Tuning and Time

Topics regarding life as a professional
Eflatdoubler
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Re: Tuning and Time

Post by Eflatdoubler »

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.
Podbacio
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Re: Tuning and Time

Post by Podbacio »

Also, give my vote to Tune-Up
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iiipopes
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Re: Tuning and Time

Post by iiipopes »

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.
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ssbolas
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Re: Tuning and Time

Post by ssbolas »

Check out the Tonal Energy app. It has a drone that can play chords.
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Re: Tuning and Time

Post by windshieldbug »

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

Even better, it has multiple tuning temperaments...
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windshieldbug
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Re: Tuning and Time

Post by windshieldbug »

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)
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Re: Tuning and Time

Post by BopEuph »

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.
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Re: Tuning and Time

Post by BopEuph »

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.
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Re: Tuning and Time

Post by BopEuph »

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!
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Re: Tuning and Time

Post by Lamminator »

Fascinating thread. Thanks to all great advice given.
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