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pitch pipe

a small flute or reed pipe producing one or more pitches when blown into, used chiefly for establishing the proper pitch in singing or in tuning a musical instrument.
Also called tuning pipe.
Origin of pitch pipe
First recorded in 1705-15 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for pitch-pipe
Historical Examples
  • It was the pitch-pipe to cat-head, and answered I accordingly.

    Jacob Faithful Captain Frederick Marryat
  • It will be as the energy of a pitch-pipe to an entire orchestra.

    The Romance of Modern Invention Archibald Williams
  • In my childhood the tunes of the hymns were always given with a pitch-pipe.

    Story of My Life, volumes 1-3 Augustus J. C. Hare
  • Both it and the pitch-pipe used by him as leader of the choir are now resting silent in Memorial Hall.

    The Old Furniture Book N. Hudson Moore
  • He fumbled for his pitch-pipe, and arose with a confused intention of attempting a musical exorcism.

    The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper
  • Perhaps a musician may be able to interpret the passage, without explaining the instrument to be a pitch-pipe as some have done.

  • No organ then pealed forth its reverent tones and awaked the church with dulcet harmonies: a pitch-pipe often the sole instrument.

    The Parish Clerk (1907) Peter Hampson Ditchfield
  • The pitch-pipe rightly adjusted gave the proper keynote, and the clerk essayed to sing.

    The Parish Clerk (1907) Peter Hampson Ditchfield
  • A canny Scotchman, who abhorred the thought of all musical instruments anywhere, managed to have one fling at the pitch-pipe.

    Sabbath in Puritan New England Alice Morse Earle
  • We cannot believe that even Caius Gracchus could, when he was warmed by passion, have listened to Licinius's pitch-pipe.

British Dictionary definitions for pitch-pipe

pitch pipe

a small pipe, esp one having a reed like a harmonica, that sounds a note or notes of standard frequency. It is used for establishing the correct starting note for unaccompanied singing
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pitch-pipe

1711, from pitch (n.) in the musical sense + pipe (n.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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