Performer · Educator · Researcher

How to Tune your Violin the Carnatic Way

In this post, we will learn how to tune a violin for Carnatic music and what notes the string represent. Tuning is important to make the violin sound good. It is critical that your violin is tuned well before we start playing the instrument.

Tuning is the process of increasing or decreasing the tension of the strings that we attain by using the two parts of the violin:

  1. Tuning pegs: Changes the pitch significantly.
  2. Fine Tuners: This is used to make finer adjustments.

About Indian Classical Notes:

Indian musical notes are relative. Every time that the foundational note is changed, we have to change the tuning of the violin. In case of solo violin playing, the tuning of the 4 strings, starting from lowest pitch to highest pitch:

  • Lower Tonic (Lower Sa)
  • Lower Fifth (Lower Pa)
  • Tonic (Sa)
  • Fifth (Pa)

Violin Tuning Procedure

Usually the Guru will tune your violin. In case you are learning yourself, you can follow the procedure outlines in this video to tune your violin using a tuner. You can also use any tuner app available for your mobile. The violin sounds the best  in the Classical style when tonic string is tuned to E4. So the 4 notes to tune the violin are:

  • E3
  • B3
  • E4
  • B4

Video Tutorial


Over the time, you will be able to tune your violin by ear without the help of an external tuner. That may take some months. Do not aim for perfect accuracy. Once you tune the strings, you are good to go.

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