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On transposition...

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by Andy Mopley, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    I quote from a website I saw "Avoid keys that put instruments playing sharps alongside instruments playing flats. In this syllabus we talk of F# and Gb as the same note. This is true for tempered instruments like the piano. For instruments in the violin and brass families where the note is felt for, F# and Gb are subtly different.

    Is the last comment correct, and I assume also valid for double bass, and if so, how so? Or what is the author actually referring to, in this passage?

    Thanks for reading!
  2. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    It's absolutely true, but it's a pretty subtle thing. On violin, one generally plays notes against open strings to check intonation. Depending on which strings you check against, you will play an audibly different pitch. A string quartet will tend to play in something close to a non-tempered system, depending on the style and the players' ears. Thirds will ring out as nice pure intervals rather than the weird beating intervals you hear from a piano.

    But on an instrument as low-pitched and lacking in high harmonics as bass, I don't feel it's very important, especially when playing pizzicato. The margin of allowable intonation error is much bigger on double bass that violin or trumpet.