February 10, 2011
My cello is fairly new, I’ve had it for just over a year, and it belonged to my wife’s oldest son for several years prior to my acquiring it. While this particular cello is new its design is old, dating back to the early 16th century. To be sure there have been changes to the design along the way, but it is an old instrument design-wise. In other words, I’m playing a musical instrument that Bach and his contemporaries would recognize and understand. Cool.
When it comes to tuning my cello these days I use the wonderful smartphone application Cleartune by Bitcount. This software has numerous settings including one for “Violin temperment,” which allows me to tune in 5ths. It is a wonderful example of 21st century technology - a pocket sized computer that can mimic a chromatic tuner.
What struck me tonight as I was preparing to practice was the wonderful juxtaposition at play. I’m tuning an instrument whose design and basic technology has remained largely unchanged for three or four hundred years with a gizmo that even a few short years ago was fantasy.
How cool is that?