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

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9780393334203: How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony (and Why You Should Care)
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What if Bach and Mozart heard richer, more dramatic chords than we hear in music today? What sonorities and moods have we lost in playing music in "equal temperament"-the equal division of the octave into twelve notes that has become our standard tuning method? Thanks to How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony, "we may soon be able to hear for ourselves what Beethoven really meant when he called B minor 'black'" (Wall Street Journal).In this "comprehensive plea for more variety in tuning methods" (Kirkus Reviews), Ross W. Duffin presents "a serious and well-argued case" (Goldberg Magazine) that "should make any contemporary musician think differently about tuning" (Saturday Guardian).

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Review:

"[Duffin's] fine book should make any contemporary musician think differently about tuning." Steven Poole, The Guardian "[A] handy little book..." Stephen Pettitt, The Sunday Times "...explains the theory and gives an informative and readable historical account..." The Times Higher Education Supplement "...Duffin argues his case with great verve and charm." Michael Downes, The Times Literary Supplement"

Synopsis:

Ross W. Duffin presents an engaging and elegantly reasoned expose of musical temperament and its impact on the way in which we experience music. An 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.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. Duffin explains how we came to rely exclusively on equal temperament and along the way, he challenges the widely held belief that equal temperament is a perfect, 'naturally selected' musical system, and proposes a radical re-evaluation of how we play and hear music.

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