Flute tuner – electronic or online?

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Have you ever searched for a flute tuner free online? And where overwhelmed with the offer?

Flute tuners, electronic, online and apps…

You need to tune  your flute or practice certain passages with a tuner and just do not know where to start?

Then please follow me here!!

tune fluteFlute tuning


Tuning your flute is one of the most important skills, especially when playing with others. Your flute should always be put in the position to adjust any register and emission to the overall tune of the group. You can find out more about the meaning of tuning here. Flute tuners or general instrument tuners should be chosen carefully and with the specificity of your instrument in mind.

 

So when, as a flutist, you play your A (la) in the low octave to tune it, it isn’t a really good compromise. With compromise I mean to see if your flute is in that middle position to adapt all octaves to the overall pitch of your colleagues. If you are a beginner, the A in the mid octave will be sharp and in the low octave sometimes flat. In this case it is best to tune with a D (re).

This is the original tonality the flute was cut in and was once it’s lowest note. It still is in most piccolo flutes. But do not chose the low D, we will use the middle octave D.

If you are asked to play an A anyway, play first E2-D2-A1 in legato and in a row, without pausing. Your A1 will be more reliable.

If you are a veteran you can use the middle octave A straight away. But also here the third octave E-D will help. It is practically the beginning of the flute solo fromthe ballet “Ma mere l’oye” (page 29) by Maurice Ravel.

Ma mere loye beginning flute solo
“Ma mere l’oye”, flute solo beginning.  Maurice Ravel

 

By default all tuners come with 440 installed, so be sure to change that accordingly


flute tunerWatch out which A the group is using, most brass bands use 441 Hertz and woodwinds prefer 442 (especially clarinets, my experience).

Pianos however will often be at 441 or lower. But some symphony orchestras even chose 443 frequency to add more brilliance to the orchestra’s sound (for example. Berlin Philharmonics).

Your instrument should not only be put in a position where it can play in tune in a certain compromised range around the middle octave. But you should also study with the use of a flute tuner to play in tune with yourself. This is to say to get the perfect intervals right (4th, 5th, 8th) and develop a good hearing for all different pitches your instrument produces.

You can find exercises training this and also more explanation in my article about tuning (the piccolo flute) here.

So what features should we look for in a good tuner for the flute? Let us discuss the general online flute tuner below.And also whether to use a flute tuner online or an electronic device.

 

Free online instrument tuner – tuner flute online


Any online tuner flute or online instrument tuner can be used, as they all mimic the electronic devices we have but depend on a flawless internet connection, a well functioning microphone.In addition usually they are not very sensitive. This is because with the internet on, many other things are processed at the same time.

I have used different online tuner flute free offers and they all kind of work. But as the computer self makes noises, your phone as well and their microphone can cause problems especially with the internet on, I do not recommend this solution.

It is much better to download a free flute tuner app that you can use offline. So that you can put your device in flight mode and you will not be disturbed. It does not block its function every few seconds as often happens with the online tuners.

 

So free online instrument tuners work fine


if you just need to adjust your overall flute length in the beginning of a rehearsal or performance, you can wait until it works well and it then takes only a few seconds to tune your flute (by elongating the tube it becomes flatter and by sticking the head joint further inside it becomes sharper. BUT: do not abuse in any direction as the intonation of the flute itself, the distance of its own sounds, is best preserved around max 0.5 cm outside. Most beginners’ flutes come at 443 when the head joint is all inside and properly played, professional flutes even come at 444.)

But if you wish to study with the tuner like I propose to do in this article here you will need a tuner that works well uninterruptedly and for more than a minute.

I strongly advise training with the exercises you find in the link above and a good tuner or app.

 

Flute tuner app


It is in your best interest to level up from any online flute tuner to downloading a good and well-known free  flute tuner app that not only indicates with a high definition and detail the exact pitch of every sound you make, but also where you start it from and where you leave it at.

 

In real time it shows you the line of your sound, if you start it from below or from above.You can control the quality of your legato and staccato, of your endings of every sound and its beginning. Even your vibrato can be visualized in the line produced in real time. That helps gain awareness of your natural oscillation in the sound and you might want to correct it at certain points.

 

For more insight on vibrato and exercises please click here.

It is very sensitive and easy to use. You can download it from the link here for free.

 

Electronic flute tuner


In case you do not wish to use your cellphone, not even in airplane mode, which I totally respect, or you wish to use the same app as a metronome, and thus need another electronic device to work freely with both simultaneously, you should consider purchasing a high quality tuner, sensitive for high frequencies and the three registers of the flute.

My recommendation, and I have tried a lot of them, is to not use the ones for guitars or singers.

Pick a quality tuner for every frequency and sound quality, the ones used by professionals in a symphony orchestra or chamber musicians, which are provided by the reliable brand of Korg.

You can choose from different products, that are all very good for studying the tuning of every sound that the flute can produce, the one I recommend is the following:

Korg OT-120 Orchestral Tuner

  • Chromatic tuner with a wide 8 octave detection range
  • Dual display provides  excellent visibility.
  • Multiple Temperaments support historical tunings
  • Transpose mode is convenient for wind instruments.

