Technical Library

TUNING V: Tuning Forks

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Tuning fork 13K jpegTuning Forks…

All harpsichordists require a pitch source to ensure their instrument is retuned to the pitch desired by its maker, and the tuning fork remains one of the most convenient, portable and inexpensive means of reproducing a fixed pitch.

The a' is the pitch provided to the modern orchestra by the oboe.

We stock a variety of pitches of high quality blue John Walker tuning forks, but the A415 fork is especially popular for harpsichordists and others involved in early music. A430 is essential for musicians interested in the Classical repertoire.

Some musicians prefer using an electronic tuner or app which allows a hands-free pitch source, as well as dividing up the notes of the scale to produce a temperament, if you desire. Several tuners can be calibrated within a range of pitches handy for early music—others can only be used in a small area around modern A440.

The fork doesn’t make much sound unless you know how to excite it. To use a fork properly, hold the handle and give one of the tines a solid knock against your kneebone. Then rest the base of the fork on the top of the cheek of your harpsichord or the bridge to allow you to hear the pitch clearly.

Pitch Availability
Sound 1K gif G392 French Baroque pitch
Sound 1K gif A415 Baroque pitch
Sound 1K gif A430 Classical pitch
Sound 1K gif A440 Modern pitch  

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