Meantone Temperaments on Lutes and Viols

Meantone Temperaments on Lutes and Viols

Dolata, David
Distribution: World
Publication date: 07/04/2016
Format: Hardback 84 b&w illus., 76 music exx., 42 tables
ISBN: 978-0-253-02123-6
Bookmark and Share

 Add to Wish List 

Other formats available:


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.

Author Bio

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.


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.This book will go a long way towards destroying the myths of many well-intentioned, but ill-informed scholars and performers.

Customer Reviews

There are currently no reviews
Write a review on this title.

Table of Contents

List of Diagrams
List of Tables
List of Audio Files

Part One: Precedent
Part One Introduction
1. Historical Performance, Thought, and Perspective
2. Surviving Fixed Metal-Fret Instruments
3. Fretting Pattern Iconography
Part One Conclusion

Part Two: Theory
Part Two Introduction
4. Inside the Numbers: How Tuning Systems Work and Why We Need Them
5. Tour through Tuning Systems
Part Two Conclusion

Part Three: Practice
Part Three Introduction
6. Physical and Environmental Factors
7. The Zen of Tuning
8. Continuo
9. Viols

Appendix 1: Cleartune
Appendix 2: Equal Temperament Offset Charts

Related Titles