On Mon, 2 Apr 2001, Paul Poletti wrote:
> theorists "discovered" new tempering systems, and then all the musicians
> rushed down to their booksellers and hurried home to try the "new
> tunings" - wow! I never thought THAT was possible!! Now, at last . . .
> I can write in f# minor!! Oh . . Thank You, Mr. Neidhardt!
I checked Rita Steblin's 'A History of Key characteristics in the 18th and
early nineteenth centuries'. Most 18th century writers (and certainly the
17th century ones like Athanasius Kircher) don't even mention f sharp
minor: Rousseau (1749), Laborde (1780), Lacombe (1758). Kirnberger lists
everything, taking a very mathematical approach that on first reading I
don't understand. Matheson (1713) lists it as a key that appears in
harpsichord only. Gretry (1797) mentions it in passing. Galeazzi (1797)
says it is 'extremely lugubrious and gloomy. It is little practiced. If
used it expresses slaughters, massacres, and funeral dirges.' He by the
way says that f minor and g minor are 'little practiced on account of ...
excessive difficulty', and that c sharp minor and g sharp minor are
'banished from music of good taste'.
But I do see an interesting table published by Christian Friedrich Daniel
Schubart in 1789 (updated from one he published in 1789 and
'inadvertently' left out several keys including f# minor):
g minor: Discontent, uneasiness, worry about a failed scheme; bad-tempered
gnashing of teeth; in a word resentment and dislike.
f minor: Deep depression, funereal lament, groans of misery and longing
for the grave.
f# minor: A gloomy key, it tugs at passion as a dog biting a dress.
Resentment and discontent are its language. It really does not seem to
like its own position: therefore it languishes even for the calm of A
major or for the triumphant happiness of D major.
Oddly and obviously meaninglessly,the me the description of f# minor
characteristics sound more like the f# minor toccata of Bach than do the
Minor thirds in meantone, by the way, are by-and-large larger than equal
but smaller than pure.