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David Pinnegar

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  1. High humidity seems to lead to fog . . . so I did a quick google and https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/effects-of-temperature-humidity-live-sound/ seems a very rational explanation. Best wishes David P
  2. But the key colour doesn't come from the fifths. It comes more from the thirds and in 1/4 comma there are four of them so there's quite a lot of intervals to hit which tweak the ears - and one of the most extraordinary pieces to play in meantone is Mozart's 2nd piano sonata. The middle movement is an exploration of everything sour, sorrow, frustration, anger, inconsolate grief, and everything about being buried in the grave and coming to life again in the third movement. The Mozart piano sonatas are particularly revealing in meantone. It's not just the fifths nor just the thirds either, those close and wide semitones too. I'm sure I've mentioned before Mozart's fantasias for mechanical clock and which performed so fit the character of the context for which they were written - https://www.academia.edu/37951978/THE_COLOUR_OF_MUSIC_IN_MOZARTS_TIME_A_journey_from_Couperin_to_Chopin_Examination_of_reconstruction_of_Mozart_Fantasias_K594_and_K608_for_Mechanical_Clock Best wishes David P
  3. I disagree with the expressed opinion on Meantone that it's hardly different to Equal. Couperin deliberately used sour combinations of sounds so as to create crisis points from and to which his music lurched. The opening Kyrie of the second of the Masses for Parishes and Convents is a very good example and those with electronic laboratory facilities might well try it both in Meantone and Equal. Meantone creates sounds which are wonderfully on edge whilst Equal merely sounds nice. Sanitised. Best wishes David P
  4. Yes. Quite. The instrument itself, tonal variety, and acoustic may be so overwhelming that other more subtle qualities don't hit one in the face. I was trying to find a YouTube video of one of these 18th century instruments which added piquancy to the mix of awe. Possibly it's audible in the Bach D minor at St Maximin where some aspect of the sound has excited comments of the right sort, but was looking for something less "in-yer-face". Certainly here it's the instrument and the acoustic that overwhelms although there's an added something. Perhaps https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuW0Ik9H5TQ more pedantically but still to raise hairs on one's back. Perhaps https://youtu.be/P0-5e8qNzYk?t=631 might be that ingredient where the sound might not be so special but the tuning makes it so. Apologies for a St Maximin bias but the instrument has qualities which provide interesting examples. Best wishes David P
  5. I think their organ software is very much in the course of development but they specialise in software that's small enough to run easily on a laptop, and it does, and perhaps their recordings don't yet do it justice. Arguably in contrast the piano software is really interesting and is even introducing pianists not only to historic tunings but historic instruments into the bargain. Last year I ran a seminar specifically on piano tuning http://hammerwood.mistral.co.uk/programmetuningseminar.pdf and the afternoon session started with a demonstration of the piano software - if anyone's interested and in preparation for the seminar the ability to investigate different simulations of pianos and different temperaments was really helpful in guiding us towards how we were going to approach subjects at the seminar. It was a good tool. Specifically at https://youtu.be/s5cqS8ztMvY?t=598 is a direct demonstration of the Pianoteq simulation of an 1899 Bechstein contrasting with a real 1885 Bechstein. So much of the success of the success of the software depends on the nature of the keyboard in its physical simulation and the nature of the speakers. For the piano demonstration we were using Lowther TP1 speakers which did good justice to the electronic signal applied. (If anyone is interested to hear beyond the Pianoteq demonstration in publishing the video I was under instruction to disguise the voice of the Italian pianist which was an editing nightmare. https://youtu.be/18nzfGzdAD0 is an unedited recording of his explanations and demonstrations.) The bottom line therefore is that such simulation facilities can be really important as an introduction for people without contact with real instruments into the development of an enthusiasm which can flourish in the real instrument world. With the piano, my enthusiasm for tuning is for the reason of getting musicians to listen more to the sound that they are making, and to enable the music to communicate emotionally more. . . . and in that people will find relevance more with the classical repertoire. With organs the music is speaking with so much more variety, both of instrument and its acoustical context that perhaps tuning is less part of that overwhelming awe that the organ and its repertoire can bring. . . . or more conventionally But these instruments are a world away from one's average parish church . . . Best wishes David P
