A Brief History of Pitch and Tuning

Musicians on Pitch – A brief history of pitch and tuning practices in music, in particular, in the music of Bach. The amazing Netherlands Bach Society via their YouTube from their project All of Bach interview various musicians on the history of pitch and tuning practices. This is not a guitar or lute video but still super relevant. Just think of a Baroque lutenist showing up to a gig and having to retune all those strings! Here’s their youtube description:

The most frequently asked question on our YouTube channel is about pitch: you remark that our text or title mentions the wrong key or ask why we perform pieces a tone too low. Why do recordings on All of Bach often sound a semitone lower (or higher) than when you play this piece at home on the piano, violin or flute? In this background video on pitch, our musicians explain why.

Musicians and Technicians

  • Siebe Henstra, harpsichord
  • Robert Vanryne, trumpet
  • Rodrigo López Paz, oboe
  • Lucia Swarts, cello
  • Femke Huizinga, viola
  • Robert Franenberg, double bass
  • Thomas Hobbs, tenor
  • Eduard Bos, tuner
  • Marloes Biermans, musicologist


Ask a Question or Leave a Positive Comment

  1. Thanks for this informative video, good to see a wide selection of instruments working together for the same purpose.

  2. Thank you for posting this – very interesting and for me somewhat reassuring. I have a few guitars and try to find a pitch that suits each one as an individual instrument. One sounds good at 440 while for another it might be 430 or 415. It also depends on the piece or style of music – be it modern or romantic or baroque. Really informative discussion, thanks again!