Dean’s Message December 2023

Kudos! and a huge thanks to Bruce Shull for his presentation, “Meantone Marvels of Germany and the Netherlands.” After leading us through a demonstration of quarter-comma meantone tuning on the harpsichord, Bruce provided a captivating travelogue of the recent Fritts organ shop study tour, complete with slides and recordings. All the instruments were magnificent, some jaw-dropping. And the meantone intonation? The sweetly sonorous pure major thirds are pure bliss, and as one moves through more distant keys, harmonies start to rub, and melodic intervals stretch or contract. Go beyond, and the music sounds torqued, sometimes intensely so. What a rich palate for the composer!

Inspired to go down the meantone rabbit hole, I came across two recordings of Michelangelo Rossi’s highly chromatic Toccata Settima: first, the almost hair-raising quarter-comma tuning, and second, the genteel fifth-comma tuning. What an eye opener!

  • Alice Sheu on the historical organ at Oosthuizen, Netherlands
    on YouTube.
  • Nathan Laube on the C.B. Fisk at Abbey Chapel, Mount Holyoke College
    on YouTube.

Thank you! Cooper Sherry and the community of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church by the Narrows for your gracious hospitality. Thanks also to everyone who brought treats for the lovely reception.

Looking ahead, we invite you to our Tacoma AGO Holiday Party at the home of the Tietjens, Monday, December 11th, at 7:00pm. Join us for good cheer and music! Please bring a food item to share.

Also, mark your calendars for our chapter field trip “Safety Last” at Seattle Paramount Theatre, Monday, January 24th, at 7:00pm. We always look forward to Silent Movie Mondays, especially this one featuring Harold Lloyd’s iconic comedy. We hope you can join us!


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