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Author Topic: Tuner accuracy  (Read 3284 times)
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Le.Tromboniste
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« Reply #20 on: Nov 18, 2017, 12:21PM »

I disagree that we "never play in equal temperament."

I have heard a trombone soloist play something like just intonation with a piano and it was absolutely horrible.

There are plenty of times when equal temperament is totally appropriate.  Most of my gigs include a piano.  I would not intentionally play out of tune with the piano.  I guess you would.

I'd like to point out that I did specify I was talking specifically about orchestra playing and that equal temperament applies to piano (and the whole thread is about playing in orchestra). I don't think your insinuation that I would obviously play intentionally out of tune is warranted.

That being said although I mostly  agree with you about playing with piano, I also almost never heard somebody who didn't at least lower some of their major thirds a little bit when playing with piano. When I did hear it, that sounded horrible. Good accompanists will also occasionally leave out thirds in important chords because they know we can make them sound good and they can't, and give you a chance to make the chord ring on important chords or held notes.
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« Reply #21 on: Nov 18, 2017, 12:42PM »

Well I never thought about the possibility of an accompanist intentionally leaving out 3rds.
It would be great if composers wrote that way - do you know of any specific cases?  I haven't been in that world for a long time. 

Sorry, I missed the fact that the whole thread was about orchestra tuning.  I've just been horrified at the intonation of some soloists with piano, who should know better but apparently don't.

So do string players tune differently for playing things with piano like the Trout Quintet?
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« Reply #22 on: Nov 18, 2017, 02:21PM »

Off topic, but anyone who says you never play in equal temperment probably hasn't played with a rock band, or a jazz band that uses electric instruments. Just intonation is NEVER appropriate for those groups. Pythagorean tuning is though. The singer will automatically do it without knowing they are. Soloists and melodic lines can use it too

Also, technically not a good idea to use true equal temperment (as in, tuner perfect) with accoustic pianos, since they use stretched tuning and you often have to take that in to consideration. Also not a good idea to use just intonation when playing a solo with a modern piano, since it can't do that. Luckily, as the soloist, you are likely not lingering on any thirds or anything like that, and if you do, you match the piano rather than have him/her drop notes off the page. The piano is much more likely to be playing thirds that are not part of the melodic line. The solo line should use Pythagorean tuning, which will sound just fine against an equal tempered chord, but will not sound right if you are playing the line in unison with the piano.

Phil Myers (I think? It was one of the big name horn players) suggests to always play in equal temperment and only adjust when absolutely dictated by the music.

This German guy also lays it out hard:

Intonation: Which System to Use When:

http://youtu.be/QaYOwIIvgHg
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« Reply #23 on: Nov 18, 2017, 02:32PM »

So do string players tune differently for playing things with piano like the Trout Quintet?

One way to tune the open strings of a violin to a piano involves banging a D minor chord on the keys with a B in the bass, B D F A in the neighborhood of middle C. Making each string sound OK with that is about as good a compromise as one is likely to get. (That may be an annoying cliché to some jaded string players, or I may be wrong.)

I don’t know what works best for viola and cello. If the A is tuned to the piano, their harmonically tuned C will be six cents flat w.r.t. an equal tempered C, enough to jangle many ears.

Of course, fingered notes can be played in any intonation the player likes.
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« Reply #24 on: Nov 18, 2017, 05:18PM »

I'd like to point out that I did specify I was talking specifically about orchestra playing and that equal temperament applies to piano (and the whole thread is about playing in orchestra). I don't think your insinuation that I would obviously play intentionally out of tune is warranted.

That being said although I mostly  agree with you about playing with piano, I also almost never heard somebody who didn't at least lower some of their major thirds a little bit when playing with piano. When I did hear it, that sounded horrible. Good accompanists will also occasionally leave out thirds in important chords because they know we can make them sound good and they can't, and give you a chance to make the chord ring on important chords or held notes.

I am note sure if this true in all cases. I talked to a principal oboe and clarinet about playing in just and equal temperament. They said move in weteen.
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« Reply #25 on: Nov 18, 2017, 08:02PM »

Maybe I'm just a backwoods ignoramus, but the way I play is to be in tune with the group.

For trombone, tuning is not that well cast in stone.   If I tune my Bb about 1/2" off the stop, I can play in tune whether it is equal temperament or just temperament, or whatever.  I really just tune by ear.  If I find I'm off (usually flat) I'll adjust my tuning slide on the fly as required.  Other than that I'm pretty good. Unless of course I've misread the key signature ... then I just claim ignorance ... which happens far more 'occasionally' than I'd like. :/
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« Reply #26 on: Nov 18, 2017, 09:35PM »

Just intonation is NEVER appropriate for those groups. Pythagorean tuning is though.

