Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Distempered Clavier

Either my piano tuner is losing it or I am. The jury is still out.

Six months ago (?) the guy came and tuned my piano. At that time, as soon as I sat down and started playing it after he had left, I spotted a problem. All the major and minor chords sounded in tune to me, except the B-flat major triad. Every time I played it - surprisingly often - I was irritated by the not-quite-rightness of it. I had the tuner come back and touch it up, but that chord continued to drive me crazy ...until the time came around to tune it again.

Now it's the interval from G to D, or D to G, that's giving me fits. All the way up and down the keyboard, those two notes strike my ear as not being the proper distance apart. Yet, like my previous trouble with B-flat major, everything else sounds like it's in tune, including chords and intervals containing one of the fishy notes.

It shouldn't be musically possible. I can think of only two ways to explain it. Either my tuner is using an idiosyncratic, not-too-well-thought-out system of temperament that pleases most people but not my incredibly discerning ear(?!); or I have a screw loose in the area of my brain that picks up musical signals from my ears.

So far the joy of music hasn't deserted me; but Possibility #2 represents a distressing sign that my hearing may be starting to slip. On the other hand, happily, these chords and triads don't bother me on other instruments, but only on my piano at home I may not have to worry about my hearing at all!

1 comment:

sytech said...

just sort of stumbled into your blog. it was interesting to me your dilema with your piano. i am not in the least way musical but if it were me that this was bathering I would get another musician or tuner to check it out.