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Alternate Pitch Tuning


caeman

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The now-locked chump thread brought up a question in my mind. I stick to 440Hz concert pitch on all of my instruments, but I am aware of 425 to 442 in other various settings (orchestra, old folk tunes).

 

Do any of you tune your guitars (or other instruments) to something other than 440Hz?

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I don't like to but occasionally I find myself playing with people that tune down a 1/2 step. So I sort of have to. Sometimes that little bit is needed to hit the high notes :)

 

That at least makes sense to me and sometimes I have to wonder what the reasoning is. I tried out for an instrumental (no vocals at ALL) band once and they were all tuned to e-flat. Sort of a head scratcher but, whatever.

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I once temporarily replaced a guitarist in a reaggae band and they all (another guitar, bass, and brass section) tuned to 442khz. Sounded different but not dramatically :idk:

 

As long as all are tuned the same frequency it's often not easy to hear a difference even with a good ear...

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I don't like to but occasionally I find myself playing with people that tune down a 1/2 step. So I sort of have to. Sometimes that little bit is needed to hit the high notes
:)

That at least makes sense to me and sometimes I have to wonder what the reasoning is. I tried out for an instrumental (no vocals at ALL) band once and they were all tuned to e-flat. Sort of a head scratcher but, whatever.

 

To my way of thinking there's a big difference between tuning up or down a half step or whatever, or to DADGAD or open G or such, and actually not tuning the the standard frequencies, whatever tuning "flavor" you use.

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I used to tune to 437 because I didn't have a tuner and rarely played anything but my own original stuff. I wasn't even sure what I was tuning to back then, but when matching my tuning to old recordings - 437Hz.

 

These days I use a variety of tunings, but A is always 440.

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I was always obsessed with the whole A440 thing, though I did mess with some really wacky tunings when I had a KORG Triton LE, it could do (copied directly from the manual/parameter guide):

 

Equal Temperament: This is the most widely used scale, where each semitone step is spaced at equal pitch intervals.

Pure Major: In this temperament, major chords of the selected tonic will be perfectly in tune.

Pure Minor: In this temperament, minor chords of the selected tonic will be perfectly in tune.

Arabic: This scale includes the quarter-tone scale used in Arabic music.

Pythagoras: This scale is based on ancient Greek musical theory, and is especially effective for playing melodies.

Werkmeister (Werkmeister III): This is an equal tempered scale that was used since the later Baroque period.

Kirnberger (Kirnberger III): This scale was created in the 18th century, and is used mainly to tune harpsichords.

Slendro: This is an Indonesian gamelan scale in which an octave consists of five notes. When

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Stretch: This tuning is used for acoustic pianos.

 

 

"Stretch" tuning IS equal temperament. The stretch refers to the decision to tune single, double and triple octaves to upper partials, rather than fundamental frequencies. Pianos need to address this issue because the harmonic series does not come out as a pure mathematical model and is different for each piano scale. In the real world (violinists notwithstanding) pianos tuned to A440 will sound in tune with other instruments.

 

Having said that, I can't combine some E. Piano and concert piano patches on my S70Xs because there is an obvious dissonance in the upper register due to the programmer's attempt to address this issue.

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Years ago I worked with a female singer/keys player who had a 60s-vintage Rheem organ that wasn't quite on pitch. I checked it with my Boss tuner and found it was 2 cents sharp. She refused to replace it or spend the money to repair it, so the the bass player and I were forced to tune two cents sharp. I haven't tuned to anything other than 440 since. I haven't worked with a female singer, either. Coincidence? :cop:

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We started to experiment with playing most of the night in standard with the last set in flat tuning. It served two purposes: it was easier to sing the songs by the end of the night and most of the 'heavier' songs were already in flat tuning.

 

When we played a street dance in July, we decided to try to stay in flat tuning for the entire night. It threw us for a loop for the first few songs, but now we are used to it. I like the extra heaviness, but ironically, my voice seems to strain more at times, maybe because I sang these songs for so many years in standard and my mind is still working it out. I dunno.

 

In any case, I think we'll keep it for a while.

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"Stretch" tuning IS equal temperament. The stretch refers to the decision to tune single, double and triple octaves to upper partials, rather than fundamental frequencies. Pianos need to address this issue because the harmonic series does not come out as a pure mathematical model and is different for each piano scale. In the real world (violinists notwithstanding) pianos tuned to A440 will sound in tune with other instruments.


Having said that, I can't combine some E. Piano and concert piano patches on my S70Xs because there is an obvious dissonance in the upper register due to the programmer's attempt to address this issue.

 

 

Holy {censored} that is wild, I didn't know that! I had heard about it before and always assumed it was something different...I just copied the specs out of the KORG Triton LE manual or parameter guide in .pdf form...I also remember using an Alesis QSR with the Jazz and Classical Piano Q Cards and they had stretch tuned settings...I never even bothered to look it up, like I said I always just assumed it was a different way to tune a piano...

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To my way of thinking there's a big difference between tuning up or down a half step or whatever, or to DADGAD or open G or such, and actually not tuning the the standard frequencies, whatever tuning "flavor" you use.

 

 

Oh I guess I misread the topic; I can see the sense in tuning a half step down to make it easier for some vocalists, but an instrumental group doing it "just because" seems rather pointless to me.

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Oh I guess I misread the topic; I can see the sense in tuning a half step down to make it easier for some vocalists, but an instrumental group doing it "just because" seems rather pointless to me.

 

 

Agreed. The only reason I can see doing it is due to either laziness or because the singer just can't hit that certain note unless it's tuned back a few cents. I don't know why they don't just tune it completely down a half-step, though. Seems like it would be a lot easier that way.

 

I know that Van Halen and Pantera both tuned their guitars and bass guitars down at an inbetween tuning (like 3/4ths step down, meaning flat, then half of flat, basically inbetween D and Eb) for some of their albums. I guess I'd rather keep it simple and just tune to an established frequency than experiment with unusual Hz tunings.

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I keep my 12 string acoustic guitar tuned a half step or even a whole step just to ease the stress on the top and bridge. It also makes it easier to play. If I need to play in standard tuning with others I simply capo up. My electric and acoustic guitars are tuned to standard. Occasionally I'll use open G or D tuning for slide.

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Here's a question...if you're tuned a half-step down on the guitar and you are calling the chords the same names, aren't you technically saying your "A" note is actually about 415Hz (equivalent to Ab at 440Hz)?


:thu:

 

Yes. My old trio considered everything we did as being concert, except that it sounded a half step flat.

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Here's a question...if you're tuned a half-step down on the guitar and you are calling the chords the same names, aren't you technically saying your "A" note is actually about 415Hz (equivalent to Ab at 440Hz)?


:thu:

 

No, not really. When you detune your guitar down a half-step, you simply move A4 one fret. The A4 will still be 440Hz tuned. Calling the chords a different name than what they are doesn't change the concert pitch tuning aspect.

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