Jump to content
Mander Organs
Guest Roffensis

Gloucester Cathedral Organ

Recommended Posts

No! hardly a Scholarly article! More like "The Idiot's guide to Temperament", but it proves the point. Even in a single article it can be mispelt. I have however, spotted it numerous times, and wondered if there are actually two tunings. With me being so old it is senile dementia I am afraid. I offer no apology, as I have forgotten what we're talking about!!!

 

All best,

 

Richard.

 

Richard, all that it proves is that type-setters and proof-readers (and possibly the original author) are fallible.

 

I believe that we were talking about a spurious method of unequal temperament tuning, which has since been proven to be nothing more than a typographical error.

 

However, no matter.

 

:unsure:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Roffensis
Is that really a scholarly article? I appreciate that being so much younger than you I can't possibly be as knowledgable, but please take it from me that J P Kirnberger (1721-1783) would probably not share your enhusiasm for spelling his name incorrectly.

 

Also, the article (which I have only skim-read) seems to suggest we ought to listen to Beethoven symphonies in historic tunings, which is just plain balls since the necessity of temperament only applies to keyboard instruments - orchestral players who can make (or influence) their own note will work to just intonation. It also implies that non-equal temperaments belong to the Baroque ("300 years ago") when in fact equal temperament has been the standard method for less than 150 years - when the St John's Bridgetown organ (Willis) was opened in 1861, its equal temperament tuning was considered novel enough to merit mention in the local newspaper.

 

 

Re the Beethoven symphonies, they are to heard in unequal temperament, as much as Bach. People often look at his work as a sort of "bridge" between Classical and Romantic schools, but it really wasn't. He caused a revolution in symphonic writing, but he adhered to the Sonata form first movement, and his replacement of the Minuet/Trio 3rd movement with a Scherzo was radical. His first two symphonies are typical classical, then he went for the jugular in the 3rd. It was the third by the way, not the fifth, tht was the turning point. But he never was a Bruckner or a Brahms. Orchestral parts were later doubled, in a way he never asked for. Klemperer conducted his work in a way totally at odds to his intentions. His speeds were too slow, and there was a huge debate about even metronome markings. Franz Bruggen has been the one to champion his work, and recent editions of his symphonies have many markings in that were simply not present in the standard versions used until now. In fact, the standard versions are innacurate in very many many places, obligato markings and so on. Autograph scores had been lost, or plain ignored. Until quite recently, none of us would have heard his work as intended. His Piano Sonatas also are a revelation when played properly. As to the temperament, Beethoven did use unequal temperament!. The best recordings we have are the Bruggens, which is why they are so sought after. I have them all. In all cases they are a revelation. We need to realise Beethoven was a classical composer, he nodded towards both Haydn (who he had nothing to learn form, his words!) and Mozart, but was incredibly forward looking, and the "Eroica" has deliberate harmonic clashes which he intended, which sound even more marked in unequal temperament. As one who made a lifelong study of Beethoven, I can speak with confidence on this topic. The other classical composer who has been misrepresented for years is Schubert.

 

R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Re the Beethoven symphonies, they are to heard in unequal temperament, as much as Bach.

 

R

 

I would not dare criticise your Beethoven scholarship, but it's just plain incorrect that ANY orchestral music "is to be heard in unequal temperament" because, as a simple matter of fact, temperament is something which applies only to keyboards and (to a limited degree) instruments with fixed tuning. We have had this discussion before regarding choirs, I think. True, if an instrument such as a piano or organ is in use and is audible to the players, they'll natually amend their own intonation to it; but left to their own devices, orchestral players and singers will pitch everything pure (or slightly sharp) to their colleagues. Which is why, when piano and organ makers were experimenting with variations in temperament to make their instruments more attractive to play and win business, orchestras were raising pitches to sound brighter than their competitors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Re the Beethoven symphonies, they are to heard in unequal temperament

 

It's a very very very impressive orchestra that can play in unequal temperament - naturally we try to make every interval pure, same as singers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's a very very very impressive orchestra that can play in unequal temperament - naturally we try to make every interval pure, same as singers.

