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Some years ago I arranged in advance to play the instruments of Norden, Neuenfelde, Meldorf, and Stralsund, and visited a couple of others ad hoc. It cured me of organ crawling—nothing else would ever match up. This, and experience over the years, raised a question. I doubt that there was much in the way of central heating when Schnitger, Stellwagen and the like were plying their trade, and the large brick barns of the Baltic coast can’t ever have been warm. I have the impression that organs sound their best in the cold. Am I deluded? Of course, the paraphernalia of comfort like carpets and soft furnishings affect acoustics, so maybe it’s just this, but nevertheless I ask the question: does temperature affect our perception of sound? (I’m not talking of tuning). Do organs sound better in freezing churches? My other observation may already have been discussed on this board, but FWIW I was bowled over by just how exciting Buxtehude, Bruhns and Tunder were on the unequal temperament organs. Astonishing. Equal temperament does not do them justice. There is no doubt in my mind about that.
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