  6. The new software from Modartt is bringing piano enthusiasts into the world of the organ https://www.modartt.com/ and it was a matter of delight if not surprise to find that one of the contestants at the Nice International Piano Competition (link below goes straight to his performance) So availability of keyboards at home really can be an inspiration to young people even without more conventional ways in. On the Modartt forum an amusing consequence of bringing Organ software to Piano simulation software users is that the question has been asked "Why don't they provide a sustaining pedal as on the piano?"! Yes - really - https://forum.modartt.com/viewtopic.php?pid=963890#p963890 and in my opinion it's no bad thing. Mention has been made on that forum of some tutorials by the American Guild of Organists so thanks to piano simulation software we may well have a feed of new organists who will want to play the real instrument in the real place. Best wishes David P
  7. Stanley - upon reading your ramblings perhaps more than just I might suggest that you come out of retirement. Your perceptions are spot on. For me the magic of Christianity is the book that was thrown away - the Gospel of Thomas. It's so incomprehensible that I've suspected Buddhist origins, and in its incomprehensibility are golden nuggets. Your writings about the mirror suggest familiarity with the torture of Dionysus and perhaps there's reason in your emergence from retirement to do something new. "What did the Master tell you?" asked the others. "Well if I told you", answered Thomas, "you'd throw stones at me. And those stones will set you on fire." With admonition or enthusiasm? It's for these reasons that I believe there to be a lot of room for waking people up with the Working Together that gives all the Divine Breath of Life - and after chatting with anyone for just 10 minutes it's really impossible for anyone to be able to be atheist. As a result there's a lot of room for churches to be woken up, for congregations to increase by the help that understanding Jesus' teachings de-obfuscated can bring, and for organ music to be appreciated in its ability to reach transcendence and the sublime. What was the raising of Lazarus? Not in my view a supernatural miracle but an outside uninitiated view of an initiation derived from the Egyptian heritage. What was the turning of water into wine? Getting people to do the right thing, and providing a way out that didn't disgrace the old miser. Understanding this turns the water of character into the best of old wine, of course, and one of the traditional pedagogical interpretations of the story. In my view there's room for the churches to break the bounds and find the common sense teacher at their heart. And with that common sense one can find transcendence. Tierce en Taille - in meantone the Tierce is the sweetest sound with pure thirds. En Taille - within the body. The music is symbolic of sweetness in the body. and achieves transcendence, peace that the world cannot give. So with focus on such music and with priests who are minded towards the Buddhist perhaps there is hope. A friend came to lunch today with focus on the sublime in landscape. He asked me whether the sublime could be reached in music. I mentioned Mahler 5 and beyond that, organ repertoire such as the Couperin. But I think that Guilmant, Franck, Widor, Boelleman were reaching towards the sublime too. Can anyone point to any specific examples? Perhaps in organ recitals reaching to the sublime we can invigorate the instrument, its repertoire, and possibly understanding by priests that the organ can bring back people into the churches. Best wishes David P
  8. The Tascam DR40 is a great stand alone no nonsense recorder with all the necessary functions to record straight out of the box. For me, fiddling with computers in a live situation isn't my scene. Significant improvement can be had by using external mics but capacitor mics needing phantom power are a pain. They drain batteries faster . . . But if that isn't a concern, there are details of upgrading BM800 cheap mics on Youtube, inserting three components to smooth the low level amplifier stage, and a larger capsule can improve these mics at very low cost. Recently in my tuning work and having to demonstrate its value to the best of advantage, I've upgraded to the Tascam DR70. This has much lower noise for using with low output dynamic mics and the AKG D200, D202 and D224 are a range of dynamic mics from the 1960s to 1980s that have a flat response, just like the capacitor mics that came into fashion subsequently. and were recorded on DR70 with such mics. Back in 2011 I was still using mini-disc and was recorded in Zurich at the Symposium on the future of the organ possibly on a Sony Xacti voice recorder or minidisc with a plug-in stereo microphone. With organs the guaranteed good bass response of external microphones is a boon. Best wishes David P
  9. Some years ago I foresaw a precipitous collapse of appreciation of organ music and in common with encouragement of other areas of classical music put on organ recitals at Hammerwood Park, East Grinstead. We have at the house one of the instruments formerly at Addington Palace, although this really wasn't extensive enough to bring the repertoire to life. We also have a one manual chamber organ which has been explored with a degree of interest But exciting organ repertoire there is and so I put together a 5 manual organ laboratory capable of representing German, French and English repertoire adequately, and a number of wonderful performers came to play. It excited audiences significantly and encouragingly. The electronics died some five years ago and I gave up in despair, focusing on the harpsichord But since the demise of the organ audience numbers to harpsichord recitals have dropped often below 20 whilst people have repeatedly asked when we're going to be resuming organ recitals. Thanks to the generosity of the Sheehan family, the