How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony (and why You Should Care)

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2007 - Music - 196 pages
10 Reviews

A captivating look at how musical temperament evolved, and how we could (and perhaps should) be tuning differently today.

Ross W. Duffin presents an engaging and elegantly reasoned expos? of musical temperament and its impact on the way in which we experience music. A historical narrative, a music theory lesson, and, above all, an impassioned letter to musicians and listeners everywhere, How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony possesses the power to redefine the very nature of our interactions with music today.

For nearly a century, equal temperament -- the practice of dividing an octave into twelve equally proportioned half-steps -- has held a virtual monopoly on the way in which instruments are tuned and played. In his new book, Duffin explains how we came to rely exclusively on equal temperament by charting the fascinating evolution of tuning through the ages. Along the way, he challenges the widely held belief that equal temperament is a perfect, 'naturally selected'musical system, and proposes a radical reevaluation of how we play and hear music.

  

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Review: How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony (And Why You Should Care)

User Review  - Angie - Goodreads

If you really care about intonation, this is the book for you. And if you're like me, an amateur musician who cares a little about intonation, but is also fascinated by the science of harmony, this is ... Read full review

Review: How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony (And Why You Should Care)

User Review  - John Martin Marks - Goodreads

Persuasive argument, but I was predisposed to being persuaded. Read full review

Contents

Acknowledgments
9
Prelude
15
f Shouldnt Leading Notes Lead?
21
How Temperament Started
33
NonKeyboard Tuning
47
f How Long O Lord How Long?
65
A Bridge to the Nineteenth Century
76
Really Better or Simply Easier?
94
T Some Are More Equal than Others
104
The Joachim Mode
119
P The Limbo of That Which Is Disregarded
138
1O Where Do We Go from Here?
145
Table of Intervals in Cents
163
Select Bibliography
172
Index
181
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Ross W. Duffin, the Fynette H. Kulas Professor of Music at Case Western Reserve University, is the author of the award-winning Shakespeare's Songbook. He lives in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

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