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 Post subject: Re: Bach - French Suite no. 4 BWV 815
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:55 pm 
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musical-md wrote:
But we cannot know that Historically Informed Performance = Historically Authentic Performance, anymore than we can recreate classical Greek music from studying Plato's doctrine on the Ethos of Music found in his Republic. :|

We will never know how it "should" be played. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try and get it as close as possible, ideally.
As I said before, Historically Informed Performances are controversial. But non-HIP are MUCH MORE controversial, since they are based on NOTHING! :shock:

Eddy, I don't think I will go on discussing with you, since you "slide" your arguments too often. When I posted the Sinfonia, you were too much worried about pulse and not rhythmic alteration. Then I sent you a Robert Hill recording, just to say that early music experts play with lots more liberty than pianists do, and you said that Robert Hill didn't alter the pulse (in that case, you were only worried about pulse. But Robert Hill DID ALTER the rhythm, according to your perception -- everything that differs from a MIDI player you say it's "rhythmic alteration").

Now, the thing is quite inverted: Hill's rhythmic alterations were accepted, because the context was about my other recording (which didn't have any "rhythmic alteration"), but you don't accept it here in the current post, because now it does have. So this is a pretty neat way of always being over the discussion! This way, it seems you're always right. Difficult to discuss with someone who changes his ideas all the time... including the meaning of the words. Your will of being "right" all the time made once you say that rubato doesnt affect rhythm (!)
Well... in Clive Brown's book, there's a whole chapter called "Rubato as a rhythmic embellishment". Rubato not only affects rhythm, but it can affect pulse (when you don't restore the "stolen time"), and sometimes both!

And I would say more: when rhythmic alterations were really intended, playing strict is the REAL rhythmic alteration of the original text! The performer is altering what is supposed to sound. CPE Bach said: "Some rhythmic alterations are beautiful". It's part of the Baroque idiom, and no one can argue it shouldn't be applied in Bach's specific case, because it was said by his son (!)

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - French Suite no. 4 BWV 815
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:06 pm 
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luissarro wrote:
Today, I have played Bach-Brahms Chaconne for Judy Tarling in a masterclass.
When I played those lingered good notes and sharp articulation, she said it was too much detailed information. I asked her: but what to think of those cellists that linger the good notes on recordings?

She said: Yes, they play ilke that, and it annoys me! You're listening to too much recordings.

:lol:

So we ended up playing a very very strict chaconne. Not even rallentandos for a lot of cadenzas.
I also learned the violin articulation, which does not correspond to that of the harpsichord. She told me to forget the barlines.


Within some weeks I'll record this chaconne and post here.

I enjoyed the class very much (she's a very nice person), and she found it amazing that a whole piece of music could be played with only one hand. She said it was the first time she saw that. =D

But I left the class with lots of doubts. Lingering the good notes is indeed Baroque practice. Patrick Cohen and Wolfgang Rubsam do that on piano! Why there are people who does not like it? Was it a misunderstanding of the past studies? So now therer are early music experts who don't think it should be played this way?

HIP are always controversial... but they are rational and based on real evidence. It also evolves and changes within time, when people go deeper in the understanding of the musical treatises. Is lingering good notes and old-fashioned practice of the past decades, which has been overcome with new evidences?

Before today's class, I was quite convinced of my French Suite recording. Now I'm not any more (though I must say that lingering the good notes is what always fascinated me about harpsichordist playings!). My studies will go further.

It's very difficult for any pianist to enter this subject because the good and beautiful recordings of Tureck, Gould, Schiff, Perahia and Hewitt are not historically authentic. I think that Hewitt comes closer to authenticity (because she talks about overdotting, which is something simple that all the others don't even know it exists, though they underdot when needed), but even so there is much left out. I can talk to harpsichodists, but they don't like Bach playing on the piano (and most harpsichordist are even good pianists... they simply are not open minded enough, or they are not pianists from heart =D ), and the pianists are also very narrow minded: all this prejudice I found in this forum is repeated in "real life". A lot of arguments based on nothing, trying to convey you that Bach loved a metronome. :lol:

As far as I know, there are three pianists who plays Bach historically informed on a modern piano:
- Paul Badura-Skoda
- Robert Hill
- Wolfgang Rubsam

These three names play very differently from each other. Rubsam lingers the good notes and plays inégalement in several passsages, quite on the contrary than Badura-Skoda's straightforward performance. And Robert Hill plays with a different rubato which I can't even name (I don't recognize that!).

