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Thread: Surprising/confusing/odd intonation issue

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    Surprising/confusing/odd intonation issue

    Yesterday I was doing some work on intonation using a tuner app on my smartphone. I played a Bb with my eyes closed trying to make my best tone. (This was with the tuner app turned on.) Then, with the tone still being held, I opened my eyes and checked the tuning position indicator. (I will just call it the needle, though that's not really what it looks like.) Then I changed the main tuning slide and did it again. I repeated this several times with different tuning slide positions, sometimes quite different positions.

    Now here's the surprising part. The tuning slide position very little difference in the pitch I produced. When I opened my eyes to look at the position of the needle I was almost always about 10 cents above Bb, almost regardless of the tuning slide position.

    This makes no sense to me. I don't think that my ear is good enough that I was remembering the old pitch and subconsciously lipping the note to the (nearly) exact same pitch regardless of the tuning slide position, and yet that's seems to be what the empirical result seems to be indicating.

    Can anyone give me some insight about this odd and surprising result? Have any of you had a similar experience?

  2. #2
    I have had the same experience even after moving the tuning slide significantly. Eventually I would get it in tune with perserverance!

  3. #3
    I think many people have better pitch memory than they realize. To be sure during my own horn tests, I not only close my eyes, but I also move the pitch up and down significantly. As I do so, I listen to the best tone and also "feel" for the sweet spot where my chops' resonance seem to match the horn's resonance. Then I open my eyes.

    I use that same process now and then during practice. Otherwise, I can tend to drift away from the horn's center in favor of my inner desire to be the sharpest person in the room!
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
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  4. #4
    well, when I do it and open my eyes, I am often shocked that the tuner is saying I am playing an A sharp, not a B flat.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    This may be a dumb question but are you sure you’re pulling the MTS and not pulling the 4th valve slide? A section mate of mine a few years ago stepped up from a Yamaha 321 to the 642 and at first pulled the slide in front instead of the back one. Just a thought - no offense intended.
    Rick Floyd
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    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by RickF View Post
    This may be a dumb question but are you sure you’re pulling the MTS and not pulling the 4th valve slide? A section mate of mine a few years ago stepped up from a Yamaha 321 to the 642 and at first pulled the slide in front instead of the back one. Just a thought - no offense intended.
    No offense taken. I'm pretty sure I pulled the main tuning slide because in the same session I was also comparing the tuning between the 1/3 valve combination and the 4th valve. However, it's something I should probably check by repeating the test.


    Note added later in edit: I checked to be sure, and yes, I was adjusting the main tuning slide.
    Last edited by massmanute; 10-05-2022 at 10:34 PM.

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