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Dspeck

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Reply with quote  #16 
Ok, I was wrong on harmonium pitches. It is still interesting to see that the range is 435 to 455 "only" and this implies, that there is some rough common idea about absolut pitch in India as well. Of course, pitch is not really important, that range defines an A, which is not automatically Dha, it could be any other note as well.

About ET: I doubt that it is physically important to tune to 440 hz, and there is a tendency among pianists to go for 442 or even 443 hz now. But in 1917, "calculator" stood for an employee who calculated with pen and paper or simplistic mechanical machines, and 440hz might have been the easiest to handle at that time. But about 59 years earlier, Mr. Boehm published his "flute scheme" which was a diagram showing hole positions for boehm flutes at ranges from 430 to 445 hz. So, of William Braid White really promoted 440hz as the ultimate pitch for ET, he was a good (and successful) liar.
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ragamala

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Dspeck"

About ET: I doubt that it is physically important to tune to 440 hz, and there is a tendency among pianists to go for 442 or even 443 hz now. But in 1917, "calculator" stood for an employee who calculated with pen and paper or simplistic mechanical machines, and 440hz might have been the easiest to handle at that time. But about 59 years earlier, Mr. Boehm published his "flute scheme" which was a diagram showing hole positions for boehm flutes at ranges from 430 to 445 hz. So, of William Braid White really promoted 440hz as the ultimate pitch for ET, he was a good (and successful) liar.
The state of calculator technology or lack of it in 1917 is irrelevant. The mathematical method was known for a long time. What White, an acoustical engineer, did was establish a practical method of tuning. This would I am sure have applied at other pitches. White showed HOW to tune ET accurately.

There is no link necessary as far as tuning is concerned between ET. When I linked the two it was in suggesting the link was one of convenience for the manufacturers (and tuners) of what was by then a large industry. But White was promoting the adoption of A440 as a standard through his work as founder of the American Guild of Piano Tuners, and his methods and suggestions were, eg, adopted by Steinway. He was influential in the piano industry and I suggest that what I said earlier about him promoting A440, which was adopted in the 30s as an International Standard but the drive coming from the US, is more a matter of interpretation of history than of his own boasts.

Regarding Boehm's flutes, he I think intended his flutes to be tuned in equal temperament. Whether this was achieved at all to any accuracy I do not know. Equal temperament was certainly around as a concept and an ideal in the 19th century, there is some debate though about whether it was actually achieved until modern tuning and manufacturing methods brought it into reality later.

Frankly I am in some doubt, even today, about whether most instruments are tuned accurately outside the demanding concert hall environment.
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panchamkauns

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Dspeck"
It is still interesting to see that the range is 435 to 455 "only" and this implies, that there is some rough common idea about absolut pitch in India as well.
Well, as the harmonium is an import from Europe, it would be crazy if some ideas about tuning hadn’t carried over with it. Especially as there really isn’t much of a point in making harmoniums tuned at different pitches.

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plectum

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Originally Posted by "jaan
I have no idea how singers used to determine their tonic in the days before fixed pitched western instruments came on the scene to use as a reference but I suspect that they found a low pitch that they were comfortable with and determined their Sa from there.
I once talked to an amateur sitarist who mentioned something interesting in this regard. He said that a good (i.e. without flaws) conch shell always sounds around E. I have not been able to verify this from any other source, but if true, conch shells could provide a reference pitch.

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talasiga

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Reply with quote  #20 
Conches come in various sizes and emit various pitches
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plectum

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Reply with quote  #21 
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Originally Posted by "talasiga"
Conches come in various sizes and emit various pitches
Indeed, but I translated imprecisely.........he was talking about sankha, the conch shells used in religious occasions. While conches vary widely in shape, size (and consequently) the emitted pitch, i have not seen the sanshkas to vary too much that way. I believe there is a narrow range of acceptable sizes for sankhas, as I have not seen a too large or too small shell, which means that the emitted pitch also could not vary too much.

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