Definition and background:
The practice of tuning the strings of a stringed instrument differently than the standard tuning. Scordatura is generally used to extend an instrument's range, or to make certain passages easier or more possible to perform; it is also used to achieve certain special effects. Scordatura was popular between 1600 and 1750, and is used rarely now. out of tune; i.e., an alternative tuning used for the strings of a string instrumentunconventional tuning in order to make certain parts easier to play, or to alter the tone color
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary