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

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2007 - Music - 196 pages
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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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How equal temperament ruined harmony (and why you should care)

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution and the ensuing mass production of musical instruments, equal temperament-the practice of dividing an octave into 12 equally proportioned half-steps-has ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Nancy - Goodreads

Helped me "get it"--understand why equal temperament is merely a compromise, albeit one accepted uncritically by musicians around the world. Fascinating examples and quotes. Thumbs up. A must for the thinking musician. Read full review


f Shouldnt Leading Notes Lead?
How Temperament Started
NonKeyboard Tuning
f How Long O Lord How Long?
A Bridge to the Nineteenth Century
Really Better or Simply Easier?
T Some Are More Equal than Others
The Joachim Mode
P The Limbo of That Which Is Disregarded
1O Where Do We Go from Here?
Table of Intervals in Cents
Select Bibliography

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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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