February 2010

Intonation epiphany: in a pure major scale, the II-IV third is Pythagorean

February 20, 2010 00:51

Greetings,

Like all v.commers, I knew that using pure intonation leads into trouble when the music changes key. I was unaware of how soon the trouble starts.

Last night, I was practicing the scale of B flat major, in thirds, and I just could not get the first three (B flat-D, C-E flat, D-F) consistently in tune. Especially the C-E flat was difficult to reconcile with the others.

And when you calculate the intervals, that fits! Set the B flat to 1; the C would be 9/8, and the E flat would be 4/3. The interval between those two becomes 4/3 : 9/8 = 4*8/(3*9) = 32/27, not the "pure" 6/5 third I was naively expecting. When I want it to sound "pure", I have to compromise elsewhere.

Imagine, it has taken me 48 years of violin playing to find that out!

(and it's a left hand workout, too)

Cheers,

Bart

2 replies | Archive link


More entries: April 2009

Our Kokopelli
Please support Violinist.com
through your
one-time donation or
sponsorship campaign.

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music

The Potter Violin Company

Baerenreiter

Fiddlershop.com

Coregami Performal

Metzler Violin Shop

ARIA International Summer Academy

Snow Stringed Instruments

Anderson Musical Instrument Insurance

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Fiddlerman.com

Johnson String Instrument

Long Island Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Violin Lab

Violin-Strings.com

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop

High Tech 35 Exercises for Violin/Viola