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Questions tagged [tuning]

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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61
votes
5answers
10k 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 combination,...
56
votes
20answers
38k 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 ...
138
votes
12answers
37k 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 gap (interval) between the rest of the adjoining strings is 5 frets (or a perfect fourth), but ...
22
votes
12answers
18k 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 ...
10
votes
11answers
10k 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.
23
votes
5answers
5k 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 (it'...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Exact pitch of blues scale notes

Wikipedia gives multiple candidate definitions for the blues scale. A musician showed me how to play blues e.g. in C by smudging say Eb and E. The actual note lies somewhere between. But where? ...
37
votes
3answers
20k 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? ...
47
votes
5answers
31k 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
10answers
5k 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 ...
31
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

How does the harmonic series affect consonance?

NOTE: for the purpose of this question, assume we are talking about 12-TET and assume that references to overtones in the harmonic series are being referred to in relationship to the 12-TET note that ...
7
votes
2answers
13k views

Which strings should I use for DADGAD tuning on my acoustic guitar?

I have recently switched to DADGAD tuning, before that I was using light tension strings ( 12 16 24 32 42 53 ). But because of DADGAD, to compensate for the lack of tension on the neck, I wanted to ...
49
votes
9answers
23k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
3k views

Why does my guitar go out of tune after I play it a while?

This might be an obvious question, but it would be good to know what factors cause guitars to go out of tune.
8
votes
6answers
34k 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 ...
6
votes
7answers
8k views

Alternate tunings on a 12 string guitar

I'm wondering if you can tune the second string of a double stringed guitar to something else than the regular octave. You would have to keep the open strings to C Major I guess, so that your barre ...
18
votes
5answers
4k views

Trumpet low C♯ and D

Most trumpets' low C♯ and D are too high, 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 ...
24
votes
3answers
8k views

What is the practical reason for reentrant tuning on ukulele and similar instruments?

I'm intruiged by the fact that some stringed instruments, like the ukulele, are traditionally tuned in the way of reentrant tuning where the strings are not ordered from the lowest to the highest ...
19
votes
3answers
11k 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 ...
11
votes
7answers
5k views

Why is the last string on a guitar called the first string and the first string called the sixth string?

I learned early in my guitar playing journey that what I would naturally assume would be the first string (the fattest string) is actually known in proper guitar anatomy parlance as the sixth string. ...
4
votes
4answers
19k views

Short scale guitar tuning to A

I recently picked up a short-scale electric guitar for my son. While I am in no way a guitarist I can tune a standard guitar to standard tuning, including using the fifth fret method when I know what ...
4
votes
4answers
3k views

On Tuning: What's in a Temperament? (Well-Temperament vs. Equal Temperament)

I just had my whole world shattered this morning when I was unwise enough to do a "quick" Google search on what exactly "equal temperament" means before I had started my work. Of course, the loudest ...
25
votes
3answers
20k 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?
22
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
379 views

How did Pythagoras and Ptolemy measure the relative pitch of musical notes?

Both Pythagoras and Ptolemy believed that the intervals between notes in music should be ratios of small integer numbers. This is known as Just Intonation. Pythagoras liked them to derived from ...
8
votes
4answers
18k views

Should guitar be de-tuned when not in use…?

I bought a GB&A guitar almost an year ago. I play guitar mostly on the weekends. Recently I noted that my guitar bridge has got lifted off the body a bit. So I took it to the Guitar Shop. The ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Why is A=442 the common tuning for percussion instruments?

When looking at percussion instruments, I noticed that the default tuning for most companies is A=442 for tuned percussion (vibes, marimba, tubular bells, etc…). I wonder if there is a reason for ...
0
votes
3answers
18k views

Guitar tuning: Facing problems with High E string

This may seem like a stupid beginner question but I can't begin to understand what's the problem exactly. Usually when I tune my guitar i start from the top string (the thickest) and work down to the ...
66
votes
8answers
36k 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 ...
32
votes
8answers
12k views

Why are C♯ and D♭ different frequencies?

I am a music enthusiast, and I was recently reading What is the difference between equivalent Flat and Sharp keys as far as musical notation? Are there any reasons to prefer one over the other? This ...
22
votes
4answers
5k views

Software for microtonal MIDI? [closed]

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 ...
26
votes
4answers
1k 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-...
21
votes
8answers
34k 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 ...
20
votes
4answers
4k views

How to properly tune drum heads?

I would like to know if there are any tips on tuning drumheads; I keep hearing harmonics.
34
votes
10answers
13k 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 ...
29
votes
5answers
8k 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?
16
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
16
votes
9answers
27k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
12k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
546 views

Evidence of Just Intonation in Recordings with Non-fixed-frequency Instruments

I wonder the extent to which string quartets or a cappella choirs are non-ET. They are often cited as examples of the tendency towards just intonation when not using fixed-frequency instruments but I'...
32
votes
15answers
67k 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
7k 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 ...
21
votes
4answers
3k 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
4answers
30k views

Understanding a digital tuner

I've the exact same tuner from this video only the brand name changes. I am new to guitars, I am trying to tune(standard tuning) an ESP M-50 with it(can I?). I plug the guitar cable to the tuner input ...
8
votes
3answers
7k views

Acoustic Guitar Intonation Adjustments

Simply put, how does one adjust it. I have a low-end acoustic where the intonation seems to be out by quite a bit and I'd like to adjust it. It comes down to adjusting string size or length, so I ...
8
votes
1answer
5k views

How to choose a tuning for a fingerstyle arrangement?

I want to learn to play fingerstyle guitar like sungha jung. I found that most of his fingerstyle arrangements are made in different tunings and not the standard tuning. How does he choose which ...
6
votes
5answers
385 views

Is it better to tune an instrument by procedure, or while playing?

I'm an amateur Guitar player. When I want to tune my Guitar, I follow this formula: Use a diapason to tune the A note on the third string, second fret Tune the second string by help of the B on the ...
4
votes
1answer
169 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 ...