Posted by Owain on

I found myself yesterday trying to explain the evolution of equal temperament, off the top of my head, which I never do a particularly good job of...not least because it's not really anything I could call a speciality. Something I find particularly difficult is making the jump from abstract mathematical concepts to how the sounds of earlier tuning systems exploited the character of individual keys which resulted.

This video does something of what I fail to do: although the explanation of exactly which tunings evolved from which others has been cut out, at least it demonstrates some of the contrasting sounds, such as with Bach's C major and C sharp major preludes, and with the Chopin funeral march:

And for contrast, an excerpt from the Well-Tuned Piano, by La Monte Young, which exploits the character of just intonation in a much more obvious way: