Tips on tuning

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    unknown-user on #163976

    Is it possible to explain how to do expert tuning to get that lovely harp sound? Even though I tune with my tuner, I still don’t get that lovely rich smooth harp sound. Is there something special you

    Audrey Nickel on #163977

    I’m not sure that sound has much to do with tuning.

    Audrey Nickel on #163978

    Forgot to mention that harps themselves can vary a great deal in tone.

    missy lannon on #163979

    the first time i tried to tune my harp i had it all messed up.

    kay-lister on #163980

    Just remember to tune with your levers UNengaged. Also if your tone is not what you think it should be, you might have dead strings.

    barbara-low on #163981

    Let’s assume your harp and playing technique are perfect.

    What kind of tuner are you using while employing your tuning technique?

    tony-morosco on #163982

    Well, I don’t know what would constitute expert tuning. Here is how I do it:

    I tune A to a reference (I use a piano, but a tuning fork, pitch pipe, on-line tone generator or anything else that plays A in concert pitch will do), then I tune the octave relative to that A using fifths and fourths.Perfect intervals are easier to make out. A to E. E to B. A to D. D to G. G to C. C to F.

    Then play the octave and tweak as needed to make it sound good to your ear. From there I tune to the octave. C to the C above. D to the D above etc… If you have a hard time hearing octaves clearly play the lower string as an harmonic.

    After everything is tuned play your scales and make adjustments where things sound off if necessary. Typically by that point everything sounds fine to me, but I don’t claim to have the best ear.

    barbara-low on #163983

    This topic has already been discussed elsewhere in the forum, here:
    and here:

    barbara-low on #163984

    Tony, I thought you were using a virtual strobe. Has it helped in your ear training so much that you don’t have to use it anymore?

    tony-morosco on #163985

    I do still use it, particularly when I am short on time or there is background noise that makes it hard to hear.

    I like to keep my ear tuning in practice because I don’t like being dependent on a tuner. The tuner has helped a lot. When I first started I was completely unable to tune. My teacher insisted I get a tuner and use it at first until I became accustomed to hearing things the way they are supposed to be.

    Over the years I have sharpened my skills so I can do it without the tuner, although I still find the tune much easier. But it is nice when there is just one string out of tune to be able to just fix it without needing to pull out a tuner.

    For some people tuning by ear is not a natural or easy thing and takes some training. Took me a couple of years actually before I could do it half way decent. But it is definitly something worth developing.

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