Intonation, a reality check.

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

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    One of the beauties of playing instruments that are not locked in like a piano is the ability to PLAY IN REAL TUNE. The well tempered scale is a CURSE to anyone with trained ears. It reduces every key to "almost" in tune.

    Here is the formula for "well tempered": f(N) = 27.5*2^(N/12)

    Our ears generally work differently. Chords sound "in tune" when there are a minimum of beats compared to the other frequencies being played.

    here is a great link with examples:
    Scales: Just vs Equal Temperament

    The bottom line is that the tuner is only of any use to tune the instrument at the beginning to get a common denominator between players. After that it needs to be TURNED off. Even if everybody in the band plays to the tuner, it will sound out of tune!

    To practice intonation, I recommend drones. Get your computer or keyboard to hold out a low note. Then you play a scale with long tones over that one note. The brain already has a decent mechanism to gravitate to the most harmonically compatible version if we don't overload it.

    Chris Leuba (retired horn from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra) wrote an EXCELLENT book on intonation "Study In Musical Intonation". It is THE book to have for all teachers and interested players.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011
  2. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

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    What about ragas? Is it possible to play ragas on a trumpet?
     
  3. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

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    Rowuk, you are so in synch with my cousin Richard, it's amazing. Richard thinks the drone is the best way to go, too. He's also been advocating yoga for years! He says it's the best thing for musicians, in general, not just wind players. And he recently discussed this whole tempered business with me and told me I had an instrument that didn't need to be tempered ...still sussing out what it all means. I think I'll pick up that book ....thanks! I don't seem to ever get enough details.

    I especially like the idea of the drone and playing scales over it ... hadn't thought of that. Btw, How do you get the computer to drone for you?

    Turtle

    Ted, Imagine how great those models would look if they were playing or holding trumpets.:play: It boggles the mind!!!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011
  4. B-Flat Cat

    B-Flat Cat Pianissimo User

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    Turtle, I don't wish to get called down for straying from trumpets here, but you must have missed the part that reads: "when I don't have complete control of the lighting." I think I worded my analogy poorly and may take it down. I've worked with my lighting setup for so long I know the settings for the ratios I use with my lights. Outside my cozy controlled environment I use my eyes and experience to determine the settings for Av & Tv, then check it with the meter and, yes, I change the exposure in favor of the meter if I'm too far off (which happens more than I like to admit). I have no distain for photogs who meter first to set the camera, but I feel that using the light meter the way I have over the years has greatly improved my judgement of lighting and tonal values. I do not "guess" when it comes to exposure, but I use all my tools, including my eyes, experience, and meter in that order. And I've used "sunny 16" and bracketing to pull it off after a meter mishap.

    With my trumpet I'll continue to use my ears mostly, but the tuner will always be on my practice stand.

    By the way, Turtle: Great shots! I like your style.
     
  5. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

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    Careful Turtle the Norsk Photo-shop Genius may see this thread - your models could yet take up the trumpet ;-).
     
  6. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

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    Hey BFlatCat, Sorry for coming on so strong ... your analogy is really okay, don't take it down. We're trumpet players, we get carried away sometimes. Looks like we have another thing in common ... the Connstellation. How do you like yours? Mine is coming in a week ... bought sight unseen, and play untested. Risky, I know, but we're trumpet players. We're a bit crazy.

    Ted, yes ..... it is risky. They're just sitting ducks like that.:-?

    Turtle
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2011
  7. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    I can't believe I just read this whole thread just to post my one little reply.

    The reason people bring the tuner to the community band is: When I play the solo line at letter B people keep telling me that I go way out of tune on the high C and I just can't hear it so I bring the tuner to see where I am.

    I haven't had to use the tuner for that in a long time.

    The idea about using a tuner with a drone is a great idea. Even without the drone just to know that an F is a little sharp to a C is an indication to pull the slide when you tune to C and then have to play an F. The thing to remember is that it's just an indication, not a rule. The only way to know is to listen.

    I can't remember who wrote the thing about not letting the community band look at the tuner while tuning because they will bend the note but, that's 100 % correct. I can't figure why the trumpets always tune to the same note as the rest and then play sharp, and why that magic dirt line on the slide is where it always has to go. Even without the tuner in the community band, they won't move the slide.
     
  8. nordlandstrompet

    nordlandstrompet Forte User

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    The Norsk Photo-shop Genius has seen this thread :cool:
     
    tedh1951 likes this.
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I get my computer to drone with a midi editor. I have a Macintosh and use Easy Beat version 2. Any notation software with playback capability can breathe life into a low C........

    I do own a tuner Phon Tuner for my Palm Treo. Cost me $5 6 or 7 years ago. As it is in my phone, I never forget it.
     
  10. B-Flat Cat

    B-Flat Cat Pianissimo User

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    Turtle, I must love my Connstellation because I bought it new at a local music store (remember those?) in 1966 and it has been my only horn since. When I was going to competitions in high school I noticed the cats with the big sounds, especially in swing bands, were all blowing Connies. I was still playing my '62 Director and was looking for a new axe on recommendation of my band director. Since I'm not a professional trumpet player, the Connstellation has handled everything I've done with just changes in mouthpieces. It's also a great horn for playing in tune and responds well for dynamics. I've tried out other horns, but I always came back to my Connie simply because I love the way it sounds and, after 45 years, I know its every nuance. If the horn you've ordered has been cared for and you like a dark full sound, you'll love it.
     

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