Please, if someone find any other pianist who tries to play Bach in an authentic way, I'd really appreciate.

I'll keep my studies and investigate the reason for these discrepancies.
I do not want to make anyone accept my performances, even so because I'm also changing them as my studies go on. Instead, I'd like to invite anyone to help me understand the baroque performances and how to play them on a modern piano. It's really revolting that we commonly accept great pianists performance as authentical, but it is really not. :shock:


Today I've talked to Judy Tarling and asked her opinion about inégalité in Bach. She said it's pretty much acceptable.
Then I asked her opinion about harpsichord articulation (which "isolates" the good note) and about lingering the strong beats. She said that barlines don't matter as people think they do (!). Lingering a bit, like on Gustav Leonhardt playing, is interesting. Too much, she said she gets irritated.

I've recently found an article about this style of playing:
http://bsherman.net/WTC.htm

Though this article irritates me with subjective judgments which I myself consider to be childish (like "unsurpassed recording", "corect performance", "the perfect tempo"), it has an interesting point:


" Harpsichordists can't differentiate beats with obvious gradations of loud and soft, so they set off strong beats with rhythmic nuances. To emphasize downbeats they often insert a tiny silence just before them; sometimes they hold downbeats a little longer than written. They also use timing and other devices to emphasize motifs, cadences, and points of arrival.(...) On the other hand, when harpsichordists just ignore the 'metrical hierarchy' of strong and weak beats, they can sound mechanical."

This is the EXACT reason why I wanted to study this kind of performance: it was an attempt of being free from this mechanical way of playing Bach. I don't think that only harpsichordits get mechanical when they don't emphasize these elements (good notes, motifs, cadences, points of arrival), but also do the pianists!
The mechanical "pianist way" of playing Bach used to entertain me in the past, when I thought there was no other possibility for this kind of music. But now that I found that it is probably less authentic than inflecting the phrases, I'll no more play Bach like I did in the past!

techneut wrote:
Technically there is nothing wrong here, but to me these interpretations seem a bit perverse, and I hesitate to put them up. Perhaps this approach would work to some extent on a harpsichord, but not on piano. I sorely miss Bach's rhythmic drive and vitality here.


My studies will go on, and I will get into these "good note inflection" discussions better with my teachers. It can be that my performance changes in the future (it probably will in the very long future, maturing all these ideas).
But since I really can't agree with my previous previous mechanical approach (someone calls it "rhythmic drive", to me this is mechanicalness :lol: ), I'd please ask to remove my french suite of the PS.

In the next months, I'll re-study Partita no. 6 and re-record it. And let's see what you think of it, if it can substitute my last recording or not.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - French Suite no. 4 BWV 815
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:55 pm 
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Don't worry, I haven't returned to argue, only to share a link to an article that IMO makes a pretty convincing case against fussing over HIP:

[url]http://www.artsjournal.com/ontherecord/2009/09/historically_informed_performa.html
[/url]

It doesn't dismiss it entirely, just questions the wrongheaded modern obsession with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - French Suite no. 4 BWV 815
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:49 pm 
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This applies to early music experts, when they get too narrow minded.

I don't think this applies to pianists. If we had obsessions with HIP, we wouldn't even play Chopin on a modern piano.
I think what happens to pianists is quite the opposite: wrongheaded obsession with unjustified practices, based on nothing (or based on a first pianist who recorded those pieces for a great -- and rich! -- label).

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - French Suite no. 4 BWV 815
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:18 pm 
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Luís,

Some of the comments you have had here have perhaps been a little more negative than you deserve because, as I understand it, inégalité was a concept which applied across a range of different kinds of inequality, and was not restricted to mere "notes inégales", where some notes written straight were expected to be "swung" (as the jazz people call it) by an unspecified amount at the whim of the performer, in other words they were expected to have their rhythm "distorted".

It seems perfectly reasonable that meter should also have a degree of flexibility applied to it, to help certain beats stand out more where dynamic differentiation was not possible (such as on a harpsichord). Other aspects of inequality would be choice of ornamentation, and also, importantly, the use of unequal temperament (we think we know now that Bach knew about but rejected equal temperament, and that his WTC was not a vote for ET, but was to show that one could find (and he had found) a temperament in which it was possible to play reasonably well in all keys while still allowing each key to retain a character of its own). In this sense it is a bit counterproductive to render HIP on a piano tuned to ET.

