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.

Origin of pitch pipe

First recorded in 1705–15
Also called tuning pipe.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pitch-pipe

Historical Examples of pitch-pipe

  • 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.

  • In my childhood the tunes of the hymns were always given with a pitch-pipe.

  • 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

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

Word Origin and History for pitch-pipe

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper