Historical Tuning

Historical Tunings on Modern Pianos

I was at Symphony Center a few years ago and I noticed a poster for a concert in which a famous pianist would be playing the entire Well Tempered Clavier. I couldn’t bear to go to the concert, because I was quite certain that the piano would have been tuned to Standard Equal Temperament. I just shook my head and thought to myself; how ludicrous to play an entire concert with a piece that was intended to demonstrate the amazing varieties and colors of a Well Tempered tuning, but instead tuning the instrument to Equal Temperament, which totally removes any key color or variety.

Historical Temperaments: A New Trend in Piano Tuning

It may be that in the next decade or so you will see a change in the temperament of piano technicians.

Recently I went to the Piano Technicians Guild seminar put on by the Madison chapter on historical tunings. The first part of the program was a lecture / demonstration by Owen Jorgensen, with whom I'm sure many are familiar. Owen had two pianofortes, three verticals and two Mason & Hamlin grands, all tuned to differing temperaments, however this time his lecture had a little different and quite unexpected twist.