What mean to play in tune? In melodic aspect it's not so difficult to respond. All played notes must to keep the same frequencies all long the interpretation.Harmonicaly the upper note in the accord or the double strings must follow the same way like a part of the melody. One exemple of perfect temperament with fixed notes used by this great guitar player is here:

Do you have an idea what K(half tone) is used in this guitare to sound so good?

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    Please could you develop your question? Currently it is not clear. Commented Mar 22 at 12:22
  • It seems like you're thinking of a certain instrument, or ensemble of instruments playing together. Please edit to explain more about that. This simple question treads some thin ice over a deep cultural-practical-philosophical chasm involving aesthetics, temperaments, abilities, etc. Narrowing to a particular genre might help keep it within bounds. Commented Mar 22 at 12:26
  • (And, as a spoiler: the simplest answer to such a complex question is "It can mean very different things for different times, places, performers, and audiences.") Commented Mar 22 at 12:27
  • (Also: it might be easier to answer "what counts as 'out of tune.'" Because sometimes there are aesthetic reasons to alter the tuning of certain pitches even from what is expected within the parameters of the music-culture, or to avoid exact, precise duplication within a unison, but skipping these alterations wouldn't be called "out of tune.") Commented Mar 22 at 12:39
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    (Finally: If my understanding is right, then this is only considering "vertical" tuning—the tuning of notes against others within the same instant. There's also the topic of "horizontal" tuning, comparing a note to those before or after it. Anyone who's heard a beginning violin recital can attest that even a solo monophonic performer can be "out of tune.") Commented Mar 22 at 19:34

1 Answer 1


It ain't necessarily so! It will depend on whether the melody is being played (sung) on infinitely variable pitch instruments. When they're accompanied by fixed pitch (piano, etc) then they will follow those pitches. But played (or sung) acapella, they will move slightly, and I don't mean move to a slightly different key, but sing more 'in tune' than they would with 12tet instruments to guide them. If that's what your question is about...

  • The right intonation don't depend of wich instrument or voice is used!
    – kajok
    Commented Mar 25 at 10:49
  • I believe it does. In 12 tet, there are many note pitches which vary slightly from other temperaments, which is what I mean in my answer. Maybe poor translation is getting in the way!
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 25 at 11:02

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