In all my years of playing, I have found the least understood subject to be that of tuning. Not just tuning an instrument to sound good, but: WHY are the notes on a piano (or guitar) tuned in the arrangement that they are, namely, what we call 12 tone equal temperament? Equal temperament means, simply, that every note is exactly the same distance from each other…a convenient way to measure this distance is CENTS; 100 cents is C to C#, one key on a piano, or one fret on a guitar. (there are 1200 cents in the 12 tone octave). But, the 12 tone system we all use is actually a fairly new kid on the tuning block, so to speak…throughout history, most cultures throughout the world have used systems with smaller intervals than 100 cents, and this is where the term microtone comes into play. And Western musicians have also used temperaments with more (or less) notes than 12 tone temperament; some popular tunings are 17, 19, 22, 24, 31, 34, 53, and 72 notes per octave; 19 tone temperament, for example, has 63 cents per note; 34 tone has 35 cents between notes. Charles Ives and Bela Bartok both used quartertones in pieces (24 tones/octave), and Julian Carrillo had a 96 tone system…yow.
Okie…so, why am I doing a blog, and what will I be talking about? Well…for one, I’ve always believed in communicating, and reaching out to people with words. As a self managing artist for the last 45 years, I have had to contact people, and let them hear my music, since nobody else is doing it for me. Even in the ancient days of cassettes (and I still listen to them, ha) and snail mail, I wrote people all over the world, and still have many letters I’ve received in reply. Now, of course, with email and social media, you can reach people much more efficiently, and I like that. So with a blog, no telling who might read it, at any place in the world.