Intonation

Discussion in 'EC Downloading' started by Sandovalic, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. Sandovalic

    Sandovalic New Friend

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    Jan 20, 2006
    Netherlands
    Hey there,

    Ever since I'm playing trumpet (for about 1 year now) i'm aware of my hearing problems. It seems that my hearing is playing tricks with me. Playing a great third (I hope I get the terms right in english) always ending up to low (towards the minor third) and my octaves are to high. I need an outher reference and a little time to hear the bad intonation. I'm working on it by playing slow intervals and checking them by keyboard or tuning device.
    So far it doesn't seem to help me much. Can anyone give me some advise?

    Greeting from Holland,

    Olaf Vermeersch
     
  2. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Greetings, Olaf and welcome to TM!

    You are experienceing some of the normal things alot of us experience, first of all. You may want to try practicing along with a drone to help you identify where the weak notes on the horn are. Sharpness is usually caused by tension...besure to take full, relaxed breaths and release the air, rather than push it.

    When you say octaves, do you mean when you play in octaves with other players or when you play the same note in a different octave? (G to G comes to mind).

    I'm sure others will chime in with other ideas...this hopefully will get you started.

    Great to hear from the tulip capitol of the world! Makes me think spring!
     
  3. Sandovalic

    Sandovalic New Friend

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    Jan 20, 2006
    Netherlands
    Hi, thanks for the answer,

    A 'drone' is it something like a looping scale wich I play on a PC or do you mean something else?

    The octaves I'm talking about are all played by me like for instance in ' over the rainbow'


    Greeting
    Olaf
     
  4. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Olaf, I think one of the best things you can do is to find another trumpet player to practice with. Then you will not have the distraction of an entire band trying to play the same notes but you will have someone on a similar instrument. You will get the sense of being "in tune", "slightly out of tune" etc. on harmony pieces. It will also help you learn the characteristics of your instrument (which notes are slightly flat, which are slightly sharp) and how to quickly bring your music "in tune" with the other guy.

    You can learn to play 3rds, 5ths, etc. with a drone but that is not "the real world". Ultimately you are going to have to be able to tune with other people WHO MAY NOT BE PERFECTLY ON THE NOTE THEMSELVES!

    It is also a great motivation to improve. Get some simple duets... Bach chorales etc. to work on. Some of the good method books that are published in "progressions" (Book 1, Book 2, etc.) have these already in them.
     
  5. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Olaf- By a drone I mean a note that keeps sustaining for a long time. You can probably get that to happen on a computer; I've never really tried. The easiest way, if you have an electronic keyboard, is to play a note and let it sustain with the foot pedal. When you do this remember that if you are playing a Bb trumpet (I assume you are?) the note on the keyboard needs to be one full step lower than what you are playing on your trumpet. (For example, if you are playing a C on trumpet play a Bb on the keyboard; G on trumpet becomes F on keyboard; A becomes G and so on). I use a device called Dr. Beat DB88. I don't know how much they would be over there; but it's a handy tool. If you have a quartz metronome, it might have an A-440 setting on it. Rotate the knob to that, and it will help tune your B. Then begin playing other notes against it.

    I love Over the Rainbow! It's one of my all time favorite tunes, actually. Keep the sound consistent from register to register; really fill out the sound (think full and in tune, not necessarilly loud) on the low note and use it as a springboard to the upper notes. Listen for the ringing in your sound.
     
  6. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

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    Jul 13, 2005
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    Goede middag, Olaf

    Where in Holland are you from?

    It seems that many of my friends here have given good answers (I'm insanely busy these days and haven't been able to check in often). I'd like to suggest one important thing -- you haven't been playing long and good intonation is related both to chord function (ear) and centering each note as you play. I'd suggest working on the latter with your teacher before getting too caught up in the former. Both come with time: practice at home and rehearsal with others.

    Tot ziens!
    EC
     
  7. josephus07

    josephus07 Pianissimo User

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    Feb 19, 2005
    Do you have particular suggestions for working on centering? (How).

    Also, is this something that becomes automatic over time through muscle memory - after working with a tuner and drone in warmup, over time, you'll just always be pretty close to playing in the center?

    Thanks!
     
  8. Sandovalic

    Sandovalic New Friend

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    Jan 20, 2006
    Netherlands
    goede avond,

    I'm from Sas van Gent. It's a small town in zeeland near the belgium border, 15 kilometers from Terneuzen. It's about 1,5 hour drive to Rotterdam.

    I've been practicing at home with a tuner for some time now and I can play in tune but it still takes a lot of energy. I sometimes have to read my own signature and convince myself that mister Gorden is right ;-) .

    Bedankt voor de antwoorden (thanks for al answers)
    It's a pleasure knowing that there are always people out there willing to help.

    Olaf
     
  9. mazzrick

    mazzrick Pianissimo User

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    Sep 16, 2005
    Berlin, Germany
    On the topic of practicing with a tuner: I don't want to offend those who highly value the use of a tuner, but especially for someone who hasn't been playing for a long time, I would suggest limiting the amount of time you spend with the tuner on. I say this for a few reasons. First, as Ed mentioned, centering each note should be the more important factor when it comes to placing the note. Centering could be interpreted as perfectly in tune, or where the note seems to produce the most resonanat tone. The other, as a few people already illuded to, is that depending on the key you're playing in, not all notes require the same pitch placement. Simply put, an E in E major is not the same note as an E in C major. Technically the Major 3rd is supposed to be 13 or 14 cents flatter, and etc. not important for this topic. A former teacher of mine discouraged tuners (maybe a little more than needed) but encouraged trying to find a ringing, resonant tone on each note. In theory, if every note is played with the best sound possible and you use the 1st and 3rd valve slides (if available) when needed, the intonation will be taken care of. Lastly, if you spend too much practice time bending the pitches all over creation to make the tuner happy, you will end up straining your chops much more than you need to, thus hurting your sound, endurance, range, and consequently, intonation. Funny how that works. Aim for the best sound, and trust that (quality instrument willing) you will play in tune notes. Then worry about specific tuning problems later. Comment? Arguments? Agreements?

    Matt
     
  10. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!

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