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Tuning Problems



 
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Menaceboi
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Joined: 29 Jul 2003
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2004 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ive been playing trumpet (on and off) for around 7 years. Recently, ive been practising more and devoting more time for music, joining more ensembles etc. Ive noticed that i do have a tuning problem. Whenever i play beside another trumpet player, i feel that im always out of tune. I reckon the problem lies with me because it happens no matter who i sit beside with. I begin practising with a tuner. Play a Concert Bb, in tune, mouthpiece away from my chops. I put it back and play and it's out of tune again. Everytime i start a note, it's a different tuning.

I identify this tuning problem that im facing could be due to 3 reasons. 1st, my emborchure is weak. 2nd, my attack is inconsistent and lastly, bec MY EAR SUCK.

This is also perhaps i m not able to hear the note that i want to play and the "center of the pitch" problem.

Anyone ever encounter tuning problems as serious as well and managed to curb it? I would appreciate if someone provides some solutions for me on how to improve my tuning.
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turd_ferguson
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Joined: 23 Jan 2004
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2004 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm no expert on this subject but I'd say continue practicing with a tuner and adjust accordingly. You might want to try some pitch bending exercises as well. Bend the pitch down and when you come back up it's easier to find the center of the note where it best resonates and plays in tune. Another way of improving your ear is to learn solfege and sing the notes.
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bigbrowncow
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Joined: 11 Dec 2003
Posts: 122
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2004 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Over the last couple of months I have become convinced that learning to tune to an electronic tuner doesn't help.

What you need is a tone that you can tune to. Your electronic tuner might be able to create a tone, or use an electronic keyboard or PC synth to play a single long tone (an organ sound can be quite good). Then work on eliminating the beats by exactly matching the pitch.

I would strongly recommend http://www.tuneupsystems.com - the CD does exactly this, and takes you onto the next level in terms of tuning intervals as well.

Also see http://www.trumpetherald.com/forum/viewtopic.php?topic=16155&forum=4


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radial
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Joined: 18 Jan 2003
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Location: rockford, il

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2004 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't like playng with a tuner because there can be a tendency to rely on it instead of your ears. The fact that you've started to notice intonation is the first step to playing in tune. One thing that helps me is to practice with a piano. You'll eventually get to where you hear the intervals in your own head. (it may not necessarily be you playing out of tune.)

After saying that, the piano is a compromise in pitch. Not everything is stricly in tune. All music groups play with an entirely different pitch sense than the piano.
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Nonsense Eliminator
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Joined: 03 Feb 2003
Posts: 5204
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2004 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the first step is to diagnose where exactly the problem lies. How is your singing? Can you sing "Happy Birthday" in tune? Can you buzz it in tune on your mouthpiece? Can you play it in tune with yourself on the trumpet? If the answers to those questions aren't all the same, then perhaps the problem isn't in your ears per se but rather in your ability to translate what you hear to the trumpet. The root of that problem could either be mental or mechanical; for instance, if you are habitually playing out of the centre of the pitch, you will always sound out of tune.

If, on the other hand, you don't feel that you can even sing in tune, then the problem is more likely with your ears, and the best approach may be to attack that issue directly, with as little interference from the trumpet as possible. How to go about that depends on what resources you have available. For instance, if you are a halfway decent pianist, playing simple melodies while singing or buzzing along might be helpful. You can also use the piano (or a tuning fork or whatever) to get your starting pitch and then practice singing or buzzing short melodies, really focussing on hearing every interval, and then check to make sure that your pitch hasn't drifted.

The best thing for developing intonation that I have found is to play with other people who play in tune. Do as much of that as you can. It doesn't matter whether you are a beginner or a professional, your ears will tend to develop only as much as your performing experiences allow them to. As I have taken each new step in my development as a musician, I have found myself in performing situations where I think, "Hey, this group plays really well in tune." Over time, I "adapted" to that degree of good intonation and started to hear the discrepancies in pitch that initially I had been unable to detect. So seek out opportunities to play with good musicians.

