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Peterson Tuners Community > StroboFlip™ Forum > StroboFlip™ Q & A
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Ian
The correct name of the tuning I'm referring to is "Extended 1/6 syntonic comma meantone".

People might automatically think that this is an unnecessary complication - however the following brief article from which I have copied a paragraph - should help to dismiss that idea..

http://everything2.com/index.pl?node=meantone%20tuning

In music with a restricted range of keys -- Renaissance, early Classical, folk, rock-n-roll, R'n'B, country, gospel... -- there is no reason to accept the sub-optimal distribution of the syntonic comma which ET offers. On the guitar it is easy to experiment with tuning the fourths a couple of cents wider, and there are many recordings of harpsichords and organs with 1/4-comma, 1/5-comma, 1/6-comma (etc.) meantone tuning. You might wonder what happens musically when you meet the wolf note - a very flat Ab or a very sharp D#, for example. If the music was intended to be played in meantone, these notes will be used in such a way that they don't disrupt the piece and can actually add to its expressive range. I did read somewhere that the pianos in a famous Nashville studio were tuned in an unequal temperament, simply because they were always being used to play the same three chords. Now you know why.


The reference to guitar tuning here is interesting. I'm curious to know if this is similar to the process being used by the Peterson guitar sweetner. (though Peterson does not publish the details)

I have found out that in practise 1/6 comma meantone is used with a fixed A base, however when the opportunity arises it seems best to base it on the root. It's interesting discussing this with real music experts because outside of Peterson circles the idea of allowing the A to float according to the root seems to be very alien to them. Regardless of this I cannot fault the Peterson logic - though I'm not sure what base Peterson would choose with this particular form of scale.
Ian
My earlier comment about "cents" was wrong - but as usual on this extremely active forum there was NO response. I wrote that cents were only relevant to equal temperament - but that isn't correct. Cents are "logarithmic units". Logarithms are just a mathematical technique for reducing multiplication to addition. As you move up octaves the frequency doubles - so it increases exponentially - as many things in nature do. The exponential curve is a perfect fit for using logarithms - so it is the ideal way to split octaves into scalar parts. The problem is that the notes within the octave do not fit neatly - but any type of octave based scale can be fully represented this way. Accordingly perhaps Peterson should make more use of cents in displays and relate them to the octave and not to ET notes.
John Norris
Hi Ian,
(Converted Post)
My earlier comment about "cents" was wrong - but as usual on this extremely active forum there was NO response.

Thats hardly true, we try to answer any questions which get posted here as time allows. Right now we are in the middle of trade show season, so many of us are "on the road" and unable to reply immediately.
However, I think we do a better job than most.

John N.
Ian
Hi John,

Don't take it personally. Other than Peterson staff only one member of the public has entered into this entire thread. I get the impression that musicians are burying their heads in the sand regarding tuning issues. That is also what I see in the real world.

The Stroboflip has some limitations of course, but I've grown to love the thing as I can always find a way to get it to do what I need - and to do it very well indeed.

I have fought my way to an understanding of tuning that serves my development with the violin very well - but what is stunning is that there is so little guidance or even interest out there. People don't even know they have a problem. Professor Duffin and Bradley Lehman are without doubt at the forefront of "tuning" thinking, but they show a way ahead that is relatively simple. I can't blame Peterson for directing me towards the common wisdom of Pythagorean tuning for the violin - but I'm surprised that there seems to be no thinking beyond that when it turns out to be an extremely important issue. My own discomfort with Pythagorean tuning (although a vast improvement over ET)turns out to have been for valid reasons.

It took me a while to get my head around the operation of the Stroboflip and that taught me some really useful things - so I have no axe to grind here. Professor Duffin agrees that there is no issue using the ET root (or a fixed A) for Extended 1/6 Syntonic Comma Meantone tuning, because it is a relative scale with no wolf tone (there is a small one for a piano)- either way works so it is up to a decision of what might be most appropriate for the instruments you play along with.

I can't see this thread going any further as I think I've reached the end of what it was meant to achieve. Thanks for all of your help along the way.

Ian

PS if you develop new products that permit enharmonic notes to be recognised and any of the other things I might have discussed then put me on your list please.
John Norris
Hi Ian,
You're right, people don't know about tuning to such an extent that an aural colour blindness seems to have decended on the majority, is ET to blame? Who knows. It usually causes hot debates wherever it is raised as subject.
Just scroll through this thread on another forum where I am trying to point out that strings & horns in orchestras do not use Equal temperament, after someone had inferred that they did - but it was not accepted! Someone else knew better wink.gif.
But even Brad Lehman's findings are still being disputed as hotly as when he submitted them initially.
There are enough conflicting and plain inaccurate factoids out there to confuse most [B )], but I think many of our customers do have a better perception than most.
Making hardware products is always a challenge without input from musicians, at least those who know about tuning.
This forum was started 6 years ago for that purpose, and I hope we'll hear from you again, thanks for your input.


John N.
Ian
Hi John,

Well you got me back already! I looked through the thread and it is interesting. The guy who claims that ET tuning is easy and that you just count the beat frequencies seems pretty adamant. Personally I don't believe that counting beat frequencies is either all that easy or that accurate. I once bought my girlfriend an entire book on this subject for tuning a guitar. It was horrifically complicated and impossible to implement and so was abandoned. My own feeling - and after having read some history of tuning - is that people generally delude themselves to thinking that they are tuned in a certain way - and they are usually significantly off target. There is no way I could work efficiently at developing my skill in Extended 1/6 Syntonic Comma Meantone without a properly calibrated device giving accurate feedback. Pythagorean and Just intonation are perhaps easier unassisted due to the pure resonances - but they are not the best solution. Accurate feedback trains you to the fingering positions and accustoms you to the intervals of scale. You quickly notice that the tuner falls immediately on the note more and more often and less adjustments and hunting are needed.

The guys on that forum didn't recognise that perhaps the steel guitar was only tuned to an ET instrument ROOT. Regardless, they all seem pretty defensive and not open to discussion.
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