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Questions tagged [intonation]

Marks questions discussing the precise control over pitch that musicians exhibit as part of their technique; also used to describe the tuning of one's instrument or one's system of tuning.

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65 votes
20 answers
54k 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 ...
Bozho's user avatar
  • 755
24 votes
8 answers
73k views

B -> C and E -> F, No Sharp?

The keyboard has these notes: A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G# Why do B and C and E and F not have a sharp note between them? If they did, the keyboard would look like this: A A# B B# C ...
Jacob Swanson's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
15k views

How can I improve my note accuracy and intonation?

Over time my pitch has improved simply through singing more, but I still have some problems with being a bit off sometimes (or way off on very high or very low notes). It helps if I focus on a ...
user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
3k views

Natural vs tempered semi-tones

I am reading "Fundamentals of Musical Composition" by Arnold Schoenberg. Chapter XI, page 99, states: Chromaticism is difficult partly because the natural semi-tones differ in size from the ...
Randomblue's user avatar
30 votes
4 answers
3k 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 I-IV-ii-V-...
Micah's user avatar
  • 1,639
16 votes
7 answers
50k views

How does string gauge affect intonation?

I have a problem with intonation adjustment on my g-string on my Epiphone Les Paul. It's correct now but the bridge saddle cannot be adjusted any farther in range. I need to change strings but I don'...
Luke's user avatar
  • 435
7 votes
1 answer
584 views

What file format does timidity's -Z (or --freq-table) option require?

I'm trying to figure out how to use the "-Z" (or "--freq_table") option of timidity to assign specific frequencies to midi note numbers, but there is no clear documentation online.] How do I specify ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 17.8k
4 votes
2 answers
808 views

Calculation of a note's frequency in the 18th-19th century

Suppose you are trying to reproduce an A major scale from the early 18th or 19th century, when A4 was perhaps tuned to 429.3Hz. What is the correct frequency (in Hz) for the next C# up (assuming we ...
brown's user avatar
  • 53
18 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
14 votes
3 answers
1k views

Bridge intonation patterns on stringed instruments

On stringed instruments, the scale length needs to be slightly adjusted (at the bridge) for each string so that the first octave happens at the 12th fret/position, the 2nd at the 24th, etc. My ...
Alexbib's user avatar
  • 623
12 votes
4 answers
22k views

What frequencies should the violin and viola be tuned to?

I'm using this app to tune my violin, it supports many temperament options. What I want to do is tune the A string to 440Hz first, then comparing the other strings sympathetically to the adjacent ...
Shimmy Weitzhandler's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
Babu's user avatar
  • 6,298
9 votes
2 answers
661 views

How can I improve my violin intonation for enharmonic notes?

I know that while, for many instruments, enharmonic notes are a single pitch and their differences are more of an interpretation, helping music to remain consistent (it would make more sense for a ...
Kevin's user avatar
  • 113
7 votes
3 answers
2k views

Are these indentations on the frets of my Acoustic for intonation? Can I apply this to the frets of my Electric?

The questions are in the title, picture is below, but here are the (TL/DR) details. About 9 months ago, I bought an electric guitar "kit" and assembled it (fun, highly recommended). This ...
Chowzen's user avatar
  • 225
6 votes
7 answers
12k views

How can i improve my intonation on violin?

I'm sure the right answer is "practice more" but there's a limit to the amount of time I get to do that. Are there any obvious techniques or quick exercises I can use to improve my intonation? Even if ...
Нет войне's user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
5k views

If the resolution of human hearing is approximately five cents, how can musicians play works with intonation changes of less than five cents?

Sources1 suggest that the frequency resolution of humans—our ability to discriminate differences in pitch—is limited to around five cents. If this is the case, how can musicians play an excerpt like ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 84.8k
4 votes
1 answer
463 views

Is this music (flow my tears) here being played in 31 TET or a form of renaissance unequal temperament such as quarter comma meantone?

While looking for 31TET music I stumbled across this recording of "flow my tears" my John Dowland The video description and the album artwork indicate that it's ...
Some_Guy's user avatar
  • 5,089
4 votes
1 answer
3k views

Electric guitar intonation flat above 12th fret, no luck with usual methods

My Floyd Rose equipped electric guitar has mostly spot-on intonation across the fretboard minus the high e string above the 12th fret, where it is pretty consistently flat (1-2 red LEDs from the ...
barnybumble's user avatar
4 votes
5 answers
493 views

Theory confusion [closed]

In every book and website I look at it says for guitar that sharps and flats are on the same fret for example C sharp and D flat are both on the forth fret of the a string and I've seen that it is ...
user33717's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
2k views

What do I do if the saddles on my bridge are already touching the bridge but I want to raise my action?

I want to raise the action a tad of my Schecter Omen Extreme 6, because there is a bit of fret buzz on the 5th fret 1st string, and a bit around the higher frets as well (same string). But I know that ...
Cuculoco's user avatar
  • 129