We've had a pretty violent arrival of Spring here in the midwest of
USA. In our house this was exacerbated by the process of wet cleaning a
carpet. The resulting increase in humidity meant that I had to get
underneath and raise the keyboards and move the little pieces of paper that
fine tune the position of the registers from one end to the other. All
very high tech. I know, and you get much less grubby than checking the
vital fluids on the car.
When I finally got organised and ready to play, I decided that with Easter
approaching maybe Kuhnau's Hezekiah Sonata would be "fun". As I am
nominally tuned in standard 1/4 comma meantone, this also provided the
opportunity to test the theory that the A-flats might have been meant to
sound out-of-tune (see other thread).
After one go through I decided that the A-flats would sound better as
A-flats and not G-sharps. I come to this conclusion, not because of the
cacophony in the lament, which may indeed be intentional, but because even
when Hezekiah recovers, the A-flats are still used, casting something of a
shadow over the general rejoicing. There are, however, a couple of D-flats
at the beginning which in my opinion should be left suitably dour.
At all events, it is a simple matter to retune. Famous last words, or
"This is where the story really starts, folks", as the late and much
lamented Seagoon used to say. Bang! And string No.14, G-sharp, alias
almost-A-flat, ended up in the kitchen. For the record, it broke at the
tuning pin and was, of course BRASS -- 0.016" from ZHI.
A perfect opportunity to provide evidence for Herr Birkett's survey.
Tugged at the loop before tuning, but still had to retune several times. I
would say that the tone is a little less bright (highest partials missing),
but not so dull as to spoil one's pleasure; and what I said earlier is true
(and I didnt mean it just about this instrument!): that the notes around do
NOT sound totally uniform. In other words, I maintain that if you record
almost any note on a real harpsichord and electronically change the pitch
of the recorded sound to that of the next note above or below, there would
be a difference in timbre between the two.
I suppose that this is the wrong answer, and I may not be graded very
highly; but in the interests of Science I cannot falsify my results, sir.