What is intonation?

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

  1. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

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    I think intonation of a horn as the intervals between the enharmonic overtones which can't/or won't be adjusted while playing. So good intonation is when the enharmonics are in the right intervals for a particular style of playing and bad intonation when they at inappropriate intervals for a particular style. For a concept of style see temperament and tuning.
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I would like to offer an extension of my first post. How do you know that you are in tune? I think that it may be a relatively easy task when playing duets with a similar instrument, but what "clues" let you know that you are on the right path? Is a tuner useful when more than 2 tones are being played at one time?

    The second part of my question, when playing in an ensemble, what do we tune during playing to?
     
  3. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

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    Intonation? I always thought of it as in-tune-ation. Or how in tune is your tone. As far as knowing where to ease off or come down harder on your note in a chord, I think of that as balance and dynamics. Intonation is always going to be relative to what notes were played before and what comes afterward, as well as who else is playing at the same time, and which pitches they are playing.

    What do the good old internet dictionaries say?
    the manner of producing musical tones, specifically the relation in pitch of tones to their key or harmony.
    A manner of producing or uttering tones, especially with regard to accuracy of pitch.
    In music, the word intonation is a synonym for tuning and systems of musical tuning. If musicians have "bad intonation", it means they play or sing out of tune.

    Carry on. Good discussion.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  4. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

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    I know my intonation is awesome - when my cat - Jill, comes down to the basement and sits beside me -- no matter what I am playing that day (pedals, regular range, high range). I figure she knows what days the trumpet is sounding "pleasant" -- either that or she has gone deaf.

    Sometime in the summer though this happens with the neighborhood dogs when I play in the barn -- sometimes they "howl", and then some days they only howl for a minute or two and then calm down --- so I know I'm playing well on those days --
    AND that is intonation to me!!!!
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2011
  5. Bill Dishman

    Bill Dishman Piano User

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    I have had this question in my mind several times over the years. I suppose the problem is that different people (teachers as well) have different interpretations of the term "intonation".

    I have heard the comment "you/we must improve our tuning and intonation." many times and usually have a question about how they are different or similar.

    From my perspective (and please correct me if I am off base) "tuning" for most of us has to do with matching pitches with other players (or tuners/pianos/organs etc.) and the term "intonation" has to do with the quality of the chord or scale tones in relation to a chord/scale being "in tune" with itself.

    Ex. Raising or lowering the 3rd in a Major or minor triad.

    Ex. Raising "leading tones" (7ths of a Major scale) or a melodic minor scale.

    Ex. Adjusting the intervals of perfect 4ths or 5ths until they "hummmmmmm".


    Please feel free to correct me if I am off base on this.


    Bill Dishman
    Gainesville, Florida
     
  6. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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    I was shooting spitballs (trumpet cleaning kind) into the flute section!:lol:
     
  7. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

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    Its like the concept of a raga. A raga isn't a song, it isn't a scale, it is a tuning. Each raga has a different set of notes, and each notes are tuned slightly different. Often times certain ragas sound especially good on certain instruments and are more difficult on others. The bansari(flute) can be especially challenging to play in certain ragas. It takes Indian musicians a long time to tune.

    In Western music we usually have equal tempered, and just tempered. Of course just tempered isn't as well defined. Even with tempered tunings there are some differences, for example the baby grand piano vs. the grand piano, the overtones are further apart on one than the other, because of the density of the strings so they aren't usually tuned to identical notes. Of course there is always the question of weather a string quartet would play equal tempered, or would want to for that matter, but what remains to be see is given all of the harmonics in all the strings in a chord, how do they choose to harmonize, not at all clear that it is consistent from group to group.

    So yeah intonation, you can say much more than just being in tune.
     
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Comment 1: I don't remember, I was too busy shooting paperclips at the sax players
    Comment 2: I was shooting spitballs (trumpet cleaning kind) into the flute section!

    Boys will be boys... I on the other hand was dating the sax and flute section. So instead of shooting paperclips we were locking braces, and instead of shooting spitballs, we were sharing balls of spit. You kids can have it your way but this guy, well he got it his way.
     
  9. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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    In junior high!!?? Junior high girls have cooties!:lol:
     
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Call it what you want (cooties), but this results from the fact the girls hormonally mature before boys, so while you were avoiding catching cooties because you were scared of advanced hormonal development, I was catching other things from junior high girls as I welcomed hormonal advancement with OPEN ARMS.:evil:
     

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