Temperament Comparison

To compare different tuning systems we will use cents. Any octave can be divided in 1,200 cents. In the case of equal temperament each semitone has 100 cents. In the table below we compare the size of the major third and perfect fifth of the harmonic series with discussed temperaments:

  Third Difference Fifth Difference
Harmonic series 386   702  
Pythagoras 408 +22 702 0
Meantone 386 0 697 -5
Well temperament 390 to 408 +4 to +22 696 or 702 -6 or 0
Equal temperament 400 +14 700 -2


The following chart compares the tuning systems discussed with equal temperament (horizontal line on the 0). The vertical scale measures are in cents:



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José Rodríguez Alvira.