The system of pitches used by an instrument or in a piece of music, or the practice of adjusting the pitches that instruments or voices produce to be in accordance with the chosen system.

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69
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7answers
5k views

Why is the guitar tuned like it is?

Why is there that funny tuning kink between the G and B string on a guitar in standard tuning? I.e., the (musical) gap between the rest of the adjoining strings is 5 frets (or a perfect fourth), but ...
43
votes
6answers
2k views

What's the difference between a G♭ and an F#?

I've heard it said that, whilst on most instruments these notes are played with the same fingerings/technique/etc there is a subtle difference. This isn't specific to this particular note ...
37
votes
4answers
4k views

How long would it take to learn to tune a piano?

I have a piano that is out of tune, and I know tuning pianos properly is complicated enough to have it's own profession. But I think it would be interesting to have a go myself, for fun. But is this ...
29
votes
9answers
6k views

Why are orchestras tuned differently?

In 1936 American Standards Association (and the International Organization for Standardization in 1955) accepted that A would be tuned at 440 Hz (or cycles per second). Yet despite the fact that a ...
28
votes
10answers
2k views

Software that allows playing in different temperaments

Do you know of any software out there that will allow me to play in different musical temperaments (e.g. Well temperament and Meantone temperament)? I'm especially interested in software that accepts ...
23
votes
2answers
3k views

Why is my guitar's saddle at an angle?

Most acoustic guitars I've seen, including my own, have an angled saddle (the white strip holding up the strings): This makes the bass strings longer than the treble strings. Why is this? ...
22
votes
9answers
25k views

Why do some artists tune their guitars half a step or whole step down?

Is there a reason some guitarists tune down half or whole steps, other than preference or style? It bugs me sometimes when I would like to play along with a song only to find that it's played down ...
22
votes
8answers
4k views

Why Is Just Intonation Impractical?

I've read about the debate of "just intonation" vs 12-tone equal temperament. And nowhere it was clearly stated why just intonation is impractical. Here are my assumptions. Please let me know if I am ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

How does a piano go out of tune?

I haven't tuned my upright acoustic piano for one, maybe two, years. I'm inept, so I can't tell if it's out of tune, but a friend recommended me to get a tune-up at least once a year. My question ...
19
votes
2answers
965 views

Why is A4 the standard pitch reference for tuning?

Why do musicians use concert A, the A above middle C, as the standard pitch reference for tuning? Various national and international standards define the frequency of this note. For example, ISO 16 ...
19
votes
4answers
3k views

Why does the orchestra tune to the oboe?

Most of the time, an orchestra will tune to the oboe. Why is that? What is the next instrument if, for some reason, there are no oboes?
18
votes
13answers
15k views

Why is dropped D tuning used so often?

Many metal/rock songs use dropped D tuning. What reasons are there for it?
18
votes
3answers
531 views

Poor quality guitars that don't tune

So since I got it at a discount price, I noticed this Yamaha I have won't tune properly. Specifically if I tune the strings to a perfect EADGBE (using a good digital tuner), then I cross check the ...
17
votes
3answers
586 views

Why are pianos traditionally tuned “out of tune” at the extremes?

My understanding is that the vast majority of western music uses equal temperament, i.e. all semitones have a frequency ratio of the 12th root of 2. However I can hear in my piano that the notes at ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

How to properly tune drum heads?

I would like to know if there are any tips on tuning drumheads; I keep hearing harmonics.
16
votes
7answers
2k views

Why are guitars strung low-to-high?

Why not the high E at the top and the low E bottom? I haven't even heard of an alternate tuning that's similar. Is there a reason for this?
16
votes
6answers
7k views

How can I minimize going out of tune when using the whammy bar?

Perhaps my selection of musicians is biased, but usually when I see a whammy bar used, it's usually with a locking tremolo bridge like a Floyd Rose. Everybody else seems to take the whammy bar out and ...
16
votes
2answers
6k views

What is concert pitch?

