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David Pinnegar

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  1. 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

  2. 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



  3. 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.


    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


  4. 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




    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


  5. 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





  6. That link is fascinating.


    Since Lindley’s book was written, it has become very common for lute players to use unequal temperaments, largely for practical reasons: when tuned in this way the lute sounds sweeter, louder, and more in tune with ensembles including keyboards, harps, citterns and bowed strings. So are modern lutenists going against the grain of the historical evidence?

    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

  7. 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



  8. 23 minutes ago, John Robinson said:

    Perhaps not concert room organs which  are required to work with orchestras and many other instruments, but why not churches and cathedrals.  How often do we see cathedral instruments being used with orchestras? 

    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

  9. 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.





  10. 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





  11. It's not about HIP. It's that if someone plays Mendelssohn as if playing Prokofiev the player doesn't understand music. 

    One has to remember that it's often said that Bach can sound good on anything.

    But it's a matter of singing. Singing is where so much music came from. On the piano musicians have to understand how to sing and how to make that sound. Unfortunately many musicians don't. I used to think that every note on a Steinway was an interruption to the music, and suspect that perhaps half the objection to piano performance with which we find sympathy here is on account of just this. But then I discovered that it's not the Steinway interrupting the music but the players, and in ignorance of proper piano technique many players have won many acclaims.

    On the subject of the Canadian lady, I have been pleasantly surprised to hear a performance and find that it's been her. But that doesn't raise my respect for her as a musician in reliable comprehension of the music. Likewise I heard a Classic FM broadcast of John Ogdan playing Sinding's Rustle of Spring. It wasn't a rustle at all but a full blown gale driving a forest fire. Friends tell me not to be harsh in my opinion of Ogdan, but for a musician to earn my respect their understanding and their interpretation has got to be reliable. I don't want to hear a performer - I want to hear the music. And its meaning. That's what music is all about. Not mere entertainment for which budgets can be cut, but meaning of essential profundity, of the nature of the literature of Moliere or of Shakespeare. An imperative to teach and promote.

    To fete musicians who are mere entertainers rather than communicators of the composer is to employ a translator, or a politician, who tells us what they think we want to hear rather than one upon whom we can rely upon their communication of the real message being translated or the matrix of circumstances of the real world through which we must navigate.

    A very stupid but possibly very intelligent but crass politician knows this very well and capitalises on the masses saying "I tell it like it is", and is feted by many. But I don't have confidence in his interpretation of the matrix of circumstances that he perceives.

    Best wishes

    David P

  12. By being tuned as an organ, I mean by the system of tuning. My "High Definition" tuning uses Kellner (or some instruments can take Kirnberger III quite happily) providing 7 perfect fifths in the scale and for the most part is tuned by relationships of fundamental frequencies rather than harmonics, and then achieves resonance of bass notes with scale notes.

    In contrast most piano tuners get out of tune inharmonic harmonics to coincide and stretch the octave as a result. The result I'm sorry to say is that music skates around on the surface of an inharmonic instrument more like a gamelan  and what music reaches us is more despite the service of the instrument rather than as a result of it. But tuning the instrument differently can reverse that.

    On the subject of Angela H*witt she is highly commercially promoted and has achieved a name thereby. It doesn't mean that I admire her playing. I've heard her play Mendelssohn as if it were Prokofiev as well as the Haydn Variations in F Minor. As soon as I hear a pianist play those variations on an equally tempered modern piano I conclude that they don't know much about the music. Likewise pianists who are willing to play the 48 on an equally tempered modern instrument.

    At a lecture last year I demonstrated that the problem with much playing isn't the instrument nor the temperament but the sensitivity. An insensitive musician will bash out whatever the notes say, and complain of the music or the tuning or the instrument. But really, and I expect significant gasps from the organ community for saying so, but in testing Percy Schole's question of wondering how Bach's 48 could have been played on Dr Burney's piano in Meantone . . . . I demonstrated how even all 48 can be played on an organ in Meantone. 

    Meantone temperament was responsible for conveying much emotion and, although worthy of a specific thread on the subject rather than this one, 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 answers the Bach question.

    The ability to play the 48 in meantone depends on the choice of registration - and the Bourdon or Stopped Diapason does the trick  - 

    The proof that Bach's 48 REQUIRES an unequal temperament and the proof is the 2nd Book D Major prelude which introduces itself with a victorious fanfare - just exactly as Schubart the respected harpsichordist described the key.

    Of course the lecture was demonstrated with an electronic module which I use as a sound laboratory and a means of testing, doing the experiment.

    Today I was visited by a delegation who organise an international piano competition as a result of my piano tuning for the Nice competition, and demonstrated to them the modern and historic pianos tuned in the Kellner and Kirnberger temperaments I use, and the 1802 Stodart piano in meantone. The emotion of Mozart's music isn't discovered until we use Meantone. Arguably 6th comma might be more appropriate but I like hard-core 1/4 comma and with which Mozart's piano sonatas come out with new depths.