 

2nd violins - you were beating 42.6 times per second against the oboes just there - don't you know it should be 38.95?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Roffensis

Yes I know, but Beethoven is, regardless, to be heard in old tuning and pitch. It's also a revelation!

 

1939 changed the actual "standard" pitch of course, and then we spoilt many organs by raising pitches and so on. Contrary to popular belief?, this does alter the tone. I am sure with your organ building experience, which we indeed both have, we can agree on this?

 

The organ where I play still sits at 435, well actually it's 433, and it stays there! I will never let it be altered one iota. I would be interested to ask you if Romsey Abbey has been raised?

 

 

 

Richard.

 

 

 

2nd violins - you were beating 42.6 times per second against the oboes just there - don't you know it should be 38.95?

 

 

:unsure:

 

R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes I know, but Beethoven is, regardless, to be heard in old tuning and pitch. It's also a revelation!

 

1939 changed the actual "standard" pitch of course, and then we spoilt many organs by raising pitches and so on. Contrary to popular belief?, this does alter the tone. I am sure with your organ building experience, which we indeed both have, we can agree on this?

 

The organ where I play still sits at 435, well actually it's 433, and it stays there! I will never let it be altered one iota. I would be interested to ask you if Romsey Abbey has been raised?

 

Well, if you know that (presumably, that you understand it's not how orchestras play, though your second reply - "under Bruggen they would be" (beating 42.3 times per second), which I see you have now edited out - leads me to think you're probably still fighting), then why say symphonies should be performed in unequal temperament?

 

Pitch has been going up and down for years, and I believe that some orchestras still play this game today to create a brighter sound and make more appealing CD's.

 

Yes, Romsey was transposed and fitted with tuning slides in the 1970's. Obviously, however fractionally, it alters the scaling of flues and reeds are more severely affected.

 

The subject of choirs was brought up because someone (I thought you, but perhaps someone else) recently made the ridiculous assertion that it was wrong to tune an organ in anything other than equal temperament, because that's what choirs sing in. The same principle applies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Roffensis
Well, if you know that (presumably, that you understand it's not how orchestras play, though your second reply - "under Bruggen they would be" (beating 42.3 times per second), which I see you have now edited out - leads me to think you're probably still fighting), then why say symphonies should be performed in unequal temperament?

It was a different temperament to now, most accurately heard on period instruments. Then again, it would be. Bruggen is very hot on the subject. it's worth searching him out. That said, his speeds are often wrong, eg Eroica first movement, way too slow.

 

I am not fighting you David. Why should I? Can we not bury the hatchet if it exists? if it does exist? then it is not one I have made. I really am seriously considering leaving these boards, I do have a life away from it, and just find it all so very depressing. It isn't about discussion, there's no humour, it's too serious, one cannot have an opinion, I find no pleasure whatever being on the boards now. Pitch has been going up and down for years, and I believe that some orchestras still play this game today to create a brighter sound and make more appealing CD's.

 

Thats nice for the CDs!!!

Yes, Romsey was transposed and fitted with tuning slides in the 1970's. Obviously, however fractionally, it alters the scaling of flues and reeds are more severely affected.

Pity.

 

The subject of choirs was brought up because someone (I thought you, but perhaps someone else) recently made the ridiculous assertion that it was wrong to tune an organ in anything other than equal temperament, because that's what choirs sing in. The same principle applies.

I didn't say that. Nothing to do with me!

 

R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It was a different temperament to now, most accurately heard on period instruments.

 

How can a violin be "in a temperament"? Regardless of period? I'm not trying to be argumentative, I just want you to explain this to me, 'cos I really don't understand! Surely a violinist, regardless of the age the instrument, plays a third as a third? They don't think, oh, I should be playing in Werckmeister, and I'm playing Db to F, so I must make the interval x beats wider/flatter than pure, do they?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It was a different temperament to now, most accurately heard on period instruments. Then again, it would be. Bruggen is very hot on the subject.

 

I don't understand what you mean by this at all.

