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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000449.txt from 2005/08

From: "=?iso-8859-1?Q?sarah=20elbaz?=" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] "Tuning" vs. Intonation
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 05:08:17 -0400

I have a clarinet choir at the Israeli Conservatory in Tel Aviv. The age of the students is 11-20. Of course there is a big gap beween the young and the older, but I find my self spending most of the time working on their ability
to LISTEN to each other. Once they learn the piece and most of their energy is used for listening and not for playing - then usually the tuning is acceptable. And then we have to work on some local problems.

When there is a general tuning problem in an ensemble - the reason is listening.


-------Original Message-------
> From: Juan Francisco Vicente Becerro <>
> Subject: Re: [kl] "Tuning" vs. Intonation
> Sent: 24 Aug '05 13:13
> With my pupils I try to tune not with an A, but with the tonic of the
> main tonality of the piece we are going to play. If clarinet with piano
> then I tell the pianist to play the root chord and I choose two or three
> notes (traying to play with so much fingers closed as possible, avoiding
> central F, G, A and so on) and try to tune all notes equally (sometimes
> if you tune one note perfectly then the other is out of tune, and
> vice-versa, so I think you must find a "correct overall tune").
> If I have to tune a clarinet choir I prefer to tune with a chord rather
> than all of them with the same note. ┬┐Why tune with middle A if then the
> first clarinet -and fourth- is never going to play it?.
> Juan Francisco
> Margaret Thornhill escribi├│:
> > A new thread, if you like:
> > Here in southern California, it's been an uncharacteristically humid
> > summer, and I, my students, and my colleagues have been forced to join
> > the rest of the country in struggling with our reeds, and therefore (
> > surprise!),our intonation.
> >
> > I've been forced to think about this because I coach/conduct two groups
> > on the weekend--one, an advanced group, my Los Angeles Clarinet Choir,
> > which would describe itself as "semi-professional," the other, a high
> > school group. Both come to rehearsal with their personal tuners in hand
> > and the best intentions in the world. The students, in particular, with
> > the competitiveness of youth, like to use the tuners as an artibtrer:
> > aha! you're wrong, I'm right--see? The visual cues of the dial
> > eventually help them get their tuning note perfectly together.
> > Nevertheless, the rehearsal continues,often with intonation bad as
> > before. The students are puzzled; so are some of the mature players,
> > wondering whose scale is at fault.
> >
> > Beyond the out-of-tune scale--which is indeed a problem--it's an issue
> > of adjustment and adaptability. In fact, one of the hardest points to
> > get across to the conscientious student Korg user is that sometimes
> > being "right" is actually "wrong." Consider these "what if"situations in
> > which only the ability you have at Matching Someone Else's Pitch will
> > save the day:
> >
> > 1. The Bait-and-Switch Tuning Note
> > It's your community/student orchestra. The oboist sounds an A, looks
> > dutifully at his tuner, inches it up a notch, and tunes the wind section
> > at 440. Yet, once the music starts, everyone sounds wrong. Why? The
> > person who gave the tuning is no longer at 440--he's sunk back to his
> > original pitch center, where he plays habitually, or where his reed du
> > jour wants to play. (This situation is a lost cause--last year it was
> > true for every rehearsal of the youth orchestra whose clarinets I helped
> > mentor.)
> >
> > 2. Follow the Leader
> > Perhaps you are playing chamber music. The bassoonist is holding a long
> > note; you come in later, doubling him at the octave. You sound out of
> > tune. Your pitches don't match. You look at your Korg. He is sharp
> > (sharper than you!) No matter how much you bug him about this in
> > rehearsal, his pitch does not come down. BUT, you are obligated to match
> > his pitch, no matter what--because he his pitch came before your
> > entrance, and not to do it will make you look terrible.
> > Later in the movement, when it happens again, it's especially important
> > to tune to him, because this time his note is the root of the chord that
> > the entire quintet is playing, and good intonation builds from the
> > bottom up.
> >
> > 3. The Out-of-Tune Dissonance
> > You are playing one of the outer voices of a diminished seventh. You are
> > not sharp, but the interval sounds wrong: it's too small. You voice down
> > (or up, depending on which note you've got) and--bingo!- the chord comes
> > into tune, a healthy dissonance.
> >
> > 4. Usually, they adjust for you, but
> > You are playing in unison with a violist. Suddenly, she has a sustained
> > note on an open string.
> > (not a great idea, but it happens) and surprise, her tuning has changed
> > since the beginning of the concert. She can't match you. It's up to you
> > to match her.
> >
> > 5. Exaggerated Accidentals
> > You are playing in unison with your cellist in the Brahms trio. It's a
> > scalar passage and you find that he is sharper on the 7th degree of the
> > scale than you are. Sure he could match you, but maybe you need to
> > follow the natural tendency of all good musicians to play the leading
> > tone a little higher than the note would be otherwise, as your cellist
> > has been trained to do.
> >
> > I think that we who teach need to find more ways to help our students
> > look for auditory as well as visual cues about intonation, knowing that
> > it's always more of a process than a fixed entity.
> >
> > Margaret
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Margaret Thornhill, DMA
> > Artist/Teacher of Modern and Historical Clarinet
> >
> >
> >
> > -------------------------------------------------------------------
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> >
> >
> -------------------------------------------------------------------
> Klarinet is a service of Woodwind.Org, Inc.
-------Original Message-------

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