late Peter Sheehan's organ laboratory has come to Hammerwood and with Darcy Trinkwon, hopefully also Nigel Allcoat and others we'll introduce audiences to the splendour of Couperin, Balbastre and Dakin, St Maximin having been the passion for Peter who was once upon a time in his career with Nicholsons. Introducing secular audiences to the splendour of the repertoire is one way that interest can be reignited, and without resort to electronics at Hammerwood one can do this even on a rather conventional instrument - There is real need therefore to get the repertoire into the concert hall. As for the organ in the church, it's really not surprising that the church isn't appealing to a population that rejects dogma, Father Christmas and regards all such as hocus pocus with which there's a lot of competition which appeals to fashion rather more than merely the "Jesus Loves You" message which probably annoyed many of us in the days of evangelical youth. Unfortunately many priests have not grown out of such a message, which many, for instance the vast numbers of people suffering as a result of disasters find hard to swallow. People have rejected Christianity in the perception of religions being the source of troubles and wars. In my own experience locally the church was declared redundant, having a congregation of around 20 and a dreadful evangelical priest who dumbed down everything, and the church was shut quite probably seen to be a source of funds upon redevelopment by the Diocese to plug a hole in its finances. They've shut the church and removed the footprint of God from the countryside and few of the former 20 decamp in their cars to a village some 5 miles away. In an age of cynicism and desire for "scientific" "proof" of everything, and "reason", in my opinion the church will not survive until it starts to look again at the language of the text it preserves and preaches, and finds therein common sense. Led Zepellin - Stairway to Heaven - "Words have two meanings" . . . Wittgenstein commented that the last barrier to humanity is in the overcoming of the limitations of language. And religion suffers that, and has been rejected in that limitation. What would you say if I said that the Pentecostal church for instance is misconceived? As a youth I looked upon the prospect of people babbling on the floor as crowd hysteria. Is that really what went on at Pentecost? Did those apostles really have tongues of flame upon their heads? Our traditional image has been that of a supernatural flame quite literally floating above the heads of the apostles. But what other meaning is capable of coming out of the words? Tongues of flame, of course. Flaming tongues - alive with the enthusiasm of a language that all and any can understand. Common sense. And for me until the church and preachers start to talk commonsense about the Creator, then the churches and the organs within them will meet demise. But as a physicist I believe that talking about the Creator as common sense is possible. It was for this reason that I tried to catalyse debate https://www.organmatters.com/index.php/board,35.0.html https://www.organmatters.com/index.php/board,21.0.html https://www.organmatters.com/index.php/board,48.0.html in the interests of encouraging the health of the symbiotic relationship between the instrument and the ecclesiastical context. If priests can't do it, then we as organ enthusiasts have to, or we cease to exist. If I remember correctly it was member Musing Muso who put me on a path which has changed my perception entirely, and I think is capable of changing others. From my youth I'd clung on to that anthropological image of God as a person in whose image we are created, rather like a teddy bear in the functionality of my belief. In those discussions something began to dawn and I realised that the text and the language we experience in the ecclesiastical context is rather a riddle, that's nonsense until we can sort it out. As soon as the riddle is solved, then everything we hear about in Church becomes common sense capable of enthusiastic communication with a flaming tongue. If anyone's interested, a distillation of that common sense without an ounce of dogma or hocus pocus is encapsulated in a response to a Quora question - https://www.quora.com/Is-there-a-scientific-fact-that-proves-God-exists/answer/David-Pinnegar The bottom line therefore, in rather a wordy post for which I apologise, is that the Church needs a major rethink if it's going to succeed in getting the general population to have a rethink about the religion. And rather than preaching religion, and promoting a hocus pocus of which there is lots of competition, finding Jesus as the teacher of common sense would go a long way. Best wishes David P
  10. This debate was extending into the piano tuning realm with a friend today in response to comments on that it sounds like equal temperament. And this is the Schubert Impromptu in Ab which should be the very worst of keys in one of the classical unequal "well temperaments". So the point is that if tuned sympathetically to the instrument Kellner can be used in the place of pure Equal Temperament without damage to the music. At some stage I might put together the Priere a Notre Dame played on my organ sound-laboratory in Kellner and in ET as certainly when as a teenager I played this on my pipe organ tuned to Werkmeister III it was unbearable and caused me to hate WIII. And the other point about that recording is that the sound recordist doing the video had to turn down his recording levels by 6dB as the instrument became louder - exactly