The whole point of inégalité was to avoid égalité or sameness, which was felt to make the music sound bland and boring. They wanted to make it pleasant by making it interesting and varied.

Having said that, I must observe that it is possible, and indeed easy, to overdo these effects. We must remember that one of the main objectives of music is that it should please the listener (especially the listener who is paying the musicians!), and I think that one of the requirements of pleasure is that the listener can relate to the music, to be able to predict (not totally, that would be boring) what is going to happen next. Thus meter and rhythm should not be too unpredictable or the listener is going to get confused and irritated.

When Chris made the comment "nauseous listening experience", there is more than a grain of truth in this. An unexpected flow of stimuli can disorient the listener and induce a feeling of motion sickness. It's interesting that in Sherman's article which you cited, the paragraph after the one from which you quoted also contains the word "seasick":

Emphasizing every strong beat can also obscure the music's larger shapes and make it sound dry. And "speaking" rhetorically sometimes yields seasick tempo fluctuations. Such instances demonstrate a common problem in the arts: a new approach to style tends to be exaggerated before it is fully digested.

I don't know if you have deliberately exaggerated the effects in order to stimulate discussion, or whether the exaggeration was unintentional. I believe the effects need to be much more subtle, and I think you have reached this conclusion yourself after the feedback you had in your masterclass.


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - French Suite no. 4 BWV 815
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:27 pm 
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luissarro wrote:
But since I really can't agree with my previous previous mechanical approach (someone calls it "rhythmic drive", to me this is mechanicalness :lol: ), I'd please ask to remove my french suite of the PS.

It is removed.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - French Suite no. 4 BWV 815
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:40 pm 
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Hi, Rainer!

Thanks for your comments!

rainer wrote:
Some of the comments you have had here have perhaps been a little more negative than you deserve because, as I understand it, inégalité was a concept which applied across a range of different kinds of inequality, and was not restricted to mere "notes inégales", where some notes written straight were expected to be "swung" (as the jazz people call it) by an unspecified amount at the whim of the performer, in other words they were expected to have their rhythm "distorted".

Well... this is PS!
I'm really used to negative comments. :lol:

rainer wrote:
(we think we know now that Bach knew about but rejected equal temperament, and that his WTC was not a vote for ET, but was to show that one could find (and he had found) a temperament in which it was possible to play reasonably well in all keys while still allowing each key to retain a character of its own). In this sense it is a bit counterproductive to render HIP on a piano tuned to ET.

That's right! These different keys have their different character. Sharp keys sound really "nervous", while flat keys are sweet, like in this this Eb flat suite. While I can't tune my piano in an unequal way (otherwise I couldn't play Chopin or Schoenberg), I use this information as a tip for the character of each piece. In the past, I used to play the F# prelude of the WTCI in a smooth and relaxed way. Now I believe that it should sound nervous and angry, more aggressive, because this is how this tonality sounds in an unequal temperament, at least in those unequal temperaments the harpsichordists usually play. (There are several of them...)

rainer wrote:
The whole point of inégalité was to avoid égalité or sameness, which was felt to make the music sound bland and boring. They wanted to make it pleasant by making it interesting and varied.

Yeah, it is part of the baroque language to achieve variety in an apparently monotonous music.

rainer wrote:
Having said that, I must observe that it is possible, and indeed easy, to overdo these effects. We must remember that one of the main objectives of music is that it should please the listener (especially the listener who is paying the musicians!), and I think that one of the requirements of pleasure is that the listener can relate to the music, to be able to predict (not totally, that would be boring) what is going to happen next. Thus meter and rhythm should not be too unpredictable or the listener is going to get confused and irritated.

When Chris made the comment "nauseous listening experience", there is more than a grain of truth in this. An unexpected flow of stimuli can disorient the listener and induce a feeling of motion sickness. It's interesting that in Sherman's article which you cited, the paragraph after the one from which you quoted also contains the word "seasick":

This is all too subjective for me. I do believe it is a matter of culture, of getting used to it.
I usually got angry while listening to harpsichordits in the past. But now I got used to it, and what really annoys me now is a metronomical Bach playing, including by great Bach pianists I would enjoy a lot in the past.

