[music-dsp] RE: strobe tuners

Michael Gogins gogins at pipeline.com
Tue Nov 11 16:21:00 EST 2003

Your recollection is more precise than mine, and helps me remember the
lovely thing better.

Michael Gogins
gogins at pipeline period com
Irreducible Productions
CsoundVST, an extended version of Csound for programming music and sound
Available at http://sourceforge.net/projects/csound/

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "James Chandler Jr" <jchandjr at bellsouth.net>
To: <music-dsp at shoko.calarts.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2003 3:46 PM
Subject: Re: [music-dsp] RE: strobe tuners

> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: <gogins at pipeline.com>
> > The strobe tuner I remember from high school had a wheel with the
> > fundamental plus a number of harmonics on it. The fundamental was on the
> > outside, and the harmonics were on inner rings.
> Yes, the harmonics printed on the wheel are in octave increments.
> IIRC, most strobes put the low octaves on the inside of the wheel, and
> octaves toward the outside, where there is more linear space to place the
> stripes. But there may have been strobes oriented the other way.
> Set the pitch knob to 'C', and the wheel spins at a rate so that any
> 'C' in a wide audio range would brightly light up and "stop" one of the
> octave bands. Some bands adjacent to the correct octave will light up
> but 'fuzzier', since the strobe light is working against some 2^x ratio on
> adjacent stripes.
> If you play a 'F', 'G', 'E', or 'A' sine wave when the pitch knob is set
to 'C',
> it will give you a 'dim' moving pitch indication on some of the stripes,
> those notes are integer-related to the 'C'.
> When tuning a real-world instrument, the assortment of lit bands (and the
> direction of motion of each lit band) works out a rough visual average of
> whatever octave harmonics, and other low-order harmonics, happen to be in
> signal.
> The ear seems to determine pitch of a complex tone from the "general pitch
> clustering" of the louder harmonics. There has been some research claiming
> human pitch perception may be "wetware autocorrellation". So the strobe's
> "averaging out among harmonics" seems to indicate results which are pretty
> to what the ear expects to hear.
> There is a rarer, huge expensive 12 wheel variant of the Strobe Tuner,
> made by Conn, Peterson, and perhaps others. One wheel for each chromatic
> James Chandler Jr.
> dupswapdrop -- the music-dsp mailing list and website:
> subscription info, FAQ, source code archive, list archive, book reviews,
dsp links
> http://shoko.calarts.edu/musicdsp
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