Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Question on tuning

  1. Question on tuning

    Hi all,

    New guy in town. I am a brass player for leisure. Just got myself an euphonium and self learning at the moment. One thing I noticed when playing is I am hearing all my notes sharper than it plays out. My tuner indicates that I am in tune, I tried recording it and it was in tune too. However it just sounds sharper (maybe half a semitone to a tone?) from my perspective. I asked my friend to listen to the tune away from the instrument, which was in tune, and slowly becoming sharper when she walks to where I am. It is hard for me to play a solo piece with accompaniment as it sounds like I am playing a different key from it. When I record my playing with the accompaniment they sound in tune though. May I know is this normal? Tried to search on the web but no luck in finding that info. I have played the trumpet, trombone and French horn and have never encountered this. Thanks for any replies!

    Cheers,

    Ben

  2. #2
    Welcome to the forum!

    That's an interesting observation, and even more interesting considering I experience the same thing in reverse.

    A tuner is a valuable tool, but there are some steps you can take to make sure it is telling you the whole story, and that it relates to the way you play music.

    I am just working on some tips about using tuners. Here are the first two, which may help a little;

    TIP #1:
    https://youtu.be/PCj4DpEKnRM

    TIP #2:
    https://youtu.be/0-54YivFSZk
    Last edited by davewerden; 01-20-2022 at 08:52 AM.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  3. #3
    Sometimes you just can't trust your ears. I have an almost total hearing loss in my right ear (nerve damage from a surgical procedure), and what I do hear in that ear is a half-step sharp compared to my good ear. Also, I have had problems with the good ear which caused me to hear notes below low concert Bb a full step flat. They were right on according to the tuner, but that's not how I was hearing them. Cause -- inflammation of the auditory nerve, fixed with a course of antibiotics.
    David Bjornstad

    1923 Conn New Wonder 86I, Bach 6 1/2 AL
    2018 Wessex EP100 Dolce, Denis Wick 4ABL
    2013 Jinbao JBEP-1111L, Denis Wick 4AM
    2015 Jinbao JBBR-1240, Denis Wick clone mouthpiece of unknown designation
    Cullman (AL) Community Band (Euph Section Leader)
    Brass Band of Huntsville (2nd Bari)

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    That's an interesting observation, and even more interesting considering I experience the same thing in reverse.
    This refers to what I started noticing about 25-30 years ago. I'd listen through my stereo speakers to a solo I had played with the band. From that room it sounded fine. But then I went into the kitchen for something and noticed the solo sounded a bit sharp. Back to the stereo room and all was fine.

    My theory is that I was hearing a different balance of overtones in the sound. Any tone has the note we play plus smaller portions of other notes above (probably related to our partial series). The mix of those is part of what makes a euphonium sound different from a trombone, for example. I have no real conclusion - just the observation.

    Also, as my TIP #2 video alludes, our attack may be a different pitch from the rest of the note. That can mislead the ear. (And if our attack it sharp, it can also lead to more cracked notes because our initial aim was a bit above the bullseye).

    And one more observation from my Besson/Sterling days. Both brands had a sharp 6th partial, most noticeable on the upper Eb concert. The Sterling was a bit better but still needed some kind of help. I was using alternate fingerings to fix the pitch, but I wondered if I could "lip them down" instead with practice. As I messed around, I learned that when I lipped down to where it matched the tuner, it sounded flat. That was probably because I was playing below the horn's own center. The effect was frustrating because I could not tell by ear when I was at the right place. So I trained myself a bit by pulling the 1st slide out until the horn was in tune on Eb. Then I put the slide back and tried to match that pitch. Eventually I gave up and went back to alternate fingerings, but the experience taught me that you can be in tune and not sound in tune (tone-color-wise).
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  5. Thanks Dave! Yes I think overtone might be the key over here! Starting to accept it since if I try to lip up/down to match the tune, the notes played out will start cracking and the notes played out will sound out of tune. Guess it will take time to get used to it. Thanks again!

  6. I had a similar experience to David Bjornstad's back in the 1980s. I had driven from Boston to Florida in a car with a hole in the muffler, and my ears were ringing pretty badly upon arrival. I then noticed that one ear was hearing tones about a half step sharper than the other. I went to the library (no internet then!) and found out that this had a name: diplacusis. The ringing (tinnitus) gradually diminished, but all music sounded incredibly out of tune unless I covered one ear. Over a month or so, this shifted until both ears heard the same apparent pitch. My theory (I Am Not a Doctor) is that my brain learned to re-interpret what was being sent by the two cochleas, much the way that people in an experiment in the 1940s re-interpreted the signals from their eyes after wearing glasses that inverted everything.

    But it sure was weird for awhile.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •