Invented in 1711, the tuning fork is essential before any classical music concert. It's a metal device with two prongs shaped like a "U." It gives a constant pitch you can tune your instrument to. Most commonly it sounds the note of A, but you can find tuning forks of any pitch.
Things You'll Need
- Tuning fork
- Hard surface
Choose your tuning forks carefully. They can be made of steel, aluminum and even space alloy. Consider buying a set so you get a range of pitches for use with different instruments.
Keep your wrist flexible when holding the tuning fork. Grasp it firmly at its end but keep your fingers relaxed.
Bend your elbow when holding it. There shouldn't be any tension in your arm, which travels to your hand and makes using the tuning fork harder.
Pick a hard surface you feel comfortable striking with metal. This can be a desktop, the back of a chair or even a small object like a hockey puck.
Hold the tuning fork on its side so you're striking only one of the prongs. The "U" shape causes both sides to vibrate and produces a smooth soundwave.
Strike the tuning fork prong about one-third of the way from the top. This is important to get the best sound.
Set the vibrating tuning fork carefully on a hard surface like a desk or a chair seat. This acts as a sounding board and amplifies the pitch, which is useful when a room full of musicians are waiting to tune up.
Tips & Warnings
- Some musicians have perfect pitch and never use a tuning fork.
- Consider the weight of the tuning fork. One that's too thick or heavy will make it harder for your hand to relax when striking it.
- Some New Age practitioners use tuning forks for therapy.
What Is a Tuning Fork Used for?
Tuning forks have been used for almost 200 years by musicians and instrument tuners in order to ensure that their instrument is...