THE CONSORT OF TWELVE Patrons: Paul Esswood Kate Mosse
THE CONSORT OF TWELVE                                                               Patrons: Paul Esswood                                                                        Kate Mosse


There was no 'set' pitch in the Baroque period. (The now established A=440Hz was not internationally formalised until 1975, although it was first proposed in 1835). In common with nearly all period ensembles, The Consort plays at a pitch that was common in the later Baroque era in much of Europe, now generally agreed at A=415Hz, about a semitone below our modern pitch. This gives a warmer overall sound because there is less tension in the gut strings. This pitch is, of course, a compromise. Pitch is France was even lower, as was pitch in England during the 17th century. In early 17th century Italy, however, pitch is thought to have been about a semitone higher than modern pitch!

Tuning and temperament

We play to a harpsichord tuned in a Baroque circular temperament (where the distance between each semitone is different), rather than the equal temperament of the modern piano and wind instruments (where each of the twelve semitones is identical). Baroque composers found Equal Temperament to be "out of tune", as no interval was 'pure'. A circular temperament results in standard keys being more in tune, while the more remote keys are given an interesting colouring. Hence our instruments tend to tune to chords, rather than an A, as in modern orchestras.


Go to The continuo


2017 DATES


21 MAY




See Other Concerts for the Parnassian Ensemble's forthcoming concerts


Kate Goodchild (secretary) 01243 782353

Jonathan Randall (ticket applications) 02392 214494


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