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Quick Start Guide

  1. Allow access to your microphone. When you first load the tuner page, you will need to click the “Run” or “Ok” or “Trust” button to allow the tuner to run. See Security Issues below if you want to know why this is necessary.
  2. Enter the reference pitch. This is usually only needed if your flute is designed to play best when tuned to a pitch center other than A440, or if you are going to play with a fixed-pitch instrument such as a piano. The default frequency for middle A is 440 Hz, which is sort of a standard, but you may need to tune to 442 Hz or, for Baroque music, 415 Hz.
  3. Tune your flute. Play a single note, such as low A or B-flat, and sustain it for a few seconds. The tuner will show the name of the note you are playing. If the red line above the note name stays in the center of the gauge, then the note is perfectly in tune.
    • If it stays on the left, you are flat. Push the headjoint in slightly and try again.
    • If it stays on the right, you are sharp. Pull the headjoint out slightly and try again.

What is a Tuner?

A tuner is a device capable of accurately detecting the pitch of notes. It can be used for two slightly different purposes: for initial tuning (the one described in the quick start guide), and for checking if you play in tune with yourself.

Playing in Tune

Playing each and every note in tune is an art that takes a lifetime to master. A tuner is a great tool for training one's ear to hear pitch and determine whether notes are sharp or flat.

An effective way to use a tuner is with long tones: leave the tuner on while practicing them and watch the indicator, adjusting your embouchure each time you get out of tune. Play along with a tuner regularly, and your sense of pitch will grow stronger and stronger!

When tuning individual notes, you should be aware of all the factors that can influence the pitch being played. These factors include embouchure tension, air speed and angle of the air stream.

  • If you are sharp, try relaxing your embouchure and aiming your air stream lower.
  • If you are flat, make sure you have a strong air stream, and direct the air up toward the ceiling.

Another technique consists in rolling the flute in towards the lips to make a note flatter, or out away from the lips to make the note sharper. Keep in mind, however, that the best way to alter pitch when playing is by moving the lips, not by rolling the flute in or out.

Some Tips

  • During initial tuning, play with your normal embouchure, not too loud and not too soft.
  • Playing an arpeggio can be a good way to check that the head position is optimal for the whole range.
  • A cold flute is a flat flute. In a cold environment, don't forget to warm your flute up before tuning it. Finger a low C, then cover the embouchure hole with your mouth and blow sharply and with force for a few seconds.
  • This tuner uses the equal-tempered scale, the same one that pianos use. If you want to tune a just major or minor third above a certain note, use the special marks at -14 (for a major third) and +16 (for a minor third) cents on the meter. For example: if you want to tune to a just major third above A, tune your flute to a C# so that the meter is at the -14 mark.

Security Issues

Allowing applets to input sound has security implications, as it might allow malicious people to write applets which would eavesdrop on conversations near your computer! Our tuner does not, of course, use the sounds it hears for any purpose other than tuning; because of this issue, however, browsers do not (by default) allow applets on web pages to input sound.

That's why you must give it permission to run when asked. If you don't give permission then the applet will report that it is unable to input sound. If you refuse permission then merely reloading the page will not give you a second chance: you must exit your browser completely and relaunch it, revisit this page, and you will be asked for permission again.

Technical Troubleshooting

IMPORTANT: After Java 7 update 51 the security level for online applets is set to “high” by default, which doesn't allow unsigned and self-signed applets to run. Please try lowering the security level to "medium", or adding flutetunes.com as an exception. Click here for more details.

In order to work, this tuner requires that a microphone be set up on your computer. Most laptops nowadays come with a built-in microphone; desktop computers, on the other hand, usually need an external microphone to be attached to the appropriate input of the sound card.

If the tuner applet is not displayed at the top of this page, then this is most likely to be a problem with running Java in your browser. This applet requires the Java Runtime Environment JRE 1.4 or later.

You need to have the Java plugin for your browser installed and enabled. First check your browser preferences and make sure you have Java enabled. Then close all browser windows you have open, then relaunch your browser and then visit the page again.

If that doesn't fix it, then you should make sure you have the latest JRE version from Sun (the developers of Java). Visit Sun at www.java.com and click the Free Java Download button to install the JRE on your system.

License Terms and Conditions

The flutetunes.com Free Online Tuner is Copyright © 2010–2011. All rights reserved. We provide it on our website for free use, subject to the following conditions:

  • You may use it as provided on our website, but you may not host it on any other server. You are welcome to link to it from your site: you must link to http://www.flutetunes.com/tuner/
  • You may not modify, decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, or create derivative works of the flutetunes.com Tuner or any part of it.
  • While we make all reasonable efforts to ensure that the flutetunes.com Tuner is bug-free and performs as it should, we cannot guarantee that it will always perform as expected or accept any liability for any aspect of its use.
  • We do not promise to provide support, but in fact you will probably get a helpful reply if you contact us. Please read the Technical Troubleshooting section above, first.