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Subject: orchestration and tuning (diapason)
From: Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 20 Jun 2017 11:06:20 -0400
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I have some questions that can only be answered by our Opera L experts (and I know we 
have many).   With all this talk about high Cs, and how many operas have them and how 
many don't, it dawned on me this morning something that I believe has been brought up 
before.  Is a high C TODAY identical in pitch to what a high C was, say, during the age of 
Bellini, Donizetti, and Rossini???   I don't think it is.  If the tuning or the diapason was lower 
in those days, would not a top B TODAY have been a top C during the age of bel canto?????
     We all know that there are neglected pianos that have gone without tuning for years.
Of course they sound terrible, but they also can be as much as a whole step flat. So with 
the orchestra ------ and I'm always reading about how orchestras are now tuning much 
higher (especially in Vienna).
     The climatic top C in "O Patria Mia" is a case in point. Verdi has written the C, but might 
that C TODAY only be a top B?????   I'm able to read music, and I play the piano, but do not 
perfect pitch ------ only approximate.  
     Would a top C TODAY have been a top D in the age of bel canto????  I'm sure some of 
you know what I mean, and I'm not sure I'm being clear enough, but if anyone can enlighten 
me on this, I'd be grateful.  It's been puzzling me for a while.  Renata Tebaldi often 
expressed these concerns, and given the problems she had with high Cs throughout most of 
her career, she probably felt justified, which she may have been.   
     Is the raising of the diapason a possible explanation for this trepidation about exposed 
top Cs?????

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