July 4, 2016
84 b&w illus., 76 music exx., 42 tables
9.25 Inches (US)
6.13 Inches (US)
1.35 Pounds (US)
$48.00 USD, £37.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Meantone Temperaments on Lutes and Viols

Written for musicians by a musician, Meantone Temperaments on Lutes and Viols demystifies tuning systems by providing the basic information, historical context, and practical advice necessary to easily achieve more satisfying tuning results on fretted instruments. Despite the overwhelming organological evidence that many of the finest lutenists, vihuelists, and viola da gamba players in the Renaissance and Baroque eras tuned their instruments in one of the meantone temperaments, most modern early instrument players today still tune to equal temperament. In this handbook richly supplemented with figures, diagrams, and music examples, historical performers will discover why temperaments are necessary and how they work, descriptions of a variety of temperaments, and their application on fretted instruments. This technical book provides downloadable audio tracks and other tools for fretted instrument players to achieve more stable consonances, colorful dissonances, and harmonic progressions that vividly propel the music forward.

About the Author

David Dolata is Professor of Musicology at Florida International University and professional lutenist, appearing at such venues as the Glimmerglass Opera, the Florida Grand Opera, the Northwest Bach Festival, the Miami Bach Society, and on broadcasts and recordings for NPR, CBS, and BBC.


"While Dolata's book is aimed primarily at lutenists and gambists, the wealth of information he provides is of potential value to performers and scholars outside this limited circle. In particular, those who perform with—or conduct—lutenists and gambists can profit from learning what is involved in setting up fretted instruments in unequal systems."—Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music

"[This book] handles a difficult subject with clarity and vigor, and I imagine it will find a welcome place on the bookshelf of the serious student interested in exploring the unique soundscape attainable only through meantone temperament."—Notes

"There is a wealth of knowledge here for more advanced performers and those with an interest in historical temperaments."—Music Reference Services Quarterly

"This is an excellent, well-written book. There is a wealth of information about how players of fretted instruments found different solutions to the problems of tuning; the section on the theory of temperaments is a good read in spite of the dryness of its subject matter; and there is much good practical advice to help us improve our playing by getting our instruments well in tune."—The Viola da Gamba Society Journal

"This book is well written in a friendly style, and it fulfills its tutorial intention very well."—The Consort

"This book is welcome, aiming as it does to combine the historical, theoretical, and practical aspects of this sometimes vexed and controversial topic in a lively and approachable manner."—Richard Carter, Oriana Music: Early Music Editions, co-owner

"This book will go a long way towards destroying the myths of many well-intentioned, but ill-informed scholars and performers."—Paul O'Dette, world-renowned lutenist and Director of Early Music at Eastman School of Music

"This is a most stimulating book and one which every serious lutenist should read and understand. While Dolata may not persuade us that all or even most professional lutenists used meantone he makes a strong case that some did, and that equal temperament, while understood and widely used, was avoided by the most fastidious. He gives the reader the means to understand the issues and lots of practical advice on going beyond equal temperament towards better sound."—The Lute

9780253021236 : meantone-temperaments-on-lutes-and-viols-dolata
320 Pages
$48.00 USD

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