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If you have not watched our first cello tuning video (tuning with an electric tuner) you should watch that first. This video ...
describes tuning a cello to an A reference pitch - the method used in ensemble playing. Presented by Laurel, an Apprentice here.
Tags:Tuning a Cello to a Reference Pitch,Cello Tuning,cello tuning video,ello Tuning Demonstration,how to tune to a reference pitch,Tuning a Cello,a,cello,Ensemble,Fifths,harmonics,orchestra,reference,tuner,Tuning
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Tuning to a pitch is necessarily in certain settings such as performances or ensemble playing. You’re maybe getting that pitch for a pianist or fellow musician. In these settings, you won’t be able to use an electronic tuner. So it’s good to learn how to tune by ear. However, you can use an electronic tuner to practice learning how to tune to a pitch. Most electronic tuners can also generate a pitch. So turn on your tuner and set it to an A.
Now you go ahead and play your A and see if you can tell if you’re flat or sharp, [Demonstration]. If you are unsure, go ahead and start turning your turner in one direction until it’s obvious. Right now, [Demonstration] I believe I’m flat. So I’m going to go ahead and turn up my A, [Demonstration]. A little closer, I can even go little further, [Demonstration].
Now, I’m going to go ahead and double check myself. I’m going to set it to the tuner setting and play my A again and see if it tells me if I’m flat or sharp. As you keep practicing this, your accuracy will continue to improve. It’s important to continue practicing until you feel confident about tuning to a pitch.
Once your A is tune, you can use that pitch to tune your other strings. There are two common ways to do this. One is by using your harmonics, and other is by hearing your frets. When tuning the harmonics, you want to play the A harmonic on the A string and match it to the A harmonic on the D string. You want to make sure that the pitch is match. You then want to check the D harmonic on the D string with the D harmonic on the G string and so forth.
To find the A harmonic on the A string, measure about halfway from the bridge to the top of the finger board. If you’re not sure exactly where that is, go ahead and test it out and move your finger around until you find that clear A. Your finger should just be lightly rested on the string without pressing down. To find the A harmonic on the D string, you want to just rest your hand on the top of the body of the Cello and rest your index finger lightly on the D string and move it around until you find that clear pitch [Demonstration].
Once you’re comfortable with the locations of the harmonics, you can do one right after the other so you can test the pitches to make sure they match, meaning the strings are in tune. The harmonics are in the same places on the strings, so your D harmonic on the D string is here and the D harmonic on the G string is here and same for the G string. The G harmonic is here. And on the C string, the G harmonic is here.
Another common way of tuning the rest of your string is by using your frets. Once you’re a string is in tune, go ahead and play your A and D together and listen [Demonstration]. If you’re unsure which direction to go, pick one until it’s obvious to you. This sounds a bit flat to me, so I’m going to turn my D string up and try again [Demonstration].
Now what you can do is go ahead and check yourself with the electric tuner. Fix the string and if it’s not quite right and then go ahead and play your A and D strings together once again so that you can hear what it sounds like correctly.
Go ahead and follow the same steps with your D and G [Demonstration ] and your G and C. The more you practice these methods, the easier they will be come. Also, when tuning to a pitch, it’s good to try both your harmonics and your frets to check your D, G and C strings.