A properly tuned violin is crucial and essential to creating the best music your instrument can possibly give. A well-tuned violin can spell the success of a violin concert or performance and can mean a lifetime of great violin training if one is yet a student. With these said, whether one is simply flirting with the instrument or contemplating its serious study, the art and the importance of how to tune a violin can never be stressed too highly enough.
The classical violin has four strings. These are tuned in fifths (5ths), meaning that each string has a five note interval from each other. The first string, the thinnest and the one lowest when the violin is held at playing position, is the E string. The relatively thicker string, the second one above the E string, is the A string. The third one above the A string – noticeably thicker than E and A string is the D string; and the last and the thickest one above it is the G string. These strings have graduated sounds which means to say that the thinner the string the higher the pitch and the thicker the string, the lower pitch and the more sonorous the sound.
To tune a violin, the player has to start with the A string. Tuning in the A string first is the most common practice because aside from it being an open string (no fingers required to tune), the A string is conveniently stable enough (not too soft to tune like the E string and not too hard to tune as the lower strings. ) This means to say that even if the player is just using a pitch fork to tune, he or she need not worry about A string loosening up and going out of tune again before he can use it as a reference point in tuning the other strings.
The usual practice of the tuning order is the A string, E string, A string, D string, A string, G string back again to the A string. After individual string tuning is done, the violinist can now tune it by playing double stops on both A and E strings, A and D strings, and D and G strings. Fine-tuning adjustments should be done before going to the next pair of strings to tune.
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