And in fact... talking about prediction, I could say exactly the opposite: after getting used to this type of inflection, when I listen to some performer who does not inflect when I think he should (then my prediction fails), I get frustrated.

rainer wrote:
Emphasizing every strong beat can also obscure the music's larger shapes and make it sound dry. And "speaking" rhetorically sometimes yields seasick tempo fluctuations. Such instances demonstrate a common problem in the arts: a new approach to style tends to be exaggerated before it is fully digested.

Okay, but did you see that Bernard Sherman loves the way Asperen plays? have you heard Asperen's recordings? Sherman says that Asperen do not exaggerate these inflections...
Well... so far as I saw, he's THE ONE who most exaggerate it! He puts the rhythmic flexibility to the extreme!
(And yes, I like it!)

See how subjective this discussion easily gets?

rainer wrote:
I don't know if you have deliberately exaggerated the effects in order to stimulate discussion, or whether the exaggeration was unintentional. I believe the effects need to be much more subtle, and I think you have reached this conclusion yourself after the feedback you had in your masterclass.

Not really...
Nowadays, I've been really angry with historical approaches to early music, since I have noticed that there is really a great amount of subjective judging. There are few possibilities for discussion, and people simply do not talk about what they don't agree with. What I have learned from Judy Tarling about strong beats and articulation is really the opposite from what I have learned from Robert Donington and Paul Badura-Skoda (these two last names, I learned only by reading their books). And also from a great Brazilian harpsichordist.
So now who should I trust?

There was no discussion or explaining why this lingering of the good notes should or should not apply.

I'm really angry, because I decided to study these stuffs in order to get rid of that annoying "argument" of how you should or should not play something, based on NOTHING, based on a famous pianist who recorded that, or based on a subjective personal taste.
And then I reach the historical performance with... THE SAME SUBJECTIVE JUDGINGS.

Image

I have decided myself that I will choose Asperen as an example of good inflections (Robert Donington says in his book that overinflecting is a common mistake, but underinflection is much more common!), and then I'll take only CPE Bach treatise of how to deal with rhythms, ornaments and tempo fluctuations. I think I'll forget all the rest. :?

From this recording, I think I would only remake the Allemande. Not because I think there is too much inflection... but because I think these inflections were not too well shaped. I usually hurry in the end of each the phrase, when in fact I should do the opposite.

Anyway...
whatever opinion one has about Bach or baroque performance, what I really miss is that more pianists study it! Because pianists (not only my teachers, not only enthusiastic listeners, but also the great Bach names) know beans about it! Ask any pianist if they ever heard about inégalité, affect doctrine, rhetoric, good and bad notes...
But they keep saying that the way they play Bach is "authentic" (whatever that means on a piano...) and "correct" (though I don't believe in any correctness of any performance... it is not a matter of reaching an exact result, like in exact sciences. Besides that, Harnoncourt himself says that we will never know how it should be played: and thanks God!).

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - French Suite no. 4 BWV 815
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:46 pm 
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Luis,
As one who has an intellectual approach to music, I do wish to commend you for your steep historical interest and efforts to research and investigate (and apply) this subject (HIP).

Rainer and Luis (especially Rainer),
You have missed a very important fact regarding Equal Temperment (ET) and Bach's WTC. Yes any key can be tuned to sound with a particular character and consonance, BUT, the point of the WTC is that ONCE TUNED, the instrument could play in any key without distortion of the scalar relationships. What ET provided was an ability to modulate and visit remote keys without distortion of the scalar/tonal parameters either within a work or between works. For instance, to play the Beethoven Waldstein Op.53, which has the unusual modulation in the first movement of tonic to chromatic mediant (C major to E major), a very remote modulation, would sound HORRIBLE on an instrument not tuned with ET. With ET, one could have the instrument tuned to which ever absolute standard one desired (e.g., A440) and then the performance of the entire WTC in all of its keys would be harmonious and internally consistent, thus arguing the support of ET, not its rejection. Without ET, a performance beginning with the C major prelude would have to be interrupted to retune the instrument before performing in much other than A minor, G major, E minor, F major or D minor, and even some of these would sound stretched or contracted in odd places of the scale. To do any of the others would sound worse the farther from 0-sharps-or-flats one went. The ultimate proof is to observe that Bach even conjoined the remotest of keys in the Eb Minor Prelude with the D# Minor Fugue of WTC1. (We have already observed elsewhere on other threads that these notes are not the same pitch in natural/Pythagorean tuning: the D# actually being higher than Eb by about 1/9 the distance of a whole step. Obviously, this difference is not evident on a keyboard, but is (less so) in wind and (more so) in string instruments.) The WTC is Bach's Summa for the support of ET.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - French Suite no. 4 BWV 815
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:59 pm 
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Eddy, no one said about retuning the instrument when changing the key of the piece.

