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HPSCHD-L  February 2016

HPSCHD-L February 2016

Subject:

Re: 415 vs. 415.3

From:

Domenico Statuto <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Harpsichords and Related Topics <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 7 Feb 2016 21:09:53 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (144 lines)

I seem to remember there is one tuning fork in the property of Pascal Taskin at A=392, or am I wrong?

Moreover, could the harpsichords stand the 440 pitch without breaking strings or damage the case? 
Or, the keyboards should be permanently shifted to the right in a transposed position as the standard?




> Il giorno 07/feb/2016, alle ore 18:09, Andrew Appel <[log in to unmask]> ha scritto:
> 
> Yes and I find this compromise to exemplify the snobbism of the ghetto.  We should have chosen 440 as the compromise. First it is closer to the pitch we understand as historical to the very late 18 century and it would have allowed easier integration of our colleagues.  
> Thus was a very UN cool decision. 
> 
> 
> Sent from my iPad
> 
>> On Feb 7, 2016, at 11:52 AM, Hank Knox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>> There is a very interesting paragraph in Barthold Kuijken's book, The Music Is Not The Notation, in the section on Pitch:
>> 
>> "Today much of the classical repertoire is played at a1=430 Hz. I must confess that I am responsible for this." The next part of the paragraph describes his experiences with instruments at various pitches in a variety of ensembles and efforts to choose instruments to use for a reccording of Haydn's Die Schopfung. He goes on, "So I chose, quite arbitrarily, a1 = 430 Hz, in between 422 and 440... Later studies showed me that at the time of Haydn's Schopfung, pitches close to a1 = 440 Hz as well as around a1 = 422 Hz were in use; a1 = 430 Hz is no more than an average, and has not been so frequently documented. After our recording project, these newly constructed and mastered instruments continued to be played and liked in several other period-instrument orchestras, so a1 = 43h0 Hz became a practical compromise for traveling musicians worldwide. However, this solution should by no means be confused with historical truth or be considered as *the* historical pitch for classical music."
>> 
>> Cheers,
>> 
>> Hank
>> 
>>> On 07/02/2016 9:47 AM, Andrew Appel wrote:
>>> HEY HO ALL
>>> 
>>> I have been living with two harpsichords that I love and that do not transpose so my choice of pitch…keeps on on “the level.”  I find that my French and my Flemish petit rav. sound best at 390 - 392.  This can distress my string players, who use strings much thinner than those probably used in the 17-18 century.
>>> The real issues arise when performing with singers. Playing the Actus Tragicus of Bach makes us use high pitches for the sake of the bass.  Venetian early 18th century vocal cantatas fall just perfectly into the mezzo’s throat when at 460 or so and are difficult if at 415 and lower. Singing mature Mozart and Haydn works at 440 or 438.  Here we aren’t splitting hairs and it can be worth it to move your A around.
>>> I keep one small triple transposer that gives me 460-440 and 415…and for continuo playing Ive got my bases covered.
>>> At some point wind builders decided that 430 would be the standardized pitch for later 18th century clarinets etc and this makes me angry.  Haines tells us in his Story of A that 438 is a commonly found pitch for Vienna in 1780’s  SO if you’re gonna standardize why not use 440?? It would allow modern players to feel quite comfortable with pitch while exploring the possibilities of playing with forte pianists…  Im thinking of keeping a newly ordered Schantz piano at 440…
>>> 
>>> Good A to you all!
>>> 
>>>> On Feb 7, 2016, at 8:45 AM, michael johnson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Jonathan, splitting hairs!    When you transpose you need to tune in the new pitch position so you can be flexible as your last paragraph explains.    Pitch is just about enabling you to standardise to other instruments.    There will be a pitch your harpsichord sounds and likes best.   Mine usually like to hang around 412 but I am finding with p-wire they do hold 415.    Why that is the master, Stephen Birkett might know, I certainly don't.
>>>> MJ
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Sent from myMail for iOS
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Sunday, 7 February 2016, 13:16 +0000 from [log in to unmask]  <[log in to unmask]>:
>>>>> To change the subject a little bit, we're all used to tuning to "415",
>>>>> but how many of you actually use 415 vs 415.3? It's a small difference,
>>>>> but, in the all-too-common case of university instruments that have to
>>>>> transpose back and forth without retuning, tuning to 415 leaves you
