On Wed, 4 Apr 2001, I wrote:
> ...familiarity with the Barbour/Jorgensen/Blackwood canon...
I should add: Jorgensen's first book was a lot better than the big red
_Tuning_ that replaced it. It was from the early 80's or late 70's, and
Jorgensen was considerably more expository about the mental processes that
led him where he is now in _Tuning_. Unfortunately, that book was a
limited edition, and is difficult to find outside a fortunate library. We
all have to make do with _Tuning_. Ugh.
My main objections to that one: (1) he doesn't give much credence to
sources that are not in English (or even seem to be aware that they
exist); (2) he tries to quantify things that really can't be quantified,
such as adjectives and adverbs in the sources. In the end a lot of his
numbers are arbitrary. And, of course, (3) without the explicit axioms he
laid out in his first book, the thought behind _Tuning_ can't be verified.
People who read only _Tuning_ are merely taking Jorgensen's word for it.
The book gives the impression that all of his number-crunching is fact,
where it's really interpretation.
In the classic Barbour work, the page of corrections is important...lots
of misprints. And, as others have pointed out, Barbour probably didn't
hear many unequal temperaments in practice, but studied them only in
theory. He does cover a lot of temperaments, but does so in a way that
relates them to equal temperament as an ideal...quite a bias.
Now, Easley Blackwood's book about the structure of recognizable tunings,
that's a fun one. Lots of mathematical theorems needing modulo
arithmetic. It's worth taking the time to follow them closely...he really
does make some sense. Not an easy book to read though, and it takes at
least a couple weeks of close dedicated study. (I read most of it on a
family trip; while my cousins were swimming, I read this by the pool.
This was a long time ago.) Blackwood's theories make sense in the context
of his own music, which explores equal temperaments of numbers other than
Bradley Lehman, Dayton VA
home: http://i.am/bpl or http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bpl
CD's: http://listen.to/bpl or http://www.mp3.com/bpl
"Music must cause fire to flare up from the spirit - and not only sparks
from the clavier...." - Alfred Cortot