Intonation and Tuning

In music, intonation refers to pitch accuracy - that is, whether a tone is played 'in tune' or not. A note that is sung or played on an instrument may be sharp (higher frequency than the target tone) or flat (lower frequency than the target tone). With fretless string instruments such as the violin or cello, intonation depends on the degree of precision in finding the exact spot to press on the fingerboard of the instrument. Guitarists who bend strings must also have a good sense of intonation in order to keep their bends in tune.

Tuning is the process of adjusting the pitch of a tone until it matches a reference tone, at which point the pitch is considered to be 'in tune'. When you do this with your voice, it is called 'matching pitch' and is one of the most basic skills of ear training. Tuning is often done by ear, playing two pitches and adjusting one of them to match the other. Guitarists and other string players must often tune 'on the fly' during a performance.

In order to play or sing in tune with proper intonation, it is vitally important to have a keen sense of pitch differentiation. Our games Speed Pitch and Dango Brothers will give you excellent practice in this area.