I was watching a song video lesson earlier today and it mentioned that the guitar should be tuned to concert pitch. What does that mean? Is it different from the normal EADGBE tuning?
15
votes
5answers
2k views

When tuning a guitar, should you always end with tightening the string rather than loosening it?

I used to have a guitar teacher that said you should always finish tuning each string by tightening/sharpening the string. So for example if the top E is a little sharp, you should turn the peg to ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

When tuning a guitar, how should I strike the strings?

When tuning a guitar, what is the best way to strike a string to get it as close to pitch as possible? I'd like to get it as close to the right pitch as I possibly can. I've noticed with my tuner ...
15
votes
6answers
4k views

How to accurately intonate a 3 saddle telecaster?

I have a traditional 3 saddle telecaster bridge. With two strings on each saddle my intonation is always a slight compromise. This is OK on the first four strings, but the bass strings are noticeably ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

Trumpet low C♯ and D

Most trumpets' low C♯ and D are too low, and need correcting by pulling the 1st of 3rd valve. My first understanding was that the distance between tones in the lower register is larger than between ...
15
votes
2answers
4k views

How should I tune a guitar with a Floyd Rose tremolo?

A number of my guitars have a Floyd Rose tremolo system with the locking nuts near the headstock. How can I effectively tune a guitar that has a Floyd Rose locking tremolo?
14
votes
7answers
2k views

How do I properly stretch my newly strung strings?

I came across this string stretcher device. It's called The Stretcha. It claims to properly and evenly stretch new strings and maintain tuning. I never really made a point to properly stretch ...
14
votes
3answers
911 views

Software for microtonal MIDI?

I'm looking to make some microtonal music (19/22 tone equal temperament). I want to produce it with midi. Timidity++ used to be able to produce a WAV file from a microtonal tuned .MID file, but it is ...
13
votes
2answers
789 views

Is playing an out-of-tune instrument damaging to the musical ear?

My piano is nearly 100 years old, and can no longer stay in tune. Repairing it would cost much more than the piano is worth, and I'm not ready to spring for a new one just yet. So for now I am stuck ...
13
votes
1answer
181 views

Should the dominant-seventh chord in just intonation use 9:5 for its seventh, or rather 16:9?

It may be just out of habit, what with the 12-edo temperament all around us, but anyway: I find the dominant-seventh rendition 20:25:30:36 sounds extremely harsh. In particular, the tritone from the ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

My guitar goes out of tune at a higher pitch rather than lower, is that normal?

It is my understanding that strings, over time, stretch and are unable to maintain their tension, so they go out of tune at a lower pitch. When I pick up my guitar and I tune it with my electronic ...
12
votes
2answers
964 views

Why do wind bands use a concert Bb for tuning?

Back when I was part of my school's wind band, we used to always tune to a concert Bb. Why do wind bands tune to a Bb rather than an A (as discussed here)? I recall our director once vaguely ...
12
votes
1answer
351 views

Why does plucked and bowed string of violin produces slightly different pitches?

I know that when plucked as in pizzicato, the violin produces a muted sound. However, I was surprised to find out when I checked with my tuner that if I tune my violin by plucking, it seems somewhat ...
12
votes
3answers
244 views

What is the reason for pitch inflation?

There's this phenomenon among instrumentalists to constantly raise the pitch of the concert A. This generally occurs among string players, since the range of tunings for woodwinds, for example, is ...
11
votes
6answers
677 views

Tuning a tuning fork?

I just purchased a new 440 Hz tuning fork. But several different computer, iPad and iPhone tuners say it's almost half a percent sharp (around 442) of Concert A. Is there any way to adjust the ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it harmful to use an electronic tuner to check intonation while practicing ?

Is it a bad habit to use an electronic tuner while practicing an instrument in which the notes are not fixed after tuning (e.g. violin, trombone)? I'm asking because I've heard a lot of people say ...
10
votes
7answers
1k views

What are the various methods of tuning the guitar?

