Tuning and Time Bookmark and Share

Topics regarding life as a professional

Re: Tuning and Time

Postby b.williams » Tue May 16, 2017 6:06 am

I play in groups that don't tune and have no sense of time. This makes playing very challenging!! Adjusting to 20th century like atonal centers and polyrhythmic pulses (on Sousa marches) has made me a better player (at least that is what I tell myself).

I pray that these groups would at least start with a tuner.
Conn 110 H Bass Trombone
Boosey and Hawkes 967 Euphonium
Miraphone 191 BBb 4 Valve Tuba
User avatar
b.williams
4 valves
4 valves
 
Posts: 552
Joined: Fri May 29, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Tuning and Time

Postby bloke » Tue May 16, 2017 8:13 am

Over and over, I've admitted to intonation being a weakness, and that I spend (compared to others, likely) an inordinate amount of time on it..."studying" equal temperament, as this has proven very useful to me when rehearsing/performing with others.

I suspect that there is a large percentage of musicians who (mostly?) work on muscling through "hard licks" (vs. teaching their ears how those "hard licks" are supposed so sound), with others who spend a lot of time on (out of tune?) "long tones".
User avatar
bloke
musician/technician/innovator
musician/technician/innovator
 
Posts: 44540
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 6:04 pm
Location: western Tennessee

Re: Tuning and Time

Postby iiipopes » Fri May 19, 2017 10:00 am

It works the other way, also. Over on Talk Bass some years ago, a man was complaining about whatever key he was in that the major third of the arpeggio bassline he was playing was always sharp to his ears. I was the only person who posted who congratulated him on his good ears, and being able to tell the difference between a "pure" major third interval and the tempered intervals necessary for fretted and keyboard instruments to play in all keys. I then explained briefly how a "pure" major third at the ratio of 5/4 (1.25) is smaller than four equally tempered half-steps at 2^(4/12) (@1.26), which renders a tempered major third very "bright" sounding by comparison.
"Bessophone" w/ 2-piece Imperial Blokepiece,
Lexan 32.6 Modified Helleberg rim & modified .080 extender
Wessex BR115 & B&H 3-valve comp w/ Wick Ultra SMB6
King Super 20 trumpet w/ Bach 3C/76
Fanned fret bass and electric guitars
User avatar
iiipopes
Utility Infielder
Utility Infielder
 
Posts: 8171
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2005 1:10 am

Re: Tuning and Time

Postby MaryAnn » Fri May 26, 2017 12:12 pm

The reason why I disagree with the term "Perfect Pitch" is that it implies that someone with it will always play an A a 440 Hz etc. That they are rigid, mentally-programmed tuners, so to speak. I far prefer the term "pitch recognition," which means if you play a note on the piano I can tell you what it is. Just like if you show me the color blue I can tell you what it is. If you get too far between a standard-intonation note and the half step next to it, I'm going to get it wrong in terms of what I name it, because it doesn't fit into the naming system I learned on piano.
However....that has absolutely nothing to do with playing in tune with a group. Playing in tune with a group means being intensely aware of what is going on around you and blending with it, meaning getting rid of the damn beats as much as possible. With atonal modern music, that becomes pretty much impossible, but with tonal music, I see that as a major difference between pros and amateurs. The pros, always, are focused on what is going on around them and blending with it. The amateurs, nearly always, are doing the opposite. My favorite example was trying to play in a string quartet with someone who was the epitome of what I can an amateur....he had decent technique, and when the group started to go sideways with rhythm, his response was to start loudly stomping his foot on what he considered SHOULD be the beat, meaning HIS internal beat and to heck with the group. Those two things, no matter the physical competence level, for me define the pro from the amateur. What you are listening to and blending with; the group, or yourself.
User avatar
MaryAnn
Occasionally Visiting Pipsqueak
Occasionally Visiting Pipsqueak
 
Posts: 3051
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 10:58 am

Re: Tuning and Time

Postby Eflatdoubler » Mon May 29, 2017 12:16 am

Interesting how you see pitches in colors- I find I hear music similarly. I actual think of colors more often then not when performing atonal music (I don't play it nearly as often as I used to).
I find that playing scales against drone tones is the most productive exercise for pitch, with additional benefits for tone and range.
I was playing bagpipes for a while and finally got a chanter to lower my pitch to B flat at 466hz as I got sick of calling a note an "A" and having it tune at 478-486hz.
I agree the term "Perfect Pitch" is not the best word to use- as I am sure there was pitch recognition well before a pitch standard was established.
Eflatdoubler
bugler
bugler
 
Posts: 203
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2009 3:00 am

Re: Tuning and Time

Postby bloke » Mon May 29, 2017 9:48 pm

yeah...
When I'm not distracted, I can often sing a song in the customary key, hum a Bb or an A, and whistle the #1 E guitar string pitch.
I don't consider this any sort of "gift". It's nothing more than familiarity.
User avatar
bloke
musician/technician/innovator
musician/technician/innovator
 
Posts: 44540
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 6:04 pm
Location: western Tennessee

Re: Tuning and Time

Postby Podbacio » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:31 am

Also, give my vote to Tune-Up
User avatar
Podbacio
lurker
lurker
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:29 am

Re: Tuning and Time

Postby Doc » Thu Mar 08, 2018 4:02 pm

And then there's barbershop harmony...
All that, plus $8.00, will get you a venti at Starbucks.
Or in my case, a large can of Folgers.
User avatar
Doc
6 valves
6 valves
 
Posts: 6847
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 11:09 am
Location: South Texas

Re: Tuning and Time

Postby iiipopes » Thu Mar 15, 2018 9:33 am

What bloke said.

