At 08:21 AM 11/22/98 EST, Ed Foote wrote:
> From the trenches here, I would have to say it looks like 50%.
Well, Ed's response leads (as usual) to another question, or set of
questions, relating to the influence of the ET system on musical pedagogy.
In my experience music was/is taught on the basis of an octave comprised of
twelve equal semi-tones. That carries over directly into string teaching,
which in my experience was based on "whole steps" and "half steps."
By the time I was 13 or 14 I suspected that something was fishy. For one
thing, some of my teachers talked about "key color" which obviously didn't
make sense if all half steps were equal. For another thing, I noticed that
"playing in tune" was different in the context of, say, string quartet
playing, as compared to playing with a piano. Fast forward a few decades -
in hopes of making sense of some of this, I signed up for a "music theory"
course a couple of years ago at the local community college. It was taught
by a local pianist, every student was furnished with a small electronic
keyboard - ET, of course. At some point I tried to raise some of the issues
that had bothered me for years, and the teacher was fairly dismissive of my
concerns. The issue of historic temperaments is not mentioned in the text
for the course.
On the other hand, the conductor of the Santa Fe Community Orchestra in
which I play, himself a professional violist and instructor at the College
of Santa Fe, is very aware of tuning and temperament issues, in fact teaches
seminars on the subject. I have observed that the orchestra which he
conducts tends to play better in tune than the one in Los Alamos, but maybe
that is a coincidence. (Also, I have noticed that winds seem to play better
in tune than strings - maybe that is instrinsic in the way the notes are
produced - keys or buttons are more definite than placing a finger on an
So my question to those of you on list who are in the academic community - I
wonder when or if the piano tuning renaissance might be expected to feed
back into music pedagogy.
And do any of you think that the tendency of strings to play "out of tune"
is traceable to the ET basis of music pedagogy?