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Tuning question
What do the numbers mean?
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March 27, 2013 - 8:46 am
Member Since: March 12, 2013
Forum Posts: 8
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Hey all,

This question is in regards to electronic tuning.  When I tune my violin, the tuner is displaying an alpha numeric system that I need to understand.  This is probably something simple, but it's got me worried that I may be over or under tuning my strings.

For example, when I tune my A string, the tuner is set to 440, and when (I think) it is properly tuned it displays "A4".  What does the "4" mean?  Currently when I go through all the strings it displays G3, D4, A4, and E5.  Are the numbers related to octaves?  As in the D and A strings are in octave 4, the G is one octave lower, and the E is one higher?  Is this correct, or should they all be within the "4" range?  If so, that would mean that my G is currently tuned incredibly low, and the E is too high.

Any help would be appreciated.



--- Rick

Merritt Island, Fla
Pro advisor

March 27, 2013 - 9:01 am
Member Since: June 25, 2012
Forum Posts: 1281
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Thanks to wikipedia


The most popular bowed strings used nowadays belong to the violin family; together with their respective standard tunings, they are:

  • Violin - G3 D4 A4 E5 (ascending perfect fifths, starting from G below middle C)
  • Viola - C3 G3 D4 A4 (strings are tuned a perfect fifth below a violin's standard tuning)
  • Cello - C2 G2 D3 A3 (an octave lower than the viola)

The four is the octave number as far as I understand. A4 is the fourth A from the left on a piano keyboard.


"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

Honorary tenured advisor

March 27, 2013 - 1:51 pm
Member Since: September 7, 2012
Forum Posts: 985
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Yes, the octaves are numbered, and yes, your tuner is reporting the correct octave numbers for standard violin tuning.

A4 is middle A, the note in the second space of the staff.

C4 is middle C, the note on the first ledger line below the staff.

The octave number changes between B and C, so that the B immediately below any C has an octave number that is one less than the octave number of that C.

Fort Lauderdale
March 27, 2013 - 9:55 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11604

Exactly. smile

This is why I like my tuner. Easier for people to understand. Just wish I had been able to make my tones out of Finale without vibrato. Now I have a newer version and it seems to be working. I'll put that on my to do list. LOL

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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