Chromatic tuners

The easiest way to measure the absolute pitch of an ocarina is to use a chromatic tuner. A tool which listens to the note you are playing and displays it's note letter. The interface of a chromatic tuner looks like this:

When the needle is centered in the display the pitch of the note matches concert pitch. If the needle is to the right, the pitch is said to be sharp. If it is to the left the pitch is considered 'flat'.

The space between two semitones is divided into 100 units called 'cents'. The notes F and F sharp are 100 cents apart. If a note is 50 cents sharp, it is half way between two semitones.

Tuners do not number cents linearly from the low note to high note. Cents are numbered relative to a note plus and minus 50. If you where to play an F then gradually raised the pitch once the tuner passes F + 50 cents, it 'rolls over' to F sharp minus 49 cents.

Two kinds of chromatic tuner exist, dedicated hardware tuners and software tuners. I find software tuners preferable as they have a considerably faster update rate. You want a tuner without needle damping. This feature averages pitch over time to smooth fluctuations. It's undesirable for wind instruments as it hides fluctuations in breath pressure. A tuner with smoothing will not show what you are actually doing.

I like APTuner as it has a clear numeric cents display which is easy to read. The PC version has no needle damping and it can be disabled in the mobile versions.

Exercises