At 11:39 AM 8/22/2003 +0100, Copeland, Peter wrote:
> Here in Britain the frequency of tuning A was standardised at 440Hz at a
>temperature of 20 Celsius in 1939, but before that it had been A=435 "at 60
Permit me to point out that a semitone change in pitch is very nearly 6%
change in frequency. The differences discussed here are in general of the
order of a quarter of a semitone - an error in absolute pitch recognizable
to a very few listeners and insufficient to alter the perceived timbre of
an instrument or a voice.
A second factor which may be of interest in this context is that studies of
the pitch of baroque and older organs indicate that pitch varied widely
with the region of Europe, but on the whole was rather close to A=440 for
the past two or three centuries.
I do not mean to suggest that it is irrelevant how the recording is
pitched; only that one may try to "sweat the small stuff" beyond the point
at which it makes sense. On many of the recordings with which I work, speed
is not constant across the disc. That introduces problems of relative pitch
on which there is far greater sensitivity than absolute.
Since I am not a professional in archiving, I have not maintained
references on the organ studies. One can easily compute the approximate
relationship between speed and frequency by remembering that an octave is a
factor of two and that it contains twelve nominally equal steps. (May I
also ask that we not get into issues of tuning and temperament?)
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