harpcolumn

practical news, for practical harpists

Forums » Harps and Accessories » Electronic Harp Tuner

About Forums

Welcome to the Harp Column forums. Please read the Terms and Conditions before posting. By using this forum, you agree to adhere to these terms.

Want to add links or emphasis to your posts? Read the Harp Column blog about posting shortcuts.

Electronic Harp Tuner

  • Christian
    Christian Frederick

    .... OK... I know this subject has been discussed before. Recently I downloaded the Strobo Soft by Peterson APP on my iPhone. Wow! This is an incredible tool! It is only $9.99. Just remember.... these tuners are NOT designed to tune your entire harp... I just tune the middle two octave and do the rest by ear (octaves). This is one area I feel proficient at because I'm a recovering piano tuner (still looking for a 12-step program for that issue). In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would be tuning my harp with my cell phone.....

    - Sign in to comment
    replies to "Electronic Harp Tuner"
    • Tony
      Tony Morosco

      On my phone I use Celartunes which can actually tune all but the top octave on my harp. Normally I use an actual Peterson VSII. Great tuner, but it takes getting used to.

      - Sign in to comment
    • Sam
      Sam Karlinski

      The Strobo Soft Peterson App can easily tune my entire harp. Everything is spot on, even if it wasn't designed to tune an entire harp.

      ~Sam

      - Sign in to comment
    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      Ditto to what Sam said, although I find cleartune also works well and is a bit faster since you don't need to wait for the pattern to stabilize.


      For anyone used to a match needle system, cleartune is easier if you don't understand strobe patterns.

      - Sign in to comment
    • Christian
      Christian Frederick

      ... it took me about a dozen tunings to get used to the strobe patterns. I have always used a needle or lighting system. At this point, I think the strobe pattern is superior, one reason it lets you know when you have a string that is giving you false patterns, which means it is time to change the string. When I tuned pianos, we called this "false beats".

      Because of the physical aspects of instruments, tuning an entire harp, or piano, or whatever, with an electronic tuner will not account for the overtone system in that instrument. As a piano tuner, the most difficult job I had was tuning the piano to the organ at the request of the minister of music. That said, there are really, really advanced electronic tuners out there that calculate the overtone system, which is mostly used by skilled piano technicians... my two cents again....

      - Sign in to comment
    • Kathy
      Kathy Chanik

      Christian, can you tell us a bit more about those really advanced tuners?  Will they work on harps?  They sound fantastic.

      - Sign in to comment
    • William
      William Weber

      As a piano tuner-technician I can say that the tuning system I use on pianos (TuneLab Pro runing on an Acer Aspire netbook) produces a better tuning on my Markwood-strung Caitlin than my Korg CA-30 tuning meter ever could. At close to $700, though, it may be a little steep for a harp tuner.


      - Sign in to comment
    • David
      David Ice

      Ah----and then somebody opens a door or a window, and you're out of tune again....

      - Sign in to comment
    • Christian
      Christian Frederick

      Hi Kathy,


      When I studied piano tuning (31 years ago), I learned the traditional way with a tuning fork and listening to beats with intervals such as 4ths, 5ths, and octaves. I also got in the ground floor with the original Sanderson Accu-Tuner I. Since then, there have been huge advances. Here's a link to their products.


      http://www.accu-tuner.com/productmain.html


      It is my opinion that the harp is relatively easy to tune compared to pianos. I think getting the middle two octaves solidly mathematical, then tuning the top and bottom octaves by ear, by octaves, is sufficient. The shorter and thinner the strings are stretches the overtone system sharp, and the longer and thicker the strings are stretches the overtone system flat.


      That said, I would love to hear on this forum from someone who currently tunes pianos to experiment with these advanced systems on harps and give us a report back.


      OK... that's all for now.

      - Sign in to comment
    • Christian
      Christian Frederick

      William, do you have access to experiment on a concert grand harp?

      - Sign in to comment
    • William
      William Weber

      Not at the moment. The music director at my church knows someone but I have no idea of her schedule.

      - Sign in to comment
    • Sid
      Sid Humphreys

      Tony,

      I use this Ap as well now. Try plugging in your hands free headset and dangle the microphone inside the back of the harp. You should be able to get a reading not only for the 1st octicve C but the 00G will also show up (if just for a second)! In fact I've been using this more than my regular tuner these days.

      Sid

      - Sign in to comment
    • Christian
      Christian Frederick

      fyi.....
      the Accu-Tuner IV is $1,500.00. I think this is probably the best tuner out there.

      - Sign in to comment
    • Kathy
      Kathy Chanik

      Christian, that Accu-tuner is fantastic-but maybe a bit above how complicated I wanna get while tuning.  Sounds like it needs to be plugged into a computer?  I need Tuners for Dummies.  Do you have an opinion on any of the other more commonly used (in the harp world anyway) tuners out there-the Korgs and the Seikos and others?  I prefer the needle ones...

      - Sign in to comment
    • Christian
      Christian Frederick

      I agree... the Accu-tuner is an overkill for the harp. I just would find it interesting if a working accomplished piano technician could tell us how it would work on the harp.

      I have no real opinions about the other tuners... but... it you have a smart phone such as an iPhone or one of the others, there are several apps with tuners on them. Tony, do you know what they are called? I remember running across different tuners at the iPhone app store, some were for free and some were a nominal cost....

      - Sign in to comment
    • William
      William Weber

      If I were looking for the best possible piano tuning meter I'd go with the Veritune. The Accu-Tuner produces a tuning from a mere three samples by making assumptions that are only valid in a fine instrument of large scale, whereas the Veritune measures the frequencies of all partials. of all strings while the tuning is in progress.

      - Sign in to comment
    • Leonard
      Leonard Lim

      I just bought the iStroboSoft on my iphone.  It picks up everything except the last 2 strings on my harp.  However, I find it a little hard to tune cos the pattern keeps moving as it picks up the overtones on the harp. 

      Can I ask if you need to muffle the rest of the strings with a felt strip or something first?

      - Sign in to comment
    • Christian
      Christian Frederick

      .... that's exactly correct. It picks up the overtones because any acoustic instrument is not "perfect", meaning the overtones do not line up. If you tune it "perfect" with a tuner, the harp will sound dull as the overtones don't line up. Thanks for bringing up this example why the harp should not be tuned totally with a tuner that is not "tempered" or "stretched" for that particular instrument...

      - Sign in to comment
    • Kathy
      Kathy Chanik

      "shouldn't use a tuner not stretched for that particular instrument"

      Yikes, Christian-that's fascinating but scary.  I'm thinking most of us use that kind of meter.  But I do pull the top octave about five cents sharp, this sounds better to me when playing high octaves.  Am I going to burn in hell or something? 

      - Sign in to comment
    • Christian
      Christian Frederick

      ..... this just happens to be something that is my demon. At a WHC conference, I walked out of the Salzedo harp concert because the harps were so out of tune, and out of tune with each other....

      I always tune my upper octaves a little sharp by ear, and the lower octaves a little flat.

      I don't believe in hell, so you're not going to burn :) ..... you play harp, so you're going to heaven....

      - Sign in to comment
    • William
      William Weber

      A more exact measure for stretching an octave might be to tune the upper string to the harmonic of the lower string,  either by meter or by ear. Then the octave will be as quiet as possible, and also the two strings will sustain each other.


      - Sign in to comment