Exercises for singing and playing in quarter-comma meantone temperament
for singers non fixed-pitch instruments at A=440.
by Martin Perkins
Early Music Workout:
Exercise 1: Small steps, smaller steps…
In this exercise you will get used to singing and playing diatonic notes in quarter-comma meantone temperament.
Play or sing to the melody line making sure you match the tuning of the organ.
For each of the seven keys of this exercise, the try to be aware of the sizes of the tones and semitones: the semitones will be wider than with equal temperament and the first interval in each exercise will be larger (the second note lower).
Exercise 2: Scales, scales, scales…
In this exercise you will play long notes of ascending and descending scales. Initially, these notes will be unaccompanied, but halfway through the bar the organ will play the note with appropriate chord. Use this opportunity to check if your own note is in tune with the meantone temperament.
If the notes are out of range, transpose them up or down an octave.
For each of the 7 scales, the tempo will increase, giving the following 7 speeds:
♩ = 30 | ♩ = 45 | ♩ = 60 | ♩ = 75 | ♩ = 90 | ♩ = 105 | ♩ = 120
Exercise 3. Chromatics
Now that you have had the opportunity to play and sing the different sizes of tones and semitones within specific keys, it is time to introduce chromaticism within one tonal centre. The arrows show how much each note is sharper or flatter than equal temperament.
A small arrow indicates a slight difference; a large arrow indicates a large difference. Notice that flats are all higher than equal temperaments and the sharps are lower. This makes them unusable as their enharmonic spelling (e.g., E-flat cannot be used as a D-sharp).
Exercise 4: Meantone in context I (for instruments)
Girolamo Frescobaldi, Canzon Terza (Canzoni da sonare, 1634)
Play along to this short canzon by Frescobaldi. The accompaniment, played on organ, is played at a variety of tempi to aid progressive learning.
Exercise 5: Meantone in context II (for voices or instruments)
Giovanni Paolo Cima ‘Adiuro vos, filiae Hierusalem’ (Concerti Ecclesiatici, 1634).
Play along to this short canzon by Cima. The accompaniment, played on organ, is played at a variety of tempi to aid progressive learning.