Cello tuning by harmonics: Just intonation vs ET?



Asked by: Tony Burton

Is just intonation better?





Some people describe harmonies in Just Intonation as being “full” or “rich”, while others describe them as “bland” or “lifeless”. However, most people would agree that JI harmonies are considerably smoother than tempered harmonies. There are several reasons for this.

Is just intonation the harmonic series?

It states that just intonation is a method of tuning based on the intervals of the harmonic series. In the West, some of the oldest extant sources that give detailed accounts of rational or integer number ratios in music are the Division of the Canon by Euclid (fl.

Why is just intonation impractical?

In Western musical practice, instruments are rarely tuned using only pure intervals—the physics of music makes this impractical. Some instruments of fixed pitch, such as electric pianos, are commonly tuned using equal temperament, in which all intervals other than octaves consist of irrational-number frequency ratios.

What is the difference between just and equal temperament tuning intonation systems )?

Just intonation requires tuning your instrument for a specific key. With standard equal temperament, you can play further down the neck in another key and not end up with different sound quality intervals between notes.

What is the problem with just intonation?





An ideal system (for Western people) would be based on the natural harmonic series, because we love how harmonics sound. This kind of tuning system is called just intonation. It sounds lovely! Unfortunately, just intonation makes it impossible to change keys or tune your guitar.

Is Pythagorean tuning the same as just intonation?

Pythagorean tuning provides uniformity but not the chords. Just tuning, based on the simpler ratios of the overtone series, provides the chords but suffers from inequality of intervals. Meantone tuning provides equal intervals but gives rise to several objectionable chords, even in simple music.

How do I tune in just intonation?

For example the minor second of any note is a note one semitone higher the major second of any note is the note two semitones higher etc.

What is the best equal temperament?

Additionally, it also makes the semitone exactly half a whole tone, the simplest possible relationship. These are some of the reasons why 12-EDO has become the most commonly used equal temperament.

Why is equal temperament out of tune?

Because of the limitations of keyboard instruments, one way or another, a keyboard tuner has to “temper” some of the notes so that some scales sound the same. In equal temperament, all the scales average out the same, the distance between the notes are all the same.



What is wrong with equal temperament?

One main drawback to equal temperament is that all major thirds are quite a bit off from where they ought to be, roughly fourteen percent of a semitone. Perfect fifths are all pretty close. More importantly, though, other than pitch, nothing distinguishes the various keys.

Is just intonation Pythagorean?

Pythagorean tuning is a type of just intonation. You don’t quite get simple ratios by stacking P5, but what you get is also decent -> major/minor thirds and sixths are a schisma away from simple ratios, so you get a few good intervals in a 12 notes gamut.

What is 5 limit just intonation?

Five-limit tuning



The 5-limit consists of all just intonation intervals whose numerators and denominators are both products of the primes 2, 3, and 5; these are sometimes called regular numbers. Some examples of 5-limit intervals are 5/4, 6/5, 10/9 and 81/80.



Who invented just intonation?

Harry Partch was the first such composer. He defined his own scale with 43 pitches to the octave, and invented his own instruments to play it.

What instruments use just intonation?

The modern un-fretted bowed string instruments; the violin, viola, cello and bass, can and do play in just intonation and can modulate to any key center and maintain just intonation. Modern brass instruments without valves, such as the bugle, play in just intonation in one key only.

How is just intonation derived?

just intonation, in music, system of tuning in which the correct size of all the intervals of the scale is calculated by different additions and subtractions of pure natural thirds and fifths (the intervals that occur between the fourth and fifth, and second and third tones, respectively, of the natural harmonic series

How flat should a major third be?

A fifth is built of seven semitones; in relation to a pure fifth, it is 2 cents flat. A major third is four semitones and is 14 cents sharp; a major sixth is nine semitones and is 16 cents sharp.



What is a flatted third?

Flatted Third Scale Degree or The Flat Three indicates a note in a scale or chord that is one fret (or half step) lower in pitch than the third note in a Major scale built on the same root.

Can you end on a III chord?

In simple answer to your question – yes, quite often, obviously not always. The progression may well end on the ‘third chord’ as you call it (normally it’s the V), in order to re-start the sequence, usually back at I.