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software or devices to detect beats
#1839823 02/06/12 10:28 PM
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Hello,

Can anyone suggest software or a tuning device that can detect beats? It would be only for my own pleasure/edification, so I'd like to keep the cost to a minimum. Maybe there's some clever way to use software that was not originally intended for tuning to detect beats. I think something like that might be useful as a kind of training tool for budding aural tuners.

Thank you very much,

Steven

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Re: software or devices to detect beats
stevenpn #1839831 02/06/12 10:42 PM
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You could do what I did, and make two copies of a tone generator and play them simultaneously. Set them a hertz or so apart, and you will hear the beat much more clearly than it is on a piano. Once you have done that, you will know what to listen for.


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Re: software or devices to detect beats
stevenpn #1839864 02/06/12 11:46 PM
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I tried isolating beats with a digital filter once. Like you, I figured isolating and amplifying the beats would help an aural tuner. I was able to isolate the beat in one interval (c4-f4), but those settings didn't work for other intervals, and I lost interest in the idea. The piano tuning market in general is small, and those tuning aurally is smaller yet, and the potential sales numbers may not support a profit for this idea.




Re: software or devices to detect beats
stevenpn #1839868 02/06/12 11:52 PM
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Sanderson's catalog listed a small device that counted beats. I think it's called a 'Beat Calculator'. Looks interesting, but I never bought one.


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
Re: software or devices to detect beats
stevenpn #1840010 02/07/12 08:16 AM
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No, I don't know of such a device, but have thought about it. If I remember right, Emmery might have mentioned that he had a brother that was considering making one.

I think it could be used for a more aural type tuning than any current ETD. You would play an interval and it would tell you the beat rate(s) by observing the changing amplitude of the nearly coincident partial, just as a trained ear does.

If nothing else I think it would surprise some people about what really happens around the break in small pianos. If it was no more than a few hundred bucks, I might buy one. Gosh, I wonder if some off-the-shelf audio analyzer applications could be made to work. Doel? Oh, Doooeeeel...!


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
Re: software or devices to detect beats
UnrightTooner #1840046 02/07/12 09:32 AM
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I don't know about a device to detect beats in sounds coming from an actual piano, but it's possible to create beats by using the free program Audacity. Create two tracks, generate a couple of sine wave tones, and you can define exactly what pitch those tones would be.


Zeno Wood, Piano Technician
Brooklyn College
Re: software or devices to detect beats
stevenpn #1840142 02/07/12 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by stevenpn
Hello,

Can anyone suggest software or a tuning device that can detect beats? It would be only for my own pleasure/edification, so I'd like to keep the cost to a minimum. Maybe there's some clever way to use software that was not originally intended for tuning to detect beats. I think something like that might be useful as a kind of training tool for budding aural tuners.

Thank you very much,

Steven


You've got a fantastic sensor/detector set already. They're called ears & a brain. Why waste money on something that doesn't work as well?


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
editor emeritus of Piano Technicians Journal
Re: software or devices to detect beats
stevenpn #1840214 02/07/12 03:10 PM
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Keith, I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that a detector would not work so well as our ears for something like this. We use an extremely crude comparitive analysis for beat rates. Split the ascending beat rate of M3rds over an temperament octave for example, a good aural tuner will create a rate which would appear to be ascending as you jump chromatically from note to note. It would appear correct even if you went by contigous M3rd jumps. A beat rate analyser that showed a beat rate down to 2 decimal places of a second I'm sure would still indicate room for improvement. If I played two intervals that were .02 bps apart, I doubt you could tell me which one is faster. I doubt it would be hard for a machine with a decent sample rate to do it. Even the PTG tuning exam uses several examiners to set the master tuning because relying on one set of ears has its caveats.


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George Brown College /85
Niagara Region
Re: software or devices to detect beats
stevenpn #1840467 02/08/12 12:46 AM
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"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams

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