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Re: [ARSCLIST] Temperament--was: Are we at the end of the road musically??

On 08/10/06, Steven Barr wrote:

>> ...many of these arguments fall down because so many instruments
>> today are tuned in equal temperament, so that almost all chords are
>> slightly wrong.
>> It's ironic that only synthesizers have ever actually been tuned to
>> equal
> temperament. We have enough computational power available for
> synthesizers and samplers to actually play in tune these days but we
> haven't sophisticated enough music education for most musicians to
> understand the need for this. Instead we use signal processing to tune
> real instruments and singers to equal temperament.
>> It's a situation that would be hilarious if it weren't killing the
>> market for
> music.
> The question would be this: given that trying to calculate from either
> "end" of a musical scale will inevitably result in different
> "theoretical frequencies" for the notes...is "equal temperament"
> actually possible?

Certainly. You can start from any note, such as A=440Hz, and then apply
a constant ratio of the 12th root of 2 from note to note. 

It doesn't give the exact ratios for any chord, but is considered near
enough for practical purposes on pianos, which go out of tune so quickly
that the ratios are never likely to be exact.

Harpsichord players are accustomed to frequently retune the instrument
themselves (like lute, guitar or violin players), so the tuning can be
adjusted to be more exact for each piece.

Don Cox

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