 

Sure, you can tune a keyboard instrument aequally, and to a certain extent recorders and woodwind pitches can be influenced at manufacture, though the player has a sufficient degree of pitch and tone flexibility to darken or lighten a sound as appropriate. With strings, temperament is going to be purely notional, unless it's a small ensemble playing with a keyboard instrument.

 

A conductor can ask for a "darker" or "more menacing" or "sunnier" sound but that's it, and it's this musicianship which composers and creators of temperaments work together to achieve, as can be demonstrated by playing the 1st prelude of the 48 in an old tuning - the suspensions mean something.

 

I don't know who or what you are fighting, but on the Kimberger thing it took five of us more or less raising our voices before you'd even consider moving your position on the subject. When you keep bringing Romsey up (an instrument with which I consider myself only tangentially connected, having no say whatsoever in its maintenance or stewardship), how am I to assume it's anything other than personal? I'm not going to be drawn on whether anything's a shame or not in connection with Romsey here or on any other forum.

 

There's plenty of humour, but when someone's dogmatically defending factual inaccuracies, there needs to be a place for sharing information too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Roffensis

It is a shame about Romsey and the pitch, but also it's a shame about Liverpool cathedral for the same reason, and a whole load of others. I have not brought Romsey up before that I am aware, and if I have it has only been to praise the job. I always respected it very much as a sound. It's also one of our oldest organs in a major church. I certainly do not assoiciate you with it personally, the organ has a very great historical importance.

 

As to Kimberger, did I not say I have seen it, but that I did not know if Kirnberger and Kimberger are one and the same? Ok they are, fine. I know that now, which I did not. It still doesn't alter the fact the spelling is used, whether correctly or not. Did it take five to make the point? I am beginning feel quite victimised to be honest, and may formally complain, failing which I will leave the site. I really cannot hack it. It's as if every single thing I say.......

 

I am not a fool.

 

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As to Kimberger, did I not say I have seen it, but that I did not know if Kirnberger and Kimberger are one and the same?

 

[Edited]

You said:

Kimberger III does exist. There's also a Kirnberger II and I, but whether these are one and the same with Kimberger I know not.

 

I read this, originally, as stating categorically that Kimberger does exist.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Roffensis
No, you said "Kimberger does exist". Then went on about Kimberger III, and therefore the assumption that I & II must also have existed.

 

 

They exist in as much as they are reffered to, by others. As I said, I was wrong. It is a mispelling.

 

Thank you.

 

Best regards,

 

R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to be pedantic but...

 

Kimberger III does exist. There's also a Kirnberger II and I, but whether these are one and the same with Kimberger I know not.

 

... is what you actually said after two people had tried to correct you, and went on saying!! That's the only reason people keep coming back at you...

 

It was a Romsey remark made yesterday (why did we need a nave organ etc) which caused the jokes thread to be killed off - that was the one I meant.

 

There's no victimisation of anything or anyone going on. Chill out!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
They exist in as much as they are reffered to, by others. As I said, I was wrong. It is a mispelling.

 

Thank you.

 

Best regards,

 

R

 

No worries, no stress here. Like I said, my initial reading was that you were categoric. Doesn't look quite so definite when you pull the quote out on its own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1939 changed the actual "standard" pitch of course
Is it not rather that 1939 established an international standard pitch (in theory at any rate) where there wasn't one a universally agreed one before?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Roffensis
Sorry to be pedantic but...

... is what you actually said after two people had tried to correct you, and went on saying!! That's the only reason people keep coming back at you...

 

It was a Romsey remark made yesterday (why did we need a nave organ etc) which caused the jokes thread to be killed off - that was the one I meant.

 

There's no victimisation of anything or anyone going on. Chill out!

 

 

 

I did not make that remark about Romsey.

 

It was genuine interest in "Kimberger"...that does not exist....that made me so keen to settle it, not least when one types it in Google and it comes up all over the place.

 

I have never thought of you as pedantic.

 

I am also delighted to learn there is no victimisation going on.

 

That's settled then. I am chilled, I have a very long fuse, and it blows very rarely, and certainly not over anything as trivial as all of this! Life is too short.

