Making Sense (Cents) of Hz

The purpose of this page is to provide a relationship between "concert pitch", "bagpipe pitch" and cents on tuning meters. There are sections for the Korg tuner models CA-10/20/30, DT-3 and the AT-2, specifically.

As a brief explanation:  Most people are familiar with the concept that sound is an oscillation of waves in the air at some prescribed frequency.  Typical "concert pitch" is 440 cycles per second.  One cycle per second is also know as a Hertz and written Hz, so concert "A" is 440 Hz.  Each octave jump consists of doubling the frequency, so the next octave up is 880 Hz and the next is 1760 Hz, etc.  Just as the spacing between octaves is not a fixed number of Hz, the spacing between each of the notes in the scale also varies across the scale.

To make it easier to deal with this, the concept of "cents" was introduced.  Simply put, there are, by definition, 100 cents between each even-tempered half tone or 1200 cents per octave.  It doesn't matter where you are on which octave, there are always 100 cents between half-tones.

It is for this reason that tuners are marked in cents.

CA-10 (or CA-20 or CA-30): This meter contains programmed calibrations from 430 to 449 Hz for the CA-10/20 and from 410 to 480 Hz for the CA-30. The second column shows the pitch of low-A on the bagpipe when the tuner is set to the calibration reading indicated in the first column and the scale reads "zero".

The fourth column shows the pitch of the bagpipe when the tuner is set to the 449 Hz calibration and the scale reads the value indicated in the third column. The latter calculations were done at 449 Hz as this range is the most useful for quickly tuning pipe bands.

 CA-10/20 calib setting Chanter pitch in Hz when Low A reads 0 cents and meter calibrated as in Column 1 Reading when CA-10/20 calibrated to 449 Hz Pitch in Hz when chanter reads value in Column 3 430 455.57 -50.00 462.16 431 456.63 -45.00 463.49 432 457.69 -40.00 464.83 433 458.75 -35.00 466.18 434 459.81 -30.00 467.53 435 460.87 -25.00 468.88 436 461.93 -20.00 470.24 437 462.99 -15.00 471.60 438 464.04 -10.00 472.96 439 465.10 -5.00 474.33 440 466.16 0.00 475.70 441 467.22 5.00 477.07 442 468.28 10.00 478.45 443 469.34 15.00 479.84 444 470.40 20.00 481.23 445 471.46 25.00 482.62 446 472.52 30.00 484.01 447 473.58 35.00 485.41 448 474.64 40.00 486.82 449 475.70 45.00 488.23

(Some people have found it convenient to print out this table in a small font, laminate it and tape it to the back of their tuners.)

DT-3: This meter stores internally calibrations from 438 to 445 Hz, but can store any pitch as a "reference". The second column shows the pitch of low-A on the bagpipe when the DT-3 is set to the calibration reading indicated in the first column and the scale reads "zero". T

he fourth column shows the pitch of the bagpipe when the DT-3 is set to the 445 Hz calibration and the scale reads the value indicated in the third column.

Please note that the DT-3 is best used in a auto-calibrate mode by capturing the reference pitch of a designated chanter or drone and setting all other drones to this pitch by tuning to "zero".

 DT-3 calib setting Chanter pitch in Hz when Low A reads 0 cents and meter calibrated as in Column 1 Reading when DT-3 calibrated to 445 Hz Pitch in Hz when chanter reads value in Column 3 -50.00 458.04 -45.00 459.36 -40.00 460.69 -35.00 462.03 -30.00 463.36 -25.00 464.70 -20.00 466.05 -15.00 467.39 438 464.04 -10.00 468.75 439 465.10 -5.00 470.10 440 466.16 0.00 471.46 441 467.22 5.00 472.82 442 468.28 10.00 474.19 443 469.34 15.00 475.56 444 470.40 20.00 476.94 445 471.46 25.00 478.32 30.00 479.70 35.00 481.09 40.00 482.48 45.00 483.88

AT-2: This meter was "designed" for bagpipes and will tune low A from 468-473 Hz. The second column shows the pitch of low-A on the bagpipe when the AT-2 is set to the calibration reading indicated in the first column and the scale reads "zero". The fourth column shows the pitch of the bagpipe when the AT-2 is set to the 473 Hz calibration and the scale reads the value indicated in the third column.

 471 471.00 5 474.37 472 472.00 10 475.74 473 473.00 15 477.12 20 478.5 25 479.88 30 481.27 35 482.66 40 484.06 45 485.46

Copyright S.K. MacLeod 1996-2016