Re: equal and just tuned harmonicas

- ----- Original Message -----
From: "Pat Missin" <pat@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, January 16, 2003 11:04 AM
Subject: Re: equal and just tuned harmonicas

> Rainbow Jimmy wrote:
> >
> >If you have problems with the chords and octaves on a Lee Oskar you will
> >have problems with chords and octaves on a piano or a guitar tuned to a
> >tuner since they are tuned to an equal scale.
> Not surprisingly, I also use JI on guitars and keyboards. However,
> temperament is much more of an issue with the harmonica for various
> reasons.
> For starters, on a harmonica only certain notes can be played with
> certain other notes. So it makes sense to ensure that on your C harp,
> your G and D notes are in good tune with each other, but it doesn't
> matter if your A and E notes are not in a perfect harmonic
> relationship, as you cannot play them both at the same time. On a
> keyboard instrument, you need to be able to almost any note against
> almost any other note and have them all sound reasonably good.
> Guitars and pianos have much less sustain than harmonicas. Chords on
> guitars and pianos tend to die away before you really get a chance to
> notice how rough they are.
> Also hammered strings, particularly of the type used in pianos, tend
> to produce overtones which are somewhat sharper than the ideal
> harmonic series. This means that Just Intonation on a piano would
> sound much less smooth than JI on a harmonica, as harmonicas have
> almost perfectly harmonic overtones. Actually, pianos are not even
> tuned in strict 12 Tone Equal Temperament, but rather in something
> which is intended to ~sound like~ 12TET. So a piano which is "in tune"
> is really "out of tune". Sadly, as fjm points out, pianos are often
> simply out of tune...
> >If you want to play traditional gamelon music you will need a completely
> >different tuning.
> Gamelan tunings are designed to accommodate the even more extreme
> inharmonicity of the typical metallic percussion instruments used in
> these ensembles. No two gamelan are tuned exactly the same way and
> taking any given gamelan tuning and transferring it directly to the
> harmonica can be a painful audio experience, although there are some
> JI interpretations of gamelan tunings that are kind of interesting...
>  -- Pat.

Excellent post, Pat!! This is probably the best explanationn of this I've
ever come across.

Barbeque Bob Maglinte
Boston, MA

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.