a) internal compositional choices and (b) the fact that that he transposed earlier pieces for the second set but not for the first.

By the way, I gather that the variation between orchestras' standard pitches is still pretty big. It's a kind of arms race: the winds tune as sharp as they can for brilliance (as they charmingly call it) and then the strings tune even higher. Then the winds get a new set of instruments made, and the ratchet goes on tightening.

Tuning fork Entry

Post 2


Perhaps the arms race has cooled down recently; I read in

A = 440 Hz is the only official standard and is widely used around the world. Many orchestras in the United Kingdom adhere to this standard as concert pitch. In the United States some orchestras use A = 440 Hz, while others, such as New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, use A = 442 Hz. Nearly all modern symphony orchestras in Germany and Austria and many in other countries in continental Europe (such as Russia, Sweden and Spain) tune to A = 443 Hz. A = 442 Hz is also often used as tuning frequency in Europe, especially in Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy, Norway and Switzerland.

You could also perhaps mention the A=415 tuning fork used by most period-instrument bands for baroque music.

What's the definition of an early musician? One who's prepared to play at 415, when nobody else turns up till 440 smiley - winkeye

Tuning fork Entry

Post 3


Thanks Recumbentman. I asked the Curators to make a couple of changes as per your suggestions.

smiley - musicalnote

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