    I used to think Meantone on the piano was unthinkable, but Nigel Taylor who tuned bells at the former Whitechapel Bell Foundry has been tuning pianos in Meantone for years and encouraged me. 

    As a final demonstration to the piano competition organisers, Hammerwood Park has been donated the late Peter Sheehan's Hauptwerk four manual instrument with some 20 instruments installed, and as a tuning laboratory little else compares. I demonstrated the opening of Couperin's 2nd Mass for Parishes and Convents on a plein jeu of St Maximin instrument, the piece demonstrating sweetness and sourness and then put it into equal temperament in which the piece wholly loses bite and loses its meaning.

    Playing much music in equal temperament is like sending a police officer to Hong Kong to take witness statements. He might hear the words but unless he understands the Chinese language, won't understand them.

    Playing Bach or Haydn on a modern tuned piano is likewise. Unless the tuning is right the meaning that should be conveyed is not conveyed by the vibrations heard.

    Song was so much more familiar to all in former times. People went around singing. Since the prevalence of recorded music and portable devices at that, we are a civilisation that receives sound rather than makes it, and less and less understanding of the beauty of sound. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Mendelssohn  - all these should sing. Friends refer to a change to "vertical playing" where the notes on the page are converted into sounds in time rather than the playing of the line, the phrase, the song.

    The anodyne equal temperament of the piano gives neither clue to the musician nor reward for listening - and it's for this reason that I much support Mander's use of Kellner universally for new organs.

    Best wishes

    David P





  13. With regard to Bach on Harpsichord, even the Harpsichord can sing in ways in which modern pianists don't understand and in addition complex harpsichords which are able to bring more variation to the music are expensive to maintain and as a result I suspect rather out of fashion in much modern performance. Alexandra Kremakova is a performer I like a lot - 


     is a piece where the tuning gives us landmarks to add interest to the sound. Modern tuning may well be why the music has become boring for so many.

    Here she is playing Dowland on piano https://youtu.be/xW0NLciHGNU?t=309

    Here's Scarlatti on both harpsichord and piano for comparison, although not the rather better harpsichord in the recording above, and the piano not best in tune on account of blazing heat and temperature change - 

    Best wishes

    David P

  14. The week before last I tuned the pianos for the Nice International Piano Competition. Many candidates played Bach . . . on the piano and at least I was tuning the piano well for Bach, making it less intolerable.

    But I can't stand general Bach piano playing. Staccato with no singing, not understanding how even a harpsichord can sing, and as for that Canadian woman whose name I can never remember . . . who I heard playing Mendelssohn as if it was Prokofiev. . . . 

    The final concert was rather fun. Of course you can't have a piano accompanied by an orchestra in unequal temperament. What rot! Here's the proof . . . 

    In the elementary class, 11 year old Salvatore Mastrosimone from Sicily played a Bach concerto - https://youtu.be/mnTDkj5dYYc?t=1613 and in my opinion musically. Between finals and the Gala concert some of the competitors got the idea that the piano as tuned by me would sing and here in my opinion it does.

    At https://youtu.be/mnTDkj5dYYc?t=7150 I explained to the audience what I'd done with the tuning of the piano and the recording of the winner of the Junior section 8 year old David Martinescu from Romania follows at https://youtu.be/mnTDkj5dYYc?t=7284. Hearing the candidates I picked up on him as the best and luckily the Jury came to the same decision . . . as I'd followed him outside and asked him to be willing to come back in and play an experiment . . . 

    Having tuned the piano as an organ and focused on the purity of harmonic structure . . .  https://youtu.be/mnTDkj5dYYc?t=7382 was the result and the Jury were completely amazed. None of them had heard the possibility of the piano sounding like this before. . . . 

    Have I persuaded anyone now that hearing Bach played on the piano really can now be enjoyable?

    A friend was so inspired that he got me to tune a vintage Bechstein and record . . . and 

    was the result. It would have been even more stunning were it to have been an 7 - 9 ft grand.

    Best wishes 

    David P


  15. I read today someone writing saying they've had enough of Facebook.

    In recent years Facebook has taken over special interest groups and in particular organ communities, causing fragmentation rather than real communication, and wasting resources of experience and talent in a lot of noise, unsearchable in cases where any wisdom is expressed. Where academic subjects are discussed, in regard for instance to scaling or temperament, detail and experience is paramount and the writings of knowledgeable authorities gold dust important for enthusiasms of the future.

    It's for this reason that the forums are a much more worthy recipient of attention and energy than Facebook and perhaps with sentiments being expressed such as the one seen today people might come forward to bring things to the attention of the forums rather than the superficial alternative.

