How to tune the violin and bow after purchase, tips for beginners
How to Tune

How to tune the violin and bow after purchase, tips for beginners

If you have recently signed up for violin lessons  or sent your child to a music school for violin classes, you need to purchase an instrument for home practice. By studying regularly (for 20 minutes a day), you will consolidate the skills learned in the classroom and will be ready to master new material.

In order for homework not to be disrupted by an out-of-tune instrument, you need to be able to tune it. When buying an instrument, you can ask a consultant to tune the violin, and the teacher will help you monitor the tuning of the instrument during practice.

To tune a violin, match the sound of the open strings of the instrument and the reference sound.

Every violinist should be able to tune the violin, because the instrument loses its tune due to changes in temperature, humidity, etc. The better the violin is made, the longer the tuning lasts, but before  violin lessons and performances, the instrument is still tuned. If the violinist is still small, then parents learn to tune the violin.

The ability to bring the instrument into working condition comes with experience, and you need to practice more often in order to be able to tune the violin by ear.

For those whom nature has not awarded with absolute pitch, and who has not yet had time to develop, there are special devices to help tune the instrument. The essence of tuning is to bring the sound of the four open strings in line with the standard. Build violin – Mi, La, Re, Sol (starting from the bottom thin string).

How to tune a violin after purchase

How to tune the violin and bow after purchase, tips for beginners
How to tune a violin

The violin has two devices for changing the tension of the string and, accordingly, the pitch: tuning pegs (like on a guitar) and “machines”. The pegs are located on the headstock and are devices on which the strings are wound. The machines are located at the base of the string and look like circles. Not all violins have machines installed, and if they are not there, tuning with the help of tuning pegs remains.

The tuning pegs give a coarser tuning, they are harder to turn and it is easy to break the string by overtightening it. It is believed that to fine-tune the violin, it is better to use “machines” and purchase an instrument equipped with them. If the string is strongly out of tune, they turn the peg, if it is necessary to slightly adjust it, they turn the machine. When turning the pegs, hold the violin at an angle, leaning on your legs, and when working with typewriters, put the instrument on your knees. Never hold the instrument close to your face when tuning! If the string breaks, it could hurt you.

Violinists often tune the violin by ear – they are musicians with a well-developed ear. But for amateurs, beginners, and parents of young musicians, there are other ways to check the violin’s tuning. The easiest way is to use the tuner – you play, and it shows whether the string is tuned. A tuner can be a program on a phone, a device, or a website. The precision of this instrument does not always suit the violinist. The ideal option is to tune with an electronic piano (not an acoustic one, as it can be out of tune). First tune the A string, and then the rest. To tune adjacent strings, two open strings are played and checked for a perfect fifth. Violinists can hear the discrepancy well, but if the ear is not developed, tune all the strings according to the tuner or phono.

HOW TO: Tune a Violin (for beginners) using a Digital Tuner
how to tune a violin

How to tune a violin without a piano

The first string to start the tuning process with is the A string. All you need is a sound standard. You can use:

  • fork;
  • recorded reference sound;
  • tuner.

Your task is to tune the string so that the sounds merge in unison without making any extra knocks. The A tuning fork sounds exactly like the second open string should sound. Other strings are usually tuned by violinists by ear. When tuning the violin, stick to the “piano” technique when working with the bow.

For novice violinists, as well as for parents of young musicians, a tuner is a good solution to the problem. It is attached to the neck of the violin, and when you play an open string, it shows on the scoreboard whether the string is tuned.

Tuning a violin at a professional level is a relative concept. The reference A differs in different rooms, when playing with different instruments. For example, to play in an orchestra, all violins, violas, cellos and double basses are tuned to a musical instrument – the oboe. And if you plan to play with a piano solo, then they tune it to the piano.

Tuning a violin without a piano in the 21st century is not a problem – on the Internet you can easily find reference recordings of all strings, and a tuning fork is in every violin case.

Before starting a violin lesson, before a performance or rehearsal, the musicians bring the instrument into working condition: they check whether the violin is tuned and prepare the bow for work.

Violin and bow dimensions

The violin and bow are chosen in size, depending on the height and build of the violinist. A 4/4 violin is considered a full size violin and is suitable for adults over 150 cm tall. For such a violin, a bow with a size of 745-750 mm is chosen.

The length of the bow is important as it affects the behavior of the hand that holds the bow. If the bow is too long, the right arm will “fall through” behind the back, and because of the short bow, the right arm will not extend.

To avoid discomfort and possible injury, try the bow right in the shop. Nevertheless, the correspondence between the height and the size of the instrument is rather a guideline, and not a rule. Each person is different, and you may find that a different size bow will fit you, no matter how tall you are. In addition, when choosing a bow, the length of the arms is also taken into account. How to tune a violin

A violin is said to be in tune when certain strings match a certain sound. The first (the thinnest string itself) is Mi of the second octave, the second string sounds like La of the first octave, the third string is Re and the fourth is Sol.

