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Tune the Fiddle
Different when plucking and bowing
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September 11, 2014 - 5:11 am
Member Since: January 21, 2013
Forum Posts: 31
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Hi All

When I tune my fiddle I've allways put a tuner on and then bin plucking the strings, but there is a differens between bowing and plucking on the tuner.

I've 2 tuners and it is the same whit both.

When a fiddle is in tune is that with the normal pressure on the bow or ???


Strange bow hold. Can be a pinky problem?

Honorary tenured advisor

September 11, 2014 - 9:28 am
Member Since: January 19, 2014
Forum Posts: 973
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When you pluck a string, or move the bow across the string, the string bends.  That changes the tension of the string, which results in the pitch going up slightly. The amount that the string goes sharp is directly related to how far you bend the string, therefore with more bow pressure, or a harder pluck, the string will go more sharp than it will with light bow pressure or a soft pluck.  The bending is most pronounced at the beginning of the bow stroke or pluck. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

Fort Lauderdale
September 11, 2014 - 3:15 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 14138

Uzi tells the truth :-)
I usually bow rather than pluck.

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

Berlin, Germany

July 17, 2016 - 7:28 am
Member Since: June 26, 2016
Forum Posts: 557
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In the beginning I felt like tuning by ear, because I assumed this would improve my hearing. But I changed my mind after being confronted to the electronic tuner of my guitar player. She was like, "It doesn't matter" when the needle wasn't exactly in the center. And I came to the conclusion, I can train my ear even better, by having it exactly in the center.

Having bought my own tuner, I figured out my Edition Peters play-alongs are not all the same pitch. I had always overlooked it but it even says on the sheet of the CD: "Concert pitch 440 Hz" or "Concert pitch 442 Hz". I had been wondering for weeks, why I had to tune between some sonatas because it seemed the pitch wasn't right.

But I was discovering something way more striking: It looks like my hearing is built on meantone temperament! I did not know it, but the exact pitch of the open E string, as my tuning device suggests, pains my ear. I have to pitch the E string a bit higher.

Before I had bought the tuner, I had already rejected single keyboard notes for tuning my violin. I didn't know exactly why, just felt like it didn't help me to tune the violin right. Instead I recorded chords at the spinet and then tuned my violin after chords. And I must have tuned my violin thirds after keynote and fifth, ignoring the third.

Actually I'd like to tune my spinet meantone, but I'm bad in all things figures and generally in math. Maybe I should just tune it with my tuner and then adjust the thirds of central keys by ear.....

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string.

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