[Bell Historians] C sharp and D flat

LOVE, Dickon DrLove at s...
Tue Sep 10 10:24:28 BST 2002

"I think it would help clear this one up if people could explain what 
they believe the difference between C# and Db to be (this is not a 
wind-up but a genuine enquiry). Dickon, you have posted on this a few 
times, perhaps you could explain your thinking again."

When I first raised this debate, it was to ask exactly this question. I am
essentially a keyboard player (piano and organ) hence to me, C# and Db are
the same note. HOWEVER, I know that my mother (a music teacher) plays the
viola and would argue that there is a subtle difference. My original enquiry
was "is there an agreed difference and if so, is it defined in terms of

I expect that *a* definition can be constructed from using the tuning of a
piano/organ. I believe that these are not necessarily equal temperament, so
each semitone has a slightly different interval. This is why music in one
key *seems* different when transposed to another (typically lots of sharps
are brighter: lots of flats more somber). I would need to think about this a
little more and do some research into the tuning of keyboard instruments to
do this though. I bet I would discover that keyboard instruments are tuned
as differently from each other as bells are though!

That being said, bells are not keyboard instruments, so I do now wonder
about the point of it all. If (as Bill says) we assume equal 100 cent
semitones, then the + and - approach looks the most sensible.


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