Montclair State College
Revised January 1991
1. HISTORICAL AND INTRODUCTORY STUDIES
Carr, Dale. ``A practical introduction to unequal temperament,'' The
Diapason 65 (February 1979): 6-8.
A clear and accurate introduction, presented in a way that
musicians (particularly organists) can easily understand.
Duffin, Ross. ``Tuning and Temperament.'' In Jeffrey Kite-Powell, ed.
A Practical Guide to Historical Performance: The Renaissance. New
York: Early Music America, 1989. p. 149-156.
An overview of the question of tuning for Renaissance music.
Includes a short but quite useful discography.
Barbour, Murray. Tuning and Temperament: A historical survey. East
Lansing: Michigan State College Press. 1951, 2d ed. 1953.
A valuable pioneering study, and the standard reference for the
past 35 years. Flawed, as the author himself came to realize, by
a general bias in favor of equal temperament. (He had no
opportunity to hear unequal temperaments until after the first
edition of his book was published!) Not entirely reliable in
matters of fact or of interpretation, but irreplaceable as a
general guide to source materials.
Lindley, Mark. ``Temperament'' in The New Grove Dictionary of Music
and Musicians. London: Macmillian, 1980.
Lindley is the most widely recognized scholar writing on the
subject nowadays. As with many New Grove contributions, some
parts of this article may prove tough going for absolute
novices. Extensive bibliography. A slightly updated and revised
version of this article appears in The New Grove Dictionary of
Musical Instruments (London: Macmillian, 1984).
______. ``Tuning and Intonation,'' in Howard Mayer Brown and Stanley
Sadie, eds., Performance Practice [vol. 2]: Music After 1600, pp.
169-185. New York: Norton, 1989 (Norton/Grove Handbooks in Music).
Coverage of the 14th through the 18th century. Very much like a
precis of the German-language essay cited immediately below, it
is a good place to start exploring the scholarly literature once
you have a basic understanding of the subject.
______. ``Stimmung und Temperatur,'' in Carl Dahlhaus et al. H ren,
Messen und Rechnen in der Fr hen Neuzeit, pp 109-331. Darmstadt:
Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1987 (Geschichte der
A comprehensive survey, based upon the theoretical sources but
constantly mindful of questions of musical practice.
Tuning methods for keyboard together with varying amounts of
historical and theoretical information.
Lindley, Mark. ``Instructions for the clavier diversely tempered,''
Early Music 5 (1977): 18-23 (with erratum slip!).
Blood, William. `` `Well Tempering' the Clavier,'' Early Music 7
Jorgensen, Owen. Tuning the Historical Temperaments by Ear: A Manual
of Eighty-nine Methods for Tuning Fifty-one Scales on the
Harpsichord, Piano, and Other Keyboard Instruments. Marquette:
Northern Michigan University Press, 1977.
The author, a diligent calculator and piano technician, has laid
out painstakingly complete procedures for tuning a variety of
temperaments. His tuning instructions may be useful, but any
claim to represent historical practice must be verified from
another source! (Particularly to be avoided are the ``equal-
beating'' schemes, which seem to be the author's own invention.
They have only the most tenuous basis in historical practice and--
despite his claims--no genuinely audible advantages.)
Klop, G. C. Harpsichord Tuning Course Outline. Translated by Glen
Wilson. Garderen, Netherlands: Werkplaats voor Clavecimbelbouw,
A good many people have learned to tune their harpsichords from
this useful little book. Its presentation of theory, however,
brief and over-simplified, may produce as much confusion as
Billeter, Bernhard. Anweisung zum Stimmen von Tasteninstrumenten in
verschiedenen Temperaturen. Berlin: Merseburger, 1979.
Not altogether unlike Klop, but not quite as brief; the
treatment of theory is a good deal more complete and more
accurate. Oriented as much toward the organ as other
3. TEMPERAMENT AND FRETTED STRING INSTRUMENTS
Dombois, Eugen. ``Varieties of Meantone Temperament Realized on the
Lute.'' Journal of the Lute Society of America 7 (1974): 82-89.
Includes tables for setting frets by measurement.
Liddle, Elizabeth. ``Tuning.'' In Alison Crum. Play the Viol: The
Complete Guide to Playing the Treble, Tenor, and Bass Viol. Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 1989. p.155-164.
A very clear practical guide to using unequal temperaments on
Lindley, Mark. Lutes, Viols, and Temperaments. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1984.
An exposition of historical evidence from the 16th- to the mid-
18th century. Equal temperament is shown to have been the norm
for fretted instruments, with some use of meantone and other
systems in individual cases. A short cassette tape is available
separately from the publisher.
Gable, Frederick. ``Possibilities for mean-tone temperament playing on
viols.'' Journal of the Viola da Gamba Society of America 16 (1979):
Briefly surveys historical, theoretical, and practical problems
involved in using meantone on viols.