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A Definition of Tuning

wirralaccordion

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I bought a LMM piano accordion recently, the tuning of which was defined by the seller in the following way.

the tuning appears to be A=442 + 20C for about 5HZ vibrato in middle of keyboard, which is typical of Italian tuning

Please could someone more knowledgeable than myself expand on this definition.
 

Dingo40

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Well, you can slice it and dice it and measure it, but the real issues are, do you like it and is it compatible with the group you regularly play with?
For example A442 will already sound out of tune with a concert pitch of A440. The +20 cents will only exacerbate the effect!.
However, in a large "folk" jamboree, this will hardly be noticeable 😄
 

JIM D.

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Don't let the A=442 give you cause for concern. 90% of accordions sold in the US for the last 80 years were purposely tuned
A=442 . The reasoning was for presence when played with other instruments. A=440 tuning had to be specified when ordered
Brass, Woodwinds & Stringed instruments could be tuned to an exact match if necessary with the exception of the pianos
found at the time that where rarely in perfect tune.
An accordion tuned A=442 played with an exact model tuned A=440 will have more brilliance to the listener.
 

losthobos

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Mine have mostly rolled in at 442 wgen I've bothered to look..... If you google tuning pitchs 442 comes up as New York Philharmonic tuning....
 

JIM D.

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Orchestras tune higher if they can get away with it because higher pitches sound more brilliant.
 

debra

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With easily tunable instruments (strings, woodwind, etc.) it doesn't matter too much what tuning they use, as long as they all tune to the same reference frequency. Strings sound more brilliant when tuned higher (until they break) but for wind instruments that isn't true.
When an orchestra plays with a soloist like piano or accordion, they must tune everything according to what the soloist has. They have often been unhappy with me as a soloist because my accordion is tuned A=440Hz, as dictated by the ISO standard that most people seem to want to ignore.
For a solo accordion 440 or 442 does not make a difference in sound. It's only when you play together that it is clear that the 442 instruments are out of tune (although their players will say the 440 is out of tune). Regarding the tremolo 4 cents tremolo gives about 1 Hz beating (around the A that is 440 or 442) so indeed 20 cents gives about 5 Hz beating. But that is not the current Italian standard. Italian tuning is 16 cents (German is 14 cents). There was a time when accordions were given 20 to 25 cents tremolo as people loved a lot of tremolo. Times change... I now have accordions with tremolo ranging between 8 cents and 16 cents, nothing more.
There is only one really bad thing about the reference frequency and that is that when people buy accordions the sellers hardly ever ask about what tuning the customer wants. (And the reason for that is very clear: when the customer is ask about this and of course has no clue (s)he ends up walking out without buying an accordion.)
 

dunlustin

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My recent experience in Europe is that A = 442 is now the default and the option of 440 is there.
I believe that (see 'brilliance' above) for some considerable time (eg) solo violins in orchestras have often tuned sharp to make their performance stand 'above' the others. If so, then they do not believe they are out of tune with their colleagues who in turn acquiesce.

Real Question: String players use vibrato a lot ( or is it tremolo - I can never remember which is which). So how many Hz around the tuned frequency would a cellist tend to use?

As to the OP's question: 442+5 = 447Hz which does seem quite a long way from A440. I think 2-3Hz would likely be more fashionable.
 

Alan Sharkis

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I think I wrote this a while back, but here goes. When I was a kid, there were many elementary schools that went up to eighth grade. I, and a bunch of other kids who played accordion were very disappointed, even embarrassed, that we had to sit there with our accordions on our laps and do nothing while the kids who played other instruments were able to tune to a very flat piano we encountered at one of the schools in our district. So now, looking back at it, our accordions were probably tuned to A=442 and that poor piano was at A=438 or even 435.
 

