The reason why most beginners give up the violin, or any other instrument for that matter, as easily as they do is because they are simply unable to tune the instrument- and why not? Because an instrument that is out of tune will also sound out of tune! And who in the world will want to play a bad sounding instrument! Anyways, if you happen to be tutored by a professional violin teacher or a friend who tunes your instrument before you embark on a new lesson, you cannot rely on them to tune your instrument all the time. The only way out of this is by simply learning how to tune the instrument yourself. It’s not as hard as it sounds and it only requires that you have a ‘musical-ear’ or the ability to distinguish quite accurately the differences in pitch of various musical notes. If your ear isn’t as discerning as the great Paganini’s, and it most likely isn’t at present, then learning to tune your violin is also a great way of sensitizing your ear to the subtle variations in pitches. To help you have a perfectly tuned violin, go through the article below for tips on tuning a violin.
Tips On Tuning A Violin
- The standard concert pitch is the most widely used pitch-configuration. In concert pitch, the four violin strings are tuned from low to high as G D A and E. Here, the thickest string is the G and the thinnest tuned to the note E. As reference, the G here is the note G that’s just below the middle-C. Supposing you have a piano, you can sound the appropriate G note and match it with the thickest string of your violin till both, the violin and the piano are in perfect consonance. And to do this you must tighten or loosen the appropriate tuning peg till the G string is in unison with the G just below the middle C of the piano. Then you may proceed to tune the other strings the same way by sounding the appropriate notes on the piano and matching them with the violin.
- The other way also involves ‘matching’ open strings against a reference note. So, the next method of tuning the violin is much the same as the method described above but involves the use of a pitch-pipe as a reference instead of a piano. A violin-pitch-pipe is a set of four pipes that produce the sounds of the four open strings of the violin. Once again, you match the open-strings against the notes of the pitch pipe till they are in perfect unison. In all actuality, the principle of beats i.e. matching notes is the only way of tuning the violin, or any instrument for that matter. So all one needs to do is to start with a reference pitch before tuning the instrument. How you source a reference note- whether it is a classical A440 tuning fork, a pitch pipe, a piano, a digitally generated sound from a violin instructional DVD or the internet- it does not matter as long as you have a point of reference.
- While tuning the strings it is important to note that it’s better to first slacken the string before bringing it up to the appropriate pitch. Also, fine-tuning screws present at the tail-piece will let you coax a more accurate sound if used delicately and wisely.
- However, if all else fails, technology may come to your aid as you can always procure a digital tuner for a few thousand rupees. With a digital tuner, all you have to do is play the string and let the tuner identify its current pitch. If the string is not tuned to what it should be, the tuner will let you know how far off or near you are to the desired pitch. While this quick fix solution is great for users with ‘tone-deaf’ ears, too much dependence may mean that you may never develop your ear sufficiently enough to tune your instrument on your own.