>>>>> under 440 - certainly not desirable, especially when much of the
>>>>> 'modern' crowd seems expects 441 or 442 these days.
>>>>> 
>>>>> With that in mind, I usually tune to 415.3, and never get complaints
>>>>> about the pitch being too high. But it certainly is a small difference.
>>>>> For that matter, do instrument builders - flutes and recorders I mean -
>>>>> factory-tune their instruments to 415 or 415.3 typically?
>>>>> 
>>>>> Or am I just splitting hairs here - it certainly is a small difference..
>>>>> Half the time for concerts I have to tune to 418 anyway, since the stage
>>>>> lights will cook the harpsichord down before the first chord is played!
>>>>> And I don't know of any instrument here in Montreal that's stored
>>>>> somewhere with a stable enough climate to avoid wandering .3Hz...
>>>>> 
>>>>> Curious what others do, and whether it has ever become an issue?
>>>>> 
>>>>> Jonathan
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> In 06/02/16 09:01 PM, Andrew Bernard wrote:
>>>>>> Hi Theodore,
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> I don’t think you can really compare fingering and pitch standards in
>>>>>> the one basket. Fingering - a matter for the performer, wth many
>>>>>> factors. Pitch - a standard necessary to allow musicians to play
>>>>>> together, and to enable scaling design and so on. While playing high
>>>>>> as per much Italian practice, or low as per other European practice
>>>>>> is a matter of taste and the instruments you have, you all need to
>>>>>> tune together. Nobody has ever suggested 415 was a broad historical
>>>>>> standard. But since many instruments tend to sound good at lower
>>>>>> pitches, 415 became established in modern times because 415.3 is
>>>>>> exactly one equal tempered semitone below modern concert standard
>>>>>> pitch 440. Apart from anything else this makes transposing
>>>>>> harpsichords simple and effective. 392 is also good because it is an
>>>>>> ET tone lower than 440. If you want to play ensemble music, then
>>>>>> using 415 seems to me to be a useful compromise for something
>>>>>> generally a little lower than 440. I never thought anybody was under
>>>>>> the illusion that this was an international concert pitch standard in
>>>>>> the harpsichord era.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Andrew
>>>>> -- 
>>>>> Jonathan Addleman -  http://www.redowl.ca
>>>>> 
>>>>> ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
>>>>> Note:  opinions  expressed on HPSCHD-L are those of the  individual con-
>>>>> tributors and not necessarily  those of the list owners  nor of the Uni-
>>>>> versity of Iowa.  For a brief  summary of list  commands, send mail to
>>>>> [log in to unmask] saying  HELP .
>>>>> ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
>>>> 
>>>> ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
>>>> Note:  opinions  expressed on HPSCHD-L are those of the  individual con-
>>>> tributors and not necessarily  those of the list owners  nor of the Uni-
>>>> versity of Iowa.  For a brief  summary of list  commands, send mail to
>>>> [log in to unmask]  saying  HELP .
>>>> ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
>>> ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
>>> Note:  opinions  expressed on HPSCHD-L are those of the  individual con-
>>> tributors and not necessarily  those of the list owners  nor of the Uni-
>>> versity of Iowa.  For a brief  summary of list  commands, send mail to
>>> [log in to unmask]  saying  HELP .
>>> ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
>> 
>> -- 
>> Hank Knox
>> Early Music Area
>> Schulich School of Music
>> McGill University
>> Montreal, Qc
>> 514.398.4535, ext 00230
>> 
>> ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
>> Note:  opinions  expressed on HPSCHD-L are those of the  individual con-
>> tributors and not necessarily  those of the list owners  nor of the Uni-
>> versity of Iowa.  For a brief  summary of list  commands, send mail to
>> [log in to unmask]  saying  HELP .
>> ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
> 
> ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
> Note:  opinions  expressed on HPSCHD-L are those of the  individual con-
> tributors and not necessarily  those of the list owners  nor of the Uni-
> versity of Iowa.  For a brief  summary of list  commands, send mail to
> [log in to unmask]  saying  HELP .
> ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Note:  opinions  expressed on HPSCHD-L are those of the  individual con-
tributors and not necessarily  those of the list owners  nor of the Uni-
versity of Iowa.  For a brief  summary of list  commands, send mail to
[log in to unmask]  saying  HELP .
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

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