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Thread: Renaissance cittern with 1/4 comma meantone fretting

  1. #1
    Jo Dusepo, luthier Dusepo's Avatar
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    Default Renaissance cittern with 1/4 comma meantone fretting

    Here's my latest renaissance cittern:
    I am a luthier specialising in historical and world stringed instruments. You can see more info at my website.

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    Default Re: Renaissance cittern with 1/4 comma meantone fretting

    Now that is a nice looking instrument! Good job.

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    Dusepo 

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renaissance cittern with 1/4 comma meantone fretting

    Very nice, Jo. Just curious: can you explain "1/4 comma meantone fretting"?
    Jim

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    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renaissance cittern with 1/4 comma meantone fretting

    Jim, 1/4 comma meantone is a system of temperament used in renaissance and earlier baroque music. Fifths are a little narrower than in equal temperament (specifically, 1/4 comma narrower). Bach's well-tempered clavier used a system of temperament that could be used across more key signatures, as 1/4 comma, 1/6 comma, and Vallotti start getting ugly when you get too many flats and sharps going.

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    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renaissance cittern with 1/4 comma meantone fretting

    With sixty plus years of playing slide trombone, got an instrument built to centuries old sackbut specs.
    The one visual cue, the bell rim, is in a different relative position.
    Adam Woolf's "Sackbut Solutions" teaches meantone temperament needed to accurately play ancient music.
    Now C# & Db are not enharmonic, but different tones.
    Learning a new instrument is definitely a lesson in humility.
    Pandemic social distancing has so far proved to be an intelligent approach.
    My neighbors have not yet asked me to move.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Jo Dusepo, luthier Dusepo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renaissance cittern with 1/4 comma meantone fretting

    Sorry, I made a typo! This instrument is in fact fretted in 1/6 comma meantone, but what was said above by others still stands. Essentially, it means that the instrument plays more in tune in some keys and less in tune in others. It also means the frets do not get evenly smaller. It's not so obvious with 1/6 comma meantone, but below is a picture of a renaissance lute I built with 1/4 comma meantone fretting (probably the subconscious reason for my typo) which has even more uneven fret distances, and makes this much more obvious. The modern equal temperament system is a compromise which means that all keys play equally in tune.

    I am a luthier specialising in historical and world stringed instruments. You can see more info at my website.

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    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renaissance cittern with 1/4 comma meantone fretting

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusepo View Post
    The modern equal temperament system is a compromise which means that all keys play equally in tune.
    Or equally put of tune, depending on one's perspective.

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    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renaissance cittern with 1/4 comma meantone fretting

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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renaissance cittern with 1/4 comma meantone fretting

    Quote Originally Posted by Louise NM View Post
    Or equally put of tune, depending on one's perspective.
    Better, slightly equally out of tune in ALL keys. But the same in all of them.

    This works best with lots of chords and key changes.

    I appreciate where you're coming from - but 12 tone ET tuning was made for certain things.

    It's a compromise at best for many older, traditional, non-Western, etc. music genres.

    But it works really well for what it does, which is to allow for all sorts of chords and any sort of transposition to and from any tonal center.

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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renaissance cittern with 1/4 comma meantone fretting

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusepo View Post
    Sorry, I made a typo! This instrument is in fact fretted in 1/6 comma meantone, but what was said above by others still stands.
    Have you compared that to the tuning of the Turkish tambur or lavta? It would be interesting to compare the fretting. Those particular instruments have 9 "koma" to the whole step. G# and Ab are roughly 1/9 of a whole step apart...which compares to some European sources, if I recall.

  18. #11

    Default Re: Renaissance cittern with 1/4 comma meantone fretting

    Here’s a description of meantone.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meantone_temperament

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    Jo Dusepo, luthier Dusepo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renaissance cittern with 1/4 comma meantone fretting

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    Have you compared that to the tuning of the Turkish tambur or lavta? It would be interesting to compare the fretting. Those particular instruments have 9 "koma" to the whole step. G# and Ab are roughly 1/9 of a whole step apart...which compares to some European sources, if I recall.
    I haven't, as I only have a slight knowledge of Turkish music theory. I know more about Persian music theory.
    I am a luthier specialising in historical and world stringed instruments. You can see more info at my website.

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