This is not a question as much as it is a discussion. I am curious to know what are the different techniques to tune the guitar (using standard tuning) given you know that one string is in tune. I ...
10
votes
5answers
942 views

Which chords are recommended for checking guitar tuning?

Notwithstanding innate intonation issues, just versus equal temperament, and a variety of tuning methods, I would like to ask what other guitarists use as their "check chords". That is, what chords do ...
10
votes
4answers
4k views

How can I effectively secure guitar strings to the tuning pegs?

One of the bigger problems I face when restringing my guitars is properly securing the strings to the pegs. How should I wind the strings around the pegs before tightening them to prevent the string ...
10
votes
2answers
534 views

Classical examples of a 'fifth voice' or 'ghost soprano'

There is an interesting phenomenon in choral (and perhaps also instrumental?) singing in which typically four voices are arranges in such a way that a 'fifth voice' or 'ghost voice' can be heard. It ...
9
votes
4answers
390 views

Why does tab have CGCGCE instead of normal EADGBE?

I'm pretty new to learning guitar music. I've heard some great songs that I would like to learn on my own, and mostly I've been able to read the tabs. I just came upon a tab that looks like this: ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

What is an “open tuning”?

I know that Keith Richards has been known to use open tunings on some songs, but what is an open tuning exactly and when/why would you use it?
9
votes
1answer
189 views

Is there a sound theoretical reason why a capella choirs “drift off” of the starting pitches in a piece?

Is the "comma pump" an empirical problem, or merely theoretical? It's a standard music theory exercise to show that certain chord progressions don't actually quite work. For example, in the ...
9
votes
2answers
88 views

Harp Tuning Tendencies

I am a flutist and I will be playing flute in a harp ensemble. Is there anything I should know concerning tuning issues with harps while playing. Are there certain notes or octaves that are prone to ...
9
votes
2answers
599 views

How far “off” can a piano unison be and still be considered “in-tune”?

I'm talking about either beats per second of a resulting beat between two strings in the midrange of the piano. My piano seems to vary during different parts of the day, I think because of the ...
9
votes
1answer
301 views

What kind of edition and tuning to use to study Bach's fifth cello suite ?

As is well known, this suite was composed for a cello with a scordatura tuning C-G-d-g instead of the classical C-G-d-a. I have seen almost every possible combination: edition for specially-tuned ...
9
votes
1answer
334 views

Why choirs consistently go flat or sharp in certain keys

As a long-time chorister, I've always wondered what drives choirs to flat or sharp out of certain keys. For instance, the choir I sing with consistently fails to remain in the key of F, whereas ...
8
votes
11answers
491 views

How do you tune your guitar?

I'd like to hear about the different techniques of tuning a guitar with standard tuning, and why you use them.
8
votes
4answers
8k views

Does using a capo put you out of tune?

i just want to ask if using a capo affects the tuning of the strings. I bought my first capo and I played my guitar with the capo on all day long. When I removed the capo, I played another song and it ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Beginner replacing guitar strings

I am a beginner at playing the guitar, so I recently bought myself one and then managed to break a string whilst trying to tune it. After getting over the initial disappointment, I have ordered some ...
8
votes
6answers
9k views

Useful tuning for 7 or 8 string guitars

So, I'm looking to add an Ibanez 7 or 8 string to my guitar zoo, but although I have looked into various standard tunings I am trying to figure out practical tunings so I can rapidly add the new ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Does using a whammy bar detune your guitar?

Will regular use of a whammy bar cause your guitar strings to come out of tune significantly faster than normal?
8
votes
3answers
2k views

If Irish button accordions are typically B/C how and why are they often played in D or G?

On choosing a two-row button accordion... B/C is the usual choice for Irish music (players use both rows in order to play mainly in D or G, but the instrument is almost chromatic). Is this ...