Ventura

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tremolo is a variance in Amplitude (volume)
vibrato is a variance in Pitch (frequency)

regarding brilliance, a Piano tuner who has learned how to go beyond
standard tempered tuning tends to gain brilliance by slightly sharpening
or stretching the tuning as he tunes upward

i tried this on an LMH Acmette once with nice results
(i felt it Rocked)
 

debra

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My recent experience in Europe is that A = 442 is now the default and the option of 440 is there.
...
Sadly there is no default, also not in Europe. There is only an ISO standard, and then there are two frequencies that different accordion makers use as default: 440 (ISO standard) and 442 (used more by professionals who play together with other instruments).
If you buy an accordion from Pigini or Victoria and don't ask for a specific tuning you will get 442Hz. If you buy an accordion from Bugari and don't ask for a specific tuning you will get 440Hz. The same was true for Hohner, but today I don't know.
I play in two accordion orchestras where almost everyone has 440Hz and people who appear with a 442Hz tuned accordion get "the cold shoulder". If the tuning is spotted when they apply to join they are urged to get a 440Hz accordion. But there are some who got in without the tuning problem having been spotted (conductor wasn't paying attention I think)... so now we have special arrangements that try to hide that a few instruments are not tuned to the standard.
To make matters worse, there are other orchestras, conductors and teachers who insist on people getting 442Hz tuned instruments and who refuse or frown upon people with 440Hz. What good are standards when so many people ignore them?
 

debra

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tremolo is a variance in Amplitude (volume)
vibrato is a variance in Pitch (frequency)

regarding brilliance, a Piano tuner who has learned how to go beyond
standard tempered tuning tends to gain brilliance by slightly sharpening
or stretching the tuning as he tunes upward

i tried this on an LMH Acmette once with nice results
(i felt it Rocked)
Interesting, I learned that it was the other way around: tremolo is variance in Pitch and vibrato is variance in Amplitude. On an accordion you create vibrato by shaking your left hand to vary bellow pressure.
Violin players move the finger on the string, thus making the vibrating string length longer and shorter, thus having the frequency going up and down a bit, and that's tremolo.

A piano tuner tunes higher notes a bit higher not only to gain brilliance, but also because this is what our ears (our brain actually) expects. When the high notes are perfectly in tune our brain will tell us they are tuned flat. So when tuning an accordion what I do is make sure that if the lower notes deviate a little bit (not exactly 0 cents deviation) they have a small negative deviation, and if high notes deviate a bit they have a small positive deviation. (For the highest notes I'm talking about a deviation of around 0,5 cents, because anything over 0,5 I start noticing when for instance playing MH or LH.) When a violinist plays I expect they will also make high notes just that little bit higher, because that is what they (and we) hear as being perfect. A tuning app would tell them it's too high, but when the audience things it's perfectly in tune that is all that matters. Checking tuning is for the most part something you should always do by ear, not by software.
 

Ventura

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well, a tremolo circuit has not changed much since the old Guitar amps
from Fender and Ampeg

a sinewave bias on a transistor (or on a small light focused on a Photocell)
causes the elecronic simulation of a Volume Control (potentiometer) to
go from 1 to 10 to 1 to 10 to 1 to 10... the speed of the wave is controlled
by a SN555 chip usually (one of the first handy all purpose chips of its type)

varying a Volume control (obviously) changes only the amplitude of
ANY sound source, but "surf music" from the 60's will jog your memory of the result

taking a similar wave-producing circuit, and applying it to the Bias
voltage driving your bank of Top Octave Generators in your Chordovox
(obviously) changes the pitch up and down relative to the center (normal)
tuned pitch you hear when the supply voltage remains in (it's normal) steady state

if you still have your copy of Craig Andertons "build your own pedals" book, you can
eyeball the circuits and see how they work
 

Ventura

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that was a nice explanation of why it sounds sweeter to real ears !

and you remind me there was also a tuning scheme occasionally
used that deliberately tuned the Piccolo reeds sharp enough to
"sort of" cause a meusette when coupled with the Middle reedset
 

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