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Home > Products > Musical Instrument Tuner - Precise Tone Generator

Musical Instrument Tuner - Precise Tone Generator

© Ing. Radovan Konečný - radkon, 2008-2017

Download the program:

download Tuner.exe - version for Windows
download Tuner.jar - version for Windows, Linux, Mac

To run this program, you must have Java JRE installed.



  • tone range: C-1 (7.947 Hz) to D10 (19345 Hz),
  • universal tuning (C-1 to D10, the ability to detune in the step of one cent), guitar tuning (E2, A2, D3, G3, H3, E4), violin tuning (G3-4cent, D4-2cent, A4, E5+2cent),
  • the ability to define custom tone sets,
  • choice of two signal shapes: sine and filtered saw-shape,
  • volume adjustment, mute,
  • program remembers the last setting, it can also be controlled by the PC keyboard and the user can define custom modes.

Principle of operation

This tuner works on the principle of generating the precise tone frequency. Due to the minor imperfections of the human ear, the phenomenon called the beat is heard when listening to two close tones, which could be described as a cyclic color variation or a cyclic sound intensity variation. The frequency of this variation is equal to the difference in frequencies of the two tones. If the frequencies of the tones are closer, the beat is slower, and when the tones are perfectly matched, the beat stops. Using this comparing the tones, it is probably possible to tune each musical instrument.

- first a tone of 440Hz, then a tone of 443Hz and finally together - a 3Hz beat (i.e. 443-400=3)

Many musical instruments have their sound more complicated - the mathematical principles do not apply to the frequency spectrum, e.g. the frequency of the tenth harmonic does not exactly equal ten times the frequency of the first harmonic. This property is called inharmonicity. This property have common musical instrument containing strings (e.g. piano).

Common electronic tuners select only one harmonic component (perhaps the first harmonic) from the instrument sound spectrum. According to this, they show the detuning. They disregard inharmonicity and the resulting listening impression of tune.

This tuner, based on listening two-tone comparison, allows for better tune-up of the musical instrument. It also takes into account the tuning of higher harmonics even when the first harmonic is not exactly tuned. However, the subjective impression of such a tuned instrument is much better than that of tuning only according to the first harmonic component.

Creating a custom tone set

If you need to tune a musical instrument that has only a few tones, you can create your custom set of tones and use them in the tuner. After choosing such a set, only those tones that are listed in the set will be available, including detune ability. Tuner allows to define up to 5 custom tone sets.

At startup, the program loads the files User1.cfg, User2.cfg, User3.cfg, User4.cfg a User5.cfg and from them loads the custom tone sets. If such a file does not exist, the set in the program will not be available.

To create a custom tone set, you need to create a file in the program directory - e.g. User1.cfg and write the rows according to the following example:

Tone=60 0
Tone=62 0
Tone=65 0
Tone=67 0
Tone=69 0
Tone=72 0
Tone=74 0
Tone=77 0
Tone=79 0

In the row Name= is name of the set (will be displayed in the program in the appropriate button). The name should be short. In this example, the set is called "Kalimba".

The EnableDetuning= row determines whether you can detune the tone frequency. Valid values are 0 and 1. In this example, you will not be able to detune the tone frequency.

In the Tone= row, the number of the tone (in the numbering that is used for MIDI, for example) and detuning of this tone in cents. Tones may not be sorted by their number. In this example, these are tones 62 to 79 of the pentatonic (5-tone) scale and all have no detuning (0 cents).

Copyright © 2009-2023 Ing. Radovan Konečný - radkon. All rights reserved.