Seminar 6th May - The Importance of Tuning for Better Performance

Discussion in 'Classical Music' started by horninfected, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. horninfected

    horninfected

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    [​IMG]
    http://hammerwood.mistral.co.uk/tuning-seminar.pdf

    People often ask about how music affects our minds . . . but I ask rhetorically "What is music?"

    It's a collection of vibrations which are either together, as multiples and as one sound, or not together, so giving contrasts of certainty against uncertainty, solid vs liquid, secure vs insecure - and in that we start to see contrasts which move towards a psychological level.

    But much of this is lost in modern tuning of music but known to and exploited by classical composers.

    "Chromatic", as in the "Chromatic scale", is a word the meaning of which is lost on the Wikipedia page and explains.

    More than this, historic concepts of tuning can improve the sound of the instrument, so the seminar on 6th May will be bringing top musicians together, music lovers and piano tuners and technicians.

    People are tiring of the black shiny instrument with a shimmering sound which doesn't convey emotion and which can be played mechanically and percussively as mere entertainment, and as a result interest in classical music is in sad decline, particularly in education.

    Revisiting the foundations of the sound that makes music can open new perspectives and we look forward potentially to sharing them.

    Best wishes

    David P
     
    horninfected, Apr 9, 2019
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  2. horninfected

    Romulus

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    Not sure what the above is trying to propose or show or explain. Does this mean when we hear different different pieces of Classical music each performance/ instruments are tuned differently?
     
    Romulus, Apr 12, 2019
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  3. horninfected

    horninfected

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    Yes. Absolutely. The tuning has an enormous part in what we hear but the subject is rather ignored except in Baroque music.

    In particular the keys of F minor and C minor are particularly sadder than the saddest that equal temperament can convey. This is because the C to Eb and F to Ab are narrow, so making the minor third sadder, and the Eb to G and Ab to C wide, making it a little uncomfortable. Perhaps on https://jungleboffin.com/mp4/jill-c...-fortepiano/mozart-twinkle-jill-crossland.mp3 you might hear the change from the major to the minor and perhaps it might be a little sadder and https://jungleboffin.com/mp4/jill-crossland-unequal-tempered-fortepiano/mozart-fantasia.mp3 perhaps might be a little darker. How uncomfortable the minor depends on how strong you like your curry. In contrast A minor sounds as though the sun shines out of it.

    The keys developed a reputation for different characteristics and exploiting them was a language in common currency in the 19th century.

    I first twigged when listening to Chopin's 2nd Sonata - the final movement being the wind howling cold over the desolate graves and realising that the key of Bb minor was the key in which that would happen particularly as a result of my knowledge of organ tuning.

    But others have got there before me - piano technician Ed Foote was working with pianist Enid Katahn 20 - 25 years ago and their recordings are really worth hearing. Look them up and you'll be able to download the CD but one has been uploaded to YouTube


    Here's the 2nd Sonata


    It's subtle but can be transformatory.


    It can also bring extraordinary clarity to the sound


    Perhaps you might know the Brahms violin sonatas - this recording

    was the first time that it sent me into a trance overlooking the lake at Tun seeing the mirror smooth lake, flurries of leaves at the shore and birds flying overhead.

    And here's a piece where the different relationship between notes provides sort of landmarks that perhaps we can recognise as we travel through the piece
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMHvl1yH1pw

    I've been working on this for now a dozen years or more and our seminar results from patient, tolerant and now excited musicians coming together. Tuning the piano as an instrument to get reliable results has taken a decade to really understand and now to get repeatable results.

    Some of our recordings are now quoted in academic theses, particularly the Chopin 24 preludes recorded in unequal temperament
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdsFLIo9l88
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A34K-fj5nHs
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpqrynlohR4

    When we go back before the 19th century we have to explore meantone temperament and this is revelationary for Mozart https://www.academia.edu/37951978/T..._Fantasias_K594_and_K608_for_Mechanical_Clock

    When we put the Fantasias through a small barrel organ appropriately tuned, they convey all and more emotion than as performed in modern times with big organs in equal temperament.

    And then when we look at early 19th century music through the lens of meantone, it can be as an X-Ray into the music here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV0bkcSr_Kg bringing the supernatural influences of Shakespeare's "The Mysterious Isle" into open display, particularly documented well in the page in Italian https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_tempesta - use Google Translate. Suddenly Beethoven's documented but formerly doubted intention is revealed.

    Best wishes

    David P
     
    horninfected, Apr 12, 2019
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  4. horninfected

    Romulus

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    Thank you for the above, I really liked the music. My original questions arises out of my amateur efforts to play the guitar. I think I may still be confused. From a playing guitar point of view the standard tuning is E A D G B E (from 6 to 1 string), one can tune the guitar to D tuning which is D G C F A D. or to other like A. So in regard to your two posts above are you talking about actual 'tuning' of instruments (whether its piano, violin etc...) as I have descibed in regard tuning the guitar. .....Or are your two posts are strictly to playing certain notes, scales etc on the instruments. ...If its the latter then I think I understand you, because on the guitar I always loved the minor chords such as E minor or A minor which evoke sadness, darkness,mystery, lament. I used to write songs and the minor chords were often used, for me made the music always more interesting...!
     
    Romulus, Apr 14, 2019
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  5. horninfected

    horninfected

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    It's about how we tune the scale.

    In your case with interest in guitar, you'll find youtube videos about people who have changed the fret positions to adjust the scale.

    But in the case of the piano we're looking at the historic tunings which had numbers of perfect fifthsk, better thirdsl, that give different sounds to each key, resonate in different ways, and importantly put the scale notes on the harmonics of lower strings.

    Best wishes

    David P
     
    horninfected, Apr 14, 2019
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