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Tuning Hardcover – Jan 6 1991

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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Temper, temper... May 15 2003
By David Benson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This absolutely enormous book is one of the classics on musical temperament; for some reason most such books are out of print and hard to get hold of, and this is no exception. The title has got cut off in the Amazon entry - the full title is: "Tuning: Containing the Perfection of Eighteenth-Century Temperament, the Lost Art of Nineteenth-Century Temperment and the Science of Equal Temperment, Complete with Instructions for Aural and Electronic Tuning." It is a mixture of history of tunings and temperaments, and explicit tuning instructions for various temperaments. An interesting thread running through the book is a detailed argument to the effect that equal temperament was not commonplace until the twentieth century.
If you're interested in this book, you might want to get hold of the recordings by Enid Katahn, "Six degrees of Tonality" and "Beethoven in the Temperaments." The former consists of recordings of a number of pieces from different periods of musical history, played on a piano tuned by Edward Foote in temperaments appropriate to the era. Also included are three different takes of the Mozart Fantasie Kv.397 in meantone, "Prelleur" temperament and equal temperament.
Other books you might want to check out are Barbour's "Tuning and Temperament" and Dominique Devie's "Le Tempérament Musical."