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Buxtehude and Bohm: temperament examples (part 1)

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Uploaded on Jun 22, 2008

PART 1 OF 2. Four pieces of music (in F major, E minor, Eb major, and G minor) by Buxtehude and Bohm. Each piece is played three times, once each in a different temperament. The temperaments are shuffled for each piece: which is which, and which temperament works best for each piece?

- Werckmeister III

- Werckmeister III with three mystery notes moved by about 5 cents each

- Werckmeister III with seven of the twelve notes moved; it is described here: http://tinyurl.com/6pls7l

Incidentally: one of the temperaments here has no wide 5ths, one of them has one very slightly wide 5th (only 704 cents), and one has two wider 5ths than that (about 707 or 708 cents).

To find out which temperament is which, for each of the four selections, please send your guesses and comments to the e-mail address mentioned at the end of the video.

All the recordings were made on the same harpsichord within about 1/2 hour of one another, to keep things as consistent as possible.

Werckmeister III was really an organ temperament, not for harpsichords; and Werckmeister published a better harpsichord temperament a few years later. However, the most familiar temperament III (the first among his so-called "correct" temperaments in the 1691 book) is used here because it is in such widespread use among harpsichordists today.

Can we do better? Will this direct comparison of the sound help us to do better? :) Personally, I feel that Werckmeister III makes my harpsichord sound abrasive and bitter, rather than welcoming. And hearing these examples side by side, on a level playing field (same bad microphone and same compositions), it's clear that the piquancy is a feature of that temperament.

Part 2 is here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKyf_H...

Enjoy,
Bradley Lehman

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