in line with the report about the Cranleigh organ sounding bigger than its size when first built and tuned to Kellner. Attached is the viol with gut frets at the Palais Lascaris. There are also a number of other instruments extending almost into the 20th century with sympathetic strings. These work only by means of resonance and this requires tunings with significant numbers of perfect harmonic intervals. Likewise we know from his correspondence that Chopin practised on a Pantalon, a simple form of piano without dampers. This is only possible without creating a mess of sound if scale notes accord with harmonics. Our experience of tuning pianos likewise is that the harmonic tunings, which require forms of unequal temperament, enable Chopin and Beethoven use of the sustaining pedal to be restored, being held down for many bars. Instruments which employ resonance can achieve power subtly but instruments without resonance have to use brute force. Best wishes David P
  11. That link is fascinating. The above is my experience with tuning pianos, both the Bosendorfer on which we did a specific test, and at Nice with orchestra, and again as reported by the organist experiencing the Cranliegh instrument before and after retuning into ET. Sweeter, louder . . . Best wishes David P
  12. With respect it's actually a misconception that fretted instruments had to be tuned to ET. At the Musée de la Palais Lascaris in Nice there is a phenomenal collection of historic musical instruments which are very much well worth the visit. Up until the end of the 19th century quite a few instruments had gut string for frets . . . so as to be adjustable. I've been working on the mathematics of the influences of the 9th harmonic in piano tone and resonance. Whilst not entirely thought out and so apologies for errors of exactitude, many temperaments and especially those with 7 or 8 perfect intervals in the octave have three sets of four notes which are linked, and the characteristics of the temperament are governed by the relationship between the three blocks of notes. Bb C D E F G A (B) (B) C# D# F# G# When the whole tones in each of these sets is a 9/8 tone, 9th harmonic beating is minimised. Certainly Kellner and Kirnberger differ mainly by where they put the C# and F# and of course from these two notes radiate some perfect fifths. So there may well have been perfect fourth or fifth based temperaments which worked with adjustable frets on such instruments. is a good example of the temperament, here Kirnberger III, giving landmark key colour through the narrative traversed by the composition. Best wishes David P
  13. The experience of the orchestra playing at the Nice International Piano Competition accompanying concertos was that ,members of the orchestra came up to me in pleasant surprise saying that it was the first time they'd played with piano and found the piano and the orchestra playing at the same pitch. And the pianists liked the sound. So I believe there to be substance in your assertion. And never throughout the varied repertoire of that concert was the unequal tuning at all unpleasant no matter which key was in use. At the other end of the musical spectrum with saxophone - Best wishes David P
  14. Apologies for raising an old thread - but in the lack of responses on the thread concerning Mander's use of unequal temperament the Cranleigh organ is important - as are others that Manders have built using Kellner, Young or other mild unequal temperament. In recent years I have given focus to piano tuning and developed an implementation of unequal temperament, Kellner, which is capable of universal application on all pianos. It's been a privilege to have been able to study a number of historic instruments from the Colt Collection and formerly Finchcocks, and these have given me an insight into the tonal structure of the ancient instrument from which we can benefit in our approach to the modern. The one thing that the temperament does is to enable the piano to resonate. It gets louder, and sweeter. Of course this can't be demonstrated electronically but if anyone would like to experiment then Pianoteq from https://www.modartt.com/ provides useful facilties, even though the sound from a real instrument is more complex. It gives a useful idea of contrasts of still and moving that the temperament gives. In research on tuning matters I've found electronic sound-laboratory facilities to be very helpful. Yesterday a friend came round for some experiments and I mentioned that last week I'd demonstrated the opening to the Couperin Mass in St Maximin style, and then put the demonstration into equal temperament and the bite of the music was lost. The subject of Cranleigh came up and he said that he'd done one of the early recitals there. He said that as a result of the temperament the organ sounded bigger than it is. He then said that he'd played it since its conversion into equal temperament and that now it merely sounds ordinary. What a temperament with many perfect fifths is doing is to allow sympathetic vibrations which build in the resonance of the building. This is an important part of how an instrument fits into an acoustic space. The pure thirds and pure fifths produce beat frequencies which reinforce the bass note and the harmonics of bass notes fall onto notes of the scale up above. So the whole sound is mutually supportive. If Cranleigh can be converted back to the unequal temperament it was built in, perhaps future curators of the instrument might valuably consider returning the instrument to its original tuning. Best wishes David P.
