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New "Stowassers"

#2
I was fully prepared to buy a new taragot from Mr. Toth, had I not cancelled my HU trip last month.
The 1st site shows pretty reasonable prices for new instruments. About as much as I'd expect to spend.

I noticed though that they're tuned in 442Hz? I wonder what the idea there is (instead of 440Hz).

George
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#3
442 is an orchestral standard that's been used in Europe for around 30 or so years -- probably closer to 40. If you've got a good enough ear, you can play an A=440 horn in tune at A=442 and vice-versa: I tried playing an A=440hz horn (Selmer Omega Eb alto sax) with a digital tuner set to A=442 and didn't have much of a problem. I haven't tried it the other way around -- because I don't have a horn that's A=442 -- but one assumes that it's about as difficult.
 
#4
Interesting. 99% of the time, the taragot is used in folk music, where there is no such orchestral standard (usually things are in 440). In some villages, musicians tune up higher (higher string tension=more volume), but it's not exact science.

I guess Hungarians are trying to target the orchestral crowd too.
 
#5
442 is an orchestral standard that's been used in Europe for around 30 or so years -- probably closer to 40. If you've got a good enough ear, you can play an A=440 horn in tune at A=442 and vice-versa: I tried playing an A=440hz horn (Selmer Omega Eb alto sax) with a digital tuner set to A=442 and didn't have much of a problem. I haven't tried it the other way around -- because I don't have a horn that's A=442 -- but one assumes that it's about as difficult.
Some directors, like von Karajan with the Berlin Symphony went, and go, even higher, 445 and more, to supposedly enhance the brightness of some works. Puts an awful stress on the stringed instruments (and the divas!).
J
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#6
Very true, Jacques.

I've heard comparisons of a low pitch (A=440hz) to a high pitch (A=457hz) instrument of the same make and model by Paul Cohen and I do like the brightness of A=457hz more. However, the main reason why lower pitched intonation standards caught on was because of stringed instruments. I've also heard some orchestras playing on period instruments from the 19th century and earlier when some even lower pitch standards were common, like A=435hz. It does make a difference in the overall tone of a work. It also kept some instrument makers employed: for woodwinds and brasswinds, you need different lengths of tubing to go from A=440hz to A=457hz (for instance). It's too much to compensate for with just an embouchure adjustment. Strings? Adjust the tuning pegs ... well, until either the string or the instrument snaps.
 
#7
Very true, Jacques.

I've heard comparisons of a low pitch (A=440hz) to a high pitch (A=457hz) instrument of the same make and model by Paul Cohen and I do like the brightness of A=457hz more. However, the main reason why lower pitched intonation standards caught on was because of stringed instruments. I've also heard some orchestras playing on period instruments from the 19th century and earlier when some even lower pitch standards were common, like A=435hz. It does make a difference in the overall tone of a work. It also kept some instrument makers employed: for woodwinds and brasswinds, you need different lengths of tubing to go from A=440hz to A=457hz (for instance). It's too much to compensate for with just an embouchure adjustment. Strings? Adjust the tuning pegs ... well, until either the string or the instrument snaps.
Last year I spent a week playing with folk musicians from Hungary who came to visit, and they liked to play in about 443 also. So I had to re-tune my small cimbalom (90 strings:smile: ).

My understanding is that the trend, over the centuries, is to continuously move up.
 
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