    Best wishes

    David P



  16. How really WONDERFUL!

    It's such a really creative and unique design that it should inspire through being just so . . . unexpected.

    It would be great to organise a visit perhaps from the Crawley and Horsham District Organists' Association if perhaps you might welcome visitors. I've been saying to priests for a long time that a good instrument and good music can be an attraction which can get people back into churches.

    There are a steady trudge of instruments towards Ebay and I fear that not all will experience the happy ending to their former story that this organ has.

    Best wishes and many congratulations and all encouragement,

    David P

  17. Yes - Colin - spot on as always and most valuable examples.

    I came to a similar conclusion and demonstrated this with Bach's 48 last year doing a lecture about the Colour of Tuning in Mozart's time - 

     and of course likewise apologies for using electronic simulation. Here we demonstrated examples of the very worst keys.

    What's rather interesting is Schubart's description of D major, the key of trumpet fanfares and which we find Bach writing in his D major Prelude in Book II of the 48, indicating Bach aligning his use of keys with the documented effects to be expected in an unequal temperament of some sort. See pages 9 and 10 of https://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


  18. Such experiences are the reason why unequal temperaments have had a bad press. There is a spectrum of unequal temperaments and of course the most extreme are there to be used for very specific purposes and with intention as I have with the musicological explorations with the 1802 Stodart piano. Certainly Kellner can be used universally on both historic and modern pianos but where I've heard an organ in Vallotti or Young, I haven't been obviously conscious that it's not Equal, as for me the flavour is not enough. But it's there and people report very good experiences with pianos tuned so. One of the reasons for possible better experiences with pianos is that their tuning is stretched to fit inharmonicity of strings and this makes the equal temperament give a very hard tonality.

    This is why Mander's explorations with organs are important and why it would be really nice to hear of experiences of their other instruments and recordings.

    Best wishes

    David P


    John - you're spot on about Kellner and this is why I'm really curious about the success of Manders in building instruments in Kellner and the reaction thereto. The conversion of the Cranleigh instrument to equal temperament was a travesty and a significant loss to the musical world. It's for this reason I'd love to know where there are others.

    Zimblestern - I come from both sides of the fence. When I was a boy I rebuilt an organ in my parents' house and we knocked down four walls and ceilings to fit it in. Then came the challenge of tuning it. These were the early years of BIOS and the early Journals carried an article about historical methods. Without apps on a mobile phone those were different days. I chose Werkmeister III as it was apparently simple - and from which I gained a love of key colour but hated WIII as it was hideous in A flat.

    From around 1983 I started tuning the piano for concerts. Strict equal temperament. After all, who'd tune a piano in anything else? Then around 15 years ago I was listening to a performance of the Chopin 2nd Sonata when I realised that Chopin had chosen the key of Bb Minor because it would have an effect sympathetic to the subject of the music and that therefore Chopin must have been exploiting unequal temperament. This was a turning point. But which one? After reading Padgham's book I plumped for Kellner, aided by the fact that a new electronic tuner had the facility. It turned out to be a hole in one in terms of applicability for the instrument, adding greatly to the sound and not detracting from anything.

    Then when the Cranleigh instrument was built and advertised I discovered that Manders had come to the same conclusion with the organ that I had reached for the piano . . . 

    I hope that people have been enjoying the recordings chosen in this thread and particularly St Maximin. Built in 1775 by Isnard on principles of Dom Bedos it's very much at the heart of the organ. And that instrument is in a temperament considerably stronger than Kellner, a modified meantone.

    When we venture as far as Meantone, then things get really interesting. 

    When the Finchcocks and Colt Collections came up for sale I minded to aim to keep some landmark instruments out of the fate of stulsification in museums. One of those instruments is the 18th century Holland barrel organ preserving significant Handel repertoire, but others include a Stodart grand of 1802 which I tuned first in Kirnberger III and then in Meantone. Dr Percy Scholes in the 1930s was under the impression that 18th century pianos were tuned in Meantone in England and so asked "How could Bach's 48 have been played in England in the 18th century?". That's another question but it led me to experiment.

    F minor and C minor are crucially interesting keys. F minor, the key of the grave, of darkest grief and despair. Here we have the Pacelbel Chaconne on the 1856 Sprague chamber organ at Hammerwood tuned to meantone - a sound that will grate on your equal tempered ears but which actually expresses the characteristics of F minor very supremely, and brings a sound so much more interesting for its meaningful wailing - 

    On the 1802 Stodart the Haydn F minor variations become really interesting - at around 1:35:50 it starts to go into a passage that explores the weird. This does not happen in equal temperament at all. 

