Talk:Pitch (music)

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WikiProject Music theory (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
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WikiProject Percussion (Rated C-class)
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WikiProject Percussion[edit]

I have tagged this article as of interest to us mainly because of the section Pitch (music)#Definite and indefinite pitch and the two redirects Indefinite pitch and Indeterminate pitch that link to that section.

Although we do not have an importance scale for WikiProject Percussion, this is a key concept for the WikiProject, and one of the most commonly misunderstood. Andrewa (talk) 14:39, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Requested move: "Musical scale" → "Scale (music)"[edit]

I have initiated a formal RM action to move Musical scale to Scale (music). Contributions and comments would be very welcome; decisions of this kind could affect the choice of title for many music theory articles.

NoeticaTea? 00:12, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

I don't see how the actual page title affects its use in other articles. Music theory articles can link to either title like this scale or this scale - makes no difference to the article.
WP:TITLE doesn't seem to have a strong opinion either way, although I think the principle of naturalness suggests retaining the current title. Tayste (edits) 01:19, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Please leave your comments at Talk:Musical_scale#Requested_move_to_.22Scale_.28music.29.22. Or not. --Kvng (talk) 22:25, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, yes I did see that, and it didn't really seem worth contributing to. Hehe, bike sheds. Tayste (edits) 22:45, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Moved to here[edit]

The following is moved here from the 'Concert pitch' section, since the information "failed verification" (see internal note) - with tag date = September 2010. ~: (talk) 20:34, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

For example, Michael Praetorius proposed a standard of 465 Hz in the early 17th century.[1][not in citation given]


  1. ^ Praetorius, Michael (1962). The Syntagma Musicum. Bärenreiter. 

That's interesting. I tracked it back to this edit by myself. I'm pretty sure I would not have made up a number, and that I must have gotten it from the book. Perhaps it went from being a full-view book to just snippets due to the date 1962 that Google thinks it has; looks like the right date for first translated edition, so maybe the translator asserts copyright. The snippets show lots of pages that mention Praetorious, and tuning, and such, but I'm not getting any hits on numbers like 465. It was tagged here by Jerome Kohl, but it's unclear whether he was actually able to look at a copy of the book, or just didn't like the lack of page number and the unlikeliness of the assertion. Anyway, I just ordered the 1962 translated vol. 2 off abebooks for $25, so should know in a week or so. I wouldn't be surprised if it's in a note by the translator, or something like that, a retrospective analysis of tuning that he used. Dicklyon (talk) 20:57, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

I hope the effort is worth $25   ;)   Sorry about being nit-picky! ~E: (talk) 22:23, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
Since my name has been mentioned, perhaps I might just observe that it was some years after Praetorius's publication that frequency definition of pitch was established—as my editorial comment indicates—which means he cannot have made a reference to 465Hz. This must be a modern interpretation of something Praetorius defines in very different terms. I recall reading somewhere (a very long time ago now, so I cannot recall where it was) a long-running debate over Praetorius's measurements of something—I think it was pendulums, and to do with metronomic tempos rather than pitch. In any case, the upshot was that confusion over things like Brunswick inches, doubtful measurements of woodblock prints due to the shrinkage of paper over time, and other factors render such interpretations more difficult than at first seems likely. In any event, the true source of the figure 465 will have to be someone other than Praetorius, while at the same time the interpreted passage from the Syntagma will need to be pinpointed. I look forward to seeing the resolution of this matter.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 00:28, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
I forgot to answer one specific question of DickLyon's: As I said in my editorial comment, the Syntagma was published in three volumes plus a supplement of plates. I am able to look at a copy of this massive publication, but the lack of even a volume number (let alone a page reference) makes wading through 17th-century German in fraktur more than my poor eyeballs can handle. The most likely place for Praetorius to make such a statement is in volume 3 (about performance practice), rather than the far more popular vol. 2 (the one about musical instruments), so I hope you have not wasted your money.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 00:35, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

OK, I got the volume two of Praetorius, English translation of 1949/1962, and don't see what I'm looking for there. However, book search with "Michael Praetorius" and "465", I do find some good stuff, in form of snippets; so there are more books to get. One says "We know from Micahel Praetorius (Syntagma musicum II [1618-19; reprint, Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1958]) and Daniel Speer (Grundrichtiger Unterriche [1687; reprint, 1974]) that the nominal pitch of the tenor trombone in the seventeenth century was A; Fischer's B-flat must there represent Chorton A, that is, a' = 465." Another says "A more-or-less standard universal pitch did exist in the centuries before Bach's birth. The pitches of original instruments in the 16th and early 17th centuries cannot be described as uniform, but they are remarkably consistent at one principle level, about a' = 465, called (among ..." and "did not change pitch. Michael Praetorius in 1618 wrote about ... The pitch levels of these new instruments, being based on Parisian ton d'opera and ton de chambre, were much lower than the traditional German instrumental pitch at a' 1 465." So, need to get the books and see what they actually say. But there is clearly some kind of support for attributing 465 to things that Praetorius documented. Dicklyon (talk) 20:21, 19 January 2013 (UTC) Some can be read at Amazon about Chorton and 465 and Praetorius. Dicklyon (talk) 20:27, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

This way of specifying pitch should be explained somewhere on WP[edit]

In the article Types of trombone you find this way of specifying pitch: 12' F, 18' B, 9' B, etc. I suppose (this is just a guess) that this way of specifying pitch is akin to the organ foot system, as in 8' pipe, 16' pipe, etc. although in the case of organs the actual length applies only to the pipe giving the C whereas, the way it is used for organs, the designation applies in fact to all the pipes of the given octave even though their actual length is shorter than that of the C. In any case I'm sure other readers who are only slightly familiar with trombones will be puzzled, like me, by this system, so this more general system used for trombones (and other brass?) should be explained somewhere in WP. I'm adding this request to this talk page of Pitch (music) rather than that of Types of trombone just in case this system is used for other instruments but please place the explanation where you think it is the most useful and appropriate. Contact Basemetal here 18:43, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

This sounds like a notation issue. Maybe best added to Note. ~KvnG 17:32, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
It's more about brass instruments than about notes. This book has an appendix on the "foot" notation. This book gives them in cm, too. Dicklyon (talk) 22:59, 26 May 2013 (UTC)