Author Topic: Does Bach require better than Meantone for organ performance?  (Read 2975 times)

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David Pinnegar

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Does Bach require better than Meantone for organ performance?
« on: February 25, 2011, 05:13:19 AM »
Hi!

A friend on Facebook posted a link to
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ng4Zbr6AeOQ

Very interesting - performed in "modified" meantone - I wonder what that might be?

Perhaps we might try putting the Hammerwood instrument into Meantone for Bach for John Clark Maxwell's recital at Hammerwood on 6th March 4pm . . .

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

revtonynewnham

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Re: Does Bach require better than Meantone for organ performance?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2011, 08:48:25 PM »
Hi

Suerly the point of Bach's "Well Tempered Clavier" is to demonstrate that he didn'twant meantone (nor equal temp)!

Tony

David Pinnegar

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Re: Does Bach require better than Meantone for organ performance?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2011, 11:47:18 PM »
Dear Tony

Yes . . . but it's often said that Bach would have expected his organ works to travel through Meantone tuned zones . . . or at least he would have come across meantone tuned organs and certainly the youtube video that inspired this thread sounds good as does our experiment at Hammerwood (camera rather than digital recording so not representative of tonal quality): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Uj9MORwoF0

Best wishes

David P

PS That video is one of those hilarious ones where people leave rude comments but don't go on to leave good comments on well recorded videos . . . :-) I think perhaps it's not the organ but actually the unmodified meantone temperament - it would be interesting to know what "modified" temperament the St. Jacobi, Hamburg instrument is in . . .

http://www.arpschnitger.nl/shamb.html has wonderful photos of the console - fantastic stop knobs asserting a different voice to each stop!

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=o6YSpMn-h3UC&pg=PA548&lpg=PA548&dq=St.+Jacobi,+Hamburg+organ+temperament&source=bl&ots=55mxxxW9Jn&sig=hD4xxlgBnCnVl125tsnmzLCfwTs&hl=en&ei=4fpnTYzoDIuEhQfguPChDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CDYQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=St.%20Jacobi%2C%20Hamburg%20organ%20temperament&f=false claims the instrument to have been tuned to "equal temperament" and claims that Werkmeister could only recommend "equal temperament"! Are we seeing here something shocking to those of us who promote the colours of unequal temperament or are we seeing the beginnings of the Good Temperament confusion?

http://mypipeorganhobby.blogspot.com/2008/12/st-jacobi-kirche-hamburg.html gives:

Tuning: Upon the restoration in 1993, a tuning system was chosen which stays close to the historic original, but still allows for a broad band of music to be played.

It is a modified-moderate tuning of the type 1/5 syntonic comma. This system offers a relative purity of thirds in the basic keys. In the peripheral keys F-sharp major and C sharp major, some hard contrasts have to be put up with.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 12:22:49 AM by David Pinnegar »
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

David Pinnegar

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Re: Does Bach require better than Meantone for organ performance?
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2016, 10:40:42 PM »
Since the origin of this very old thread there are some quite interesting recordings -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMHvl1yH1pw
the Bach Violin Sonata on Harpsichord tuned to Kellner. The comment is quite revealing:
Quote
That is incredible. SO alive . It must be an unequal temperament?
  Maybe equal temperament is fitting for modern man - never quite at home anywhere, (the division of the octave into 12 equal parts is no home  - the epitome of homelesness) - the home comes from the octave, but also the fifth and the third in major and even minor chords . But then between keys too  the same thing can apply : you have a home then going outdoors becomes meaningful , and you can go a long way, and because it is a long way from home not some homeless-condition-everywhere ,- that really means something.
Then if you have a home going out can be a SUrprise - listen to all the life breaking in on you from everywhere in this performance - whereas with equal temperament nothing is a surprise - you are homeless anyway ! And homelesness is essentially boring !   
              Trust modern man not to recognise this !
     What an amazing wonderful performance.

and on Piano also tuned to Kellner "Bach" tuning
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JF3YzTG7lU
Bach first Partita.

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

 


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