Tuner question

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by BigHorn, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    OK I have a cheap tuner that is permanently set at concert C.

    Band is tuned to 442 hz
    When I play a C on a cornet the tuner (set at 442) shows Bb.

    Question: - what frequency can I put in so the tuner shows C when I play C on my cornet.

    Get your physics books and slide rules out. 10 marks for the first correct answer (not that i'd know if you were correct)
  2. pbirch

    pbirch Active Member

    I'd get a better tuner :)
  3. The Wherryman

    The Wherryman Active Member

    I am totally ignorant regarding hertz etc but I have an inexpensive chromatic tuner, which will play a (selectable) reference note. Changing the hertz setting merely alters the pitch of the selected reference note VERY slightly.

    When you play a brass band C, your tuner will register a concert Bb, ‘cos that is what you’re playing. Provided the Bb is in tune, you’ve got no problem.

    Someone else will undoubtedly come along with a scientific formula to answer your question, but I agree with pbirch. Decent tuners can be bought for very little money.
  4. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    Although the sensible answer has already been given, the only way I can see for this to work wuold be to recalibrate the tuner so that C (523.251htz) was given 587.330 htz (Concert D). Whether you would be able to shift all notes up by running this formula?


    which I do not pretend to understand, I don't knoww. I think that 49 represents the number of a piano key if you count from the bottom, assuming that the lowest note is an A

    If this works it will be a miracle, or as an alternative invent one and take it on Dragon's Den :cool:
  5. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    You can't get a Bb tuner! Calibration is only there to vary what A you tune to - 442 in your case. I very much doubt if you can alter the calibration by as much as a tone. It SHOULD show a Bb when you play a C, of course.
  6. The Wherryman

    The Wherryman Active Member

    BigHorn, I would be very surprised if a ‘cheap’ tuner that is permanently set to a C has the facility to change the Hertz setting.

    A standard tuning fork A is 440 Hz, so I don’t quite see why your band would tune to an A at 442 Hz.
    All the brass bands I have been in have tuned to Bb (treble clef) for all Bb instruments.

    Laserbeam bass is correct in the Hertz values for C and D, although I haven’t got a clue what the formula is about.

    Thanks to the Internet, I have found this site, which has all the values worked out. This should answer all your questions and might be useful for anyone else interested in Hertz
  7. The Wherryman

    The Wherryman Active Member

    I beg to differ. I have a digital tuner that I can set to the key of Bb, C, Eb and F.
  8. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    I stand corrected!!
  9. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    Most modern tuned percussion is at A=442, so it makes good sense to tune to that pitch. I'm sure the band tunes to a Bb, but at the slightly higher pitch than 440, which I prefer but which is being slowly ousted by 442. :(
  10. phildriscoll

    phildriscoll Moderator Staff Member

    For an even tempered scale, if you multiply the frequency of a note by the 12th root of two (1.05946309435929...), you get the frequency of the note one semitone higher. This makes sense as if you do the same multiplication 12 times you get a doubling of the frequency, and hence arrive at a pitch one octave higher than the one you started with.
  11. The Wherryman

    The Wherryman Active Member

    Thanks for that, Phil. That's simple enough to understand...much easier than trying to work out what that formula is about.
  12. The Wherryman

    The Wherryman Active Member

    Hmmmm....another thought has just struck me....ouch!

    I've heard it said that enharmonic notes, for example G# and Fb, are actually different and the difference can be seen on an oscilloscope. I've never understood this and if the value in Hz is the same for both notes (applying the 12th root of two factor) how can they be different?
  13. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    No arguments there
  14. phildriscoll

    phildriscoll Moderator Staff Member

    Leaving aside the fact that a G# and an Fb are about a third apart ;), a Gb and and F# are only the same frequency in an even tempered scale. Some instruments (e.g. keyboards) may be tuned that way, but our brass instruments aren't - in fact, my bass doesn't have a single note in it above middle C that's in tune in any kind of scale :) In other temperaments, the ratio of the frequencies between adjacent semitones varies up the scale, so an F# as a third of D could be a different frequency to Gb as a 5th of Cb.
  15. The Wherryman

    The Wherryman Active Member

    Doh! That's what comes of posting while standing on your head and typing with your toes :oops:

    Are you saying that only instruments with keys set at fixed pitches, like piano or keyboard, will be playing enharmonic notes at the same pitch and that our instruments, where the pitch is controlled by the player, won't necessarily do so? That sounds reasonable to me.
  16. phildriscoll

    phildriscoll Moderator Staff Member

    On a fixed pitch instrument like a piano, there's no choice - an F# has to be the same frequency as a Gb. I'm pretty sure that in the depths of the submenus of my elecric piano I can change if from equal tempered to other tunings and specify the key. If I fiddle with that whilst playing I will get Gb at a different frequency to an F# I played earlier. When pitch is under the control of the player then anything can happen :) I know that if I blow a g into a digital tuner and adjust my slide so its bang on, then play a c for a while and go back to the g, the g is usually still bang on. If I play an eb for a while and then play a g, the g is off a bit (from memory, it think slightly sharp). I'm certainly not doing anything on purpose but there must be something in my brain giving me an idea of what a 5th interval sounds like and what a 3rd interval sounds like. I suspect that good players who know what they are doing may pitch things deliberately to make a chord sound a particular way (I'm neither a good player, nor do I know what I'm doing). In a band situation this all seems to go out of the window - I suspect I try to start notes at the pitch I'm expecting but something automatic kicks in to drag the pitch in to tune with the band if it's off. What the resultant temperament would be called is anybody's guess. I think I would describe a scale I played as 'compromised incorrect average temperament', and above middle c on my sov bass as simply 'incorrect temperament' :)
  17. The Wherryman

    The Wherryman Active Member

    Thanks, Phil, the fog is beginning to lift.

    Perhaps this is what sends my MD into a bad temper...ament :p
  18. Chris Lee

    Chris Lee Member

    Hmmm. So are we saying here that octaves between open notes are correct (that must be true, surely), but that intermin notes (open and valved) are compromised?

    Very Best,

    Chris Lee
    Newbieish Eflat Sovereign
  19. phildriscoll

    phildriscoll Moderator Staff Member

    I'm no expert but I would have thought it was way too much to expect octaves to be perfectly in tune on a brass instrument given the vagueness of exactly where each end of the pipe is.
  20. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    Hope I understand the question! The ratio of frequencies of notes an octave apart is 2:1. An octave above A440 is A220. In just intonation a perfect 5th has the ratio 3:2, but if you pile up fifths using this ratio, you don't get back to another A 12 5ths later - which, of course, you should do. So to make this all work with equal temperament, all intervals apart from the octave have their ratios slightly altered to make things fit. So the answer to your question is 'yes' - all octaves are in tune according to 'just' temperament and all other intervals are compromised.

    I'm not talking about how an instrument is tuned, but how the perfect equal temperament scale is formed. Playing in tune is another matter!

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