Re: My ears deceive me!!

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Posted by russell on August 01, 2002 at 15:11:02:

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

This is an issue that I have struggled with since high school. We are the 'foundation' in most instances, for others to tune to. So how do we tune ourselves? For me, it has become a psychological issue; I am constantly paranoid about playing out of tune. It is good that I am aware of it, but unhealthy to worry so much. Anyways, there are a couple suggestions that I have.

First and foremost-- Know the tendencies of your horn. Which pitches are sharp and flat. Do you need to pull slides to adjust? Example-- I recently began playing an old (really old) Meinl Weston BBb horn. Good horn, sounds nice, but the A flats and 2nd space Cs are really flat and i need to push the 1st valve slide all the way in. Most other notes requiring the 1st valve (Eb, D, G) are sharp, so i need to pull the 1st slide. There are some general brass pitch tendencies, but I would recommend sitting down with a tuner and finding out what the tendencies of each note on your horn are.

Secondly, practice tuning with different players. Sit down with a trombonist and tune individual notes to each other. Have one player stay on Bb while the other plays the Bb scale, tuning each individual pitch. Then switch. Do the same with arpeggios. Try the same thing with another tubist. A bassoon. Etc.

How do we improve technique, sonority, and phrasing. The answer: Practice. The same can be said with tuning. Just be aware of the tuning process and practice adjusting.

Again, just my perspective. I hope you can use some of it.


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