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Tuner
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rotex13
Philippines
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May 23, 2011 - 2:52 am
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So I have a chromatic/guitar/violin/mandolin tuner but I don't know what is the purpose of "A4" you can set it to 430-450, can anyone explain this to me? what's the purpose of that?

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
May 23, 2011 - 6:11 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

The most common A is the 440. However, most orchestras like to tune a little high. Most European orchestras tune to 443. Personally, I prefer the 443 to the 440. It sounds nicer and more correct to my ears. I don't even need a tuner to find it.

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

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LoopyLoonyLuna
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May 23, 2011 - 11:17 am
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Chromatic tuners do have their place, especially for early students. If you don't already have a good ear they can help you develop one. In my opinion though you should aspire to move beyond them. It's a very valuable skill to take an A from whatever source and tune your violin to it. What frequency you tune to is less important than being in tune with whomever you are playing with.

And yes, when you play long enough you can tune without needing an external source to tune to (as long as you are not required to be in tune with someone else).

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anathama
Maine, USA
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May 24, 2011 - 1:37 am
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Heh, tunings. A4 is the A above middle C, and the number is the frequency of the sound, in Hertz. 440 is standard, but people frequently use other tunings. Orchestras (and string players) often tune higher because strings are louder and "brighter" at higher frequencies. It's very common in pop music too, though. An example you might be familiar with is that some sadder pop music is often played tuned to an A lower than 440, and happier pop music is often tuned higher. Also, occasionally, a song will have instruments that are intentionally out of tune with each-other for any number of reasons.

This song by Radiohead is tuned very flat to make it sound especially sad: 

This song by Sigur Rós is tuned very sharp to make it sound bright and happy (notice the strings). 

 

Being tuned to the same pitch as whoever you're playing with is by far the most important thing--unless you want to tune differently, which isn't a bad thing. In fact all the instruments in my favourite song are tuned differently. Laugh

 

 

Anyway, I use a chromatic tuner. I want to make sure that my violin is perfectly in tune because I'm learning the fingering, and I don't want to learn it wrong. Also, I've noticed that the strings on my violin tend to go sharp for no reason. If I start by tuning E, by the time I get to G, E is 20 cents sharp! This is just sitting in my bedroom, without having bumped the pegs or anything. What is going on?

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LoopyLoonyLuna
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May 24, 2011 - 9:44 am
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anathama said:

 Also, I've noticed that the strings on my violin tend to go sharp for no reason. If I start by tuning E, by the time I get to G, E is 20 cents sharp! This is just sitting in my bedroom, without having bumped the pegs or anything. What is going on?

For some reason your strings are contracting. Mine go flat rather than sharp, and I've never heard about strings going sharp, but as we're talking about wood and metal many things are possible.

 

I was taught to start with the A, then go down to D and G. The E string is always the last to tune (I'm not sure if there is any particular benefit to this, other than the fact that we were given an A then tuned the other strings in relation). If you haven't already tried changing your tuning order you might want to try it to see if it changes anything. 

 

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anathama
Maine, USA
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May 24, 2011 - 10:18 am
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LoopyLoonyLuna said:

anathama said:

 Also, I've noticed that the strings on my violin tend to go sharp for no reason. If I start by tuning E, by the time I get to G, E is 20 cents sharp! This is just sitting in my bedroom, without having bumped the pegs or anything. What is going on?

For some reason your strings are contracting. Mine go flat rather than sharp, and I've never heard about strings going sharp, but as we're talking about wood and metal many things are possible.

 

I was taught to start with the A, then go down to D and G. The E string is always the last to tune (I'm not sure if there is any particular benefit to this, other than the fact that we were given an A then tuned the other strings in relation). If you haven't already tried changing your tuning order you might want to try it to see if it changes anything. 

 

I'd think that's how you were taught since that's how it's done in orchestras, but I'm not tuning my strings in relation to eachother yet. I'll change my tuning order, but A and D go sharp too, it's so weird. At least my pegs aren't slipping constantly though, that would be much worse!

 

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LoopyLoonyLuna
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May 24, 2011 - 10:31 am
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It's odd, but I doubt that1 it's harmful in any way. All instruments seem to have their little quirks (though I suspect the strings are more likely the issue). 

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
May 24, 2011 - 3:42 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

Two different issues here.

  • If your strings are flat and you start by raising the E string, you will then be adding tension on the tailpiece when tuning the bottom strings which will pull the tailpiece in one direction or another. Usually the tailpiece will be brought closer to the bridge slightly causing the E to become flat. The opposite if your stings are high to begin with. It's all related to the pressure and pivot on your tailpiece.
  • Strings become more tense (higher pitch) in dry cold climates as they contract and looser (lower pitch) in warm and humid climates. 

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

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Oliver
NC
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May 24, 2011 - 4:38 pm
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It sometimes takes up to three passes for me to get the (metered) tuning consistent and then I check by fifths anyway which still may be out.

I did recently have a G string that detuned flat every night all by itself to about 25 or 30 cents low.  Turns out the fine tuner screw was simply backing out.  An old fiddler told me to put rosin dust on the screw threads and that fixed it.

PS  Just occurred to me that above remarks are for four position fine tuners, not pegs.

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