HANDBOOK OF ACOUSTICS - online book

A complete view of Acoustical Science & its bearings on music, for musicians & music students.

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TEMPERAMENT.                                 215
coincident in just Intonation when the interval given in the 1st column is played in Equal Temperament, the lower tone of each, interval being C = 264.
The piano is specially favourable to Equal Temperament; in fact, this system of tuning was first applied to the piano and subsequently made its way to other key-board instruments. In the first place, the tones of the piano are loud only at the moment of striking, and die away before the beats due to the imperfect intervals have time to become very prominent: and further, music for the piano abounds in rapid passages, and usually, the chords are so frequently changed, that beats have very little time in which to make them­selves heard. Indeed, Helmholtz makes the suggestion, that it is the unequal temperament, which has forced on the rapid rate of modern music, not only for the piano, but for the organ also.
On the Harmonium and Organ, the effects of Temperament become very apparent in sustained chords. On the latter it is especially so in Mixture Stops, the tempered Fifths and Thirds of which, dissonating against the pure Fifths and Thirds in the over­tones, producing what Helmholtz terms the " awful din" so often heard, when these stops are drawn.
Many attempts have been made from time to time to construct Harmoniums, Organs, &c, in such a way, and with such a number of tones to the Octave, that the intervals they yield shall be more or less close approximations to True Intonation. The best known of these instruments are:
1. Helmholtz's Harmonium. This instrument has two Manuals, the tones of each being such as would be generated by a