Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Goldberg Variations in Bach-Lehman tuning

I am listening excitedly to Bach's Goldberg Variations in G major (in a file I recently re-tuned) because they sound so good! They are now in the temperament used by Bach himself I believe, Bach-Lehman 1722.

I invite you to listen to:

Variation 25 - Andante espressivo

However, if you try the:

equal temperament version

I believe you shall hear significantly less beauty, even unpleasantness!

For this, it is essential to use some good wave-table MIDI synthesizer software like Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth which is based on Roland wavetables.

The Creative SoundBlaster SoundFont Synth and the QuickTime Music Synthesizer (at least on PC's) somehow blot out temperaments' emotional content, and they make this listening comparison meaningless.

Sometime, feast your ears and emotional system on the:

complete variations

on harpsichord, in Bach-Lehman 1722 temperament. (It may be better if you minimize the treble on your speakers or whatever. Credits:

Goldberg Variations - by J.S. Bach - BWV 988.
MIDI version by David J. Grossman, 1997.
Bach-Lehman 1722 temperament version by Mark D. Blackwell, 2010.

Interesting, from Mr. Grossman's website on the Art of MIDI: 'Listening to a clean sequence of a Bach work, it is possible for the mind to add [its] own interpretation[;] one is able to listen to the work in such a way that [one's] own realization of the work comes through.'

Following immediately at 1:09:21 are Bach's Fourteen Canons on the First Eight Notes of the Goldberg Ground in G major - BWV 1087, which sound better, interestingly, in

equal temperament.

More Bach from David J. Grossman.

(I have emailed David J. Grossman;, he granted permission for this use. His website states, 'All original material is copyrighted ©1999 (unpronounceable) Productions', and also states, 'All of these sequences were created with Cakewalk Pro Audio and are copyrighted ©1997. However, they are freely distributable and modif[i]able for any non-commercial purpose[,] as long as proper credit is given and the textual information in the files remains intact', and also states, 'The original MIDI sequences at this site [are] copyrighted by myself but may be modified and redistributed[,] if: I am asked permission first and have given it, I am given partial credit for my original work, and they are not sold. Redistribution of my sequences in their unmodified form is allowed without explicit permission as long as no money is charged for them.')

Copyright (c) 2010 Mark D. Blackwell.

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