String Instrument

Can someone explain perfect fifths in tuning string instruments?

When tuning (viola is what I'm working on) a string instrument, it says to tune to perfect fifths.

Does this mean that the player is supposed to be placing their fingers in the position of the perfect fifth and tuning to that? Or that the open note, say the C string, will not be C but the D above.

The name of the interval between each string is a perfect fifth. There are different kinds of intervals, so perfect just tells you that it's not diminished or augmented. (Don't worry about what that means) A fifth is C to G (C1 D2 E3 F4 G5) and G to D, and D to A. The term perfect has to do with some mathematical stuff - the relationship between the vibrations of the pitches is a simple ratio, attributed to Pythagoras, who called them 'perfect' for that reason.

All you need to know is that when you tune your A, then play A and D together, the D string will be in tune when it sounds "clean." It's really hard to describe without using sounds. But if you're thinking tuning like guitar players tune, that's not what this means.

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