Author Topic: Dr Burney touches issues of notation, intervals, temperament and harmony  (Read 4792 times)

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David Pinnegar

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Hi!

A quick perusal of Dr Burney's book was interesting as it was frustrating. I could not find any other references to current tuning in the 18th century. Can anyone track down anything else? Sorry for the quality of the photos of pages - was distinctly rushed

Best wishes

David P













David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

David Pinnegar

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Modern edition of Dr Burney has been mangled by a stroller in a barn
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2012, 06:39:14 PM »
Hi!

Keen to explore Dr Burney's musicology further I purchased a modern edition -
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1236341198

As Dr Burney was one of the last people able to travel through Europe speaking the common language of Latin, this work is a most thorough survey of musical history and its origins and of a scholarship and magnitude valid still.

Sadly, however, this edition of Burney's work is by Optical Character Recognition of the poorest quality without an ounce of human attention being given to the resulting republication of the text.

On page 59 we read:
Quote
he was, on occasion, veral persons, preparatory to their speak-to incite it: Qui inflaret ctleritcr cum sonum, ing in public, or going on the stage, He quo ilium aut remissum excitarer, aut a conhad a law-suit with one of them, in which tentione revocaret.

Cicero pleaded his cause. (c) Encyclop, Art. Dcdamat. des. Anc. (b)De Or at. lib iii

Shakespeare Shakespeare does, that has been mangled by a stroller In a barn.

This edition is elsewhere comprehensible but opening the book at random, this was the first passage that presented itself. The edition is so unreliable as to be requiring proper editorial attention and republishing, the current printrun being near worthless, useless and extremely annoying to have to attempt to decipher without sight of the original.

Only a photo facsimile edition is worthwhile.

I most certainly will not be purchasing any further volumes nor any other work of this publisher - General Books LLCTM , Memphis, USA www.RareBooksClub.com

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

Bobbell9

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Re: Dr Burney touches issues of notation, intervals, temperament and harmony
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2012, 01:52:33 PM »
This article "The History of Musical Tuning and Temperament during the Classical and Romantic Periods" is useful and has a reference section for other articles/books

www.the-compound.org/writing/classicaltuning.pdf

Bobbell9

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Re: Dr Burney touches issues of notation, intervals, temperament and harmony
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2012, 02:00:19 PM »
A better copy of Dr Burneys nook is available from
archive.org/details/generalhistoryof005344mbp

David Pinnegar

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Re: Dr Burney touches issues of notation, intervals, temperament and harmony
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2012, 03:58:29 PM »
This article "The History of Musical Tuning and Temperament during the Classical and Romantic Periods" is useful and has a reference section for other articles/books

www.the-compound.org/writing/classicaltuning.pdf

Hi!

THanks so much for this and also the reference to a better version of Dr Burney's text.

The paper on classical tuning is particularly interesting on issues of pitch, which clarifies issues of the discrepancies between pitches A415 A425 A432 A435 A440 and A553 or so that one encounters and about which concert pianists argue annoyingly! It also deals with the longevity of Meantone but ignores a Third Way, intentionally or otherwise ducking the issue. This was, commonly now known as "Well Temperament" after the title of  the "Wohltemperiert Klavier".

What did this mean? According to the 1950s edition of Grove, in contrast to Meantone in which, as explained by the paper, four major and minor keys were impossible, all keys could be accessed with equal facility and thus giving rise to the concept of Equal Temperament even if some keys were tuned better than others . . .

It's this with which I have had the facility to experiment during the past decade with the assistance of many performers on the piano. Jorgensen is adament that so-called Unequal Temperament was universal up to the death of Chopin in 1849, so making modern performances in equal temperament incomplete of clues to musicianship and performance, and the repertoire performed experimentally from past this time suggests that differences between keys, invisible inaudible in modern equal temperament, were expected to be heard in romantic music well after this time.

For the accompaniment of singers requiring semitonal transpositional shifts for vocal comfort, whether in Church or the drawing room for entertaining songs, the new equal temperament may well have suited the purposes of popular music - but for "high art", it is apparent from the compositions that differences between keys provided expected variation, colour and were expected to be heard.

Certainly Liszt works well with unequal temperament, Schubert too, and Schumann can be heard with
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wd0o7qzIGz8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2EtSaqEzI0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8PXv5h1hwI et seq
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwSMX1s9HNc et seq

Brahms may well be on the cusp but moving forward Debussy works curiously well:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdFXGkqE-MM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SthGamF8qIQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXVShKy0LP4

The question is "What temperment". Harpsichord and Fortepiano magazine last year ran an article explaining that Vallotti was extensive through time and place throughout Europe whilst to my ears it's not strong enough. Jorgensen recommended variations of Werkmeister III as does a piano tuner or two in USA. A commentator on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHOcCLvUeH4  suggests 1/6 comma Meantone whilst Villefranche organ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwoglLif3ps is pleasant and has the characteristics of increasing colour of keys proportional to numbers of sharps or flats that I'd expect . . . but that tuning system is probably neither . . .

???

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

Bobbell9

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Re: Dr Burney touches issues of notation, intervals, temperament and harmony
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2012, 07:44:15 PM »
It is interesting to use digital electronic organs with various temperaments available. See if your congregation can hear any difference! :D

 


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