Using tuner when practicing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by reraom, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. reraom

    reraom New Friend

    Oct 11, 2011
    Hie everyone!
    I have a question again and if you could give me an answer that would make me very happy.
    So I sometimes use a tuner when doing long tones, while holding a note I sometimes glance at the tuner to make sure I'm not to flat or to sharp.
    But what I don't understand is the setting called *pitch*. I mean it's A=440 by default, but what does it mean? If somebody could explain it in layman terms? My teacher told me he doesn't use a tuner but he would set it on A=442. but in my opinion it makes the notes a little sharp to my ear when the indicator shows that they're supposed to be perfect?
  2. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US
    A = 440 is the frequency of the note. You know when you hear a tuba and you chest rumbles? That is because of the low frequency. First you have to understand waves, any waves. There is the frequency, how close the wave lengths are together, peaks, the top of the waves, that is just a few of the many parts of a wave. Basically if the wavelengths are a certain distance apart they make a note, if they are off then they are sharp or flat. Different frequency = different notes. The farther apart the waves, the lower the note and vice versa The tuner captures the waves in a microphone and determines if the frequency is correct or not. If the note seems sharp to you then it could be the tuner, or your ear. Hope that explains everything in plain English, if I am not correct on anything (I think I am correct) please correct.
  3. jengstrom

    jengstrom Pianissimo User

    Oct 17, 2009
    Rochester, NY
    In the United States, orchestras tune to a 440 Hz A. In Europe (and maybe elsewhere), orchestras tune to a higher A. Your tuner gives you the option to adjust the tuning pitch (and everything else along with it) as you need to.

  4. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US
    I didn't know that, does that mean European orchestras are sharp compared to us?
  5. CNYTrumpet

    CNYTrumpet Pianissimo User

    Jun 19, 2008
    It's been my experience that what A the orchestra tunes to is usually at the preference of the conductor. agree that if you play most of the time at 440 and then have to play at 442 it does take some getting used too. Here in my school, most of the pianos are tuned to somewhere around 442. I've also read that conductors ask for higher tuning pitches because string instruments are said to be louder at higher pitches and wind instruments do not get louder at the higher pitches. A colleague of mine whose a violinist explained to me that sometimes it will depend on the music. She also told me how in Berlin, Herbert von Karajan would tune the orchestra to 445. I've also read that some orchestras in the US, Boston I think, tunes as high as 444. It's said too that some players even have it in their contracts to what A to tune. Either way, a good tool to have is a tuner that can adjust the pitch up or down. I do like having the tuner on the stand during my practice time. Especially when I know a job is coming up where the group is tuned to 442. I've even asked the principal violinist before the rehearsal begins what a were are tuning too.
  6. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    Yes. When artists travel they often have to adjust to the different conventions. If you are a really big name, then perhaps the orchestras will adjust to you.
  7. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US
    That would be nice......
  8. richtom

    richtom Forte User

    Dec 7, 2003
    Does anyone ever do any research? Just wondering.
    From wikipedia, here is a correct dissertation on pitch and frequency.
    Concert pitch - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    A higher tuning, to say 442, results in a slightly more brilliant sound from an ensemble. If you tune to A = 440 and your ensemble has tuned to A = 442, they are not "sharp", you are under their tuning frequency.
    Most people notice out of tune playing at 6%, or about 10 cents. Bear in mind when using a tuner, trying to keep the pitch of each note "dead center" is not going to train your ear and hitting everything dead center is not necessary to play "in tune". A tuner is a tool that helps train your ear, which, once trained, is a far better judge of pitch than the tuner itself.
    Rich T.
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    We are flat to them. In Germany the organs are usually pitched higher (to make the instrument brighter) and in England, they tune their organs flatter (to make it easier for the congregation to sing).

    I'm not a big fan of tuners, except tuning my horn. I've worked with enough guys who when told "Your third is high" would pull their tuners out, peg the note and shrug. That is not what pitch is about.
  10. reraom

    reraom New Friend

    Oct 11, 2011
    Thanks for your advice guys. WI try to use my tuner less and less when I practice and learn to trust my ears, just wanted to understand why some people say you gotta tune to a=440 and some to 442. Now it is clear to me. Thanks again! I also play some guitar and it's strange to see how many guitarists use a tuner for tuning their guitar nowadays.

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