Temperament Cards

I thought this looked very interesting. But they don’t appear to find it worthwhile to say what the temperaments are, not that I could see.

But I like the idea. Maybe I should produce a set for harpsichord. And get more people off tuners and on to ears!

[Pardon me continuing to post topics related to pianos, but this one is 95% tuning and 5% piano.]

A good idea, you or somebody should.

Some days ago Claudio hinted to a couple cards he made for himself so to have a handy reference. I copied that idea and made a card with Barnes temperament.

Another reason somebody should produce such cards is it’s not easy to find reliable temperament recipes. The only comprehensive sources I know of are Claudio’s book and Carey Beebe’s website.

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Maybe they are just different ways to do equal temperament. I don’t know.

But what I am thinking of is a deck of cards for lots of harpsichord temperaments. A very handy, compact, non-electronic aide-mémoire.

[Of course, the deck would have to include a Joker.]

On a related note (excuse the pun) I used to have one of these, and found it really handy. 13 temperaments.


The referenced materials from the “How to Tune Pianos Store” is entirely concerned with equal temperament. Mr. Cerisano is the creator of, by his testimony, the only absolutely true, sure way to tune absolutely perfect equal temperament on piano.
This product is of no use for harpichord tuning.

I thought not. But it’s a stimulating idea for something I can produce.

People are passionate about their systems. Even worse in pianos than harpsichords!

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I made a bunch of 4"x 6" recipe cards for temperaments to have with me so I could tune by ear after a quick tune with Pitchlab. Carey and I have discussed and compared these, but instructions must be simplified to fit the card. I include the circle of fifths, the tuning order, and a few checks. Carey’s descriptions are much more complete, which is helpful when learning a new temperament. Some of my cards are based on Claudio’s very clear instructions for popular temperaments. A few temperaments are unique to players who have made their own modifications. Very useful to have for reference when tuning at the interval of their concert.

A very long time ago I purchased a set of cards like this. I think I got them from the Harpsichord Clearing House in Massachusetts. I will see if I can dig them up.

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