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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: A 440 Wasn't the highest concert pitch

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

ChickenMan - Posted - 01/01/2016:  07:37:21

I think some might find this interesting

Quit worrying about cross tuning damaging your old fiddles.

vibratingstring - Posted - 01/01/2016:  18:33:09


I wasn't worried.   I am surprised you thought I was worried.

I retune my fiddles willy nilly.  I find that when I DON'T retune a fiddle for an extended period (or just use the fine tuners), some pegs can stick pretty good.



ChickenMan - Posted - 01/01/2016:  19:48:46

I like your attitude, Larry! I, too, have no issue with retuning and do it frequently. 

 There was a recent thread talking about the goes old days when concert pitch was lower and I just though this was an interesting bit of contrary info since it appears standard was MUCH higher for a stretch of time. 

fiddlepogo - Posted - 01/01/2016:  22:58:11

I don't think it was ever a STANDARD, I think there was an ATTEMPT to make it standard.

From the article you linked to:

"High pitch seems to have been the preserve of the Philharmonic Orchestra movement and subsequently military bands.  Our earliest clear reference seems to be a London Philharmonic concert in 1846.  Despite a number of attempts to rein it in, it continued until 1895..."

The graph shows the other pitches happening concurrently, meaning that not everybody was going with the high pitch.

ChickenMan - Posted - 01/02/2016:  08:08:31

Yeah, what was up with the Philharmonic? Do you suppose someone's hearing was going and tuning up was a way to compensate? I wonder if there is violin related info out there about this same topic. I'm not gonna look, just wonder out loud. :‹)

alaskafiddler - Posted - 01/02/2016:  11:56:08


Originally posted by ChickenMan

 I wonder if there is violin related info out there about this same topic.

Not particularly relative to a violin, nor fiddle. They have tuners, can simply tune up or down as needed.

Concert pitch is about Concert music, involving instruments like flutes, and other woodwinds (and brass). They can tune slightly, tuning joint and embrasure, but only goes so far -  overall the instrument has to be built or designed with a target in mind. To change from a low to higher  (or high to low) generally requires a skilled repair person to re-do it.

I think the rise of pitch was just more of a desire to make the sound brighter, more brilliant... and perhaps carry better, be louder; both concert music and military. The need for more national, then international standard IIRC was part driven as professional concert musicians mobility rose. Some players used to need to own a flat instrument and a sharp one.

Thankfully fiddles don't need anything complicated to change A reference, just turn the tuning pegs.

Edited by - alaskafiddler on 01/02/2016 12:08:36

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