RTTATuner : app for iphone and ipad


RTTA, short for Real Time Tuning Analysis, is a technique used to analyse the intonation of performed music. With a conventional instrument tuner, you play a single note, and the tuner indicates how well in tune that one note is. For variable pitch instruments like the flute, this can be deceiving. What is needed is a way to analyse the intonation of all notes in a piece of music or scale, as performed naturally. This is exactly what the RTTA technique provides.


RTTATuner was written specifically for iPhones, that is why it is a bit harder to find in the app store if you have an iPad. You need to search for “RTTATuner”. No results will be found, but a menu then allows you to search for “iPhone only” apps. Selecting that will finally bring up RTTATuner. The app actually works really well for iPads, with no issues.

Dan Gordon, inventor of the RTTATuner  plays the baroque flute :

“RTTA tuner can certainly handle many different pitches and even temperaments. Just click on the small “i” button at the bottom of the screen. Scroll to the “TUNING SYSTEM” section. You can adjust the pitch and temperament here. For example, if you wish to play an instrument at A=392, you just set “Pitch” to A=392.

As you likely know, you’ll want to ensure that e.g. your major thirds will be narrow, minor thirds wide, etc. A good choice for the baroque flute is to set the temperament to 1/6 comma meantone (#s) for playing in sharp keys, or 1/6 comma meantone (bs) for playing flat keys. Or you can use something like Vallotti & Young. Or, you can do as the flutemaker Simon Polak does, and just use equal temperament but aim for the desired degree of sharpness or flatness for each note.

Note that the “transposition” setting in this same “TUNING SYSTEM” section of the settings screen refers to the root note of the temperament i.e. setting it to “+2” might move the root from C to D. It doesn’t refer to the transposition of the instrument. Terrible naming choice on my part, which I have been meaning for ages to change.”

Please share your experience with the RTTATuner with us.


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