But people usually mixes up "well tempered" with "equally tempered". No, Bach's music was never equally tempered. If there are disagreements about articulation or rhythmic inflections, I never saw one early music expert saying that Bach's music should be equally tempered. In fact, it's quite the opposite: these differentes in the character of each key make the piece sound "strange" to the main key while you modulate to distant keys. And this has a rhetorical meaning: it represents the "confutatio", the opposed ideas of the "narratio". (like in an argumentation, there are times when you present the opposed ideas, with the intention to refutate).

I don't think you got this information above from a reliable source. You even talk about "no distortion". Distortion??? Distortion to "what"? Distortion to what YOU call an undistorted temperament? Do you know that in our modern temperament an octave is REALLY NOT an octave? It is more than the double of the frequency! Isn't it a distortion, from the physical acoustic point of view?

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - French Suite no. 4 BWV 815
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:03 pm 
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Luis,

Thank you so much for this posting and the introduction of some very interesting and lively discussion!

I'm far from a Bach expert and will stay out of the historical particulars. As an observer, I am very impressed with the argument you put forward; clearly you have wrestled with this for some time. While I don't know where the line sits demarking offensive/acceptable liberties with Bach or other Baroque-period music, I personally am skeptical about placing too many [artificial?] limitations when performing. Perhaps this is a reason I'm no Bach expert, eh?? :) I like the dynamic capabilities of modern instruments. While I do appreciate precise and well-executed performances, especially in very rich music such as Bach, I rarely am moved emotionally by technical prowess alone.

I did not read the entire thread until after listening to your music, and I began with a copy of the score in front of me. I admit I was at first confused following along with the music. So I decided to set it aside and just listen.

Not sure if I'm in the minority on PS here, but I really liked the Allemande. Your touch was very delicate and expressive, and the music was very interesting to me. I've heard this piece before, but it has been a long time so perhaps I was more open to hearing it this way. ??

For me, the Sarabande was probably my least favorite and probably the only time the unevenness in the LH (especially) bothered me slightly and sounded a bit improvised (again, with no score in front of me).

Overall I just wish to say you have undeniable talent here, and I feel your vision for the music was applied consistently throughout. The Gigue was very lively and thoughtful, light and clean, with excellent articulation of all the voices.

Sincerely,

Matt

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - French Suite no. 4 BWV 815
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:49 pm 
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mwyman1 wrote:
Luis,

Thank you so much for this posting and the introduction of some very interesting and lively discussion!

I'm far from a Bach expert and will stay out of the historical particulars. As an observer, I am very impressed with the argument you put forward; clearly you have wrestled with this for some time. While I don't know where the line sits demarking offensive/acceptable liberties with Bach or other Baroque-period music, I personally am skeptical about placing too many [artificial?] limitations when performing. Perhaps this is a reason I'm no Bach expert, eh?? :) I like the dynamic capabilities of modern instruments. While I do appreciate precise and well-executed performances, especially in very rich music such as Bach, I rarely am moved emotionally by technical prowess alone.

I did not read the entire thread until after listening to your music, and I began with a copy of the score in front of me. I admit I was at first confused following along with the music. So I decided to set it aside and just listen.

Not sure if I'm in the minority on PS here, but I really liked the Allemande. Your touch was very delicate and expressive, and the music was very interesting to me. I've heard this piece before, but it has been a long time so perhaps I was more open to hearing it this way. ??

For me, the Sarabande was probably my least favorite and probably the only time the unevenness in the LH (especially) bothered me slightly and sounded a bit improvised (again, with no score in front of me).

Overall I just wish to say you have undeniable talent here, and I feel your vision for the music was applied consistently throughout. The Gigue was very lively and thoughtful, light and clean, with excellent articulation of all the voices.

Sincerely,

Matt


Hi, Matthew!

Thanks a lot that even enjoying a strict Bach performance you were open minded enough to consider listening to this version.
It's very important to me to collect opinions, since this is an almost virgin terrain, where really few pianists have entered to, so there are really few recordings to compare... it's difficult to know when we are really exaggerating in the rhythmic inflections, or when this is just people who are not used to it (as I said before, I myself was not used to it in the past too).

