First time tuning in just fifths
Tuning is so interesting.
It really is interesting that now that my strings are perfectly in tune, my G string is noticeably flat compared to the piano G.
I've known for a while that the 'maths' in music doesn't quite add up, but experiencing the discrepancies first-hand is really eye-opening (ear-opening?).
Supposedly, Casals liked to boost his C string a little, probably for that reason.
Kennedy, of course you are right - and it is worse for viola and cello whose lowest string is C, a fifth below G.
This is why many violists and cellists eventually learn to tune by ear in "tight fifths" which are in between just fifths and equal temperament fifths. The idea is to avoid sounding out of tube with violin E strings. I typically aim to have my viola C string about 4 cents "flat" on a tuning app, which puts it the same distance from the equal temperament note as the violin G strings.
If you tuned to the piano A, then did perfect 5ths for the other strings, then the open G will be 4 cents (4/100 of a equal-tempered half step!) lower than the piano G. If you can hear that difference you have excellent pitch discernment. Congratulations, or rather a warning, that these pitch problems will plague you forever.
How do you know the piano is in tune?
Well, it's a digital keyboard, so it never really goes out of tune.
Why do we have such blind confidence in electronic keyboards and tuners?
Not so many years ago a "tuner" was a human being. More trustworthy than a microchip?
Adrian, I don't know if they all use the same microchip - BUT - every electronic tuner I have been exposed to (always at A=440 Hz) has been in perfect agreement" - even the keyboard I managed to "score" on line for about $75 + shipping last year.
I doubt there should be much variation in tunings from one keyboard or chip to the next. There’s no inharmonicity in a keyboard (as far as I know).
Scott that seems so obvious, but I showed my previous digital stage piano (Yamaha P-155) to my piano tuner (a veteran guildsman), and he said "I'm always surprised how many of these keyboards are out of tune." I was slack-jawed in surprise, but he proved it to me. He played a few thirds in the middle of the piano, and he said, "See, here this one should beat X times per second and it's only beating Y ... it's wrong." So the question returns to how they do the sampling and the modeling. Is it intentionally slightly detuned to make it sound more realistic? Hard to imagine they would directly sample a piano that is not itself in very good tune.
Paul, it’s hard to know what he really means. I don’t think an electronic keyboard is equivalent to a piano because it lacks inharmonicity. Hard to say.
Talking of a digital piano whose notes are sampled from a real one, I was wondering if every key on the keyboard is played individually by some patient and even-fingered pianist, or whether only a limited number are sampled and their pitches digitally altered?
If you haven't read it, a great read on this topic is Ross Duffin's "How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony (and Why You Should Care)"
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