On Tue, 15 May 2007 10:33:57 -0400, Brad Lehman wrote:
really big snip
> Tricky, even though I knew ahead of time what to expect,
depends I guess. As much as I am able, I have no problems with
enharmonic keyboards, not that I am any great shakes.
Christoph Bossert, organ professor in Wuerzburg now, spent some time
evenings with a true chromatico (19 notes) I made, a south german at
that, not an italian and with the extended short octave down to GG.
IOW, perfect for Froberger. It took him all of about 1/2 hour to
adapt, mostly improvising. Then after some 16th and 17th c. stuff
including Froberger, he went on to "his" central volume, WTC II and
played most of it thru by heart with only very few problems due to the
keyboard. He is a composer: in the end he drifted off into modern
improvising, exploring the possiblities of true emharmonics - as far
as that is possible with 19 notes.
> I tried out several Froberger and Frescobaldi toccatas that use some
> of each enharmonic pair. I tried the Froberger ricercar in C# minor
> (1658, last piece in Schott's volume 1), which *didn't* work: the B#
> and E# don't have split keys, and are consequently way out of tune
> for their contexts.
That is of course your particular experience. I don't agree in this
case. That only shows up the non-objective nature of any key
character/temperment discussion, not what is appropriate for this and
that but rather what "we" think is appropriate based on our experience.
> Also, it was awkward to play one of the
> left-hand parts in there where the pinky takes G# on the front half
> of its key, and 1 or 2 take the D# up on the top half of *its*
> key.... Turn that wrist around in a weird way!
Up front, and having made may such keyboards, I would suspect that to
be a problem of keyboard proportions; the lengths of the sharps, the
height and the keydip of course. Of course, seat height, hand position
and fingering are also important. Organs usually have quite a bit of
keydip and that makes any such arangement problematic. Schnitger made
such keyboards only in the Rueckpositiv where there can be less keydip,
quite a bit less. Greats need much more keydip, not only due to the
larger chests and pallets but above all due to the couplers, whether
they are historic or modern.
Looking at the pictures, the sharps do appear to me to have two
problems: the front ones are too long, not much but a bit, and the step
up is too high to the back one. Keydip dictates the height; there is no
way around that, but the front length is a free-variable, especially
where modern measuring systems are being used instead of classical
proportions (drawing visible).
> And I ran into a hideously exposed Db in the Froberger F major
Perhaps a hidden tribute to Frescobaldi: at the end, his cento partite
goes thru dflat major to resolve that into a wonderfully shining F
Here, too, I cannot accept a problem up front just because what "we"
hear tends to jar "us."
As said, having made many enharmonic instruments with 14, 15 and 19
notes, I question the sensibility of making the 15 note compass at all.
I wonder what or who prompted George in to that over the usual 14 note
> Some other guy there stepped up and tried to play a straightforward
> hymn setting in E-flat major,
in what context straightforward?
German hymnals have all long since been transposed to "more singable"
keys. Mostly up 1/2 step cause they figured the organs had come down in
pitch - which is true, taken by itself. Sure doesn't help where any
kind of non ET is considered.