Tuning Flutes

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by B15M, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    Monroe Ct.
    Manny,

    I need your help with the wind ensemble I play with. About a year ago I told the music director that I had some ideas about how to play in tune better. He said "good from now on you are in charge of tuning."

    I think I have done a really good job but I am still having trouble with the flutes and piccolos. I know it's hard for them way up high but it is hurting the band.

    Can you give me any ideas as to what I can say to them. The band is all adults, Mostly music teachers.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    I'll bet you're doing everything right but I find the thing that throws tuning off the most is balance.

    First, don't stand too close to the group you're trying to tune. Give yourself a little distance and make sure the lower voices are adequately balancing the sound of the louder upper voices.

    Second, make sure no one is using vibrato during the tuning. Flute players do this all the time.

    Color can fool you, too. That's why the balance thing is so crucial.

    ML
     
  3. davidjohnson

    davidjohnson Piano User

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    Nov 2, 2003
    arkansas
    in addition, i offer -

    tune the flute D and Bb to the clar. 1st line E & 3rd space C.
    flutes are like trumpets in that no matter what you do, C# is a stinker.
    most players should always roll in a bit for that note.

    the flautists who have a sharp high register often fix it by just rolling the lip plate in on the embouchure when they get up there, if they play flat they just roll out a bit. i think they also do better if they listen down to some lower voices to tune/blend with those as the ensemble plays.

    dj
     
  4. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    I am not talking about actually standing in front and tuning. I give a little talk at break on tuning before we start playing again.

    I have talked about getting the tuning CD and I told the band to get a guitar and tune it and listen to the beats as they get faster and slower. We talked about playing relaxed and how when you are having a hard time reading the music you tense up and the pitch goes up. We talked about listening across sections and playing musically and not just the notes and trying to listen down. We tried playing down into the pitch so if you are out of tune you can let up a little and the pitch will go up a little.

    These are all ideas thrown out there and we talk about them a little each week. When we are playing the flutes and piccolos don't seem to get it.

    So I was looking for something new to talk about this week at rehearsal if you have anything.

    Thanks again.
     
  5. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Gotcha...

    So, now... is the punchline to all this that the flutists are music teachers?

    Say it ain't so.


    ML
     
  6. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    Some of them
     
  7. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Well, you know, in fairness, band flute sections are usually pretty big and it has to be tough to hear themselves. I like to have my students in orchestra take "intonation inventory". That is, they should have a very clear idea of what notes are bad on their instruments and have a yellow flag go off in their heads when these notes come up. What are their propensities on given notes?

    I think I automatically put a pictire of the smaller orchestral flute section . I'll bet there are at least eight of them all vying for sound in the uppermost register. It's hard to hear pitch up there compared to the mid range.

    ML
     
  8. robertwhite

    robertwhite Mezzo Piano User

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    Nov 11, 2003
    I have a slightly different take on this, especially if I'm working with a community group. The more we harp on intonation, the worse it gets. Especially with non-pro players. When the attention is on "find the pitch" and not "beautiful sound", bad things always happen.

    Even in my own orchestra, the people that play the most out of tune are the ones constantly harping on intonation, and trying to "find the pitch". (Wow, hope I don't get fired for that one!) :lol:

    In short, I think some basic attention, without a lot of stressing about it usually yields positive results over time. Focus on quality of sound.
     
  9. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    We have talked before about checking notes. That will be the talk at the next rehearsal

    Thanks again
     
  10. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    I don't think this is the same thing. This group is about 1/3 people that can really play; 1/3 music teachers; 1/3 retired teachers or people that want to play or stragglers. You have to audition to get in to the band and I would say that there aren't any bad players. We are getting very close to really having something.
    At the last rehearsal we talked about tuning at break like we always do but put the focus on flutes and clarinets. After break the intonation was way better. They can hear it but for some reason don't, or don't care unless confronted.

    I don't understand how they can play in tune and then play soooo out. If it were me I would drop out before I played that far out.
     

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