If you want to try listening more to this kind of performance, I totally recommend Wolfgang Rubsam's recordings.

Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - French Suite no. 4 BWV 815
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:38 pm 
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musical-md wrote:
You have missed a very important fact regarding Equal Temperment (ET) and Bach's WTC. Yes any key can be tuned to sound with a particular character and consonance, BUT, the point of the WTC is that ONCE TUNED, the instrument could play in any key without distortion of the scalar relationships.
That's not entirely true. The point is indeed that the instrument should be playable in any key without needing to be retuned, thereby giving the composer/improviser freedom to modulate at will into arbitrarily remote keys. It is also true that ET would have achieved that aim, but (leaving aside the technical difficulties at the time which would have been involved in actually achieving ET) for Bach that was not enough, he wanted all keys to be playable while at the same time retaining personality or colour of keys. He wanted there to be some distortion of scalar relationships, just enough to make the keys sound interestingly different, but obviously not so much as to produce ghastly out-of-tune intervals.

The problem with Pythagorean tuning (11 pure fifths) was the unavoidable impurity of the 12th (wolf) fifth, but it also had another major problem, that thirds were seriously dissonant.

The problem with just or natural tuning was that although you could get perfect thirds and fifths, you could only get them in a small selection of keys and once you strayed away from them, it sounded dissonant.

So along came quarter comma meantone temperament which made the majority of thirds pure by sacrificing not too much of the purity of 11 fifths, but at the expense of making the wolf fifth almost twice as bad as its Pythagorean ancestor. So QCMT meant you could play in quite a few keys, but far from in all of them.

Subsequent developments involved experimenting with many different temperaments or tuning recipes, which ultimately resulted in the as good as universal adoption of ET as the modern standard for keyboard instruments, with the exception of a significant proportion of the harpsichord world.

Most pianists alive today simply know no other tuning system than ET, they've been conditioned their entire lives by it and accept it as the norm. This despite the fact of ET's most obvious shortcoming: All keys sound equally out of tune. Due to our conditioning t is easy for us to overlook that ET thirds are actually pretty badly out of tune (relative to their natural counterparts). Not quite as bad as Pythagorean thirds, but still more than half as bad.
Quote:
The ultimate proof is to observe that Bach even conjoined the remotest of keys in the Eb Minor Prelude with the D# Minor Fugue of WTC1. (We have already observed elsewhere on other threads that these notes are not the same pitch in natural/Pythagorean tuning: the D# actually being higher than Eb by about 1/9 the distance of a whole step. Obviously, this difference is not evident on a keyboard, but is (less so) in wind and (more so) in string instruments.)
Well, because this difference is not evident on a keyboard, the keys of Eb minor and D# minor, as played on a keyboard, are not at all remote from each other, they are identical. This cannot therefore be conclusive proof that Bach required ET for WTC, he is merely making the point that he has succeeded in closing the circle, by finding a suitable temperament, not necessarily an equal one.
Quote:
The WTC is Bach's Summa for the support of ET.
Well, that was indeed the prevailing expert view for a long time, but apparently, starting approximately in the 1970s opinion has swung the other way and I think you will find that there is now wide agreement among musicologists that Bach's "well" temperament was not ET. Unfortunately there is not much agreement over which of many candidate temperaments he favoured. A tantalisingly appealing relatively recent discovery suggests that Bach "hid" tuning instructions in plain view in the doodles on the WTC title page. Unfortunately there is disagreement over how these instructions (if that's what they are) should be interpreted.


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - French Suite no. 4 BWV 815
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:45 pm 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
rainer wrote:
A tantalisingly appealing relatively recent discovery suggests that Bach "hid" tuning instructions in plain view in the doodles on the WTC title page.
Johann Sebastian da Vinci! :mrgreen:

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"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - French Suite no. 4 BWV 815
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:59 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:29 pm
Posts: 141
Location: Brazil
rainer wrote:
Most pianists alive today simply know no other tuning system than ET, they've been conditioned their entire lives by it and accept it as the norm. This despite the fact of ET's most obvious shortcoming: All keys sound equally out of tune. Due to our conditioning t is easy for us to overlook that ET thirds are actually pretty badly out of tune (relative to their natural counterparts). Not quite as bad as Pythagorean thirds, but still more than half as bad.

I think that's why solfa classes are so difficult... our temperament is not that natural, tough it is the best solution yet to make all the keys sound equal.

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