 

R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Roffensis
No worries, no stress here. Like I said, my initial reading was that you were categoric. Doesn't look quite so definite when you pull the quote out on its own.

 

 

Never categoric (and I apologise if I appeared so)

 

Confused then? yes!!

 

Best,

 

R

 

Is it not rather that 1939 established an international standard pitch (in theory at any rate) where there wasn't one a universally agreed one before?

 

 

Yes, pitch was standardised in 1939. My organ is "French Diapason Normal" (actually, technically it isn't, it's even flatter! :unsure: ) but then others weren't. Some organs were sharp, some still are even now. I still have reservations about the effect it has organs, however slight, it's still a change. That's another subject! Best not go there!

 

I guess I'm just a terrible purist!

 

R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, pitch was standardised in 1939.

I have been led to believe that this was the last international agreement before the second world war to which both UK and Germany were signatories. Also that the pitch was intended to be the same as Diapason Normal, but they specified the wrong temperature, thus leading to the difference... (see here)

 

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have been led to believe that this was the last international agreement before the second world war to which both UK and Germany were signatories. Also that the pitch was intended to be the same as Diapason Normal, but they specified the wrong temperature, thus leading to the difference... (see here)

 

Paul

 

Paul, do you happen to have (or know where I maight obtain) a list of pitches and the dates at which they were adopted as standard, please?

 

In response to a point made earlier by, I believe, David Coram - I understand that, in the South Bank concert halls, it is still possible to hear A=440, A=417, or some other variant. However, as hs states, orchestras do not play in unequal temperament - just occasionally all tuned to a slightly different pitch.

 

For those who may know of the Californian Nuns' Orchestra and the Portsmouth Sinfonia, you will be aware that both ensembles took the idea of pitch to excitingly abstract levels - often several different pitches at once, during the same piece....

 

Richard - no victimisation going on, here. Stay, chill, enjoy the pleasant sparring....

;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Roffensis

Thanks S!

 

 

Next question....do you or anyone else know what year the C compass (top C) first came in on organs?

 

 

R ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Paul, do you happen to have (or know where I might obtain) a list of pitches and the dates at which they were adopted as standard, please?

I'll have a look this evening - I might have something. But of course the trouble is that much of the time there were no fixed standards, or people ignored those that there were. Meanwhile, there are quite a lot of dates here and here and here.

 

Paul

 

(later edit - what I found at home has nothing that is not contained in the links already given.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Paul, do you happen to have (or know where I maight obtain) a list of pitches and the dates at which they were adopted as standard, please?

 

In response to a point made earlier by, I believe, David Coram - I understand that, in the South Bank concert halls, it is still possible to hear A=440, A=417, or some other variant. However, as hs states, orchestras do not play in unequal temperament - just occasionally all tuned to a slightly different pitch.

 

For those who may know of the Californian Nuns' Orchestra and the Portsmouth Sinfonia, you will be aware that both ensembles took the idea of pitch to excitingly abstract levels - often several different pitches at once, during the same piece....

 

Richard - no victimisation going on, here. Stay, chill, enjoy the pleasant sparring....

;)

Deleted - duplicated the links in Pauls reply above

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Paul, do you happen to have (or know where I maight obtain) a list of pitches and the dates at which they were adopted as standard, please?
Try this, M'sieur. http://www.wam.hr/Arhiva/US/Cavanagh_440Hz.pdf

 

The earlier back you go the more local pitch standards become (especially in Italy, if memory serves, but not only there). Arthur Mendel wrote an article on the subject back in 1978: "Pitch in Western Music since 1500. A Re-Examination". Acta Musicologica 50 (1978): 1-93. It was long enough for Bärenreiter to take the unusual step of publishing it as a separate offprint. Unless you're really, really interested in the subject, though, it'll make you lose the will to live.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the risk of being out on a limb here I wonder if members are aware of the note on pitch that William McVicker wrote to accompany the 2 CD set Grand Chorus made by students of the RAM on important organs South of the Thames. Please see http://www.ram.ac.uk/sslso/pitch.htm . It may answer some of the questions raised.

PJW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...