One further, more general suggestion. Often, less advanced players are encouraged to think about whether the note they are playing is sharp or flat. "Okay, Billy, now that's out of tune. Are you sharp or flat?" I'm not sure that this is the best way to go about this. I think it is better to simply focus on where the note ought to be, and put it where it goes. Rather than trying to determine whether your goal pitch is higher or lower than what you're playing, concentrate absolutely on duplicating that goal pitch, whether it's in your head or coming from the guy beside you.

I hope all of that made some sense...
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Bri
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Joined: 05 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2004 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Go here and check it out...

http://www.thetuningcd.com/

This was a requirement in my college trumpet studio. The conductors NEVER had to correct the trumpets intonation, and we owe it all to practicing with this CD.
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camel lips
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Joined: 24 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2004 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CAn I sing happy Birthday in tune?

Heck I couldnt even carry a tune in a bucket.
Quote:

On 2004-01-25 15:07, Nonsense Eliminator wrote:
I think the first step is to diagnose where exactly the problem lies. How is your singing? Can you sing "Happy Birthday" in tune? Can you buzz it in tune on your mouthpiece? Can you play it in tune with yourself on the trumpet? If the answers to those questions aren't all the same, then perhaps the problem isn't in your ears per se but rather in your ability to translate what you hear to the trumpet. The root of that problem could either be mental or mechanical; for instance, if you are habitually playing out of the centre of the pitch, you will always sound out of tune.

If, on the other hand, you don't feel that you can even sing in tune, then the problem is more likely with your ears, and the best approach may be to attack that issue directly, with as little interference from the trumpet as possible. How to go about that depends on what resources you have available. For instance, if you are a halfway decent pianist, playing simple melodies while singing or buzzing along might be helpful. You can also use the piano (or a tuning fork or whatever) to get your starting pitch and then practice singing or buzzing short melodies, really focussing on hearing every interval, and then check to make sure that your pitch hasn't drifted.

The best thing for developing intonation that I have found is to play with other people who play in tune. Do as much of that as you can. It doesn't matter whether you are a beginner or a professional, your ears will tend to develop only as much as your performing experiences allow them to. As I have taken each new step in my development as a musician, I have found myself in performing situations where I think, "Hey, this group plays really well in tune." Over time, I "adapted" to that degree of good intonation and started to hear the discrepancies in pitch that initially I had been unable to detect. So seek out opportunities to play with good musicians.

One further, more general suggestion. Often, less advanced players are encouraged to think about whether the note they are playing is sharp or flat. "Okay, Billy, now that's out of tune. Are you sharp or flat?" I'm not sure that this is the best way to go about this. I think it is better to simply focus on where the note ought to be, and put it where it goes. Rather than trying to determine whether your goal pitch is higher or lower than what you're playing, concentrate absolutely on duplicating that goal pitch, whether it's in your head or coming from the guy beside you.

I hope all of that made some sense...
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StewMuse
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Joined: 26 Apr 2003
Posts: 515
Location: CHICAGO

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2004 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WHOA! TUNERS ARE GOOD TO USE!!!!

But you have to be smart about when to use them.

First, ALWAYS play open notes to tune the instrument, preferably C. The more slides you add, the greater chance of oddness. My horn, for example, plays everything with 1&2 a bit sharp.
Then, check your pitch WITHOUT looking at the tuner and establish what YOU think the pitch should be. THEN look at the tuner and see where you are in relation to a440. Adjust your slide accordingly. Then do it again, NOT looking at the tuner until you think you've put the note in the correct spot. Readjust your slide.

Holding pitches steady. This where the tuner is invaluable. Make that needle stick right in the center and don't let it move. This really helps develop your embouchure's stability, your ear, and consistent air flow.

NEVER use a tuner to "tune" each note of a melody. Our intonation system doesn't work that way. Some notes are SUPPOSED to be a little flat or sharp. For example, if my melody is in C Major, and I play C- D - E, then the E needs to be a little flat to be in tune. If my melody is in C minor, and I play C - D - Eb, the Eb needs to be a little sharp. Also, since each note is usually part of a chord, its position in the chord (root-3rd-5th-7th, or whatever) also influeneces if you play the note "exactly in tune," or a little sharp or flat.

There are no completely-%100-of the time correct answers. The more you play and the more you listen to recordings of professional groups that DO play in tune, the more you'll develop your ears and your ability to determine your own intonational correctness.
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