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#1125768 - 03/07/05 05:32 PM Learning to hear "Beats"  
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 18
oneliner Offline
Junior Member
oneliner  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 18
Ontario, Canada
I'm wondering if anyone out there can suggest a simple method for learning to hear beats. I'm having great difficulty with this and know that it takes time. I know that there is a device that can be purchased however I would prefer if I could manage to learn this skill without having to buy the machine.

If there's anyone who can suggest a system for getting a "jump start" on this I would be forever grateful.

I plan to purchase an Electronic Tuner at some time in the future, however I do not want to become too dependent on the ET and would like to enhance my aural skills.

With appreciation

Derek Byrne (oneliner)

Piano & Music Accessories
#1125769 - 11/20/05 11:15 PM Re: Learning to hear "Beats"  
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 79
Orgelquaeler Offline
Full Member
Orgelquaeler  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 79
Apison, TN
Reblitz has excercises in his book on learning to detect beats. Have you tried that method?

#2389790 - 02/23/15 01:51 AM Re: Learning to hear "Beats" [Re: oneliner]  
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 2
Smythe Dakota Offline
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Smythe Dakota  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 2
This may have worked only for me, or it may be what everybody does, but I'll put in my two cents anyway. (The following should be considered an amateur opinion.)

The best way to hear beats is to know what note you should be listening for when you try to hear the beats.

If, for example, you are tuning a fifth -- say middle C and the G above middle C -- the "pure" ratio is 3 to 2. So you figure out which note has 3 times the frequency of the bottom note (middle C) and 2 times the frequency of the top note (G above middle C). The desired note is then, of course, the G an octave above.

Listen for this note when you strike your C-G combination. Do not actually strike the G an octave above. If you can hear this high G when you strike the other two notes, you should also be able to hear the beats you are looking for.

Or, suppose you are tuning a major third, such as middle C and the E just above. (I would not recommend tuning by thirds if you are tuning equal temperament, but it works well for meantone.) A pure third is a 5 to 4 ratio, so the note you should be listening for is the E two octaves above the E you are tuning (5 times the middle C, and 4 times the middle E). If you can hear this two-octave E when you strike the middle C and middle E, you should be able to hear the beats as well.

Bill Smythe

#2391446 - 02/26/15 11:50 PM Re: Learning to hear "Beats" [Re: oneliner]  
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Mark Cerisano Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Mark Cerisano  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
I have designed a band pass filter that will pin point the beats. The power in this device is that it produces exactly what the trained tuner's ear hears. However, I have stumbled upon this crazy trick that actually creates a band pass filter with your hand.

Cup your hand over your ear while playing an interval. Move the hand in and out, back and forth, slowly, changing the cupped volume of your hand. You will be able to hear all the partials from about A5 to E6 or thereabouts. You can "tune" your hand so the beating coincidental partial is enhanced.

You must know where the coincidental partial is supposed to be beating.

Here is an article I wrote that has some more concrete tricks you can use to make hearing beats easier. http://howtotunepianos.com/2014/04/14/how-to-hear-beats-when-tuning/

The key is not just technique. You must keep practicing.


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com

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