Pythagorean tuning is a form of just intonation.
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« Reply #27 on: Nov 18, 2017, 10:10PM »

Pythagorean tuning is a form of just intonation.

not quite as applied to melodic lines. It makes scales and melodies sound better, not necessarily intervals and chords.
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« Reply #28 on: Nov 18, 2017, 11:15PM »

Maybe I'm just a backwoods ignoramus, but the way I play is to be in tune with the group.

For trombone, tuning is not that well cast in stone. 



THIS!
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« Reply #29 on: Nov 19, 2017, 02:35AM »

As Harrison.T. pointed to the phytagorean intonation is about melodic playing, in some cases, like thirds and sixths actually the opposite direction to just intonation. As a trombone player it is good to know that melodic (phytagorean) achordic (just) and equal (like the piano) intonation is different.

I never came across a tuner that wasen´t accuat.
All good tuners can be set to low tuning like 415hz to high tuning like 465hz, actually both higher and lower. The tuner is used by most oboe players to give the A that the orchestra is using. I play in orchestras using 415 430 440 441 442 and rarelly 465. (well, not on the same instrument though)

Many organ players avoid thirds on the final chord when playing with trombone solist.
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« Reply #30 on: Nov 19, 2017, 05:23AM »

Tuners should never be used in an ensemble unless everyone tunes to the same tuner.  Learn to hear.

It is totally useless to tune to an accurate tuner if most of the other players are playing 20 cents off - and chances are they will be.


I think there is an advantage to the ubiquity of the cheap tuner, even though it's aggravating at times.

That 20 cents off is 20 cents away from an A 440 now, whereas in the past it might have been 20 cents away from anything, more than a half step up or down.  The tuner has standardized the amateur central pitch to where you can adjust close enough. 

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« Reply #31 on: Nov 19, 2017, 07:05AM »

Thanks Sven
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« Reply #32 on: Nov 19, 2017, 07:46AM »

Just to make sure we're all on the same page, why I say Pythagorean tuning is a form of just intonation:

Just intonation is tuning intervals by integer ratios. Nothing more.

Pythagorean intonation is tuning intervals by integer ratios specifically where the highest prime factor allowed is 3. Effectively, this is what multiplying and dividing by fifths means - multiplying and dividing by 3/2. Multiplying and dividing by 2 also gives us control over octave equivalence.

Just intonation in the sense of tuning thirds and sixths is typically 5-limit, which is another more specific form of it, and I think this is what people generally refer to when they say they use just intonation to tune.

As an interesting side note, we can tune thirds by higher limits than 5-limit, although you'll get generally farther away from 12ET when doing so. For example, 9/7 (septimal major third) and 7/6 (septimal minor third) are very nice and are naturally a part of harmonic 7th/9th chords.

For that reason it can be useful to clarify "5-limit just intonation" when referring to typically tuned thirds and sixths.
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« Reply #33 on: Nov 19, 2017, 08:02AM »

OP here.
The issue is many tuners are bad. Give one to the person that sets the pitch for a orchestra or band and now we have a social problem trying to convince the person with a bad tuner that they are wrong.
Or in Bullwinkle terms, it is a lot easier to tell someone to jump off a bridge that get them to do it.

A few years ago I had the same problem with a concert band. Just as the tuning note was played I played one full volume in tune and got everyone to use my note.

The issue is wrong happens. How to deal with it and maybe change it?
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« Reply #34 on: Nov 19, 2017, 11:00AM »

Never mind.

Carry on...


Some prime limits may be seen in this image, with a zoomable vector version (svg) ar wikipedia’s article on ET.
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« Reply #35 on: Nov 19, 2017, 11:07AM »

Playing in tune is overrated.
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« Reply #36 on: Nov 19, 2017, 11:13AM »

Playing in tune is overrated.

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« Reply #37 on: Nov 19, 2017, 11:54AM »

I agree... nevermind lol.
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« Reply #38 on: Nov 19, 2017, 12:43PM »

 :D :D :D :D :D
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« Reply #39 on: Nov 19, 2017, 12:51PM »

Playing in tune is overrated.

OK.

All I know is what I hear. That, and some of the easier math behind it. I’m still learning not to get passionate about intonation on line, with 8x10 color glossies with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back explaining. Those who understand need no explanation. For those who don’t understand, no explanation will suffice. That’s why I edited my previous post.

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