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Treatise on Harpsichord Tuning (Cambridge Musical Texts and Monographs) Paperback – April 24, 1987


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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Musical Texts and Monographs
  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (April 24, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052131402X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521314022
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,124,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

One of the first documents to discuss in detail keyboard performance practice. Addresses matters of interest to scholars and performers, including temperament, ornamentation, fugue and the use of the organ in liturgical practice.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David P. Jensen on September 5, 2014
Format: Paperback
Jean Denis' "Treatise on Harpsichord Tuning" is essential reading for any serious harpsichordist interested in historically informed performance. At the time that Denis wrote his treatise, what we have come to call "quarter comma mean tone" was the usual temperament for keyboard tuning. Today, the usual temperament is equal; then, the usual, ordinary temperament was what we call quarter comma mean tone. While the directions that Denis lays out are not specifically identified as directed at quarter comma, it seems clear that they are, as his formula is very similar to that of Pietro Aaron, whose published treatise had errors that Denis corrected. That said, it is easy enough to apply his formula to fifth comma mean tone, or even to sixth comma mean tone. The pattern is much the same - just the widths of the fifths, fourths and thirds change.

I highly recommend this book. The translation is clear, and not only does the book contain the first true and accurate description of doing quarter comma, but it gives a glimpse into 17th century life.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brent Peterson on August 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Harpsichords being such a specialty item nowadays (not to mention, investment of money) ... I highly doubt that anyone could or would tune their instrument using this exact method in modern times. I see that specialists cannot even precisely determine what historic temperament the author is aiming for in his instruction.

That said, the book is fascinating for its period insights, anecdotes and brushes with music theory--including concepts that I have NEVER heard in any music theory class (such as, for example, "feintes"). It should be REQUIRED READING for all serious keyboard artists, particularly those with interest in Baroque music.
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