The VioLab "PitchMan" Variable Temperament Electronic Tuner was developed to serve the special needs of professional and amateur early music instrumentalist, ensemble leaders, and organ tuners. The design and special features of the "PitchMan" evolved from my experience as an acoustician, vioplayer, and harpsichord tuner, as well as the opinions and suggestions of world class early music performers and directors. Based on the premise that good musicianship requires a keen aural sensitivity to pitch and tuning, the "PitchMan" uses no visual indicators such as a meter needle or LED array. The tutorial supplied with the tuner will teach you how to use your ear in conjunction with the "PitchMan" to achieve optimum tuning. By learning and practicing tuning by listening, you will continually refine your ear's pitch discrimination.
The "PitchMan" generates a tone quality which is very rich in overtones or harmonics, so that, when combined with the harmonics of the string or pipe being tuned, wave interference 'beats' can be clearly heard. Using the procedure detailed in the tutorial, highly precise tuning can be easily achieved by eliminating these 'beats'.
Sixteen A-pitches commonly used in early music and historic performance practice are digitally stored in the "PitchMan", and are referenced to a precision quartz crystal frequency standard for unsurpassed absolute A-pitch accuracy and stability. Selection of the desired A-pitch is accomplished by a miniature rotary switch on the back of the tuner.
The volume control, a feature not found on other electronic tuners, allows optimum loudness setting for individual or group use. To prevent premature battery depletion, the "PitchMan" will remain distinctly audible when set to its softest volume level to prompt you to turn it completely off after you have finished tuning.
Foremost, the "PitchMan" offers a wide selection of temperaments, which are very subtle variations in interval sizes that, nonetheless, have a dramatic effect on interval and chord consonance. This feature will enable you (and the other instrumentalist in your ensemble) to obtain optimum sonority for a given historical period of music or style of composition. Selection of the desired temperament is accomplished by a miniature rotary switch on the back of the tuner. Some examples of the Temperaments that the "PitchMan" offers include: The Pythagorean Scale, Equal-tempered Scale, Quarter-comma Meantone Scale, Fifth-comma Temperament, Eighth-, Sixth-, Two-Seventh- and Third-comma Temperaments. A discussion of the nature of temperament and its application to improve the authenticity of early music playing forms a major portion of the "PitchMan" Variable Temperament Tuner Owner's Manual and Tutorial.
The "PitchMan" comes in two different models: Standard(VLPM3766) and Clustered(VLPM3766-C). The clustered model is a variation of the standard in that the A-Pitch range is more specific, but not as wide.