HBM – Intonation

Teach kids what in tune sounds like – Bob Shafer

Equal temperament vs. just intonation

Playing with a piano/organ is not the same as playing in a band

Tuning the instrument
     Come up into pitch: G A B C – slurred
     Good player will match the pitch, regardless of the tuning slide; listen for a good sound
     Must blow through center of instrumentschwarma/lip bends
          blow flat, sharp, find point of best tone and least amount of work
          and, students learn to adjust pitch so they can correct intonation while playing

          that is where the horn is tuned –move tuning slide if this is wrong; it’s the slippery groove or sweet spot– best flexibility

          above center results in brighter sound, harder to play loud, harder to move, more out of tune

          below center results in a darked, dull, lifeless tone; Craig thought flat was dark

          better to tune sharp than flat (so you can relax to drop the pitch instead of tightening to hold it up)

Must take the time (once per semester?) to make sure the brass are tuned correctly;

English brass bands stop tuning 2 weeks before the competition – brass instruments don’t change much (but the oboe does!)

Must tune valve slides on horn, euphonium, tuba – designed to allow for playing with groups that play sharp

 Adjusting while playing

     Correct by ear/embouchure
     Move slides when possible – for better tone (center) and less work
     Can move valve slides
          1st valve affects:  1, 12, 13, 123
          3rd valve affects:  3, 23, 13, 123
          can lower pitch on any valve combination except 0 and 2
     Alternate fingering,  esp. 3 for 12, 4 for 13; see Handbook, p. 54
     Horn can adjust right hand- cover will drop pitch, open raises

     Trombone – can adjust all except flat 1st position; some have a spring in 1st position (or, tune with the slide a little out in first position so you can come in when needed)

Beginning trumpet players – teach them with 3rd slide tuned for “D” so they learn to play in tune with themselves; pull in for E-flat


Hot raises pitch of wind instruments, up to 98.6 – then the body cools the horn
Cold lowers the pitch of wind instruments, easily up to a half step
Hot lowers the pitch of string instruments and some woodwinds
Cold raises the pitch of string instruments and some woodwinds

Blow air through horn until warm air comes out; depress valves, too

Distance lowers pitch

Offstage – not in the audience – timing issues; band sound reaches the audience late and offstage must play early; NOT together!
Best if it’s literally off the stage – play early for conductor, but reaches audience together

Intonation Math

100” trumpet, 10% = ½ step (10”)

2nd slide = 10”, 1st slide = 20”, 3rd slide = 30”

Low D = 100+20+30 = 150”

Low C# requires 10%, which is 15”, and all you have is the second valve (10”) – have to move slides to get the proper length