Intonation, again...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Yamypappy, Jul 30, 2015.

  1. Yamypappy

    Yamypappy New Friend

    Jul 3, 2015
    Raleigh, NC
    Sometimes, when a note sounds "off", I will fire up the tuner to test whether I am hitting the note right on, slightly flat or sharp. I have noticed, not for the first time, that slightly sharp doesn't always offend my ears as much as slightly flat does. I notice when I forget to kick the third valve slide on D, but I don't notice when I start C a little sharp. Can anyone explain that, or do I just need more ear training. I have only been at this a month, after 20 years, so I may just need to keep working on it, along with everything else.

  2. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    I concur that I too am more ear sensitive to flats than sharps. How you stated the D enigma, leaves me only to say that while the difference between C# and D is less, you've now got 2 notes at the wrong pitch.
  3. Yamypappy

    Yamypappy New Friend

    Jul 3, 2015
    Raleigh, NC
    Great, Ed, another thing to work on! Let's see, that's priority 7,081:D

    Well, I was just somewhat frustrated today, but I know as I keep playing, that these notes will get locked into my mind better and better. It does seem, as you are trying desparately to control the instrument that you take one step forward, and two steps back, before stepping forward again.

    And I hope everything is going well with you.


  4. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    Being a tad sharp has an effect of sounding "brighter", I have found. In combo work I have almost never heard anyone complain of another player being sharp.
  5. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    If you're carrying the solo line over a good sized ensemble, "I'd rather be a bit sharp than out-of-tune" is a pretty good maxim. It will help with projection.

    But back in close harmony being sharp will screw up the chord resonance every bit as much as being flat.
  6. Yamypappy

    Yamypappy New Friend

    Jul 3, 2015
    Raleigh, NC
    Thanks veery and Sethlagos. I doubt I will ever be good enough to be a soloist. So, I need to learn again to play in tune. Not that I am unusually out of tune most of the time, but I do notice it especially when warning up, or when I am getting tired, the flatness that is. Then I try to compensate with bringing my lips tighter, which causes going sharp. The good news, though, is that I am getting strong enough to lip notes up and down enough to notice. Baby steps, right? And take pleasure in small things. The other good news is that my lips are getting strong enough to shape the tone, at least in the low register, so that the tone itself is improving.

  7. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    On your horn, that D might be really sharp. On mine, it's so close I just lip it in. That C#, though.... :-)

  8. treble_forte

    treble_forte Pianissimo User

    Sep 11, 2007
    N. Ireland
    I have complained about people being sharp, specifically when playing pop section stuff. What I have noticed is that those who tend to play flat more often play quite a lot under the pitch whereas those who tend to play sharp may only be a fraction sharp (with exception); maybe those who tend to play/hear sharper also play with less tension and have a more resonant tone resulting in a brighter more resonant sound.

    I do agree, slightly sharp is more pleasant than rather flat! What is hard to hear is a section where the pitch tendencies oppose and there isn't a middle ground met. Fighting the pitch can be very tiring!!

    I personally tend to play sharp and sometimes over-correct for it.
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    We are what we repeatedly do. There is no excuse for bad intonation or rhythm. A tuner is generally the worst way to check intonation as most of them are either well tempered or require advanced understanding of various tunings.

    The best way to practice intonation alone is to use a drone tone which can come from a mobile phone, keyboard or computer. Let it play a C and then just play long tones. Where you need to be is self explanatory!
  10. richtom

    richtom Forte User

    Dec 7, 2003
    Lucky me!
    I high school, we had a Strobo-Conn tuner available to those who wanted to use it.
    When you were in tune" on any particular note, the harmonics of that note would also register. The better the note sounded, the more harmonics would
    It didn't take long to figure out the better the note sounded, the more "in tune" it was. In band, we were taught to listen to each other and where we were in the chord structure.
    Perhaps proper tuning is just not taught anymore.
    Rich T.
    gunshowtickets likes this.

Share This Page