Reply To: Melodica Tuning and Detuning and Being Out of Tune


Things I have found out lately that seem to be helping me not go crazy while tuning.

I start by warming up the instrument until I get condensation or 10-15 minutes. I triple check that my tuner is calibrated where I want it (A442 these days). I write down the temperature of the room. (I don’t tune in a cold room unless I plan to perform in a cold room)
Then I check for notes that speak late at a medium soft volume. When the instrument is apart I will look at the gapping on these notes. I do this check from top to bottom and again from bottom to top. (If you want, I’ll tell you my persnickety way of doing this). I write everything down on a chart I made for each instrument.

Then I listen to octaves, crescendoing each octave from medium soft to pretty loud, from bottom to top. And mark down which are offensive. Sometimes I try fifths too

Here’s what is helping me the most: I do NOT tune to the meter on my tuner any more. Tuning to a meter does not help me get a melodica in tune. It’s the same when I tune harpsichords – the needle does not stay still, and does not read the same from one breath to the next.
Instead, I play along with the sound of the tuner. For this, I find that the melodica is too loud when I play it trumpet style (my preferred way). So I use headphones or an ear bud to get the tuner in my ears, and I use the melodica tube so I can still play as loud as I usually do when I perform. I mark down the most offensive unisons. Maybe later I use the meter to give me an idea if the note is hi or low – sometimes I can’t tell by ear for the highest notes.
How do you all tune?

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