Mudcat Café message #3282191 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #120392   Message #3282191
Posted By: Tootler
30-Dec-11 - 07:14 PM
Thread Name: Clavichord thread
Subject: RE: Clavichord thread
The brutally simple approach is an oversimplification. In the recorder group I belong to the usual procedure is to flatten the thirds slightly for a major chord and sharpen the third for a minor chord. This gives sweet chords which are well suited to an instrument like the recorder. As the tuning of most modern recorders is based on ET, the fifths are usually OK. The procedure is to sound the tonic, then the fifth then bring in the third and get the person playing the third to reduce their breath pressure till there is no perceptible beating.(for a major chord, that is)

The business about flattening sharps and sharpening flats possibly comes from the use of accidentals in renaissance and early baroque music. A sharpening accidental was commonly used to make a third that would normally have been minor in the key of the piece into a major chord and a flat accidental turned a third that would have otherwise been major into a minor one.

Kyle Gann's explanation is excellent, very clear and usable. His explanation why music practice these days doesn't like parallel fifths is interesting and makes a great deal of sense.