The Bach/Lehman "1722" Temperament

The exact temperament used by Johann Sebastian Bach on his "Well Tempered Clavier" has been a bone of contention among musicologists for over 250 years. This is the DaVinci Code - the Holy Grail - of the temperament jungle.

According to Dr. Bradley Lehman, A.Mus.D. (harpsichord), of Goshen College, Indiana, the key to the mystery has been hidden in plain sight since 1722 - in Bach’s own hand, on the title page of the original manuscript of “Das Wohltemperirte Clavier”. Dr. Lehman’s intimate knowledge of Bach’s music, and extensive hands-on experience of harpsichord tuning, enabled him to crack the code at last.

For nearly 300 years, Bach's "spiral" diagram at the top of the WTC manuscript had been dismissed as just a flowery decoration, void of information - until Dr. Lehman finally deciphered it. ***

His breakthrough came in April 2004 and is making huge waves internationally in the world of the harpsichord and the pipe organ. A number of newly-built pipe organs using Lehman’s “New” Bach Temperament have already been installed in music colleges and churches by one of America’s leading organ builders, and work is in hand on more instruments. A newly-built “Bach/Lehman” organ was recently dedicated in Laajasalo Church in Helsinki, Finland. Harpsichord concerts in this temperament are being performed around the world.

There are many varieties of “Well” temper but all share a common characteristic - they impart subtly different tonal colourations to each key signature. In Well temper intervals are different sizes in different keys, giving each key its own blend of ratios. This makes some keys sound bright and cheerful, others keys neutral, or melancholy: yet other keys have a sombre or dark character. In the German language this is called “Affekt”, and is the source of the concept of “key colours”. “Key colours” add a wonderful extra dimension to musical expression.

Bach himself used “Affekt” very effectively, according to most modern-day music scholars. Controversy still rages over exactly what temperament Bach tuned his own instruments to (although we ourselves are confidently backing Dr. Lehman’s interpretation!) but advocates of Well temper all agree on one thing - that Bach deliberately and consistently chose key signatures to fit the moods he wished to express. “Affekt” is every bit as effective in rock, blues, jazz and pop as it ever was for Bach’s music. (Country players will go ape for the lovely minor keys!)

For more on "Affekt" (Key Colour), click here

We are proud to bring the emotional expressiveness of Bach’s temper to the guitar. We have adapted Dr. Lehman’s “New” Bach Temperament to

Die Wohltemperirte Gitarre™

Patent Pending

Our thanks and praise go out to Dr. Lehman for his wonderful discovery.

*** For the full story, go to Dr. Lehman's website.

Patent Pending