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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000475.txt from 2005/08

From: rob <>
Subj: [kl] Tuning vs. Intonation to get perfect pitch and lose 50 pounds
Date: Sat, 27 Aug 2005 16:27:48 -0400

I grew up with classical piano.
It was truly a mechanical process.
I pressed a key, it played a note.
I hade ZERO control over the intonation.
The baby grand piano I practiced on was tuned the day we got it and
never again in 10 years.
I never connected the sound to the name of a note.
I just did the mechanical sheet music practice for an hour a day for six
I sounded like I knew what I was doing.
Then as an adult I delved into other instruments.... flute, clarinet,
sax, trumpet, violin, cello, and classical guitar.
I find that I have toally missed the boat when trying to play with
other people or when doing multitrack digital
recordings all by myself because I never learned perfect pitch.


Is it actually taught in any music schools?

There are web sites that offer perfect pitch training products but I
don't know who to trust.
They all sound like "$135 for a diet pill that promises to make you
lose 50 pounds."

Does anyone have any success stories for any of these perfect pitch


Adam Michlin wrote:

> Again, I'm not a religious man but...
> Amen!
> If I had a quarter (inflation and all) for every conductor who said
> "Please people, it is so out of tune, please listen" (and that's the
> polite version) I really would be a rich man. Most students know that
> playing in tune is a "good thing", so to speak. Ask them what it means
> to play in tune and how they're supposed to know if they're in tune
> and you'll quite often get the "uh... my band director told me to do
> it" blank stare. After all, I've never met anyone who was deliberately
> *trying* to play out of tune (well, some jazz saxophone players..
> but...).
> People rarely get fired for a "bad" tone (whatever that means), people
> regularly get fired (or, rather, not re-hired in the freelance world)
> for bad pitch. Pitch can be a dicey situation amongst professionals.
> I'm reminded of the (perhaps apocryphal) story where I'm told Jean
> Morel (conductor of the Juilliard Orchestra for quite a while) asked
> the double bass section of the New York Philharmonic to sight sing
> their parts. As you can imagine, this did not go over well with said
> double bass players.
> Properly taught, sight singing is, in my experience, the easiest way
> to solve intonation problems (thank Guido!). Usually not much of a
> solution in professional situations, but the advantage there is you
> can always hope they'll hire someone else. If they can't afford
> someone with better intonation, well, you get what you pay for.
> Sight singing trains the ear, electronic tuners train the eye. I only
> use electronic tuners as a sanity check and even then I play the note
> and then look at the tuner. I've been tempted a few times to maim
> players who "solve" intonation problems by playing their concert A or
> Bb, dancing the needle back and forth until seconds later they declare
> they are "in tune". As if the only note they had to tune of their
> instrument is the tuning A or Bb and as if playing in tune even on
> said note 4 seconds late was of any use whatsoever.
> And finally, I truly believe the difference between the good players
> and great players is that the good players impress you with how hard
> they make it look and the great players impress you with how easy they
> make it look. The great players make you walk away feeling like anyone
> could do that, at least until reality sets in at your next practice
> session!
> -Adam
> At 10:12 AM 8/27/2005, Steve wrote:
> [...]
>> It is not enough to tell a player to "listen". One must know what to
>> listen
>> for!
> [...]
>> After attending a rehearsal of Tchaik 6 with one of the top
>> orchestras in
>> the world, I spoke with the Principal Clarinetist. This person
>> completely
>> redefined my concept of what was possible on the instrument. When I
>> said,
>> "You make it sound so natural", his reply was "You think I was born this
>> way? Hell, no! I had to fight to develop this skill just as much as any
>> other".
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