Intonation

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by MahlerBrass, Oct 13, 2006.

  1. MahlerBrass

    MahlerBrass Piano User

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    Howdy Mr. Laureano, so after much careful examination of my playing and section playing in our orchestra, I've noticed that there are some intonation tendencies in my playing that make it difficult to play in tune and all those minor details (kidding). So I was wondering if you had any exercises or routines that you might like to share about how you work on intonation, thanks a bunch!
     
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Dear MB,

    Well, for intonaton there isn't a whole lot you can do excpet 1) know what the tendencies of your instrument are on any given set of notes, and the 2) be aware and ready to adjust once your ear has told you what to do. Perhaps playing in a live hall and playing some arpeggios quickly and then listening to the feedback would help. It certainly helps at Orchestra Hall when the stage is quiet and empty. As far as exercises, though, playing along with a well-tuned piano is the best you can do.

    ML
     
  3. Cornet1

    Cornet1 Pianissimo User

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    I have found that when preparing cornet solos it is very useful to have at least the soloists part in the 'Sibelius' software to play along with. This helps intonation considerably especially in difficult passages where the phrases end awkwardly and in high and low sections. The MIDI sound of Sibelius is not very inspiring but does help a lot when you are sorting things out.
     
  4. Liad Bar-EL

    Liad Bar-EL Forte User

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    While playing in a quintet (the only trumpet) at Interlochen with the first Trombone player of the Philadelphia Orchestra, I found that intonation is critical. You are listening for that harmonic "buzz" between instruments…….best to find others for the group who do not have intonation problems……but if played softly or moderately in volume, you can listen to yourself very well on how you fit…..not to over blow but rather to blend……………then you can tell what your intonation is as well as your general tone and musicianship…………a true joy in making music.

    The other tech route: Go buy yourself a "Quik Tune" and test out your horn at all levels and take notes and adjust accordingly.

    Liad
     
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Use your slides! Rather than lipping the 1-2 combination in tune, throw out the 1st valve slide...draw arrows on your music...try to think vertically as much as you do horizontally.
     
  6. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    MB- Are you talking about individual tuning or developing intonation as a section (because those are similar, but different). Are you sitting in the "hot seat"?

    If it is section, and you are sitting in that afrementioned hot seat, get your sectionmates together and play some trios or quartets (or Bach Chorales).

    Using a fixed external pitch while buzzing on a BERP really helps. It coordinates the embouchre and the ear. As does using that fixed external pitch while doing lip flexibilities and pausing on random partials to check for resultant tones.

    I harmonized the Schlossberg 1st long tone study, and set my sound to the fullest string section sound I could find. That helped alot, too. It changes chords while I sustain the pitch (meaning I in effect change chord components), so it develops the adjustment skill necessary in varying harmonic vocabulary. Takes a bit of time, but once you get how your software works, it's not hard. It's good for the theory chops, too.
     
  7. MahlerBrass

    MahlerBrass Piano User

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    Oct 1, 2004
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    Well, I'm referring to both individual and section playing. I'm principal in our orchestra, and I guess my question was more towards battling the instrument than anything else. I can usually hear pitches pretty well, but the instrument will sometimes win the battle and pull me to another direction, so I'm not sure if there's even an answer to that, but I did want to hear about some folks' methods towards aiding intonation.
     
  8. Hags888

    Hags888 Pianissimo User

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    Intonation is tricky. There are two basic concepts you can use to help. One is recognizing "overtones" or the "buzzing" as one person called it between two pitches. The other is aural memory.

    To work on recognizing overtones and adjusting the pitch, I recommend a Tuning CD. You have to be able to recognize overtone "beating" between out of tune pitches and then be able to adjust your embouchure to "fix" intervals. The Tuning CD gives you pure tones that you can easily tune your trumpet to. You can use a piano as well, but it's difficult to hold the key down and sustain the pitch while you try to tune a note with your trumpet.

    Secondly, you need to work on aural memory. This is being able to "remember" where you moved your embouchure to get a note in tune so you can play it right the first time without having to constantly "scoop" notes while you play. Student ensembles have a very difficult time with aural memory and typically play out of tune a lot. Having sectionals and focusing on out of tune intervals in the music is the best approach. The trick is to "remember" what you did in sectional and then apply to the rehearsal.

    Good Luck!
     
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh, you're first chair! That changes everything!

    It's your job to be in tune with the other principals in the orchestra, and at times, their job is to tune to you. It is not your job to do their jobs for them. As to your section, it is their job to tune to you as long as the horn is on their face. Later, perhaps, they can talk to you about problem passages. (Example: Verdi's Requiem. The three trumpets follow each other on some Ebs, and by the time the 3rd player comes in, the 1st is playing an A (Eb dim, implied B7). The question becomes "should the 3 consecutive Ebs be the same, or should the 3rd trumpet adjust to the first player?"

    Most of the time you can fix things simply by calling attention to intonation. Good luck!
     
  10. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    Many of the intonation tendencies I've had are a result of a particular trumpet/mouthpiece combo combined with my natural tendencies. Of course, if you recognize a specific tendency (i.e., a sharp G above the staff), the proper intonation can be learned and reinforced with practice. I've had better luck, however, with using a mouthpiece that corrects many of the problems by being a better match to my playing style and my trumpet. That way, there are far fewer notes that require correction and I can concentrate more on other aspects of playing.
     

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