Recordings with unequal temperaments online
Searching the internet—and especially YouTube.com—for "unequal temperament" or "meantone" produces many hits, although only few are really interesting. The following are recommended:
- A piece in 13th-century style. This has been recorded by medieval music scholar Margo Schulter using standard Pythagorean intonation: note the "serene" pure fifths and the "tense" dissonant major thirds.
- Frescobaldi's fragment from Cento Partite sopra Passacagli in Standard Meantone with Split Sharps. Starting in 4:47, Richard Lester explains the benefits and limitations of meantone. He then shows the split keys on an extant harpsichord built by Doni in 1619. Lester then demonstrates the meantone "wolves" that arise if some fragments from Frescobaldi's Cento Partite sopra Passacagliare played on a normal keyboard tuned in meantone: finally he shows how the "wolves" are resolved by using the additional accidentals available thanks to the split sharps.
(This video is no longer there: hope to find it reinstated soon).
- Pachelbel's Aria Sebaldina variations in Standard Meantone and Equal Temperament. Each variation is first played transposed to g minor, which fits quite well meantone temperament with the usual wolf location, then in the original f minor, where the very discordant wolf major thirds are heard. This and other works of Pachelbel clearly require a circular temperament.
- Introduction to unequal temperaments in F Sharp. David Pitches introduces the various unequal temperaments playing on an electronic sampler organ. The piece is unplayable in Meantone. Here we hear temperaments in the following order: Meantone, d'Alembert, Vallotti, Kirnberger and Kellner.
- An organ masterclass with reeds and tierces in meantone. A student plays at the Hammerwood Park organ.
- J.S. Bach's Dorian Fugue in meantone. This interesting performance by Mark Shepherd shows how some organ works by Bach are to some extent compatible with meantone temperament, still very common in church organs in Bach's time. Note however the awful discords in 4:07, 4:39 and later also: together with many other features of the score, they clearly show that this work was composed for a circular temperament.
- A few fragments recorded in different unequal temperaments in harpsichord recitals. Please note that the choice of temperament was dictated by the prevalent repertoire of the recital: therefore the choice of temperament is not the best one for some pieces.
- Pieces by François Couperin in a video taken during a recital in 2011: La Manon (G major), Les Baricades Mistérieuses (B flat major), L'âme-en-peine (b minor), Les Fauvétes Plaintives (d minor). The harpsichord was tuned in Standard French (Rousseau's ordinaire) temperament.