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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000179.txt from 2001/02

Subj: [kl] Re: strange intonation in warm up exercise
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 12:58:27 -0500

I'm going to take a stab at an answer on this with the caveat that everyone
knows I am not an acoustician. A "stab" is as scientific as this gets.

First off, these are my exercises and I am glad that they are useful to
someone. You can find the printout version and accompaniing article at

The question here is what is the tuner measuring. Even though there are only
two people performing, there are many posibilities and it is difficult to
know exactly which. You can get an extra clue if your tuner indicates which
octave as well as which note it is reading. Check this carefully, it could
be reading an upper harmonic of one of your tones. I find that the
accoustics of the particular room has a great deal to do with how the sounds
blend in the space. For example, when two people sound a major second
interval you hear a third tone called a difference tone. If one of the
players changes position, each would be able to hear varying volumes of that
difference tone.

Speaking of difference tone, It is quite possible that what the tuner is
measuring is that difference tone. Again, check the octave indicator on the
tuner if it has one.

It is a curious question. Let us know what you find out.

Tom Labadorf

In a message dated 2/6/01 4:15:22 AM, writes:

<< Date: Tue, 06 Feb 2001 00:58:30 +0100
From: David Glenn <>
Subject: strange intonation in warm up exercise
Message-ID: <>

A while ago someone posted some really nice warm ups. The first one was:
Tuner sounding on low written E, then play to it: tonic, dominant,
octave, subdominant, tonic in half notes, 60 to the quarter. Repeat
going up in half-tone steps for the entire octave. I'm sorry, I can't
remember who it was.

I don't have a tuner (anymore) which emits a sound but I've tried this
with pupils. I am the "tuner" i.e. I hold the first tone. The pupil
plays the sequence.

Recently I tried this whilst watching the tuner. What the tuner does is
rather strange. Can anyone explain it?

1) When the pupil plays the sequence, the tuner indicates the tone that
I am playing the whole time except for the subdominant although we are
both playing approx. the same dynamic and approx. the same distance from
the tuner. Why would the tuner only indicate the higher note when it is
the subdominant? Why not always? Or never?

2) At the dominant and subdominant, the needle tends to dip maybe four
our five cents (with the tuner still indicating the tonic). Since the
lower note is indicated and I'm pretty sure I'm not changing why does
the needle dip? Does this have anything to do with harmonicity? Does
anybody know?


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