Reply To: Bochsa’s tuning method

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Sherri Matthew

Hi Angela,
Can you hunt the web for a used Zenon Chromatina quartz tuner? That’s what I use on my wire harp. I get it very accurate with that. I’ve heard they’re not made anymore, but if you comb eBay you might be able to come across one. They cover seven octaves and can do 415Hz, 440 Hz, plus some higher ones.

I like to check my tuning by octaves, and start with the bottom-most strings first, work up to the middle C pair, then start down from the top G and arrive at the middle. It goes pretty quick that way. It’s like a suspension bridge – the tension on one part is dependent on that in another. So I try to balance it out without the tension going up too fast and coming near the breaking point! I’ve never heard of Bochsa. Just trial and error…

I don’t rely 100% on my tuner – if it says I’m off by a few cents but I can hear (and feel) that the octaves are in unison I leave it alone. Sometimes for the very lowest bass notes I might intentionally leave it a little bit off by a few cents because it shimmers a bit, in a kind of pleasant way. But not by a lot, or it can be pretty jarring!