If we were all back in ancient Greece, playing lyres on Pythagorean tunings modally, none of this would ever be an issue. All of these issues come from us silly musicians, after the transition from modality to tonality in the 16th century, to want to play in more than one key. Every change in key introduces a compromise over the Pythagorean tuning, based on simple geometric ratios, that make chords sound "pure." The question then becomes as to what degree of impurity any particular musician's ears can stand as we progress farther and farther away from a central key, traditionally the no flats, no sharps of C Major.

And we compound it by playing brass instruments, which resonate in Pythagorean partials, and we try to fit that into a system where we can play chromatically without "key color," or the various impurities that result from playing chords in different keys.

So...for discussion's sake...are Miraphone 186 5th partials really flat? No. They are in tune as the "pure" octave and major third above the fundamental according to Pythagoras: the ratio of 5/4, or 1.25. But are they flat according to the desire to play in more than one key? Yes, since any tempered tuning, equal or not, defines this relationship not as a major third, but as four half-steps, in any system that defines the octave as 2:1, and adjusts all of the intervening chromatic notes to the preferential keys of the player, composer or tuner. So, for example, four half steps in equal temperament tuning is the base pitch multiplied not by 5/4, but by 2^(4/12), which is approximately 1.26, not 1.25. So all major thirds are going to be almost irritatingly sharp in an equally tempered system.

And it gets worse, as composers of both instrumental and choral works compose almost free-form without any real pitch center. This requires the musicians and the ensemble to decide which pitch will be the "center," or the reference from beginning to end of the piece, and if pitch adjustment is necessary, always doing it keeping in mind the particular pitch that has been defined by the ensemble as the "center," which may be different from the "tonic" of most common-era compositions.
"Bessophone" w/ 2-piece Imperial Blokepiece,
Lexan 32.6 Modified Helleberg rim & modified .080 extender
Wessex BR115 & B&H 3-valve comp w/ Wick Ultra SMB6
King Super 20 trumpet w/ Bach 3C/76
Fanned fret bass and electric guitars
User avatar
iiipopes
Utility Infielder
Utility Infielder
 
Posts: 8171
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2005 1:10 am

Re: Tuning and Time

Postby ssbolas » Thu May 10, 2018 9:18 pm

Check out the Tonal Energy app. It has a drone that can play chords.
Frankentuba by Tabor
Former Navy Musician
Middle School Band Director
Spotsylvania, VA
ssbolas
bugler
bugler
 
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed May 09, 2018 9:26 pm

Re: Tuning and Time

Postby windshieldbug » Thu May 10, 2018 11:24 pm

ssbolas wrote:Check out the Tonal Energy app. It has a drone that can play chords.


Even better, it has multiple tuning temperaments...
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
User avatar
windshieldbug
Once got the "hand" as a cue
Once got the "hand" as a cue
 
Posts: 11279
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: 8vb

Re: Tuning and Time

Postby bloke » Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:47 am

I strive to teach my ears EQUAL TEMPERAMENT...and no matter what folks preach to me online or in-person.

1/ Whether some of us like it or not, equal temperament is the PREDOMINANT TUNING SYSTEM used today (throughout the world, as western-style music has permeated all continents). People constantly hear equal temperament in all media, it's in their ears, and it sounds "right" to the masses, because they are accustomed to it.

2/ When playing with a piano (concerto with orchestra, the rare tuba solo piece, church gigs, etc., etc...) pianos (and electronic keyboards) are tuned to a bastard version of equal temperament. Most "gigs" today are commercial (and "commercial" - to me - includes "church") gigs, where strongly-amplified pianos or electronic keyboards are involved.

3/ :arrow: When necessary to tune intervals to "perfect", it's easy/instantaneous, and I don't need to practice doing that.

4/ When playing a (rare, unless you're a university teacher) tuba solo with a piano, it's a very good idea (and - if not - to the peril of your performance) to embrace the saggy version of equal temperament used to tune pianos. Everything in the range of the tuba is TUNED FLAT TO REFERENCE A=440 on pianos, and the lower into the range of the piano, the FLATTER pianos are tuned...down to NEARLY A QUARTER TONE FLAT at the bottom of the range of the piano. ...and this is why many students (natural tendency for amateurs to play sharp, aside) tend to play sharper than the pianos when playing tuba solos with (yes: recently-tuned) pianos accompanying them.
User avatar
bloke
musician/technician/innovator
musician/technician/innovator
 
Posts: 44540
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 6:04 pm
Location: western Tennessee

Re: Tuning and Time

Postby windshieldbug » Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:59 am

bloke wrote:When playing a (rare, unless you're a university teacher) tuba solo with a piano, it's a very good idea (and - if not - to the peril of your performance) to embrace the saggy version of equal temperament used to tune pianos. Everything in the range of the tuba is TUNED FLAT TO REFERENCE A=440 on pianos, and the lower into the range of the piano, the FLATTER pianos are tuned... and this is why many students (natural tendency for amateurs to play sharp, aside) tend to play sharper than the pianos when playing tuba solos with (yes: recently-tuned) pianos accompanying them.