People with perfect pitch tune the violin without the help of reference sounds extracted with a tuning fork, piano, or recorded sound – they just remember how the strings sound, as if an internal tuner is built into them. The MuzShock Music School offers individual and couples violin lessons , where we will teach you how to tune the bow and violin correctly on your own.

If the musician’s hearing is not absolute, then he uses assistive devices. The most popular way to tune a violin is with a tuning fork. The tuning fork looks like a metal fork, which, when mechanically acted upon, produces the note “La” – just like the second string. The tuning of the violin begins with the A string, and then, focusing on it, the rest of the strings are tuned.

It is possible to listen to recordings of the sound of open strings and tune the violin according to them, but this method is not suitable for professional musicians. The piano “La” is different from the tuning fork “La”. Therefore, the violin for playing in the orchestra is tuned to the oboe, for playing the piano – to the piano.

The violin is a classical instrument that has been popular for centuries. Today, it is also in demand and many parents from an early age send their children to a music school, to learn the basics of playing the violin.

If your child has already gone to a couple of classes and you notice that young Vivaldi is standing in front of you, then it’s time to think about buying a personal instrument. But it is important to understand that the bow plays no less important role than the violin itself. That is why it is worth paying special attention to his choice.

How to choose a violin bow?

First of all, you need to come to terms with the fact that in no case should you buy a bow and violin “for growth”. After all, playing a bulky instrument is an order of magnitude more difficult than playing a small one. Moreover, do not think that your child should immediately learn on a full-size violin with an appropriate bow, as a small one sounds weaker and worse. This opinion is wrong.

If the baby is 5 to 8 years old, his height is 120-135 cm, and the arm length is 445-510 mm, then a ¼ violin bow would be an ideal solution. How to take measurements? You need to measure your hand from the center of the open palm to the shoulder.

Let’s move on to choosing a quality bow

First, evaluate the type of bow. Make sure there are no cracks on it. If you choose a bow of a budget category, you risk buying a defective bow, since such bows are covered with opaque varnish, and it is difficult to see the cracks.

Try to pick up a bow with white natural horsehair. Evaluate the rotation of the screw when pulling the hair – if the rotation is smooth and does not require effort, the bow is suitable.

Also check that the thread is in order. Often there are bows with broken threads, this is a manufacturing defect. Make sure the thread is in good condition right in the store, otherwise there will be difficulties later if you want to return the bow back.

If the bow is in a taut state, the reed touches the hair. Another way to check the bow is to pull the hair until the reed is straight. In this state, lightly hit them on the palm of your hand. Signs of a poor-quality bow will be: strong rebound, no rebound, weakening of tension after impact.

Another test to check: put the bow on the string without making a sound and tilt it to the right and left sides. A quality bow will not jump or move too abruptly.

Bow size

The bow has sizes corresponding to the size of the violin: 1/16, 1/10, 1/8, 1/4, 2/4, 3/4, 7/8 and 4/4. But it is better to choose the size of the bow, like the violin, with a violin teacher. All people are different, and the size of the instrument and bow for the child must be chosen based on individual characteristics: height, build, length of arms, fingers.

If the chosen bow turns out to be excessively long, then when playing, the right hand will go away, fall behind the back, and the cane will not reach the end; an overly short bow does not allow the right hand to unbend. This affects the sound production, posture, well-being of the violinist, so be sure to consult with a violin teacher which bow is right for you.

Bow quality

The quality of the bow, like any product, is proportional to the price. But even among budget bows, look for the best option in terms of quality.

Inspect the bow from all sides, search for cracks. If the bow is covered with a clear varnish, it is easy to find cracks, but budget bows are more often painted with a colored varnish coating, which makes it difficult to find defects. Even small cracks promise an early breakage of the reed, because it must be resilient for playing, and withstand hair replacements.

A high-quality bow straightens if you stretch the hair, as when playing – the deflection disappears, the reed looks even. The bow, capable of transmitting subtle shades of sound, vibrates if you hit it with your finger (hair as when playing), holding the block and reed. Do not forget that the end of the bow is looking up. Experienced violinists determine the quality of the bow by the rate of vibration, but this applies to more expensive options.

When choosing a bow, it is advised to conduct another test: put it on a string (as if playing) and simply tilt it left and right, without extracting a sound. The bow should not jump off, move abruptly and abruptly.

You will choose the second, third and subsequent bows based on your experience, knowing your requirements for sound and comfort.

How to tune a bow

How to tune the violin and bow after purchase, tips for beginners
tuning a violin bow

To check the readiness of the bow for work – inspect it. If the hair is sagging or the cane is bent, the tension in the hair needs to be corrected. In case of sagging, tighten the hair, and if the cane is bent, relax it. Also, before playing, rub the bow with rosin – swipe the pebble up and down 5-6 times. There are violinists who advise rubbing about twenty times – the sound is bright and rich, but the violin is covered with a sticky coating.

To keep the violin in tune longer, handle it with care: store it in a case, away from temperature and humidity changes, avoid mechanical impacts.

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