Historical temperaments

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Not to be confused with Subgroup temperaments#Historical.

Historical temperaments are temperaments which saw use during historical times and places. The term is most commonly used to refer to tunings from medieval, early modern or industrial-age Europe.


Here are some examples of historical temperaments. Some of these temperaments saw widespread usage, some saw limited usage, and some were discussed merely as thought experiments. Some were referred to by their current name, while others went by a different name to the modern one, but still described the same mathematical object.

See also

External resources

Many of these include diagrams and measurements of historical temperaments:


*historical source needed

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Meantone - Tonalsoft - Joe Monzo, 2005
  2. Seigneur Dieu ta pitié - Guillaume Costeley, 1558
  3. De musica libri septem - Francisco de Salinas, 1577
  4. Concerning Such Mechanism - John Harrison, 1775
  5. Le istitutioni harmoniche - Gioseffo Zarlino, 1558
  6. Harmonics, or The philosophy of musical sounds - Robert Smith, 1749
  7. Essay on musical intervals - Wesley S. B. Woolhouse, 1835
  8. Toscanello de la Musica - Pietro Aron, 1523
  9. L'Antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica - Nicola Vicentino, 1555
  10. Theories of chromatic and Enharmonic Music in Late 16th Century Italy - Chromatic systems (or non-systems) from Vicentino to Monteverdi - Karol Berger, 1980
  11. Lettre touchant le cycle harmonique - Christiaan Huygens, 1691
  12. Sistema musico ouero Musica speculativa - Lemme Rossi, 1666
  13. Über musikalische Tonbestimmung und Temperatur - Moritz Wilhelm Drobisch, 1852
  14. Abraham Verheyen's letter to Simon Stevin, c. 1600
  15. 15.0 15.1 Archives of the Académie des Sciences, Paris, Procès verbaux, vol. 20, February through April 1701
  16. 16.0 16.1 Mémoires de l'Académie Royale des Sciences (Paris, 1701), pages 299–366
  17. Gespräch zwischen einem Musico theoretico und einem Studioso Musices von der Prätorianischen, Printzischen Werkmeisterischen ... Temperatur, wie auch von dem neuen Systemate ... Telemanns zur Beförd. reiner Harmonie. - Georg Andreas Sorge, 1748
  18. Containing the Perfection of Eighteenth-century Temperament, the Lost Art of Nineteenth-century Temperament, and the Science of Equal Temperament, Complete with Instructions for Aural and Electronic Tuning - Owen Jorgensen, 1991
  19. Tuning and Temperament: A Historical Survey p. 126 - James Murray Barbour, 1953
  20. Prince Chu Tsai-Yü's Life and Work: A Re-Evaluation of His Contribution to Equal Temperament Theory - Fritz A. Kuttner, 1975
  21. Die Kunst des reinen Satzes in der Musik - Johaan Philipp Kirnberger, 1774
  22. Sectio canonis harmonici - Johann Georg Neidhardt, 1724
  23. Gäntzlich erschöpfte, mathematische Abtheilungen des diatonisch-chromatischen, temperirten Canonis Monochordi - Johann Georg Neidhardt, 1732 (digitized copy)
  24. Élémens de musique, theorique et pratique, suivant les principes de Monsieur Rameau - Jean-Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert, 1752
  25. Dictionnaire de Musique - Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1767
  26. Della scienza teorica e pratica della moderna musica - Francesco Vallotti, written 1728, published 1779
  27. Musicalische Temperatur - Andreas Werckmeister, 1691
  28. Philosophical Transactions pages 143-147 - Royal Society of London, 1800