In Pitch

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by crowmadic, Oct 31, 2006.

  1. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 3, 2006
    Because it's so easy to play a note out of pitch/tune, how do you test a trumpet to see if it plays in pitch/tune in all ranges? I'm talking about the inherant capability of the horn. Please include the correct termanology as it applies.
     
  2. bilboinsa

    bilboinsa Piano User

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    Jan 24, 2006
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    Just the horn by itself? Use a tuner--an electronic one. Or, go with a friend that has a good ear. Most horns have that "inherent capabilty" to play in tune or out of tune--in fact that is a characteristic that many players like. That is how I think of "loose slotting" in a horn, and I like it a lot. The real question is how easy is it for YOU to play the horn in tune. This can again be answered with an electronic tuner, or a person with a good ear for pitch.

    Just my opinions.
     
  3. Jon Kratzer

    Jon Kratzer Pianissimo User

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    Every trumpet is different. If you have enough control and experience and the horn isn't a total junker, you should be able to play it in tune. I found that my Bb plays a bit sharp and my C trumpet just seems to slot right in aroudn 440 or 441 . Just keep practising, remember no horn is going to make you that much more out of tune than you already play.
     
  4. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 3, 2006
    Can you elaborate on "loose slotting"? When you say "most horns have that inherant capability," do you mean each catagory: student, intermediate, pro?......thanks for your input
     
  5. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    The best way to test the inherent tuning of a horn is to play it enough to be familiar with it, and then use it at a rehearsal with a group that's known to play well in tune. Not an easy, quick way, but probably the most reliable way to do it. Of course, if you test a horn on a tuner and the intonation is all over the place, that's probably an indication that you don't want that horn.

    I've played horns that were practically perfect on a tuner (using the blind test method) and were terrible with a group. Problem is, similar instruments have similar intonation tendencies. These tendencies don't always match the tuner, but many times will match the group just fine, so everything sounds in tune even when some notes may actually be sharp or flat on a tuner. Sort of a relative intonation concept.

    A horn that has "loose slots" will play in tune (or out of tune) with anyone, because it's up to the player to match the tuning on most every note. I prefer a good horn that slots well for the majority of my playing, which leans toward the classical side of things. That way, I can concentrate on other aspects of playing and largely forget about whether this or that note is in tune (but I'm always listening!). A "loose" horn is fun for big band and jazz, however, because bending notes is so much easier.

    The horn isn't the only factor, either. The mouthpiece can affect intonation as well as slotting. The player is also a factor. A big factor.
     
  6. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 3, 2006
    I consider myself an advanced beginner, and I do play with other people. Beside symphonic playing, is it critical to play with perfect pitch, or is "good music" leaniant in this respect? Are we enjoying a trumpet sound because the player is playing perfect pitched notes? I guess the struggle of my question is, how important is it to play in perfect pitch?
     
  7. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 3, 2006
    It's good to hear the input and experience of more experienced players. I thank you and trumpet master for this opportunity.
     
  8. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    For most playing, pretty close is good enough. I don't think it's possible to play in perfect pitch, anyway. What matters is how close in tune you are with the rest of the group. In practical terms, tuning is relative, unless you're lucky (or unlucky) enough to have perfect pitch.
     
  9. Jon Kratzer

    Jon Kratzer Pianissimo User

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    It's way more important to play in tone than "in tune" , because that is all relative. Although I struggle with groups that play sharp, I'm always playing in tune with them. I found that playing in tune with the group instaed of with my ear was far more important. It took me a couple years to figure out it didn't matter how absolute my pitch was, because if I was playing at 440 and the rest of the band at 445(haha), I was the one who stuck out and sounded wrong.

    Here is a good example I'm not shy to share with you. This is a recording from when I was in high school.

    http://www.jonkratzer.com/spring2.mp3

    I doubt you can hear by the recording, but the band was horribly sharp. Listen to the first few bars and you can hear the pitch adjusting to the band. It's not a catastrophe, but believe me I've had a few.

    Worry about your tone and playing intune with the ensemble, and you'll be just fine.
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    If you are used to playing good equipment and can play the horn you have in an ensemble setting "in tune" you have all the skills you need to check a new instrument out. Instruments that are well balanced in intonation and tone, are just more fun to play. You notice immediately that it is less work. Still, never buy a trumpet alone! A second opinion (not from the salesman) can often save you a lot of grief(there are some notable exceptions however)!
    As there is no "absolute" intonation (an E in a Cmajor, Amajor, EMinor......... chord for instance are not the same pitch. Pianos are tuned "well tempered" not our ears).
    When playing equipment that I am not familiar with I start with some easy tune, just to get used to the basic tone. Then octaves, thirds, fifths. By then, I pretty much know the "intonation" of the instrument. The next step would be to go and play in a concert hall type space(I hardly ever play directly into a microphone). There you can figure things out like projection and dynamics.
    The potentially "bad" notes are pretty well known - on a Bb there should be NONE below double C. On certain famous name brand C trumpets the fourth space E and Eb are flat, sometimes the third space C is sharp. There are alternate fingerings to correct the intonation, but they also change the tone color. If you are looking for a specific instrument - just mention it here - there are enough people with good and bad experiences with just about everything.

    If you have a tuner, let somebody else watch it while you are playing. You will almost always adjust and then the purpose is defeated. Except for an old Conn Stroboconn, I have never had any use for a tuner-except to get my Bb or A tuning note.
     

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