Mozart’s Sonata No. 11 in A Major K331 in meantone tuning

Per request I added a version that uses a Walter pianoforte model (circa 1790 see Mozart’s Piano BBC article), “well temperament” and a diapason of A = 415 Hz.
Mozart’s Sonata No. 11 in A Major K311 in full period sound

Mozart’s Sonata No. 11 in A Major K311 in meantone tuning

The composition in
1/6th comma meantone

Mozart’s Sonata No. 11 in A Major K311 in 12 equal tuning

A short segment of both versions mixed 50-50

Often I am asked about the difference between “normal” 12 equal tuning and microtonal tuning.

Thanks to a retuning by Gene Ward Smith to 1/6 comma meantone tuning you can compare this famous piece of music in what was arguably the standard tuning of Mozart’s day, 1/6th comma meantone to our current 12 equal tuning.

From the microtonal wiki

Meantone temperaments are based on two generating intervals; the octave and the fifth, from which all pitches are composed. This qualifies it as a rank-2 temperament. The octave is typically pure or close to pure, and the fifth is a few cents narrower than pure. The rationale for narrowing the fifth is to temper out the syntonic comma. This means that stacking four fifths (such as C-G-D-A-E) results in a major third (C-E) that is close to just.

I rendered a Mozart piano sonata from a midi file I found on the internet in the late 90’s. I can see from the midi file that this is a live performance captured from a midi keyboard into a computer. (A live performance doesn’t always line up on the bar lines and other such “humanizations” are evident) This is the sonata with the famous Alla Turca melody which comprises the last movement.

Details here:

I rendered this with pianoteq which is a pretty high end virtual piano. The piece is a bit over 14 minutes long and is a 34 megabyte download.

2 Responses to “Mozart’s Sonata No. 11 in A Major K331 in meantone tuning”

  1. Les says:

    Very cool. The Köchel number in this post is wrong, though, just to inform you. This piece is K. 331, not K. 311 (which is a different piano sonata in D Major).

  2. admin says:

    Hi Leslie,

    Thank you for the correction and I’m glad you think this is cool!


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