Nea grant portal

Convenient though it is, some musicians don’t want to accommodate a 12-TET, insisting instead that we continue to use pure intervals derived from harmonics the way God and Pythagoras intended. Harmonics-based tuning systems are collectively known as just intonation. This is a poetically apt term, because it implies fairness. By contrast, the implicit message of 12-TET is that life isn’t fair. As we’ve learned, just intonation systems give you some lovely pure intervals, but are severely limited otherwise. A few malcontents prefer alternative historical compromise tuning systems that make some keys sound better at the expense of others sounding worse. There are many such esoteric temperament systems, but none of them are in widespread use.

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