Werckmeister temperament

Andreas Werckmeister published in 1681 and 1691, the first descriptions of different moods and pleasing. These gradually replaced the then prevalent Mean Tone and allowed the musicians to make the game in all keys.


The counting of Werckmeister temperatures (emotions ) starts in his major work " Musicalische temperature" ( 1691) at No. III, as he faces the just intonation ( I) and the Mean Tone (II ) its own temperature designs III -VI. Occasionally, these are in the literature with the numbers I-IV designated ( see Related links ), but more often with the original count.

  • The mood No. III ( often simply Werckmeister ) is the best known and the only one that has found frequent application. At this temperature the Pythagorean comma is broken down into four equal parts by the fifths CG, GD, DA and H- Fis can be made smaller by a quarter Pythagorean comma. All other fifths are pure ( with a frequency ratio of 2:3 ).
  • In the mood No. IV, the five fifths CG, DA, EH, Fis - Cis and BF are reduced by one-third Pythagorean comma. The two fifths Gis Dis and E B are increased by one-third Pythagorean comma. The Quinten GD, AE, H- Fis, Cis - Gis and FC are pure.
  • In No. V, the five fifths DA, AE, Fis - Cis Cis - Gis and FC are reduced to a quarter of a Pythagorean comma. The fifth gis -dis is increased by a quarter of a Pythagorean comma. All other fifths are pure.
  • In No. VI dividing the Pythagorean comma in seven parts. It reduces the three fifths CG, BF and H- Fis to one-seventh, the fifth fis -cis to two -sevenths and GD to four -sevenths of the Pythagorean comma. The Quinten DA and Gis Dis be increased by one-seventh.


Werckmeister's moods mark the first historically verifiable step on the path of the mean tone towards non- floating " good " moods. This revolution allowed the players a lot further flexibility in the choice of keys, as it was possible with the mean tone. Although soon with finer tuning variants (eg Johann Georg Neidhardt, Georg Andreas Sorge ) were other writers on the scene and Werckmeister's moods were themselves may not even be as widespread, but the frequent citations of his works shows the distribution of his ideas. Johann Sebastian Bach called " The Wohltemperirte Clavier " is an allusion to Werckmeister's titles from 1681 " organ sample or Kurtze Description ... to temperiren like ... a piano well ... sey " be seen, because the usual term for the non- floating mood was not at that time " wohltemperirte mood "but" Good temperature ".