Welcome to Violinist.com! Log in, or join the community!
Facebook Twitter Google+ Email Newsletter

Violin tuner software.

Accessories: Do you use one? What are the good one? What would you expect from it?

From Pirisino Romain
Posted April 18, 2012 at 04:17 PM


I'm an adult beginner student, so my ears aren't very well trained.
I'm currently using AP Tuner, on my computer to tune my violin. It's not that bad, but I feel that some things are missing (like saving my A at 442Hz).

So question come to my mind.
Do you ever used computer software to tune you're violin, and which one?

I've even touched the idea of developing one (hard thing, their seem to be a lot of maths involved).
What would you expect from it?

From John Cadd
Posted on April 18, 2012 at 05:16 PM
You don`t need to be spot on any frequency for solo playing. If a piano is involved they start going out of tune as soon as the tuner goes out the door. Tuners will tell you that. You can hear a difference of a fifth without any tuners. Learn how that works. Learn about slowing down the beats. Woodwind instruments change pitch as the room gets warmer. They move in the opposite direction to strings , I think. You better check that. Most intonation is on a movable table . Some famous violin players have a different idea of intonation. There is a report about a Russian acoustician comparing Oistrakh and 2 other famous players who used different frequencies in the same music. He analysed their recordings . They had a different idea of pitch relationships or adjusted for the music they were playing. Artistic choices . Also can you define pitch with vibrato ? Compare Casals with Jackie Dupre in The Swan. Big differences can be heard. Both great musicians .
From Shawn Boucke
Posted on April 18, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Cleartune for iPhone ($.99)
G-strings for Android (free)

Both have amazing options, even able to change the temperament.

From Patrick Tinney
Posted on April 18, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Shawn, you were lucky. When I bought Cleartune it was $3.99 plus tax, which is what I just found on a couple of sites. Itunes just says "downloaded". I love Cleartune since it has a pitch pipe function that I use to produce drones.

My favorite tuner for actually tuning my instruments and testing our organ at church is the Miso Tuner, which is a strobe tuner emulation which cost $0.99.

Pat T.

From Gene Wie
Posted on April 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM
I use Miso Tuner with my students to help them find a single starting reference pitch, before working through intervals.

For such an inexpensive application, it works quite well.

From Kristian Rereth
Posted on April 19, 2012 at 04:35 AM
>my ears aren't very well trained

Train them! Use the software for the A-string only and then do the other strings with your own ears (control and andjust it afterwards though). Ask your teacher how to do it and how it is supposed to sound when it is not tuned and how it is when it is tuned. After a month or two you should be able to tune without help. At least you should not need any tone besides the A.

From Christian Lesniak
Posted on April 19, 2012 at 05:51 AM
John, if you were to happen to find that, I would be most interested. I think it would be a very interesting project to catalogue the placement of different musicians' intervals. I suppose one should always be conscious of the pitch relationships one employs at all times, in order to really bolster a strong and consistent sense of intonation. Both as someone that finds the individual differences interesting in their own rights, and as someone that is currently trying to find my own definitions, a really good, practical overview, comparing different takes on the flexible qualities of intonation would be very helpful. This stuff can get a bit overwhelming.
From Pirisino Romain
Posted on April 19, 2012 at 10:14 AM
> Kristian

I only tune my A with my tuner, but I find interesting that there are no open source tuner out there. There are some thing for windows, app on iphone/droid/wp7, but linux and bsd user are left with nothing.
Moreover, it's somehow helpfull for self teaching people to know more on less if they're in tune on a given note.

