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Mander Organs

David Pinnegar

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Everything posted by David Pinnegar

  1. At the seminar the other day we were most privileged to have been joined by Martin Renshaw. He enlightened me that Willis organs were in their own temperament, not equal, and that nor were Cavaillé-Coll's . . . I haven't seen much about this from other sources. Does anyone know of any? Best wishes David P
  2. Colin - thanks so very much for your insight and comment on Padgham's researches and in particular with respect to differences between 5th comma and 6th comma Meantone temperament not being very dissimilar. It also clears up confusion where some say that Mozart liked Equal Temperament - in your point out that 6th Comma Meantone is an equal temperament in its way. As a musicological device I like 1/4 comma meantone beyond merely Couperin and the Baroque almost as an x-ray into the music taking to the extreme what other temperaments lead to and ensures that we don't miss it. We can then either remain in 1/4 comma or, having taken note, transfer nuances into more subtle 1/6 comma or Werkmeister >> Vallotti series of temperaments whilst retaining the spirit. I was put onto the effects of 1/4 comma meantone by Orde Hume's book on Barrel Organs. He said that it was very difficult to adjust our ears to their tuning as it made us wince and was intended to do so. So this led me to look at how music was heard, performed and appreciated in such a temperament. One of the pieces which demonstrates something really interesting is the Beethoven Tempest. In Meantone the ethereal passages come through making the connexion with Shakespeare's "Enchanted Isle" https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_tempesta (use google translate) as plain as daylight. When we take this into Kirnberger III and on a more familiar sounding instrument and by a different performer in Equal Temperament Whilst this relates to piano repertoire the same principles are relevant with organs and why Mander's venture into Kellner is particularly commendable and to be encouraged very much. Best wishes, David P.
  3. Thanks so much for drawing attention to this. Perhaps it explains why on my pipeorgan as a teenager in Werckmeister III I came to hate it absolutely on account of Ab major! However perhaps it was my aural tuning. It might be appropriate to take issue on one thought: 😉 On account of a fellow member perhaps his conclusions explain exactly why Padgham and I and the other member might come to similar conclusions. Certainly in the piano world it is a matter of ignorance and fear of the unknown. Temperament has not been an issue on the table for pianists and those having spent monies of significant sums on a precious instrument fear the idea of someone suggesting to them that the "experts" to whom they've abrogated tuning care of their instrument don't know the whole of their subject and that alternatives are available. This is what our forthcoming seminar is aiming to address, and gratifyingly a number of piano technicians are actually interested and coming. So times are changing. Another issue that I'd take in defence of Padgham is that certainly in the case of strung instruments, probably harpsichords of relevance to the historical temperaments and most certainly pianos of today is that the sounding pitch drifts easily + or - 1 cent so one's really lucky to be able to tune within one cent. For that reason and before the days of digital tuners taking Padgham to task about being relaxed by the detail of 1/2 cent might be a little severe. When 1 cent at 440 represents only 1 beat in around 4 seconds, as far as piano tuning is concerned the sound has significantly died away in that time whilst organs might be a little more critical. . . False accuracy is a bane of the digital age and when modern writers specify a 1.98 cent deviation it's appropriate to remind them to call it 2! Best wishes David P
  4. There's a delightful instrument in an Anglican church in the Kew or Kingston area built by Matthew Copley. It was audibly unequally tuned and very exciting. It sounded to me like Meantone but upon asking Matthew he swore it was Werkmeister III. What's really interesting about strong unequal temperament on organs is that one doesn't need a large specification with which to convey emotion. As briefly mentioned above and explained in the link on Academia the Mozart fantasias for Mechanical Clock did all they were meant to achieve, and all that it takes modern organists the resources of a huge specification to achieve, with just a single rank of stopped pipes and short resonator reeds in the bass tuned to meantone. which I simulated from knowledge of the Colt Collection Holland Barrel Organ at Hammerwood Park. It's a great pleasure and privilege to be welcoming Martin Renshaw to the tuning seminar at Hammerwood on Monday, the programme of which is in the attached PDF, as he tuned for many of the experiments conducted by Padgham et al and resulted in Padgham's book "The Well Tempered Organ". Research that started with the organ has a lot to give to the organology of other instruments, particularly the piano world, and to music more generally. Best wishes David P Programme HP 6th May Tuning Seminar.pdf
  5. I was searching for the BIOS issue which first covered Padgham's tests with unequal temperaments and this thread popped up. If anyone's summed up the reasons for putting temperament on the agenda more generally in musical considerations, pianos as well as organs, member here deadsheepstew summed it all up very succinctly. If I come across as a little bit enthusiastic about temperament, even stark raving nuts of course, it's because classical music and instruments needs an impetus of new inspiration, and boring equal temperament and sticking to it is simply not engaging people emotionally. When heard through the lens of other tunings music we think to be familiar can take on a new light. Best wishes David P
  6. It would be really appreciated if anyone could bring further enlightenment about the numbers and possible whereabouts of Mander Well Tempered instruments! What's really interesting is that in the piano tuning world some tuners are erring towards perfect fifths and stretched octaves. Using Pianoteq software simulation the thirds are widened in the stretched tuning scheme more and more unpleasantly than the thirds in remote keys that people refer to being as unpleasant in unequal temperaments. But in the stretched octave scheme no-one seems to notice. Organs of course are tuned "straight" so thirds are not widened further than they start out to be . . . Best wishes David P
  7. Since hearing of the Mander organ at Cranleigh School having been built in Kellner temperament I've had strong admiration for Mander's work in bringing forward alternatives to equal temperament. It's really sad that Cranleigh had to be returned to Equal Temperament but I'm wondering how many instruments have been built by Mander in Kellner or other temperaments and the tuning has survived to be available to be heard? How many people play organs not in Equal Temperament? Of those who regularly play in Kellner on the organ how universal is it as a tuning for the whole repertoire? Is there anything really objectionable heard through its lens? In the past few years I've focused on harpsichord and piano tuning in particular and am trying to introduce the piano world to non-equal temperaments, and piano technicians and tuners especially with a seminar on 6th May. In my youth I grew up with an organ I'd tuned to Werkmeister III and eventually it got to me and I grew to hate it. Ab major was killing, and more recently I tuned an upright piano to it and B major was hideous beyond description. But temperament can be particularly vital as last year I demonstrated with a talk to the Friends of the London Mozart Players in which I demonstrated that the tuning was key to the Mozart Fantasias for Mechanical Clock 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 With regard to the piano my thesis is that Equal Temperament has led to people not listening to the sound that the're producing, and that the instrument for many has been reduced to a mere technical challenge of playing fast, loud and accurately - a mere entertainment rather than a communication of emotion through the literature of musical vibration. As a result, it being permissable to cut budgets for entertainment, we're losing education in the essentiality of classical music as part of what makes us human. For four decades since the early issues of the BIOS magazine in which historic temperaments have been espoused on the organ, organs and organ builders have led the way. Can such a revolution be achieved with the piano? Best wishes David P
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