Tuning A4 – Test Yourself Using the F2 Check Note.

Aural tuners use checks notes to increase the accuracy of setting the string of a piano to the correct pitch.

One example is using F2 to tune A4 to the fork.

F2 is tuned flat with A4 so that it produces beats. It does not matter how fast the beats are; we are not tuning F2, we are just using it as a reference.

The beats should not be so slow that we risk having a narrow interval with A4 or the fork.
(This procedure only works when F2 makes wide intervals with A4 and the Fork. Need a refresher on pure, narrow, and wide intervals? Go to my quiz page: Narrow, Wide, and Pure Intervals – Video and Quiz)

Also, we do not want the beat speed so fast that we cannot hear it. 7 beats per second (bps) is about as fast as you can tap your finger. The beat speed created by F2 and the fork played together, should not be faster than 7, but not slower than, say, 3 or 4 bps; just make it a nice relaxed “healthy” beat speed.

Now, F2Fork should be beating wide and F2A4 should be beating wide. The speed of the beating tells us how sharp each note is from the fifth partial of F2.
(See Podcast #6. The Harmonic Series.)

And if we want A4 to equal the fork, then A4 and the fork must be the same sharpness from F2(5) where F2(n) is the nth partial of F2. (F2(5) = A4)

In other words, F2Fork = F2A4

(When I write two notes together, it is meant to indicate an interval that is two notes played simultaneously, and it is meant to represent the beat speed of said interval.)

Because the beat speed indicates the sharpness from F2(5), the faster the beat; the sharper that note is from F2(5). And the slower the beat, the flatter the note.)

So, if F2Fork < F2A4 ( "<" means "beats slower then") Then, the fork is lower than A4. (Slower = Lower) In other words, A4 is higher than the fork, and needs to be lowered. Also, if F2Fork > F2A4 ( “>” means “beats faster than”)
Then, the fork is higher than A4 (Faster = Higher)

In other words, A4 is lower than the fork, and needs to be raised.

In conclusion:

If F2Fork < F2A4, lower A4 If F2Fork > F2A4, raise A4


Are you ready?

Click the “Start Tuning” link below. You will be sent to a random page that will play a recording of the F2 test for an A4 that is out of tune.

You will hear, F2Fork, then F2A4, then ForkA4.

Listen to the tests.
Decide if you think A4 needs to be Raised or Lowered.
When you think A4 is in tune with the fork, click “Score Me” and see your score.
If you are within 0.9 cents, you will get 100%.
You will lose 4% for every 0.1 cent you are off outside that 0.9 cent limit.

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