Re: My ears deceive me!!

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Posted by Rick Denney on July 30, 2002 at 11:35:22:

In Reply to: My ears deceive me!! posted by Nick on July 29, 2002 at 18:29:27:

Boy, that's me. I can hear my pitch easier on some tubas than on others, and in some situations better than in others. But I always hear the pitch of other players better than my own. I think my ears are confused by the rattling in my head.

I know a trombone player who insists that everyone always tells him he is flat. He is not flat. He is sharp, and consistently so. He and I discussed it and he is amazed, because to his ears he is flat. He and I share the difficulty of not being able to hear our own pitch as accurately as the pitch of others.

Experience is not the only solution. I've been dealing with this for 30 years.

One problem is trying to learn pitch by listening to sounds two octaves higher than the tuba. The overtones that actually create beats against those sounds may not be in perfect tune with the other overtones of the instrument. Because the vibration in the head is stripped of upper overtones by the damping of our squishy brains, it skews the color of the instrument towards the bass end of the harmonics. That can cause intonation shifts, and perhaps even mask completely the overtone that we really need to hear to tune to an oboe (or a tuner's electronic tone).

I've always thought that the mark of a real pro is the ability to hear himself as others hear him, and I think that is a talent more rare than those folks realize.

Rick "hoping someone will have the easy answer" Denney

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