Equal temperament isn't such a bad thing
I actually tune all my strings using equal temperament, and yes, I can see you shaking your heads in disapproval.
But the thing is, equal temperament doesn't sound bad, and it makes life a lot simpler.
I only have to learn one E on the D string (in first position, naturally). Without equal temperament, there would be an E that sounds nice with an open G and a different E that sounds nice with an open A. Similar problems would show up with every note actually.
There's also the issue of playing with a piano. Because I use equal temperament, I don't have to worry about discrepancies between my violin notes and notes on the piano.
Just intervals sound sweeter, obviously, but I'm willing to wager that most people can't really hear the difference.
Intonation is already complicated. Why complicate it even more?
If it sounds good it's good.
So what method do you use to tune your strings, and then how do you play in tune and know whether you are playing in tune or not? How do you check a note to see if it's in tune?
I use a tuner app on my phone to tune all the strings.
It sounds like the OP is tuning the open strings according to equal temperament but using just intonation to tune the fingered notes. Tuning the open strings is just a part of it—all fingered intervals have to be tempered as well. I think the only ways to really play in equal temperament would be to either somehow memorize each exact pitch down to the just noticeable difference or to put markings on the fingerboard after checking each pitch against a tuner.
You could install frets, like a guitar. Viola! Equal temperament.
So if you are doing that, then why settle for out of tune open strings? It seems like this is all lose-lose.
Now that you guys have said all this, I think my playing probably isn't completely equal-tempered.
Equal-tempered fifths only beat around once a second in the middle range of a piano, which I find acceptable: I wonder if my open string bowing is that steady!
To me it sounded ok, Marco.
It hurts my ears...... :)
Our ears forgive many things but I don't think they will forgive Mozart string quartets played in equal temperament --- and many other things too. It is the harmonies that "get you." Intonation in melodies can really be "stretched."
Bartok's string quartets played in ET doesn't bear thinking about.
Nothing wrong with equal temperament-on keyboards and fretted instruments. A lot is wrong with it, concerning traditional violin playing. The minor convenience is not worth the hassle. Imagine equal temperament does not exist, and work hard on developing your ear. You can do it.
Equal Temperament is good enough most of the time. Otherwise we would not tolerate the modern piano or the fretted instruments. Most people in the audience and some musicians do not discern the difference. The tempered 5th is only 2 cents, 2/100 of a half-step, shorter than the perfect 5th. The most noticeable, objectionable interval to my ears is the maj 3rd, which is about 12 cents different from the just or Pythagorean maj 3rd.
As far as I can see the distinction could be important when practising scales and arpeggios and in unaccompanied Bach but not much else! If pianists can play the 48 P&F's without retuning...
Considering all that has been said, equal-tempered violin tuning probably isn't my best heretical idea.
Yes.I also think that equal temperament is not a bad thing
If you normally avoid open strings, it's not going to affect matters very much, is it. Ditto for JI (for those who want ET tuning instead)
I have a friend here in Seattle who tunes his violin to the pitch that it sounds best at. One instruments prefers to be a bit sharp, the other well flat, and he then simply plays in tune with the rest of the orchestra.
Try not to confuse tuning the strings with fingering the strings.
Kennedy, tuning your open strings to the tuner may seem easier and more convenient at first. But with a bit of practice you will get the hang of tuning in perfect fifths in no time. It is a great aural training exercise and warm up. Take your time with it and really use your ears. Good luck!
Play in churches so that what you play now is accompanied by what you played 2 seconds ago, then it won't matter what tuning you use.
In orchestras surely others have experienced occasions when the open C of the violas and/or cellos sounds flat? Then half the section performs an emergency tweak. One of the professional string quartets I was coached by (was it the Alberni?) advocated "close fifths" tuning so the open C harmonises with the violins' open E, but I've never known a conductor suggest it.
Intereting Fact No73b: Squashing the fifths (ruinously?) so that C & E strings harmonise is "Quarter-comma Meantone" (because D is exactly halfway between C & E, and the "wolf" comma is spread over four fifths). It is only acceptable in the "home key" of the tuning.
Bach's well tempered clavier would be four equally tempered fifths, a perfect C-E third and all the other thirds progressively worse the further you get away from C major, very symmetrical, and effective for the music. Meantone involves I think 4 perfect thirds, 4 about like equal temp and 4 terrible. I think just tempermant is only one tempered fifth, one terribly out of tune fifth, 11 perfect fifths.
11 perfect fifths is Pythgorean tuning.
But Bach's tuning was well tempered, not meantone, it was quite a new invention in the time of Bach, with about 100 years of meantone tuning preceding it, later, after Bach you have tuners like Valotti, that made the tuning even closer to equal temp, by using 6 tempered fifths, and good thirds that were a little worse than Bach's but bad thirds that weren't as bad. True equal temperament didn't really exist on keyboards till he 20th century, owing to how hard it is to tune by ear without testing equipment. Equal temperament was theoretically proposed quite early in the 1700s but there's little evidence anyone put it into practice. Many piano tuners that still tune by ear do not do a true equal temp but rather slightly temper the temperament to favour simpler keys over complex ones. For concerts of piano works, a good tuner will tweak the tuning to favour the keys of the pieces that are to be played, not following equal temperament religiously.
I read a book on the history of tunings once.
the Bach tuning I am referring to is Kirnberger III, Kirnberger was a student of Bach's.
Here we go again with the equal temperament thing.
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