  15. Thanks for the mention of Rasch - https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329726980_Does_'Well-Tempered'_Mean_'Equal-Tempered' . I can understand your frustration in what appears to be endless "writing on anything under the sun", but it's all linked. Academic discipline requires isolation of factors to identify causes and effects. It's in that spirit that I believe much can be pinned upon the tuning and especially the piano, and thereby the lack of satisfaction found in performances of Bach on the modern piano. The lack of reward given to the performer in the sound of equal tempered performance has led to a loss of anchorage, with ideas of performance sliding around upon the glistening barrier produced by what is in the modern piano the deliberate conflict of the 5th and 9th harmonics with the scale notes. Performance and music has suffered as a result. Unmusical performance of Bach on the piano starts with the tuning of the instrument. The sound does not come from the performer, nor from the instrument, nor from the strings. It comes from the vibrations of the strings and the music, the harmony or otherwise, comes from whether the vibrations are together or unrelated. Rather as the contrast of coherent light from a laser or the mush of all frequencies of an incandescent light bulb. The harmony of the music takes its cue and is gives its clues from those vibrations. Chopin is recorded in his letters as having practised on a Pantalon. This was an instrument with light wooden hammers and no dampers. I had the good fortune to meet one in the form of a Clavecin Royale at a viewing of the sale of the Colt Collection. It sounded rather like a clavichord with the power of the harpsichord. But for it to operate without dampers it's necessary for an instrument to have reduced modes of vibration. Equal temperament spreads harmonics among the notes of the scale like a cluster-bomb and as a result an instrument has no focus, no power. As soon as one puts harmonics on scale notes as do the tunings with many perfect 3rds or perfect 5ths the instrument becomes focused and powerful through resonance. The Pantalon used by Chopin would have required such a tuning so as to allow harmonious notes to sustain and for the inharmonious notes to die away without resonant amplification. This is in the spirit of Romans 12:21 with which many here will be familiar. The better accordances of vibration overcome the bad. It's for this reason that not until we restore the tuning of the piano can we restore better performance of Bach on the instrument. The experimental performance of David Martinescu in Nice might have been an extreme but it demonstrated exactly how Bach can be performed on the piano and in accordance with our experience of Bach upon the organ. I've analysed various temperaments mathematically against equal temperaments in a measure of conflict and accordance of harmonics with scale notes. When notes are one cycle per second close to harmonics, resonance happens nicely. When between 2 and 5 Hz difference one starts to get resonance decreasing with distance but producing beating, shimmering, and this is where the frequency spectrum noise of the piano is critical. Once we shift harmonics 5Hz and more away from scale notes their interactions cease to be relevant. So the temperaments which have quite strong differences between pure and wide thirds start to move many harmonics away from the mush threshold and many harmonics into the comfort sweet zone. I'm willing to share the spreadsheets with anyone interested on email - antespam@gmail.com gets to me. This is why the Tierce stop on a Meantone or Well Tuned instrument can sound with such beauty. It is also why buildings with long acoustics benefit from an organ in unequal temperament and why Martin Renshaw at the tuning seminar at Hammerwood in May http://hammerwood.mistral.co.uk/programmetuningseminar.pdf said that tuning was a process and that the organ had to be tuned to the building. I didn't quite understand what he was saying at the time but am beginning to understand more his wisdom. Best wishes David P
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