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Old 04-17-2013, 10:49 AM   #5
Holy smoking keyboard!
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 9,377
Default Re: Ears versus Tuners

Originally Posted by William J Hunter View Post

I'd hate to think that all those many violinists tried to tune their strings using a electronic tuner!
My wife has been playing violin in a rock band for about a year. She has an electronic clip on tuner and everyone has been trying to get her to use it and she just won't! I think she should, because it would be a very fast way to check that she hasn't drifted out of tune. The guitarist tunes his instrument with an electronic tuner, so he's always going to be close to 440. Even if she wanted to fine tune by ear, at least she could use it to know when to tune. I recently mentioned how I have seen a lot of fiddlers on stages over the years playing in bands and not one has ever used a tuning fork. Seemed to make an impression. /rant

It is interesting that as an orchestra teacher she never taught the young ones how to tune. The ones who tune break their strings. Anyway when she would tune an orchestra she'd have a loud reference A playing, and then tune all the open strings to it.

Getting back to pipers, I think a lot of beginning pipers (including me when I started) probably can't hear in-tune from out. A tuner is a great learning tool. I still use one sometimes, but not as often. The more I've gotten used to hearing my pipes in tune, the better I've gotten at recognizing when they're out of tune. Part of that learning process involved contact mics and multiple tuners, to be able to watch the drone tuning while playing scales -- finding out I had built in blowing harder as I went up the scale, for instance.

Now I've gotten to where when I'm playing alone and one drone is out I usually know which one it is and which direction I need to move it. I've never practiced that per se, but it has developed over time. Same thing with the chanter notes. Probably even more so with the chanter notes.
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