Where can I hear uneven temperament
January 30, 2008 12:56 PM   Subscribe

Is there anywhere online that I can listen to instruments tuned to uneven temperament (ideally playing a scale)?
posted by deeper red to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Here are some sound files, but they aren't recordings of instruments. Do you just want to hear the scales or do you want to hear the scales actually played on an instrument?
posted by ssg at 1:18 PM on January 30, 2008

Search Google for "listen just temperament" (instead of "uneven temperament") and you'll find quite a bit.
posted by bricoleur at 1:25 PM on January 30, 2008

I'm primarily interested in how Baroque instruments would have sounded.
posted by deeper red at 1:47 PM on January 30, 2008

There's always Amazon if you want to hear free 30-second samples of relevant recordings. Sorry I haven't got any Baroque recordings to suggest. Should be Googleable.

Use Pierre Lewis's Java applet to hear (among other things) major and minor cadences in just intonation in various keys, or to play scales yourself. The differences are startling.

An even wider variety of scales can be heard using the Chromatia instrument tuner (free 30-day trial, but only 10 minutes at a time): "more than 30 temperaments and scales; including historic tunings such as Pythagorean, mean-tone, just, and well tempered tunings, traditional folk scales, stretched piano tunings, and of course also the modern equal temperament tuning."

For a much more technical approach, look at Scala software "for experimentation with musical tunings, such as just intonation scales, equal and historical temperaments, microtonal and macrotonal scales, and non-Western scales. It supports scale creation, editing, comparison, analysis, storage, tuning of electronic instruments, and MIDI file generation and tuning conversion." Never tried it.
posted by Dave 9 at 3:00 PM on January 30, 2008

The differences are startling.

I entirely agree. Using the Java applet, I listened to minor chord progressions in the Pythagorean turning, and then equal. Pythagorean sounds a lot more ambiguous and dark, whereas equal sounds very clean by comparison. When you bear in mind that this is how it would have sounded to Bach and his contemporaries, it's a pretty profound realisation.
posted by deeper red at 4:36 AM on January 31, 2008

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