Scale length (string instruments)

In musical instruments designated scale ( also outdated Diapason ) The dimensions and proportions of musical instruments or parts thereof.


The scale length is expressed structurally instrument from the basic decision for a specific sound characteristics. In liner notes to historical performance practice of early music one often reads of violins, trombones, etc. "old scale "; this means that it is replicas of historical models with their own original dimensions.

Scale stringed instruments

For stringed instruments called the Scale

  • In the strict sense, the free vibrating length of the strings, measured between the saddle and the bridge of the instrument;
  • In a broader sense basic dimensions as neck length, body height, body width, etc.

Scale wind instruments

In wind instruments, the scale refers to the ratio of the width to the length of the pipe or the size of the mouthpiece:

  • Engmensuriert - The lead pipe is slightly conical ( natural trumpet ) or cylindrical ( many trombones ), about 60 % of the total length are cylindrical, the horn wide open.
  • Mittelmensuriert - The leadpipe and the bell are long and strong conical, cylindrical shares relatively short, for example, as in the French horn about 30 % of the total length of the horn is widely spreading.
  • Weitmensuriert - The scale length is up to a few units throughout strongly conical, the bell little sweeping. eg: flugelhorn, tenor horn, baritone, tuba

In wind instruments the scale influences two important aural aspects:

Minor corrections of intonation are necessary in every case, so that the wind impropriety of the natural harmonic series of the instrument, but also the height ( frequency) of the sound can compensate in its respective function within the harmony. It applies the following rule of thumb: major = deep third, fifth high, minor = high third, fifth deep. To intone the sound without sonic limitation, modern brass instruments are increasingly being offered with triggerable tuning slides. The basic intonation of the instrument as well as the intonation of the valves should in principle be always in the optimum of the harmonically rich tone, without manipulation of the vibration at the initialization of the sound through the fan, by correcting the pipe lengths to the instrument ( tuning slides ). The pitch is determined only by the tube length and the temperature of the air (specific gravity ), rather than by the size ( scale ) of the instrument. Therefore, the intonation of the instrument does not change at the same temperature.

Scale in organ pipes

In organ-building refers to the scale

  • Generally, the definition of all dimensions of a whistle and the course of these measurements over a row of pipes. The character of the pipes is significantly influenced by the scale lengths. Scale lengths are usually expressed by relative length ratios (relative scale );
  • In the strict sense, the " Weitenmensur ", ie the ratio of the diameter to the length of the pipe, which can vary between 1:5 and 1:30. The Weitenmensur is the most important scale in organ building, from their results in the division into "narrow", "medium" or " far " mensurierte register. Length scale provides a soft, narrow bore a sharper tone ..