[Bell Historians] Proto-NBR and musical scales

Andrew Wilby andrew at o6XCReK2BbK81tD9IrNNV3KYqQjDidGj4RNbEBQmE9QGtgPPYZjUYs9cDf5Ap3EQBTR2bfYnopi4uzGwEQ.yahoo.invalid
Sat Dec 2 16:15:27 GMT 2006

I find this discussion rather surprising and depressing.

The nomenclature of musical scales has be well understood and 
established for a number of centuries and the discrepancies being 
discussed seem to arise from a lack of knowledge or error.

( The St Cuthberts Wells entry is just plain wrong with the top 3 

It all JS Bach's fault! 
By developing equal temperament, (I'm avoiding suggesting he invented it 
because he may have picked the idea up from elsewhere) but by writing 
the 48 Preludes and Fugues for "the well tempered clavier" he 
demonstrated that not only was it now possible to play in every key, 
whereas before on an instrument tempered so that the "sweet" (ie in tune 
key) was say C, a more distant key such as say E would sound rather 
coarse and distorted.

(The 48 keys are the 12 Major keys each based on one of the 12 
semi-tones in an octave, doubled to 24 by adding the minor keys and 
doubled again to 48 by using each semitone in its two forms (eg C sharp 
is also equal tempered D flat)

However it is important to understand that C sharp is only the same 
pitch as D flat on and equal tempered instrument.

Without getting dragged into discussion as to which instruments are and 
are not, it is safe to say that stringed instruments, the human voice 
and for the most part rings of bells are not equal tempered.
Therefore having established the pitch of the key bell of a ring and 
decided whether to call it D or C or C sharp or D flat or whatever, 
there is no reason not to give the other bells their proper appellation 
in that key and every reason to do so.

If you are in the key of say C sharp then the next note up is D sharp. 
To called it E flat is wrong because there is no E flat in the key of C 

Equal temperament has done quite a lot of damage. I was listening to a 
demonstration of a digital virtual organ the other day where at the 
flick of a switch you can move the whole instrument not only from equal 
to true temperament but also, in true temperament make whatever key you 
are playing in the "sweet" key.

The actual affect of moving from one to another was quite stunning and 
the dullness and sourness of equal temperament very obvious. However we 
live in a time where equal has become the norm and our ears have been 
dumbed down to the point where we no longer discern and all keys sound 
the same or just about.

Please.... there is no need for further dumbing down in the nomenclature 



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