how to tune a trumpet!!! help please!!!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by lpuppy79, Feb 20, 2010.

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  1. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    Hi lpuppy79,
    Here's something I think you'll find helpful. I gleaned it from Mark Van Cleave
    Efficiency through Resonant Intonation:
    What is Resonant Intonation?Intonation is the player's ability to match the pitch of his/her instrument to the pitch of the instruments around them. Resonance refers to the acoustical phenomenon that occurs when the resonant frequency of an object or space (in this case: the volume of air inside the instrument) is stimulated. Resonant Intonation refers to the act of playing in tune with your instruments resonant frequency. Matching the pitch you produce with the pitch that the instrument wants to produce (because of where you have it tuned.) I like to call this the Shower Effect.
    Now that you have an Idea about what I'm talking about .....what does this have to do with brass playing? When a player tunes his/her instrument, that's exactly what is being tuned. Just the instrument! Playing in tune is not a given, just because your horn has been tuned properly (A-440). You can play in tune (A-440) with your instrument tuned correctly or incorrectly! You can bend the pitch almost a full half step either direction without touching the tuning slide. Good intonation is a result of learning to hear when you are in tune and when you are not.
    The problems arise when your horn is tuned to, let's say, A-436. You now have to bend the pitch sharp in order to match the A-440 tuning of the ensemble. You are in tune with the other players but you are no longer playing in tune with your instrument. Your instrument wants to resonate the A-436, but you force it to produce the A-440 by over tightening the embouchure or whatever. This is not only less efficient physically, but also less efficient from the resonance standpoint of the instrument. You do not get the instrument to work with you as a team. You are now fighting the acoustical properties of the instrument. You have set the instrumentÍs tuning to resonate at A-436, but you produce A-440. This new pitch (A-440) will not generate as much resonance as A-436 will. Playing this way will not result in the Shower Effect!
    You can check the horn's tuning by popping the mouthpiece with your hand. You will notice that you get a pitch. This is the pitch that the horn wants to produce. This is the pitch that should be matched to the ensemble. This is the pitch that (if matched by the player) will produce the most resonance and result in a bigger and easier to produce sound.
    So, to sum all of this up: You can tune your instrument, you can tune your ears, and you can tune your ears to your instrument. When you are producing the pitch that your instrument has been tuned for, you gain resonance as well as ease of operation or efficiency. Playing in tune with your instrument is what I'm talking about. You should tune your horn to the ensemble and yourself to the horn
     
  2. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

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    Hey Markie - That is a great description - the best I have seen on this issue.

    But, when it comes to finding the resonant pitch by popping the mouthpiece with your hand, if that means what it sounds like - hitting the open end with the flat palm of the hand - then I have two concerns. First, when I do that (gently), my trumpet makes a sound but it is of short duration and I do not hear the pitch clearly. If I then blow a note (I tried low 'C' and also 'G' in the staff) it does not sound to me like the same pitch that the 'popping' makes. I tried using my tuner (mine has the vibration-sensing pickup that attaches to the bell) and it does not detect a pitch at all.

    Second, I have seen a lot of stuck mouthpieces from hitting it too hard so there needs to be a warning with the instructions for this. In the meantime, I am trying to think of a way to generate a clearer natural resonant tone for those of us with 'pitch discrimination insufficiency disorder'.
     
  3. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

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    Vidin, Bulgaria
    CBK,

    Some tuners detect pitches faster than others. From all pocket tuners that I have seen the Yamaha TD-1 Chromatic Tuner seems to offer the fastest detection. I tried today too, and it seems like I don't have any (by ear, I haven't tried it yet with the tuner) difference between the 2 pitches - it is a low c (1 ledger line below the staff) on B flat trumpet.
     
  4. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    ComebackKid sez:
    First, when I do that (gently), my trumpet makes a sound but it is of short duration and I do not hear the pitch clearly.
    -------
    Here's what you do. Pop the mouthpiece rapidly and then press (in this order going very slowly)
    O, 2, 1, 12, 23, 13, 123
    C, B, Bb, A, Ab, G, F#
    When you pop the mouthpiece quickly and go through the valve combinations I mentioned, you can hear the different notes quite well. In fact, you can pop little songs by doing this. So how to hear the "pops"? Do them quickly like a machine gun on each combo and go slow. Pop rapidly on C for awhile then go to B, Bb.. and so on.
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    Comebackkid sez:
    Second, I have seen a lot of stuck mouthpieces from hitting it too hard so there needs to be a warning with the instructions for this.
    ---------
    You'll find that you can pop a mouthpiece in the reciever pretty hard and it still comes out easily. You'll have to experiment with popping and you'll see what I mean since pretty hard is relative. Just be sure to pop the mouthpiece straight on and not at an angle.
    So how to avoid a stuck mouthpiece? Pop the mouthpiece straight on and learn how hit it hard enough to create a good full bodied "pop"
    Hope this helps!
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2010
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't believe that you are actually flat. Most players that get accused of that just have a "wimpy" sound due to lacking breath support. The sound just doesn't have enough vibrance. Pushing the slide in dos not solve the problem. It keeps the player lazy. Working on your breath support is a much better goal. A solid sound is easy to tune by ear.
     
  6. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    rowuk sez;
    don't believe that you are actually flat.Most players that get accused of that just have a "wimpy" sound due to lacking breath support
    -----------
    very true
     
  7. mchs3d

    mchs3d Mezzo Forte User

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    Learn to play in the center of the pitch, and the tuning slide will work itself out on its own. Most good players leave it about 1/4 - 1/2 inch out. Truth is, you can play in tune regardless of where it is.
     
  8. gglassmeyer

    gglassmeyer Piano User

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    Cincinnati, OH
    one other note: If you're using a tuner, evaluate what it registers when you first play the note. I see some people play their initial attack then lip into the correct intonation to make the pretty green light go on. Play the note and if it falls sharp pull out slightly and repeat until you're able to reliably light the green light on the initial attack.

    Remember that tuning is affected by temperature and humidity, so don't think that because you tuned it once and didn't move the slide again that it will always be intune.

    If you're a relatively new player it may be difficult for you to tune in general, because you may not be consistent enough with your embouchure. I went back to play with my high school band for homecoming, and the kid who was coming around to tune the trumpet section never played the same "C" twice. I had listened to the tubas, and tuned off of their pitch which was very consistent.

    Also, continue to listen as you play, you may need to adjust again if you feel you're slightly out of tune.
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    With a wimpy sound, you will be subjectively flat even if the frequency is spot on. The best way is to cure the symptom instead of putting a bandaid over it. My 10 year old beginning students have enough breath support to keep the tuning slide essentially in the same place that I do.
     
  10. keehun

    keehun Piano User

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    I have been taught to not pull the tuning slide out too much, since it is a "cheap fix" for a big problem. Mine are pulled out maybe a centimeter and I've learned to adjust so that I'm in tune with that much out. It makes my throat more open and I am not "lipping up" all the time since the main tuning slide is so far out. In primary school and earlier instruction, I've had mine out maybe 1.5cm and my sound has improved, too, once I "got used" to 1cm or less. Maybe this isn't really a correct method to tune, but it has worked for me.
     

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