Pilot-testing of new software for measuring string players’ instrument tuning skills | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1752-7066
  • E-ISSN: 1752-7074



Computer-based software named the Tuning Perception Test (TPT) was developed using Processing, a free, open-source programming language. The specific pitch perception skills examined by the software included unison pitch-matching and harmonic P5 interval tuning. A pilot-test established reliability for the TPT and gathered preliminary data on string instrumentalists’ tuning accuracy at varied school levels (fifth, seventh, ninth, eleventh-grade, university music majors). Reliability was very strong for pitch-matching items (α=0.90) and for the perfect fifth tuning items (α=0.91). Pitch-matching and P5 tuning accuracy improved consistently as school level increased, suggesting that refinement of pitch perception occurs gradually over time, with beginning and intermediate string instrumentalists requiring training in pitch-matching and interval tuning to develop the pitch perception skills necessary to accurately tune a stringed instrument. Participants demonstrated a tendency towards tuning flat, with tuning accuracy decreasing at lower fundamental frequencies.


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