Do capable harmony singers sing in just intonation or tempered tuning?

Asked by: Patrice Thacker

They just sing pitches and use their ears and their brains to observe and adjust to what is in tune and what is not, given the current context of the music and of the instruments being used to accompany that particular piece.

Should I tune to equal or just temperament?

For the purposes of this chart, it is assumed that C4 = 261.63 Hz is used for both (this gives A4 = 440 Hz for the equal tempered scale).

Just vs Equal Temperament (and related topics)

Interval Ratio to Fundamental Just Scale Ratio to Fundamental Equal Temperament
Major Third 5/4 = 1.2500 1.25992

Is just intonation better?

Some people describe harmonies in Just Intonation as being “full” or “rich”, while others describe them as “bland” or “lifeless”. However, most people would agree that JI harmonies are considerably smoother than tempered harmonies. There are several reasons for this.

Why is just intonation impractical?

In Western musical practice, instruments are rarely tuned using only pure intervals—the physics of music makes this impractical. Some instruments of fixed pitch, such as electric pianos, are commonly tuned using equal temperament, in which all intervals other than octaves consist of irrational-number frequency ratios.

How can I get good intonation for singing?

When you slide up and you go like yeah. And then the pitch is already over when it's a short pitch you need to make sure sometimes you really shoot for it right away that right from the get-go.

What is the problem with just intonation?

An ideal system (for Western people) would be based on the natural harmonic series, because we love how harmonics sound. This kind of tuning system is called just intonation. It sounds lovely! Unfortunately, just intonation makes it impossible to change keys or tune your guitar.

Is just intonation the same as Pythagorean tuning?

Pythagorean tuning is a type of just intonation. You don’t quite get simple ratios by stacking P5, but what you get is also decent -> major/minor thirds and sixths are a schisma away from simple ratios, so you get a few good intervals in a 12 notes gamut.

How do you know if you’re singing in tune?

How to tell if you’re singing in tune: using free websites + apps to improve your pitch accuracy

  1. Use a virtual keyboard and chromatic tuner to improve your pitch matching. …
  2. 30 Day Singer. …
  3. Practice matching pitches within your comfortable vocal range. …
  4. Use a pitch app to check your accuracy on vocal exercises and songs.

How do you not sing flat when singing?

One is by Val enunciation. The second is by adding vibrato to the notes vibrato is that shaky sound that you get ah. That's Roberta a great example is Miley Cyrus's wrecking ball song.

Why do I sing off key?

Usually, when someone is “off key” it is because they are singing FLAT, which means that they are singing slightly UNDER the correct pitch. Don’t you have to be born with good pitch?

What instruments use just intonation?

The modern un-fretted bowed string instruments; the violin, viola, cello and bass, can and do play in just intonation and can modulate to any key center and maintain just intonation. Modern brass instruments without valves, such as the bugle, play in just intonation in one key only.

Who invented just intonation?

Harry Partch was the first such composer. He defined his own scale with 43 pitches to the octave, and invented his own instruments to play it.

What is the well tempered tuning system?

As used in the 17th century, the term “well tempered” meant that the twelve notes per octave of the standard keyboard were tuned in such a way that it was possible to play music in all major or minor keys that were commonly in use, without sounding perceptibly out of tune.

What tuning did Beethoven use?

Tests have shown that Beethoven’s tuning fork resonates at 455.4 Hertz, over half a semitone higher than today’s standard ‘A’ pitch of 440 Hertz. Click on the image to hear what it sounds like when it is struck.

What tuning system did Bach use?

The main tuning system in Bach’s time was called meantone temperament. This system sounds great in C major and nearby keys, but the further away you move on the circle of fifths, the worse everything sounds.

Did Beethoven use equal temperament?


Bach didn’t use equal temperament. Neither did Mozart nor Beethoven or any of their contemporaries. They used unequal temperaments — also known as, you guessed it, Well-tempered. In the Well-Tempered Clavier, Bach celebrated unequal tempered tuning, not today’s equal tempered tuning.

What tuning system did Mozart use?

Mozart used the same process as given above, but extended it to a cycle of 21 meantone “5ths”, an elegantly symmetrical system from implied 310 = Ebb to implied 310 = A#. He then destroyed the symmetry of the scale by limiting himself to 20 notes and eliminating the implied 37 = Cb.

Why is equal temperament out of tune?

Because of the limitations of keyboard instruments, one way or another, a keyboard tuner has to “temper” some of the notes so that some scales sound the same. In equal temperament, all the scales average out the same, the distance between the notes are all the same.