What Do I Listen For When Tuning?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by tedh1951, Sep 26, 2009.

  1. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    Monroe Ct.
    I don't understand this but, I want to.

    For me, as I go more sharp or flat the waves get faster.
    How do you tell if you are sharp or flat?

    To me slow waves mean a little out of tune either way.
    Fast waves mean a lot out of tune either way.

    If you can teach me how to hear the difference between sharp and flat from the waves, I will buy you dinner.
     
  2. richtom

    richtom Forte User

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    Here is a link to Jay Friedman's website. Jay Friedman: Principal Trombonist, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    For those of you who may not know, Jay Friedman has been in the Chicago Symphony since 1962 and has been principal trombone since 1964. To put it bluntly, he knows exactly what he is talking about.
    In the articles section, there is a very recent (7/09) article on tuning where he discusses aspects of tuning - especially sticking a tuner on your stand and trying to play spot on pitch.
    There are some other marvelous articles including a few on the trumpet - which he really loves and can actually play - and there is one older (from 2006) article written by Chris Martin on the adjustments he made and what he was learing during his first year in the principal chair.
    Rich T
     
  3. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

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    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    You should do a bit more research on the "waves" as you call them (actually they're called "beats" in acoustical terms) -- when they are slow you are practically in tune, either flat or sharp. When they are fast you are further out of tune, either flat or sharp. You're correct that when you can't hear them you are in tune. Speed of the beats in no way indicates the direction that you are out of tune. It may be that is what you have observed in your own playing, but acoustically they are merely an indicator that there is a discrepancy between the two pitches being sounded.
     
  4. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    Monroe Ct.
    Here is a quote from your link:

    "Putting an electric tuner on the stand and keeping the needle in the middle does nothing but guarantee an out of tune performance.

    Do yourself a favor: put the tuner away, and listen. Your ears are far more accurate than the electronics. "
     
  5. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

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    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    Thanks for that link to those articles by Jay Friedman.

    I have to take issue however with the admonition to put the tuner away. I quite agree with him that if you simply follow the tuner you will be out of tune and won't really learn to play in tune.

    The issue I have with such a statement is that for many people, especially beginners, they have no idea what to listen to when trying to play in tune with themselves. When playing with others, by all means don't use a tuner but instead use your ears and blend with what you hear.

    But if a person is only playing with other beginners (who are likely out of tune themselves) it is very helpful to practice with a tuner and see which notes need adjusting and which ones are always spot on. Often times a person's face will light up when they finally play a note in tune and they'll say "Wow, I didn't know it was supposed to sound like that!"

    Tuners do have their uses -- a wise person will learn what those uses are (mainly checking intonation while playing alone and in learning the intonation issues you have with your instrument) and will not try to use a tuner in situations they're not suited for (playing in an ensemble, for example, when one should only trust one's ears and not a tuner on your stand.)
     

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