Tonic major chord in Young temperament
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Young temperament is a well temperament devised by Thomas Young, which he included in a letter to the Royal Society of London written July 9, 1799. It was read January 16, 1800 and included in the Society's Philosophical Transactions published that year.
Before closing, Young outlined a practical method to "make the harmony most perfect in those keys which are the most frequently used," by tuning upwards from C a sequence of six pure fourths, as well as "six equally imperfect fifths," in other words six progressively purer flat fifths. His goal was to give better major thirds in more commonly used keys, but to not have any unplayable keys. So in this system, the third C-E is only 1⁄4 of a comma (about 5 cents) wide ( Play (help·info)) from just while the widest third is one syntonic comma too wide (about 21 cents Play (help·info)). (A just major third is a perfect 5:4 ratio which is about 386 cents. Play (help·info)) The thirds get wider as one moves around the circle of fifths like so:
|Major third||Deviation from just|
|C-E||5 cents wide|
|G-B, F-A||8 cents wide|
|B♭-D, D-F♯||10 cents wide|
|E♭-G, A-C♯||14 cents wide|
|A♭-C, E-G♯||18 cents wide|
|D♭-F, B-D♯||20 cents wide|
|G♭-B♭||21 cents wide|
The difference between twelve-tone equal temperament and Young's temperament rounded to the nearest cent is as follows:
In 1801 Young changed the tuning of E♭, which is included in the temperament published in the collection of his lectures in 1807.
For a more complete investigation of Young's temperament, see Jorgensen, pp. 251–265.
- Young, Thomas (1800) "Outlines of Experiments and Inquiries respecting Sound and Light" (In a Letter to Edward Whitaker Gray, M.D. Sec. R.S.). Philosophical transactions of the Royal society of London, vol. 90, part 1. p. 143
- Young, Thomas (1802) "Letter Respecting Sound and Light." A Journal of Natural Philosophy, Chemistry and the Arts, William Nicholson editor, London vol. 5, p.167
- Young, Thomas (1845) A Course of Lectures on Natural Philosophy and the Mechanical Arts, Taylor & Walton, London.
- Jorgensen, Owen. (1991) Tuning: containing the perfection of eighteenth-century temperament, the lost art of nineteenth-century temperament, and the science of equal-temperament, complete with instructions for aural and electronic tuning. Michigan State University Press.