String instrument fingerboard tapes: position for just intonation vs equal temperament?

Asked by: Jason Soprano

Do violinists use just intonation?

Use Just Intonation for double stops and for chords in string quartets. Pianos are tuned in equal temperament. Violinists should only adjust to piano pitches if both instruments are playing the same pitch for a long duration. Intonation is one of your most powerful musical tools.

Do violinists play in equal temperament?

So, to sum up, violins can’t be tuned to equal temperament at all, violins are system-free instruments.

Is a violin a tempered instrument?

Violins have different sets of temperaments to work with, and change based on skill level and who they play with. Equal Temperaments will cause the violin to sound bland, because the notes no longer cause harmonic vibrations with the other strings.

What is the difference between just intonation and equal temperament?

Just Intonation: smooth chords, melody notes that sound out of tune. 2. Equal Temperament – melody notes sound in tune, chords sound rough. One of the best ways to understand the difference Equal Temperament and Just Intonation is to play harmonicas tuned to JI and ET and compare the way they sound.

Do orchestras play in just intonation?

Yes, the strings of the strings section will be tuned to ET 5ths, usually, and generally the whole orchestra will play with a modern pitch reference (e.g., A 440). Also, world class musicians will often have a good enough pitch sense that they will play notes very close to equal temperament, if not right on.

Why is intonation so hard on violin?

The correct intonation on a violin is so difficult because the player has to place his or her fingers on a fretless fingerboard. In order to learn where the correct spots are and to develop muscle memory, the player has to listen carefully to the sound of the violin and adjust the placement of their fingers.

How do you get good intonation on a violin?

12 Best Tips to Improve Your Violin Intonation Quickly

  1. Tip 1: Use the Double Contact Points Method. …
  2. Tip 2: Bow Softly with Little Pressure. …
  3. Tip 3: Practice Without Vibrato. …
  4. Tip 4: Listen to Recordings of Violin Music. …
  5. Tip 5: Play with Others. …
  6. Tip 6: Practice with a Tuner. …
  7. Tip 7: Play Slowly. …
  8. Tip 8: Use Anchor Fingers.

What is expressive intonation?

In order to create a much stronger emotional effect for the audience.

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.

Is equal temperament out of tune?

Did you know Pianos are intentionally tuned “out of tune”? Yes it’s true. Modern Pianos are all tuned using a system called “Equal Temperament”. In fact, you can’t use your ear to tune a Piano in equal temperament because our ears don’t hear notes in this manner.

What is wrong with equal temperament?

One main drawback to equal temperament is that all major thirds are quite a bit off from where they ought to be, roughly fourteen percent of a semitone. Perfect fifths are all pretty close. More importantly, though, other than pitch, nothing distinguishes the various keys.

Why do bands tune to B flat?

Some orchestras favor a slightly higher pitch, like A=442 or higher, which some believe results in a brighter sound. If you ever played in concert band, you’ll remember that you always tuned to B flat. This is because most of the band instruments are actually pitched in B flat, and so this is their natural tuning note.

How do you fix intonation in an orchestra class?

5 Steps to Improving Intonation in Your String Orchestra

  1. Remember, Telling Isn’t Teaching. …
  2. Start by Introducing Intervals. …
  3. Build, Tune, and Balance Chords. …
  4. Provide Harmonic Context. …
  5. Assist Students in Musical Analysis.

Who invented equal temperament?

Two people are generally credited with the calculation of equal temperament: Zhu Zaiyu (in 1584) and Simon Stevin (in 1585).

How far off is equal temperament?

Twelve-tone equal temperament is the musical system that divides the octave into 12 parts, all of which are equally tempered (equally spaced) on a logarithmic scale, with a ratio equal to the 12th root of 2 ( 12√2 ≈ 1.05946).

Which instruments use equal temperament?

The equal tempered scale is the common musical scale used at present, used for the tuning of pianos and other instruments of relatively fixed scale.

What is the best equal temperament?

Additionally, it also makes the semitone exactly half a whole tone, the simplest possible relationship. These are some of the reasons why 12-EDO has become the most commonly used equal temperament.

What advantages are associated with using equal temperament tuning?

Because it enables keyboard instruments to play in all keys with minimal flaws in intonation, equal temperament replaced earlier tuning systems that were based on acoustically pure intervals, that is, intervals that occur naturally in the overtone series.

Did Mozart 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.