 

If you wish to spend less however, but still achieve good quality a good compromise would be the basic one here:

Korg CA1 Chromatic Tuner

  • Compact Chromatic Tuner
  • Wide range of pitch detection covers C1-C8
  • High-precision
  • Calibration Function supports a variety of concert pitches

 

In conclusion about tuning your flute


Whatever solution you chose, make sure you also develop a good hearing of the intonation as it may vary in different situations you could find yourself in. Such might be a  Symphony Orchestra, a Marching Band, a Chamber Music group pr Flute and Piano Duo…

If you like to find out more about tuning a flute for playing in those situations you can read through my piccolo tuning article. The same applies to the flute and I pointed out where flute and piccolo are different. So you might find that useful. Just check it out here. You will also find lots of interesting exercises that you can also do with the flute.

flutist selling CDsA good tuner should help you develop your inner ear and tuning ability through daily practice. Studying with a tuner is what will help sophisticate the hearing of the difference of your own sound by offering visual feedback of what you will learn to hear.

It doesn’t excuse you though from developing the harmonic ear as well. This happens only when you play with others. You will need both: Good control of your own inner intonation, hearing the perfect intervals of fifths, fourths and octaves. And understanding how to adjust and control the pitch of sounds with harmonic function.

 

 

This is fundamental before you can effectively play in tune with others


You need to have full control of semi-tones and any interval when you play solo. Furthermore you should study the ability to adjust thirds, sixths and sevenths when playing with others in a harmonic way. Also train your skill to follow them when they are not perfectly in tune. You will have so much more fun in producing beautiful sounds and playing with others. It will be on a totally different level!flutist in nature

Others also will very much appreciate your capacity to play in tune and adjust. This skill is among the most valuable when you are looking for a job as a pro.

Happy tuning

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section below and I will be  happy to get back to you!

 

Happy flute life,

Janie

founder of

Jana Theresa Hildebrandt

topflute.com

myflutelife.com

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10 Replies to “Flute tuner – electronic or online?”

  1. Very informative. Thanks for the review of flute tuners. I appreciate the insights from someone who has expertise in the subject. My sister and my daughter both play the flute and I am forwarding this article on to them. You also have given me some good Christmas gift ideas 😉

    1. Thank you, Rex! Good to know I helped Santa Claus this year 😉 if your sister and daughter have any questions, I’ll be more than happy to help them out, thanks for letting them know about my site.
      Happy Christmas!!

  2. Oh wow, I played the flute in school but had no idea there was a flute tuner! Our band director nor anyone else ever mentioned it! What a wonderful way to learn and expand playing skills! I hope some band directors see your post!
    Thanks for the education!

    1. Thank you so much Lisa, I sure hope to help as many musicians as I can. It’s wonderful news you played the flute in school. I hope some of those who go to school right now will be looking online for more information and I’d love to provide it to them.
      It took me many years to understand what I know now and I wish to share it and help.
      Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it!
      Janie

  3. Awesome article and very informative. I played the violin growing up and was in orchestra in school. I love how thorough your article is. Personally I would want to use a flute tuner that was not on an app or online, but technology is amazing that we have that option now. What a beautiful site you have here! Wishing you continued success and I will be sharing with my friends who have kids who play the flute. Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much Karli, playing the flute and teaching is my life, so I really appreciate your comment and you sharing my website with your friends. Please let them know, that I’ll will gladly answer any question conscerning flute playing and help out in any way I can.
      I personally completely agree and have a metronome and a tuner as electronical devices, I can’t risk having no connection or my phone being down. But it is always good to have more options. Online tuners and metronomes are free and so are many apps, so in the beginning of you learning the flute, they will do.
      Thank you for sharing and I hope you still play the violin sometimes?
      All the best,
      Janie

  4. Great information!! You brought up so many points that I never would have thought of…like the sound of the computer interfering with the tuning. I appreciate how in depth you went! It was a one stop for everything I needed to know! Great read 🙂

    1. Thank you for letting me know that you found what you were looking for.
      If you need anything else, please don’t hesitate to ask,
      I’ll be more than happy to help you out,
      Janie

  5. I love the flute (well music generally) My wife is actually considering getting back into it and to be honest I had no idea about tuning it or that this was even available. I’ll be sure to book mark this page. In terms of beginner flutes- Do you have any recommendations? My niece is interested, she is only 4 at the moment.

    1. What a pleasure to speak to flute-lovers of any age!My plan is to start putting out beginners’ lessons and slowly go up to professional.
      My next post is about beginner flutes. So if you are interested, STAY TUNED!!
      I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions and help you out!
      4 years is a little young for the flute, but it depends on her heigths and the lenghts of her arms. Some are ready to start at 6.
      I myself had to wait until I was 11 and played all recorder sizes until then!
      Very useful could be to get her to listen to flute music, of any kind. So you can see if she likes it.
      But if her aunt, your wife, is playing again, she will like it for sure!
      She should start in a very playful way with others to sing and to play the recorder for now.
      Thank you for your interest,
      Talk to you soon,
      Janie

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