Tuning Issues... in Band.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ROGERIO, Oct 24, 2005.

  1. ROGERIO

    ROGERIO Mezzo Forte User

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    Sep 30, 2004
    PHOENIX, AZ
    Manny,

    I’m having tuning issues… sometimes… sometimes not. :shock:

    I’m a comeback player. I’ve been playing again for about a year, in which time I’ve been able to regain about 70% of my chops (strength) from when I was fresh out of school back in 1985. The other 30% is endurance and then range on the smaller horns.

    I’m currently playing in three groups, a Brass Band, a Baroque Orchestra (mostly picc stuff) and a adult community Band.

    My tuning concerns come from playing in the community band. My pitch is everywhere!! I know some of it is from the influence of those around me… I place the tuner on the stand to get a feel for where the pitch is (without me playing)… it can be 10-20 cents sharp or flat. When I tune by myself (by playing and THEN looking over at the tuner) I seem to be right on most of the time… with just a few expected variances.

    I’m not saying my pitch is always perfect… but I seem to fluctuate too easily when the section is playing. I’ve been working on playing long tones and scales with a “drone pitch†CD that was passed out by our Brass Band coach Sam Pilafian, but still - when I go into Band rehearsal I’m tormented and always feel like it’s me that is off.

    How can I work on establishing my pitch and not be so easily influenced??

    This does not happen in the other two assembles I play in.

    Sincerely… frustrated in Phoenix, :bash:

    Rogerio :-)
     
  2. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    609
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    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    Rogerio,

    Years ago when I played in SRB, I felt the same way that you do about your current Concert Band intonation issues. The ensemble pitch was so far out that I never knew who I should go with. I’m glad to hear that things have improved in that group!

    It sounds like you are doing exactly what you personally need to be doing to target intonation in your own playing with the materials that you’ve received from Sam Pilafian. That’s great!

    In another recent post, I mentioned a quote from the author of the product TuneUp (similar to your drone pitch CD):

    “No ensemble can exceed the skill of its membersâ€

    I think you’ve answered your own question! If you are sitting by players that don’t have a clue, there’s not much that you can do. If you are sitting by players that simply have not been held to a high standard in their playing and they are receptive to some input, share with them what you are doing with the drone pitches. They may just need some gentle nudge to making things better. Unfortunately, it sounds like the problem is big enough that targeting one or two players isn’t going to fix the problem.

    Do your best! Turn off your ears (if you can) for those rehearsals, and enjoy the time that you spend with your other (more in tune) groups.

    I can certainly sympathize!

    Now back to Manny!
     
  3. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Yup, a problem with that here too. What I've started doing is to find the one person whose pitch should be "ON".... and in the trumpet section that is supposed to be the 1st player. Follow him (if you can pick his sound out of the mess).

    Remember, it's not whether or not you're "drilling holes" in 440, but how the section sounds that will be remembered. The tuner is only for setting up your tuning slide "in the beginning" (and maybe working on your long tones so that you establish your "ear" and horn characteristics).
     
  4. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    Where do you sit? We are in front of the trombones...which is actually quite helpful. Used to be we had tubas behind us...that was even better, as it gave me a real nice harmonic series to find myself in.

    It is hard for me to hear down the section to principal, especially when we are going full out, but again, I key in on the trombones behind me and rest myself on their harmonics. If your trombone section is good, that may be the key. If not, just try to listen to the ensemble as a whole; know where you fit in the chord, and who is voiced the same as you.
     
  5. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    I only WISH I could tune to the trombones. But 1) they sit on the far side of the band and 2) that's a good thing! Our French Horns (both of them!) are probably our most accurate section.... too bad they have to sit in front of the trombones!

    We trumpets (in our band) have the distinct pleasure of sitting directly behind the clarinets (all three rows of them!). Thank goodness our seating arrangement lets me sit on the very end of the row (1sts in between 2nds and 3rds with 3rds in the centre of the band) and as far away from percussion as possible. ;-)


    Plus I get to leer at the front rows of the audience when my eyes aren't up and counting. :D
     
  6. Jarrett

    Jarrett Piano User

    477
    1
    Nov 11, 2003
    Richland, MO
    Shoot, I've got a guy that sits next to me and blows flat all day and because he's more senior he's constantly leaning over and whispering "tips" in my ear. Sometimes I just wanna say
    "Here's a tip. Go find a pawn shop and give that horn to someone who has a shot of not sucking."
    Of course, that would get me in considerable trouble. Better not.
    -J
     
  7. ROGERIO

    ROGERIO Mezzo Forte User

    908
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    Sep 30, 2004
    PHOENIX, AZ
    Thanks for your comments everyone. :-)
     
  8. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Age:
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    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    Intonation problems

    Last night at the rehearsal of the community band in which I play assistant principal trumpet/cornet, I was in tune with my principal and the rest of the band until we took a break after playing for two hours. Upon returning from our break my old Holton Clarke Model cornet was playing flat. I noticed it immediately, as did my principal and the principal trombonist who sits next to him. I had to shorten the tuning slide fully 1/2". I find it hard to fault my fine old cornet. I personally believe that it was me. My problem is in trying to determine what I was doing wrong. Was it that my lips were more relaxed after the break, or, was it mental relaxation, or, did my hearing change? Anyone have any ideas?
     
  9. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    4,529
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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    What temperature was the room at? Did you horn "cool off" while on break? I'd guess that mostly YOU cooled off during break but there is certainly a chance that the horn could have cooled down too.

    Sometimes we rehearse in a band room that has poor ventilation so we leave a door open. When it's -10 deg outside and there's a cold draft running in along the floor you sure notice the effect of not playing for 10 minutes or so!

    A break AFTER 2 hours? How long ARE your rehearsals?
     
  10. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Age:
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    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.

    3 1/2 hrs. once weekly.


    OLDLOU>>
     

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