Note names, Aaron, and Thomas Young

nigelsdtaylor nigeltaylor at ...
Tue Jun 14 13:35:48 BST 2005

Richard wrote:<Presumably Thomas Young's tuning system had lots of 
stretched octaves!>
No! it follows the usual well-temperament rules and closes the comma 
with 4X1/6 and 4X1/12 tempered 5ths, which produces a perfect octave. 
There are some modern temeraments with a certain amount of "built-in" 
stretch, but only by 2 to 4 cents!
Until the invention of "well-tempered" tunings, there was no such key 
as Db. In Youngs tuning there is, because B (5 sharps) and Db (5 flats) 
have the same value of major 3rd.(405.8 cents). There is in Aaron's 1/4 
comma mean-tone a C# and a G#, but these could not be used as 
enharmonic notes because they were flat and put the whole key out of 
tune. Bill Hibbert is wrong about Gb being flatter than F#; in 19 note 
mean-tone (that is literally 19 notes to an octave, Gb is 41 cents 
sharper than F#. in this system you can play in C# or Db, but again, 
the Db is 41 cents sharper, so they are literally different keys. In 31 
note scales, Gbb is flatter than F#, and Dbb is flatter than C#!
The keynote is therefore to some extent dependant upon what system you 
are using, and whether or not like me, you sometimes use a 19-note 
scale. The rule is that once you have named the tonic, you should apply 
the correct note names for the remaining notes. I see little point in 
giving nominal pitches, because most ringers do not understand them, 
and giving notes and cents, for instance D-23, E-30 etc. is misleading.
Andrew is spot on with the idea of selling 2 rings to one customer; one 
in F# as a "bright" key, and the Gb with flatter intervals to produce a 
more melancholy sound, for funerals or visiting bands that cannot ring 
Nigel Taylor


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