Hi David,

On Thu, Feb 8, 2018 at 10:39 AM, David Kastrup <d...@gnu.org> wrote:

>
> Don't be silly.  Equal temperament most certainly is not
> "technologically impossible".


please note the qualifier "in the 18th century." The technological means to
tune *exact* equal temperament weren't available until around the 1830s,
and weren't in widespread use until later in the 19th, and only universal
in the 20th, centuries. Beethoven, for example, kept several cembalos in
his studio, all tuned differently, and would hold parties where he'd
improvise on them in succession to demonstrate their different affect. In
fact, there is a mammoth study on 19th century temperaments (with the
equally gargantuan title "Tuning: Containing the Perfection of
Eighteenth-Century Temperament, the Lost Art of Nineteenth-Century
Temperament and the Science of Equal Temperament," which if anybody on the
list has and would be willing to sell me, please contact me privately!).

Tuning by ear was certainly possible, and as that book notes, there was a
distinct art to it, much like how the rest of your message describes. But
again, the question of whether equal temperament was something those
composers actually wanted to hear (leaving aside the question of whether
any of them did or had the means to do so) is a question of historical
fact, and from their writings we find the answer almost universally in the
negative.

-A
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