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The Seventh Dragon: The Riddle of Equal Temperament
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The Seventh Dragon: The Riddle of Equal Temperament

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  13 ratings  ·  2 reviews
A veteran piano tuner presents a literary, minimally technical view of the quixotic tuning systems used on keyboard instruments for hundreds of years. The work explains temperament strategies accessibly and reflects on the technical process of piano tuning in both practical and philosophical terms.

The first edition received the Western States Book Award for creative nonfic
Hardcover, 104 pages
Published September 1st 1986 by Metamorphous Press
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Pitch intervals sound most fulfilling if their frequencies are related by a ratio of small integers. For example, for an octave, the ratio of the frequency of the higher note to the lower note is 2:1. For a fifth, the ideal ratio is 3:2. For a tritone, the ideal ratio is 4:3. For a fourth, the ideal ratio is 5:4, and so on. For a half-step, the ideal ratio is 9:8. These intervals sound ideal to us because their higher harmonics align with and reinforce each other. Several styles of music, such a ...more
I really liked this book that my sister sent me about tempering pianos. It's short, information specific (almost academic), and diligently prods the mysteries of music and listening. I've always had lots of questions about key theory and key tones but never received a complete answer. This was my complete answer--written well enough that even as I understood, it allowed the vastness of the incompleteness to consume me.

It also really made me really want to hear music in played in different (orig
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