The Intonation

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpetrelax, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    Hi Bob,
    Markie here, Hell yes!!! Every now and then I get it just right and there is no better feeling.
     
  2. Darrien

    Darrien Pianissimo User

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    Hi

    I've read all that was posted and things are still not that clear in my mind. I've struggled for a bit getting my tone steady. I recently bought a tuner and noticed just how much my tone was wavering from flat to sharp rapidly on a single note (of course I could have heard that anyways). Workign with the tuner I've been able to keep the tone from wavering much now, but I'm still concerned with actualling getting it tuned correctly.

    One of the things that puzzles me is the fact that we can actually bend notes. How do I really tune the instrument?? Is it just to play with my lips in the most relaxed position on a note and move the slide until that is in tune with the tuner.

    The other thing is that I notice sometimes I may play one note bang on, then the note above it might be too flat and the next might be too sharp. Should all these adjustments be made using the 1st & 3rd slides to compensate or must I learn to readjust the "tension" (tightened/relaxed) in my lips to bring the notes in tune?

    Thinking about what Rowuk and some others have said, I believe lot of playing intune could infact be relative. In that it depends on what the sound is like in an ensemble. i.e. each player had to adjust so that the sounds blend in tune with each other. So my thinking is that, an ensemble might be playing flat or sharp if thats what it takes for the whole section to be in tune. Am I making sense in that or am I going down the wrong road. Not sure I really understand getting in tune. Oh and no, I've got no teacher available and anyone to play duets with are less experienced players.
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    There is no "absolute" intonation. The relationship between each interval depends on its context. Using tuners to improve intonation is like having to make American beer ice cold to make the taste good. Instead of brewing it right in the first place, we make it cold so that our taste buds are fooled (anyone that has been to Germany can confirm this).

    Intonation needs to be learned through ensemble playing - from duets on up. Throw those tuners in the trash. They only make you dependent on what your eyes see instead of what your ears hear. THERE IS NO ABSOLUTE INTERVAL. Pianos need to be tuned with a comprimise because there is no mechanism to optimize.

    Ears, my friends, EARS. There is no other solution!
     
  4. oldenick

    oldenick Pianissimo User

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  5. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    Hi trumpetrelax and Darrien.
    Just a little advice while we're on a roll. When you ask a question you'll get some answers that seem to make sense and others that are just plain stupid and (if appied) possibly harmful. Thats just the nature of a forum.
    The words of wisdom here? "Trust but verify". If you ask a question and someone (this includes advice from moderators too!) gives you an answer that you think might be of help, ask that person to lead you toward information that will back up what they are saying. You'll get a lot of good advice here, but you'll also get the opposite too. "Trust but Verify".
    With that said, here's what I can give you on intonation.
    When I listen for intonation I do two things:
    First, I try to match my pitch with the pitch the trumpet wants to make. (see Resonant Intonation by Mark Van Cleve).
    Second, I listen for "beats inside the sound" Richard Hein wrote a fairly intresting article in 1981 called Percise Intonation in which he discusses periodic constructive and destructive interference.
    Hope this helps and good luck
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2009
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Chris Leuba (retired horn player with the Chicago Symphony) did a definitive piece on intonation. He actually included charts on what an E in an A-Major, C Major, E-Major should have for differing frequencies for instance.

    When two tones are played at the same time, they create sum and difference tones. 600 and 700 hertz will interact and create 100 hertz and 1300 hertz. When you play in tune, the tones become comfortable to the ear. In a major chord, all of the tones interact and create sum and difference tones in that chord. Just being a little out of tune will destroy those additional tones.

    Music needs our ears. The sooner we get them "educated" the better off we all are.

    The idea of playing on the resonant center on a trumpet is the most efficient way to produce tones but depending on the "slotting" capabilities of the horn, can actually be in the way of good ensemble intonation and blend. Knowing ones instrument intimately will help us get the tuning slide in the place with the best comprimise. Learning to use the 1st and 3rd tuning slides will get the resonance better lined up with what we are trying to play. The bottom line is still that our EARS have to have control, not the horn or some display.

    To get better intonation, find a duet buddy and as many ensembles as possible!!!
     
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    If you are in tune with your mouthpiece, you might want to consider how out of tune the trumpet really is. As well as the 13 and 123 combinations being way, way too sharp, the 12 combinations are sharp as well. If your horn slots really well, slides are the only option to correct intonation. In the case of an (12) A, the amount of pull will vary, depending on the position of the note within a chord, the rest of the ensemble, and the key of the piece at the moment. Weird stuff, but fun.
     
  8. Darrien

    Darrien Pianissimo User

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    Thanks for all the advice guys. Something to gleam from all. I've got to go look for those various articles referenced to.

    I believe one of the things I get hung up on in trying to understand tuning, is being able to identify when a note is actually sharp or when its flat. Of course flat or sharp has to be determined from some singular point of reference (at least thats how I interpret it), that is really why I got a tuner so I could determine that reference point so to speak. However, I clearly understand that when playing with others it is really the ear that will determine how well in tune the sound is. So I'm thinking now that the really important thing to develope is how to hear the sounds and pull them in tune with other musicians.

    So that being said, i'm now thinking that I should work on my emoucher in terms of being able to bend pitches (or do it with slides) to always pull the pitches nicely with others. Does that sound about right??

    Thanks again.
     
  9. Darrien

    Darrien Pianissimo User

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    As I re-read VBrothers comment, how do I tell when I'm in tune with my mouthpiece, how do I tell when I'm intune with my leadpipe and finally with the horn itself. What should I be listening for to determine this?
     
  10. mchs3d

    mchs3d Mezzo Forte User

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    I don't know. Can't change the past.
     

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