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Tony Raven
#1 Posted : Sunday, February 12, 2017 2:26:23 PM(UTC)
Tony Raven
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I'm certain I've addressed this elsewhere hereabouts, but I'm too lazy to dig. Anyway, it's an issue I'm raising elsewhere, so I figured I'd bring it home!
A fretted instrument is stuck in well temperament, so that it may play in any key without any particular note being too far from pitch. This works... acceptably for accompaniment, but performance of single-tone solos can often sound "off." Anyone familiar with the blue note recognizes this; there's also microtonal music. Experienced players partially correct for this (often unconsciously) with string bending and finger vibrato techniques. They are attempting to reach just intonation.
  • "Harmonic intervals come naturally to horns, vibrating strings, and in human singing voices."
  • "Although the explicit use of just intonation fell out of favour concurrently with the increasing use of instrumental accompaniment (with its attendant constraints on pitch), most a cappella ensembles naturally tend toward just intonation because of the comfort of its stability."
  • "Stringed instruments that are not playing with fixed-pitch instruments tend to adjust the pitch of key notes such as thirds and leading tones so that the pitches differ from equal temperament."

For decades, some luthiers have experimented with essentially cutting up frets and placing the resultant pieces where (theoretically) the note SHOULD be, rather than in the standard position of total compromise. There are also limited fixes, such as the Buzz Feiten Tuning System (really only effective to about fret 5).

Limited compromise can be achieved on a standard instrument by adjusting the tuning of each string to best suit a particular musical piece, the predominant key, the primary left-hand position for the piece, and so on.

I say all this because these factors are inherent to fretted instruments AND entirely ignored in the article.

Yeah, this is what I think about to keep me sane at work...

All a writer really needs is a blank page and a bad attitude.
 1 user thanked Tony Raven for this useful post.
Axeman69 on 2/13/2017(UTC)
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