    Of course I expect you to hurl insults at me of the worst sort for having the gall even to suggest that such tonalities have any place in what might be called music - but we do know that meantone was used and it's mind-expanding at least to ask why, and possibly find experience. On Thursday a friend brought his old piano teacher to try my instruments, the lady being quite renowned and very revered by some, and she started playing Chopin on the Stodart. I was shocked, knocked sideways. Only such a musician could handle it and how was utterly extraordinary.

    Another friend had recorded the Beethoven Tempest on it. 

    and this is a recording I really like. It's particularly interesting because the connexion with Shakespeare had been purely anecdotal and legendary. But upon hearing this and reading https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=it&u=https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_tempesta&prev=search through this performance it's entirely apparent that the plot of "The Enchanted Isle" is the plot of the music, and the mysterious, the strange, the etherial and supernatural becomes palpable.

    The equivalent recording by Paul Badura Skoda 

    is very lovely, but less palpably mysterious. You might find closeness of the playing - the two pianists were friends.

    Perhaps you might find the equal temperament modern instrument more pleasant to listen to. But those passages describing the distortion of reality by Beethoven weren't composed to be pleasant. They are delightfully expressed in Meantone, just as some 20th century music is not composed to sound pleasant. This was the 18th and 19th century equivalent just as the premier Kyrie of Couperin of his Mass for Convents and Parishes lurches from calmness to pain, again, not well expressed without Meantone.

    although perhaps I prefer the more recent performance by the late Pierre Bardon to that of Chapius 

    The forays by Mander into Kellner are the bridge between our accustomed tonality and the wonder of something very special.

    Best wishes

    David P


  20. Hmm . . . as a musician the tonality of the instrument might just possibly be a matter of interest.

    I've actually had this debate in the piano world, being bludgeoned over the head by equal temperamentalists who swear that ET was used exclusively from the time of Montal, but it's the tonality of the instrument that wins the day when heard and experienced by musicians now offered a choice on how their Steinway, Bechstein or Bosendorfer can sound. It's nothing to do with HIPP but the limitation or enlargement of tone colour that throwing the scale off the mechanical contrivance of the twelfth root of two can achieve. 

    Best wishes

    David P

  21. Hmm. I understand the issue leaves some cold and seems only theoretical, but the way in which the scale notes interact with the harmonics of the instrument has a great bearing on what the instrument sounds like, its tonality in its acoustic. This is why I have included here the examples from St Maximin. It also affects, limiting or broadening the tonal structure of stops that an organ builder can include in the instrument.

    Yes - one can fake it 


    but it's not the same.

    Best wishes

    David P

  22. The interesting thing about Kellner as chosen by Mander is that the very "worst" thirds aren't very much more unacceptable than equal temperament thirds.

    Organs are a particular specie of instrument with continuous tone and exact mathematical relationship of interlocking tuning, as well also as an inability to vary the sound. That's why arguably those with valid objections to unequal temperaments on the organ have a point that becomes very real and especially when the temperament becomes more extreme 

    possibly this being as far as this instrument might be taken, perhaps even beyond although it's particularly great

    and certainly remarkable for Bach

    with a sound that's undeniably exciting, and of which the tuning is a part. So horses for courses but this is a modified meantone. Kellner as chosen by Mander is much gentler, more subtle, and will play with a large acoustic to build resonance in a most harmonious way.

    My experience recently is with tuning pianos where the temperament is important and behaves in a different way than with organs, and where the effect of scale notes resonating with harmonics of the bass is a real tonal improvement and a matter of great excitement. It enables pedalling as specified by both Beethoven and Chopin to be restored. 

    At both Canterbury and at St Paul's London the acoustic would support Kellner most wonderfully and I believe at no loss to the expression and interpretation of the repertoire.

    Here's the testimony of a singer . . . 

    and an organ builder who relates how an Oxford College is currently using an unequal temperament without even realising it. . . 

    And this raises interesting questions as to who was tuning to what temperament. In the piano world Montal in the 1830s wrote a book about tuning equal temperament and himself manufactured upright pianos. These were not concert platform instruments. When the piano became the home entertainment centre for people to bash out the latest popular songs equal temperament never sounded wrong. Always fuzzy the sound can go fuzzier without people realising it's out of tune. So we seem to look at composers composing in the equal temperament soundscape throughout the 19th century. But there is a problem when we move forward to the 20th century with Fauré and Debussy. . . . whose music sounds really wonderful, and particularly more beautiful on the piano in an unequal temperament.

    So might there have been a difference between tuning for home instruments and those for the top musicians and concert halls?

    Because of inharmonicity and the stretching of piano tuning, a stretched equal temperament third isn't much different from an unstretched Kellner worst third using Pianoteq piano simulation:

    I'd still like to know where it's possible to hear Mander organs tuned to Kellner!

    Best wishes

    David P


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