So-called "Stretch Tuning", which even some non well-tempered ensembles use naturally... 8)
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
User avatar
windshieldbug
Once got the "hand" as a cue
Once got the "hand" as a cue
 
Posts: 11279
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: 8vb

Re: Tuning and Time

Postby bloke » Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:28 pm

I see tons of "this-new-model-of-tuba" posts which ooh-and-ahh over "resonance qualities" (mostly, seeming to favor "diffuse", lately) and "ergonomics", but almost none which ohh-and-ahh over a new model's INTONATION.
As long as the vast majority of tuba players list "resonance qualities" and "ergonomics" above "intonation", what types of new new models of tubas - do you suppose - will manufacturers offer up?
User avatar
bloke
musician/technician/innovator
musician/technician/innovator
 
Posts: 44540
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 6:04 pm
Location: western Tennessee

Re: Tuning and Time

Postby BopEuph » Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:51 pm

For my daily routine, I created play-long tracks using a drone CD for my long tones and lip slur studies. For, say, the Remington air flow studies or any lip slurs, I made a click with the drones that go up or down a half step as needed for the etude. For some of the Arban long tone studies, I made the drones play a root note to the melody I'm playing so that I'm tuning 3rds, 5ths, etc. It works really well.

I shared the PDF on the main forum a couple days ago, but didn't want to share the tracks due to questionable copyright issues. Needless to say, the tracks really helped.

As for in time, since I tend to do a lot of commercial music, specifically for tuba/bass doubling, I've found most MDs have said most of the tuba players they work with play behind the beat. Poor time wasn't the issue, it was more that the articulations were consistently behind. For me, I've found that playing along with some old R&B tunes helps remedy that issue, along with some Arban's articulation studies with a metronome.
BopEuph
pro musician
pro musician
 
Posts: 623
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 10:51 am
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Tuning and Time

Postby bloke » Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:02 pm

Some players don't seem to understand that air must be there when an articulation occurs...just as when a violinist begins to pull the bow across a string, the horsehair (and not the wood) must be touching the string.

It goes without saying that there are all sorts of brass instrument articulations (beyond "tuh" and "duh", and "huh" taught in beginner band), and the finest brass players match their articulations with the most prominent other instruments (often: the strings).

To avoid being late, the thing is to never allow oneself to hear other instruments sounding before hearing one's own instrument sounding.

Articulation execution, probably, is a problem with many players. I suspect there are other players who play chicken, and even more players have formed the bad habit of following - rather than with-ing.

A tuba sound produced precisely when it should be produced is a very dynamic (not referring, here, to "dynamics") event, and simply "beginning a sound at the proper time" will make a tuba sound seem louder than it would seem to sound, were it produced too late.
User avatar
bloke
musician/technician/innovator
musician/technician/innovator
 
Posts: 44540
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 6:04 pm
Location: western Tennessee

Re: Tuning and Time

Postby BopEuph » Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:25 pm

Yep, and not to mention many of my students have band directors that still say something like "it takes a lot longer for sound to travel through a tuba than a trumpet, so you have to play ahead of the beat."

This might be a quick fix, but it is fundamentally false and can hurt the student's actual improvement of rhythm and time.
BopEuph
pro musician
pro musician
 
Posts: 623
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 10:51 am
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Tuning and Time

Postby bloke » Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:42 pm

BopEuph wrote:Yep, and not to mention many of my students have band directors that still say something like "it takes a lot longer for sound to travel through a tuba than a trumpet, so you have to play ahead of the beat."

This might be a quick fix, but it is fundamentally false and can hurt the student's actual improvement of rhythm and time.


Yes to all...and here's proof: The music notes appear at the same instant that the emoji blows into the tuba: :tuba:

:D
User avatar
bloke
musician/technician/innovator
musician/technician/innovator
 
Posts: 44540
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 6:04 pm
Location: western Tennessee

Re: Tuning and Time

Postby BopEuph » Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:49 pm

bloke wrote:Yes to all...and here's proof: The music notes appear at the same instant that the emoji blows into the tuba: :tuba:

:D

Ha!
BopEuph
pro musician
pro musician
 
Posts: 623
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 10:51 am
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Tuning and Time

Postby Lamminator » Sun Apr 28, 2019 12:36 pm

Fascinating thread. Thanks to all great advice given.
Luft Luft Luft
Wessex Presence CC
Meinl Weston 2040/5
Besson 981 (Sold)
Fafner 195 (Sold)
Et al
Lamminator
bugler
bugler
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:48 pm

Previous

Return to Professional Topics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest