minstrel: Tuning

QuestTMK at aol.com QuestTMK at aol.com
Fri Mar 24 11:32:56 PST 2000

>> but i'm not only talking about the instrument,
>> there is the issue of strings, which were lumpy,
>> and not uniform. they streched and shrunk
>> constantly, making it out of tune. part of the
>> problem is fixed, not completely, but
>> manufactured stings are less temperamental.
> The matter of temperamental strings is not an issue.  > If you had a piano that kept going out of tune,
> would the music that you played on it be bad?

we are not talking about pianos, we are talking of portable instruments, which will experience more drastic changes in the weather. and I never said the music was bad, just that it was often out of tune.

> No, it would simply be out of tune.  And if the
> piano strings were out of tune with each other,
> would you simply keep playing, not knowing that
> they were out of tune? 

a piano (mostly kept indoors) is less likely to go out of tune than a lute (carried all over the place mostly outdoors)

<snip piano tuning>
> That's why you learn how to tune a guitar, and 
> then you learn E Minor. Knowing that a note is
> not in tune with another is not something that
> can be taught, because it is present in every
> person.  (Even having perfect pitch doesn't 
> matter, because that is only knowing if 
> something is in tune with the correct pitch of
> A being 440 Hertz.)  Medieval musicians were
> presumably skilled enough, and human enough, 
> to know that when Guillaume plays a G and
> Francois plays F#, it kind of hurts.  And 
> they would be able to take that
> knowledge and tune their instruments accordingly.  

yes but, during their performance, midway through a 5 minute song, Guillaume instrument expands and the strings tighten. Francois, sitting closer to the heat of a fire, his strings become very warm and soft.  They are now out of tune. Most musicians have been taught not to stop in the middle of a song, so they continue playing even out of tune.

it doesn't matter how good they are at tuning their instrument, the laws of nature can not be stopped.

Rowen Seer

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