August 27, 2013

SteadyTune: A Pitch-Perfect Tuner Right

Before the days of digital tuners and the like, musicians had to rely on their sense of hearing and a well tuned piano in order to get their drums, bass, or guitars the way they wanted it.  I remember as a child having to use a tuning fork, which played an “A” when I stuck it across my leg.  From that note I was able to tune the rest of my violin by ear.  I learned early on that if I got the first note incorrect – the rest would be slightly off as well, although their relationship to each other would be perfect.

Getting a perfect pitch is like trying to keep exact time.  It can be easy and it can be hard.  Atomic clocks are built to keep track of time down to a tiny fraction of a second – but for most of us, our house clocks are close enough to go by.  However, if those clocks were to run for 10 years at a time, they would ultimately be off by a few milliseconds.  The same goes for tuning equipment that is non-digital.  It can be extremely close to the touch, but under a wave microscope – they can be off by just a hair.