Comparing trumpets, cornets and other brass in terms of intonation

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by dorkdog, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. dorkdog

    dorkdog Pianissimo User

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    My question may seem a bit strange, but my background consists of a lot of lower brass (started on trombone, then bassoon, then tuba and baritone) and, 35 years later, the cornet (for now)...

    I recently decided to start recording myself with other music and I find it very difficult to play the cornet I have in tune with others. The 'A' slide is particularly problematic. Is it normal to have to relay more on embouchure with 'upper brass'? Or was I just a really crappy tuba player who didn't know it at the time.

    Is this what is meant by the term 'slotting' notes; that when playing the notes tend to 'hit' in tune on the attack or slur?

    I also want to know what to expect when I take delivery on a Getzen 700 Eterna II (made circa 2002) - compared to the York PerfecTone I have been playing (made in 1915).

    I know a lot will depend on finding the proper MP but, all things equal, what will the Getzen feel like after the York? Will I likely find it easier to intonate a trumpet vs. a cornet, a Getzen vs. a York, or a 2002 vs. a 1915?

    Sorry for all the q's but I am struggling a bit with this intonation. I'm used to it (or was) on the farting bedpost but did not expect it so much in a brass instrument.

    Thanks as usual for any and all help!
     
  2. Zach

    Zach New Friend

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    I'd also like to know about which brands would be good for me intonation wise, considering it's impossible for me to use the slide valve for intonation adjustments because I only have 1 hand.
     
  3. entrancing1

    entrancing1 Mezzo Piano User

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    lol :lol:
     
  4. entrancing1

    entrancing1 Mezzo Piano User

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    duplicate post
     
  5. dorkdog

    dorkdog Pianissimo User

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    Awesome to rise to that challenge! I tried a one-handed approach and --- no go! Hats off!

    Learning the trumpet has been my first exposure to this intonation issue in brass. I never messed with a tuning slide except for an initial tuning at gametime.

    My intonation issues are such that I have to use that tuning slide with my little finger (mine is spring loaded) of my LEFT hand, and I can only do that if my right hand is on the valves. I guess that would not work for you....

    As a bassoon player, I can assure you that there is someone who could rig a control up for you that is more convenient; say, using the thumb of your playing hand. We bassoonists do it all the time - we run keys to various finger locations with rollers, levers and such and they are pretty precise given the instrument comes apart.

    Possibly an up-down movement with the thumb, next to the valve stack? I'd have to see how you hold the trumpet (something I just tried and failed - miserably) but I would think perhaps a rotary valve assembly could be used with a counterbalancing spring and a thumb loop aimed down - your thumb goes under the loop to the knuckle, supporting the horn, and the joint sticking out of the loop can press the actuator, opening and allowing closure of the slide.

    This would be a project the CADD students would love to work on at our school. Let me know if something like this is what would work for you.

    As far as off the shelf, I agree there's probably little out there. You might look at the York I have (see my gallery maybe? Olno...) and see how it's configured with a trigger and a spring. I could learn to control it over time, but it requires constant adjustments to play in tune.

    My suggestion would be to find the horn you like the sound of and look into some custom keywork.
     
  6. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

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    Any 3 valve brass instrument is a compromise in its tuning, responding to a natural harmonic series which is slightly different tuning from the piano/electronic keyboard which is usually tuned to an equal temperement ie the intervals are equally spaced in the scale and different again to just intonation where the chords are in tune, the only instruments that can play in tune are the slide Trombone and fretless strings.

    There is an excellent description of this in a publication put out by Boosey and Hawkes "The Boosey and Hawkes Compensating System Fully Explained", it can be downloaded from the Libary at Horn-U-Copia, or I can email an ecopy, approx 1 Mb.

    Over the years manufacturers have had their own ideas on how to make an instrument, mainly in the length of the third and first valve slides.

    Slotting of notes relates to efficiency of the instrument, a high efficiency instrument will have narrow or tight slots and the notes will not be able to be lipped very far, loose or wide slots come from a lower efficiency instrument where the notes can be pulled or bent considerably.

    I do not have sufficent experience with all makes to reccomend a particular instrument.

    Regards, Stuart.
     
  7. graysono

    graysono Mezzo Forte User

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    I am guessing that you will find the intonation on the Getzen--a more modern instrument--to be less a factor for you. Some of those old cornets have huge bores, although your experience with the lower brasses should compensate. It is also possible that a horn from the early 1900s, nearly a century old, is a little worn out. Finally, when you get the Getzen and get used to it, you will know whether it is the horn mostly, or you mostly. If the latter you may want to start a mouthpiece safari. Good luck.
     
  8. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

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    Hello, friend!

    May I ask an intimate question - whether you are just lacking a hand or whether the whole arm is out of use? If the former, there are quite good solutions where you could mount a prosthetic trumpet holder, (usually stabilizing the trumpet on a belt or on a stand) thus freeing the pinkie finger for the manipulation of a tuning slide trigger.
    There is a Finnish company out there - sorry, I have forgotten the name, but I can check - that make brass instrument supports. Several of my colleagues in the Vienna Russian Wind Orchestra have been using these (with two hands) and are enthusiastic as to the stability of the instrument position. If you combine this device with a rotary valve trumpet (where you don't have pinkie rings anyway), get the trigger to move the main tuning slide and have the trigger handle moved a bit, you would be "in the pink". Gerd Dowids of Munich has already done that kind of conversion (he tends to keep you waiting for it), and Votruba of Vienna also have vast experience with that kind of thing. If you need any further ideas, or do not want to discuss personal matters in public, just send me a pm.

    Good luck, and good fortune while playing!
     
  9. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

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    sorry - did mix up the posts.
     
  10. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    4,475
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    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    Hello, friend!

    May I ask an intimate question - whether you are just lacking a hand or whether the whole arm is out of use? If the former, there are quite good solutions where you could mount a prosthetic trumpet holder, (usually stabilizing the trumpet on a belt or on a stand) thus freeing the pinkie finger for the manipulation of a tuning slide trigger.
    There is a Finnish company out there - sorry, I have forgotten the name, but I can check - that make brass instrument supports. Several of my colleagues in the Vienna Russian Wind Orchestra have been using these (with two hands) and are enthusiastic as to the stability of the instrument position. If you combine this device with a rotary valve trumpet (where you don't have pinkie rings anyway), get the trigger to move the main tuning slide and have the trigger handle moved a bit, you would be "in the pink". Gerd Dowids of Munich has already done that kind of conversion (he tends to keep you waiting for it), and Votruba of Vienna also have vast experience with that kind of thing. If you need any further ideas, or do not want to discuss personal matters in public, just send me a pm.

    Good luck, and good fortune while playing!

    Rotaries:
     

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