equal temperament

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equal temperament

n. Music
Modification of the intervals of just intonation in the tuning of instruments of fixed intonation to permit harmonic modulation. It allows one to modulate to or play in any of the 12 major or 12 minor keys.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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Noun1.equal temperament - the division of the scale based on an octave that is divided into twelve exactly equal semitones; "equal temperament is the system commonly used in keyboard instruments"
temperament - an adjustment of the intervals (as in tuning a keyboard instrument) so that the scale can be used to play in different keys
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References in periodicals archive ?
One choice is rejected because it "would depart too much from the 12-tone equal temperament that was standard practice for Webern's compositions" (p.
In terms of music history, particularly valuable is the chapter "Equal temperament--a history of disputes and errors", giving an account of the development of musical tuning, ranging from various types of unequal temperament up to the currently standard most common 12-tone equal temperament. It reads almost like a detective story, in which Koukal explains variously interpreted concepts, including the well-known "gute Tempertur", which was written about in one of his treatises by Andreas Werckmeister in the late 18th century.