Instruments and the Instrument Menu

    We want an easy way to set up the major parameters for a tuning session, and the concept we are calling “Instrument” embraces those parameters. An “instrument” is thus a group of settings that you give a name to, and can call up from one menu item. So let’s look in detail at defining an “Instrument” and manipulating the items in the Instruments menu so they are tailored to your own situation. Select something from the Instruments menu that comes close to what you are trying to define. Then bring up the Options/Instrument Properties dialog.

Instrument tab1 cello

    You will see the first tab shows the identical items as the Pitch of A & Range dialog (just in a different-shaped box, that’s all). This Instrument corresponds to the Bach cello sarabande discussed at the beginning. [well, not any longer, I used a different recording for the video]. The pitch of the recording used turned out to be about A= 425. The Lowest note of the cello is C, and the music didn’t go above g’.

Instrument tab2 cello

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    The Display Features tab allows you to select the temperament to be associated with this Instrument, gives control over the averaging, or Smoothing trace in the lower graph (averaging over more or fewer points, and whether to show or hide the trace), and also sets a Threshold level for the automatic Pause function. (Basically, this offers you a chance to have the graph come to a halt if the signal goes Silent. For instance, you might want to pause a CD to examine something of special interest, and you don’t want the graph to continue as it will write over itself. But silence is somewhat relative, depending on the level of the background noise, both from the soundcard’s electronics and from ambient sounds. Set this threshold to zero if you want the graph to continue to draw at all times.) For discussion of Secondary Temperament Lines, see this page.

    The Tuning Technicalities should be left alone at their default values. This is a very advanced subject that controls some parameters for the tuning algorithm. Probably they never need to be touched; and maybe this tab will be eliminated from future releases.

    As I wanted to come back to this recording in the future, I chose a name for these settings, “bach cello”, which you can see in the Instrument name box above all the tabs.

    So when you have the settings as you wish, and have entered a name for your “Instrument”, click Save As and the new name will be inserted into the Instruments menu. When you then select this instrument in the future, all the parameters will be set as you have defined them. Had you clicked OK, your changes would continue in the current session, but would not become permanent; i.e. they would not yet have been saved into the Instruments file. If you do want to make them permanent, bring up Instrument Properties again and use the Save or Save As button according to your needs. Save makes changes to an existing entry; Save As adds a new entry.

To alter values for an already existing Instrument, select it from the Instruments menu and then bring up the Instrument Properties. You can change its name or other values and Save those. Or you can completely Delete it from the menu. In the latter case you will then want to select a new Instrument to continue your work. Once you are clear about what Instruments you work with, you’ll probably want to delete the sample Instruments included with the program distribution that have no use for you.

The Scale Dialog

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