C Trumpet in tune

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by TrumpetTAC, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. TrumpetTAC

    TrumpetTAC New Friend

    Nov 21, 2013
    When I practice, I keep a tuner on the stand so I can check my pitch. When I practice Bb, I am usually in tune. I have just begun playing on a C trumpet and discovered that most of my notes are flat. The tuning slide is almost all the way in, so I don't think that is the problem.

    Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
  2. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    Vaguely remember reading that some C trumpets take a shorter mouthpiece than a standard Bb shank
  3. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    You are used to hearing pitches a full step lower with the exact same fingerings, so you may subconsciously be blowing the pitches flat to get what you are used to hearing.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    This is it! Veery hit the nail on the head.

    My feeling is that you should lose the tuner however. It is great for the tuning note, after that it only teaches you bad intonation. The well tempered scale has every interval except the octave "comprimised". If you start using your ears, your intonation will improve dramatically in a much shorter time! The reason isn't just the frequency, rather also the tone. If you are watching the tuner, your eyes are overriding common sense and your ears.
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    TrumpetTAC, Are you using your C during your warm up? I've found that total immersion in a new trumpet key, like total immersion in a foreign language speeds up the acclimation process. While you might want to be practicing transposition with etudes and such, try practicing lip slurs, long tones, tonguing etc. as written. Later when you feel comfortable on the C you can go back to the Bb for your warm up and daily drills.

    As for the intonation inherent in the C trumpet, it isn't that the C is more out of tune than the Bb, it's simply differently out of tune than the Bb. We've gotten so used to the Bb that it sounds "right" and when playing C we notice all kinds of "wrong" notes. Generally, we need to pull the first valve for A and Bb in the staff (A more than Bb) and on most horns the E and Eb at the top of the staff will be a tad flat, so these are often fingered 12 and 23 respectively. The open E is in tune for the third in a C Major chord.

    I agree with using the tuner being useful for the initial tuning, unless you can find one that shows all 12 notes at once. With that we can "see" that our C in the staff is in tune with the C tuner, sharp with the Ab tuner and flat with the A tuner.

    Have fun exploring the C trumpet!
  6. TrumpetTAC

    TrumpetTAC New Friend

    Nov 21, 2013
    Thanks for your replies!

    I use the tuner for initial tuning and for the usual out-of-tune notes like G above the staff.
    As for the C trumpet, I'll try more lip slurs. I noticed that basic notes like C's and G are a little flat.

    Any suggestions for transposing exercises? I'm currently using Arban's exercises and play them first as written, then transposed up or down a step.
    Which other intervals are most common in orchestral literature?
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Are the C's and G's in tune with each other? There are two ways of looking at the intonation. Are the majority of out-of-tune notes flat or are they sharp? I like my open C's and G's to be in tune with the "out-of-tune" notes sharp. It is waaaay easier to make the valve tubes longer than to try to make them shorter. Go ahead and tune first to your C, then play the A and figure out how much slide to pull. This is where the tuner can come in handy by showing us where the notes normally lie and to give us a starting place. Valuable are playing long tones with a friend, one as a drone and the other playing an interval. An equal-tempered C and E together doesn't do much, but if you lower the E by 14 cents you'll generate sum and difference tones that will get the fundamental an octave below buzzing in your ears. Fun stuff and a great way to improve intonation.

    Most frequent trumpet keys in the orchestra are A, Bb, C, D, Eb, E and F. Great things to practice are simple tunes like Christmas carols. Playing "O Come All Ye Faithful" for trumpet in E on a Bb trumpet is an exercise in humility. Try to avoid accidentals at first.
  8. Churchman

    Churchman Mezzo Piano User

    Apr 26, 2012
    When I play my 'c' trumpet I only use that one in the practice. It is the best horn I own, but if I mix it up with the Bbs then things all go skew-whiff. And if they do that with rubbishy old me, than its bound to happen to others to. It's in the mind/ear interlink I think.
  9. mattiasc

    mattiasc Piano User

    Jan 14, 2013

  10. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    And, of course, many C trumpets do have a fuller range of intonation issues than Bbs.

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