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How Do I Tune a Violin?

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  • Written By: Patrick Lynch
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2016
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Patience is a virtue when tuning a violin. Allowing the strings to be tightened too much will end up damaging the instrument. There are four strings on a violin, each of which must be tuned in a certain order. Begin by tuning the A string, followed by the D, G, and E strings. Using a tuning fork or similar device to test the violin before making adjustments with the pegs. An exception to this is the E string, which has a separate metal tuner.

In order to correctly tune a violin, it is necessary to have a good ear for music. If the strings are tightened too much, they could break. An improperly tuned violin will never make the sounds it is supposed to.

As the violin is an instrument with four strings, it is tuned to intervals of a perfect fifth. This is the distance between the lower note of the violin and the five spaces and lines that lie above this note. To tune a violin, it is necessary to note the names of the four strings. The string that makes the lowest sound is G, followed by D, A, and E, which is the highest string.

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To tune a violin, play A on a piano, metronome that includes a tuning pitch, or a tuning fork. Pluck the A string on the violin. The A string is located third from the left as the violinist looks at the instrument. That string is perfectly tuned if the pitch from the violin sounds identical to the pitch from the other source. If the pitches sound different, the string must be loosened or tightened using the string's peg.

The violinist can loosen the string by twisting the peg towards himself and tighten it by turning the peg away from himself. A great deal of patience is needed in order to tune a violin. If the instrument’s strings are tightened too much, the violin could be damaged.

Once the A string has been properly tuned, move on to the D string. Follow the same procedure as before. The interval between the D and A strings is known a perfect fifth. This essentially means that the two notes, when played together, have little dissonance.

Tune the G string next before finishing off with the E string. The E string is the highest and tightest string and has its own metal tuner at the top of the violin’s string holder. This means the E string can be adjusted without having to adjust the peg. The final element in properly tuning a violin is to play two notes one right after the other to ensure that the tuning is correct.

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