Intonation, a reality check.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by turtlejimmy, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. edfitzvb

    edfitzvb Forte User

    Jun 10, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    TJ, what Dale was saying (I think) is that the tuner might cause you to rigidly play in tune so that the note is sounding correctly with respect to a tuner and not to those around you. If you are playing with electronic keyboards that are automatically A=440, then you're fine. But, what happens when you are playing with other horn players and they are in tune to each other, but not necessarily with A=440? I don't think that he was saying NOT to use the tuner, but to keep it in perspective. It is an excellent ear training tool and no one here is second guessing a teacher that we haven't met. He was just cautioning you to remain flexible.
  2. kadleck

    kadleck Artist in Residence Staff Member

    Feb 28, 2006
    new york
    And just to expand upon why tuners are not desirable for groups: when you are in an ensemble the pitch will sometimes shift or move around as everyone plays. If things get sharper, you have to play higher. If the get flat, you'll need to play lower.

    There always seems to be someone who has a tuner on their stand and stays "right with it", while ignoring what they are hearing around them. Technically they are "right in tune". But by shutting off their ears and staring at a dial, they are not really contributing to the music in a positive way. Once we all develop a good sense of pitch we can use our tuners more sparingly.

  3. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    I think you're right, too.:lol:

    I wasn't suggesting taking it anywhere (the tuner). And anyway, all playing is done by ear, isn't it? How else can anyone play any musical instrument?

    I think the whole point of the tuner is ear training. And I think the exact type of ear training I need the most is hitting my intervals cleanly ... just being in tune with myself when I play is a challenge.

    That's funny ... I didn't realize anyone would bring one with them. I certainly can see how annoying (and worthless) that could be. You don't want to be the guy that makes everyone else groan when you show up.

    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I have yet to play with a wind ensemble that stays reliably in tune with itself, or that doesn't deviate from A440, so that's something to keep in mind. A tuner is a great tool, but it's only that - IMO it's not something that should be heavily relied on other than to do spot checking here and there.

    I played with a trombone player who used one of those little tuners he could stick to his bell and he was constantly referencing it while he was playing. We almost never locked in, and not even after I started doing spot checking with a bell-clip and tuner (Kork CA30) that was velcroed to my music stand. These days neither me nor the sax player I play with use a tuner and even though we've only been playing together less than six months, we locked in like we were playing together for years almost from day 1. This guy is no slouch either - he spent about a year on tour with the Glenn Miller Big Band and is one of the finest sax players I've ever gigged with.

    Turtle, it sounds to me like you are using yours the way you need to - just remember that once your ears are trained, those are going to be your best bet 98% of the time.
  5. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    Yes, I'm really understanding what you guys are saying.

    I guess there's even more to it than all that ..... Like Miles' playing for example. He's bending and massaging notes often that would not put them (I don't think) perfectly in tune (by a tuner's meter) but to our ears, and his, it's gorgeous. At least I think so. I think he knew exactly how he wanted it to sound and that's not always with the notes falling on concert pitch (there's usually a piano in his recordings). The ears tell you when it sounds musical.

    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Something else to consider is that a tuner in the $40 price range isn't going to account for tempering either - as a guitar player too, you should understand that concept.
  7. B-Flat Cat

    B-Flat Cat Pianissimo User

    Sep 9, 2010
    I just got a TM-40 and I think it's great. It gives me a tuning reference (I have a good ear, but not perfect pitch) for adjusting the 1st & 3rd valve sildes or adjusting embrochure (or both) as I practice. This is a skill that transfers to the ensemble when you are listening to the section leader and the entire ensemble for your tuning, dynamics, etc. I agree that the TM-40 should remain on the practice stand.

    The metronome clicks are fairly loud and I can see the lights as well to keep the tempo; I tend to rush when I'm playing exercises.

    I bought the KM-40 from WWBW for $21.90 and got free shipping because I ordered a new J-Ral bubble mute at the same time. I would buy locally, but I don't know of a shop in my area with good depth of product. Love/Hate the internet!
  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I learned to play in tune with a natural trumpet and a Stroboconn. The Sroboconn showed all twelve notes and taught intervals. Pegging a cheap tuner is not proof of having ears. End of rant.
  9. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
  10. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    As you advice us usually worth what you pay for it...:D

    Nothing wrong with feeling out things on a tuner at home. I was just throwing it out there (for everyone reading your thread) that training your lip to lock into notes on a tuner can cause problems in ensemble playing. Although I didn't mention it (but others did), rehearsing with or performing with a group while watching a tuner is a big mistake - you'll be out of tune with the rest of the group on most every note, for a variety of reasons.

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