Standard tuning


Standard tuning

In music, standard tuning refers to the typical tuning of a string instrument. This notion is contrary to that of scordatura, i.e. an alternate tuning designated to modify either the timbre or technical capabilities of the desired instrument.

tandard tuning in most notable instruments

Bowed strings

The most popular bowed strings used nowadays belong to the violin family; together with their respective standard tunings, they are:
* Violin - G D A E (ascending perfect fifths, starting from G below middle C)
* Viola - C G D A (strings are tuned a perfect fifth below a violin's standard tuning)
* Cello - C G D A (an octave lower than the viola)
* Double bass - E A D G (ascending perfect fourths, where the highest sounding open string coincides with the G on a cello)
* 5-stringed double bass - C E A D G (the same, except for low C, which is a major third below the low E on a standard 4-string double bass)The double bass is sometimes thought to belong in the viol family, for a number of reasons (see article). Even so, one can't name standard tunings for other viols, as their popularity and accessibility is much lesser than that of violins.

Another interesting issue is that of the members in a violin octet. Despite their low popularity, one may notice a very rigorous system of (fixed) tunings through all these violins.

Plucked strings

Standard tunings in plucked string instruments cover many different instruments which are plucked either by the fingers or with a plectrum. Guitars and bass guitars have more standard tunings, depending on the number of strings an instrument has:
* 6-stringed guitar (most popular) - E A D G B E (ascending perfect fourths, with an exception between G and B, which is a major third. Low E falls a major third above the C on a standard tuned cello)
* 7-stringed guitar - B E A D G B E (identical, except for the low B, which is a perfect fourth below the low E on a 6-stringed guitar)
* 4-stringed bass guitar (most popular) - E A D G (its standard tuning coincides with that of a double bass)
* 5-stringed bass guitar - B E A D G or E A D G C (Strings are all tuned in perfect fourths, when compared to a guitar. See explanation below)
* 6-stringed bass guitar - B E A D G C or E A D G C F (the lowest string - B or E, respectively - are the same with those on a 4 or 5-stringed bass guitar. Perfect fourths only)The exception (major third instead of a fourth) in a guitar's standard tuning is to be explained by overtones and the tendency of thinner strings to vibrate sympathetically with the low strings. Contrariwise, a bass guitar avoids sympathetic vibrations of strings as to keep the instrument's sound clearer. One must not forget that, all in all, the guitar is designed as a harmony-oriented instruments, while the bass guitar has a melodic role, if not only rhythmic.

Other plucked string instruments, with their respective standard tunings, include:
* Mandolin - G D A E (its tuning is exactly the same with that of a violin)
* Mandola - C G D A (tuned like a viola)

References

* Oprea, Gheorghe (2002). "Musical Folklore in Romania", p. 102-105. ISBN 973-42-0304-5.

ee also

* List of guitar tunings
* Musical tuning
* Scordatura


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