From Trevor Jennings
Posted on April 19, 2012 at 12:11 PM
I still rely on my tuning fork. It doesn't wear out, break, or need batteries.
From John Cadd
Posted on April 19, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Specially for Christian.
I was tidying my computer filing just yesterday which turned up the essay by Hasse Borup .
Title is ; A History of String Intonation. This is a large slice of genuine education for every string player . 12 pages altogether. As my Dad would say , "Read , learn and inwardly digest. " It`s important enough to say that .
The last page , last two paragraphs , cover the research into the scientific survey of the differing intonations used by Elman , Oistrakh and Zimbalist . This work was done by the Russian acoustician Garbuzov.
If you are very keen , follow that by looking at Hasse Borup ( University of Utah ) and his work on the compositions of Persichetti .(American composer 1915-87 ).
From Gene Wie
Posted on April 19, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Yeah, I it's not convenient carrying around extra forks for 441, 442, 443, etc.

I use one for 440, but the software definitely helps in setting different reference pitches.

From Shawn Boucke
Posted on April 20, 2012 at 04:07 AM
Ah. I think I did pay $3.99 for it. I don't know what i was thinking. I am all for training your ear, but it is good to have both. Especially good to have a tuner that can change to the temperament of tuning two violin strings together (Pythagorean)
From John Cadd
Posted on April 20, 2012 at 04:17 PM
The Pythagorean fifth is a 3:2 pitch relation which can be accurately adjusted with a violin on it`s own. You will be checking between a tuner and the string for A. then tune the other strings to that string . A to D .D to G .A to E. Tuners sound different to violins. They have different overtones in the sound . You will be more accurate if you tune from the A string .Overtones from a tuner can lead to innacuracy. Nothing we say will convince you .Go on .Spend your dollars.
From Shawn Boucke
Posted on April 20, 2012 at 08:41 PM
It's not to hear the sound from the tuner, but for the tuner to hear the instrument. When you set the tuner to Pythagorean, and tune by ear A:D D:G A:E, then the needle will be set to understand that specific type of tuning. That way you can practice tuning by ear, and see how accurate it is at the moment.
From Paul Deck
Posted on April 21, 2012 at 04:50 AM
@John Cadd, that's true, but when you have a class of a couple of dozen young Suzuki kids and they all need to line up and get tuned, it's a lot easier to send them into a room where the Suzuki Mom (or Dad) can tweak their fine tuners up and down just using an electronic tuner. It's very fast and for Suzuki Class it's not critical to have the most precise tuning.
From Kristian Rereth
Posted on April 21, 2012 at 10:51 PM
>linux and bsd user are left with nothing
Well, they are not known for their great software-repertoire, are they. I never bothered using a tuner software, but I can only suggest to use a windows program with wine under linux, that might work. By the way: Cheap electrical tuners are not expensive, or are they?
From John Cadd
Posted on April 21, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Good point Paul. For the older players I was interested in the comparison of the three famous players in the Borup essay. If you listen to some of their recordings back to back you may get some clues to being more expressive in your own playing. . It`s important not to become permanently obsessed with exact frequencies for violins. Some players play so sharp in solo pieces I am starting to think they use pianos with stretched octaves to compare notes. There are a number of degrees of stretch tuning and on a violin they still sound too sharp to me.
From John Cadd
Posted on April 22, 2012 at 01:18 PM
The intonation differences between the three famous soloists could be a random effect which may have involved differences in their finger shapes and lengths. Another thought is that each difference was the result of careful thought and planning. Artistic choice is the usual way to describe it. Is it likely that such famous players were not conscious of these differences? One or two notes played by Zimmerman are just edging towards sharp but certainly not out of tune. That`s how he developed certain musical effects.There is still wiggle room inside the idea of In Tune . Oistrakh seemed to avoid sharpness in comparison to Zimmerman . Zimmerman and also Elman made sounds with extraordinary quality . All three in fact . My reactions are only a very superficial impression . I don`t think it`s good to walk away and ignore the subject . It`s may be a useful area to study if you want to have an individual sound.
From John Cadd
Posted on April 22, 2012 at 01:30 PM
When you set the frequency for A , have a go at the tuning recommended by Norbert Brainin. He said his Stradivarius sounded better with A set to 432. It is called the Verdi Tuning . ( Look that up ). It was to allow singers to perform without the difficulty of modern tunings that strain their vocal chords .