Practice Methods and Suggestions

        Beginners to TuningMeister will typically sing or play [henceforth I will use 'sing' to mean 'sing or play'] a note while comparing the in-tuneness of that with the central line on the lower graph. This is important while becoming acquainted with the basic ideas of the graphical display, but
useful only up to a point.

        The ultimate goal of working with TuningMeister is, of course, the development of the precision of the 'inner ear', that elusive, indescribeable, sense of pitch. The graphs are a means of guiding you towards better alignment with an objective sense of pitch; towards hearing yourself as others hear you; but of course only the awakening of that sense of pitch can serve you in performance.

        Adjusting your pitch to the line can often happen in a mechanical manner, without the inner consciousness of pitch.  A practice technique that removes the crutch of that visual feedback of the moment forces you to pay more attention to your inner ear. 
Here is a mode of practice I suggest:

       Uncheck the menu item View | Trace Continuous [or input dependent]. That will cause the graph trace to stop when input ceases, similar to a voice-activated recording mode; during your silence the screen will not continue to be erased. [You can adjust the noise threshold at Advanced | Set Input Threshold. Adjust the slider downward until the trace moves on its own (from any background sound or noise inherent in the soundcard), then tweak the slider up a few notches until the trace doesn't move anymore. This will make the detection of any input sound the best for your particular situation. You may have to readjust the value if, for example, you change the loudness of the shruti box.] Therefore you can sing a simple exercise [up to say 10-12 seconds or so, depending on your screen width and the Trace Speed] without looking at the screen; then you can immediately check to see if your inner sense of what you did is confirmed by the graph. The graph will stop drawing until you sing again.

        [Important note - TM always opens with
View | Trace Continuous [or input dependent] checked, as I thought that a user might be confused when he tries Tuning and the graph doesn't draw, forgetting that it is in input dependent mode. So I required a conscious action to set this mode when the program first starts up. If you feel that it would be better to remember the condition of  View | Trace Continuous [or input dependent] from session to session, please let me know. I can change this if the vote is strongly against the current way it is managed.]

        The most basic exercise would be - sing Sa and try to hear that you are aligned with your shruti box. Pay attention to your inner mental picture of your note. Did you feel you perhaps started out flat but corrected your note up to the line (or vice versa)? First have a clear picture of how you think the note developed; only then look at the screen graph and see whether it confirms your idea. Each time you repeat Sa, try to hit the note more accurately than before.
        Then you might try other notes of the raga's scale. Or you might sing Sa, focusing carefully, and then sing Sa the octave higher. Listen to be sure you get the second Sa in tune with the first. Similar exercises, like Sa - Re, Sa - Ga, etc, would follow. Always do these slowly and carefully, paying most attention to the shruti alignment.

        Perhaps one could consider it like a computer game, with the aiming done with the voice! Of course there aren't any fancy score-tallying graphics, no evil perpetrators to destroy, but your inner imagination could participate!

        Of course, real music requires a more fluid approach, where the overly-careful attention to shruti becomes a more living part of the whole event. After months and ultimately years of practice,
perhaps only a few minutes per day, the inner ear comes alive more and more, and you become more precise with less and less self-conscious effort. Ultimately, subtly different placements of a note will be experienced as slightly different emotional feelings.




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