What is intonation?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by rowuk, May 10, 2011.

  1. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    coolerdave likes this.
  2. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    It works for me but, you might have to be a friend or something.
     
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    I was able to run the video. It seems to work for the C trumpet as well. Perhaps it is a quality more of an individual horn as they talk in the video of this effect being related to the length of the 3rd valve slide.

    This is an interesting thought but would't 3rd valve tuning slide lengths be rather standard? This is a question that I would love to see rowuk answer, as he is very intune [truly no pun intended] with the physics of the trumpet.
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    You guys asked for it.........

    IF (a big if) we calculate the "correct" length for the valve slides:
    the second valve is enough length to tune the Bb trumpet down to A (a half tone), the first valve to tune the Bb trumpet down to Ab (a whole tone) and the third valve down to G (1 1/2 tones).

    For the sake of arguement, let's say that we are talking about a modern Yamaha Xeno or Bach trumpet (things have changed - more on this later)

    As long as I only need one valve, everything is "mathematically" perfect. Now I want to use 2 valves: I push the first valve down and now have a trumpet in Ab. If I want to use the second valve, it is unfortunately too short for a half tone on an Ab trumpet. The pitch will be a bit high. The same applies for every other COMBINATION of valves.

    So now the astute will ask why every trumpet player on the planet plays A in the staff 1+2 and some on top of the staff with 3: there are actually a couple answers for this:

    1) most players play tenser up high and 3 is lower in pitch than 1+2
    2) some horns ARE stuffier with valve combinations than without
    3) as there is usually a fair amount of ability to lip up/down, there can be a psychological benefit to doing something different.
    4) the tone is different when lipping up or down

    Before someone gets on my case about 1+2 being too high in pitch and 3 being righter, we have to consider what function the note played with 1+2 for instance serves. If it is a third in a major chord, most modern ears like that a bit high anyway.

    There is also a certain amount of tonal color change when we lip up or down. That is why alternate fingerings are better than brute force when playing instruments like older Bach C trumpets............

    So, now back to modern vs vintage trumpets. Back when 1st and third valve tuning schemes were not standard, the instrument designers made the first and third valve slides a bit too long. The logic was that lipping up an F, Bb or D was "safer" than lipping down all valve combinations. Better modern trumpets have the triggers, rings or saddles and therefore can benefit by having the tubes somewhat shorter.

    I am sure that there will be more discussion about this. As far as I am concerned, it is proof that we can't separate tone and intonation.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2011
  5. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Rowuk,

    Thanks you! That was the BEST description ever, is so crystal clear and so describes so many issues regarding the trumpet. It also validates the University of Dayton professors that made their comments. This matches their descriptions nicely.
     
  6. bobd0

    bobd0 Piano User

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    Intonation is compromise.
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I disagree! Intonation is the means to make 1+1 much more than two. Intonation gives music color as well as harmonic direction and purpose. Even pianos can be tweaked depending on the piece being played to give a much better resonant fit.
     
  8. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

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    Perhaps on an electric keyboard...

    +1 to the doc. That was an excellent quick analysis by Rowuk.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2011
  9. BruceGrain

    BruceGrain New Friend

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    So let me get this straight . Intonation is the trumpet is intune harmonically with itself and everyone else?
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Only if that is the effect desired.

    We can make pro orchestras sound like poorly organized Junior High bands simply by limiting breath control and intonation.

    We can also improve the sound of almost any ensemble by finding common ground.

    Intonation is merely comparison to a reference. Being "intune" depends on what point of view you take.

    Cacophony is sometimes notated......... sometimes also not.
     

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