May 15th, 2010


Book read over Shabbat

"How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony (and Why You Should Care)" by Ross W. Duffin. A fairly short and readable treatise. I could have done without the sidebars and cartoons, which were a distraction and interrupted the text. And I can't say I really learned much new from this book --- in college, I learned about how equal temperament ruined harmony, and I already care, but as a singer I have the luxury of tuning each interval by listening to the other singers, so I don't really need to be sold on having my instrument re-tuned to, say, meantone.

One thing that I was hoping Duffin would include, but he didn't, was a discussion of how the "blues third" fits in with all the other thirds that he writes about, since the interval of the third that really suffers the most from equal temperament and differs the most in the various other tunings.

And for those who care, the frequencies in my userpic are in a pure 9:1 ratio.