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How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony: And Why You Should Careby Ross W Duffin
Synopses & Reviews
Ross W. Duffin presents an engaging and elegantly reasoned exposé of musical temperament and its impact on the way in which we experience music. A historical narrative, a music theory lesson, and, above all, an impassioned letter to musicians and listeners everywhere, How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony possesses the power to redefine the very nature of our interactions with music today.
For nearly a century, equal temperament--the practice of dividing an octave into twelve equally proportioned half-steps--has held a virtual monopoly on the way in which instruments are tuned and played. In his new book, Duffin explains how we came to rely exclusively on equal temperament by charting the fascinating evolution of tuning through the ages. Along the way, he challenges the widely held belief that equal temperament is a perfect, "naturally selected" musical system, and proposes a radical reevaluation of how we play and hear music.
A captivating look at how musical temperament evolved, and how we could (and perhaps should) be tuning differently today.
'\"A fascinating and genuinely accessible guide....Educating, enjoyable, and delightfully unscary.\"\'\"Classical Music\n
What if Bach and Mozart heard richer, more dramatic chords than we hear in music today? What sonorities and moods have we lost in playing music in "equal temperament"'"the equal division of the octave into twelve notes that has become our standard tuning method? Thanks to How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony, "we may soon be able to hear for ourselves what Beethoven really meant when he called B minor 'black'" (Wall Street Journal).In this "comprehensive plea for more variety in tuning methods" (Kirkus Reviews), Ross W. Duffin presents "a serious and well-argued case" (Goldberg Magazine) that "should make any contemporary musician think differently about tuning" (Saturday Guardian).
About the Author
Ross W. Duffin, the Fynette H. Kulas Professor of Music at Case Western Reserve University, is the author of the award-winning Shakespeare's Songbook. He lives in Shaker Heights, Ohio.
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