How (and WHY?) to Tune Your Violin with a Tuning Fork?

by | Nov 1, 2013 | Maintenance | 0 comments

I got another question: Zlata, can you do a video on tuning with the A?

I think you mean a tuning fork, or if you hit the A on a piano or have an A from your computer or whatever.

How to tune your violin or viola to an A tuning fork

  1. First, you will need an A. You can do that with a tuning fork. If you have a tuning fork you just hit it on something and it starts shaking so you have a resonance, you have a sound.
  2. Put it just against your ear. Not totally against your ear of course, but right next to it. Then you hear the A.
  3. Get your violin, usually you do this at the same time: hit the tuning fork, listen to the A and then get your violin and see if this A on your violin is the same as the A from the tuning fork. Some people also put the tuning fork against their violin, but I don’t really like that as the polish of your violin can be damaged. So I don’t really like it, but do it if you like it.
  4. If your A is tuned, you tune it with the finetuners and if you do that you do it while bowing. First finetune the A string.
  5. Then I will bow on two strings at the same time. And then again with the finetuner or if there is a big difference in your intonation then you use the backs. Until it sounds like a good fifth.
  6. If you have done that, you do the D and the G strings, and the A and the E. If it is right, the two tones kind of melt together.

You really have to get used to this sound. So probably if you start to play the violin you can’t tune like this from day one. To be able to do this, you really need to have the sound of the violin memorized because you have to recognize the fifth. You also have to be able to make the A of your violin the same as the sound of your tuning fork.

Why should you learn this and do this?

  • It is a great exercise for your violin hold because you have to hold your violin without supporting it with your left arm.
  • Then you have to turn the finetuners while bowing so it is a great exercise for the multi tasking we all have to do while playing violin.
  • You also have to get used to turning with the backs.
  • Of course it is a great ear trainer to be able to get the A from the tuning fork exactly on your violin.
  • It is also a great training for future double stops because you have to bow on two strings on the same time and make it sound good. Because otherwise you can’t hear if it is in tune.
  • Then it is also a great ear training for being able to hear the fifths so the distance between the strings. So it is just great training in general.

Of course you can tune with a tuner app on  your smartphone but I really recommend also getting an old fashioned tuning fork and train yourself to be able to tune your instrument with this tuning fork.

Is this video useful to you? Please let me know in the comments!

Love,

Zlata

PS: Do you want to see YOUR question answered in a Violin Lounge TV episode? Post a comment below!

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