Tuner accuracy

ttf_Whitbey
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Tuner accuracy

Post by ttf_Whitbey » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:33 am

I am questioning tuner accuracy. I have noticed when certain people give a tuning note for the orchestra or band that many are not the same. The oboe at an orchestra is always sharp. When she gives the note it is interesting to watch ever person up and down the brass row and some of the woodwinds that I can see push in.

Curious who else deals with this and how much variable is in the tuners?   
ttf_Posaunus
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Tuner accuracy

Post by ttf_Posaunus » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:48 am

A good oboist will check her/his tuning with an accurate electronic tuner, and make sure the pitch is a true 440Hz.  This is the agreed standard in the United States.  I know that some orchestras (particularly in Europe) tune a few cents higher (the violins seem to like this?); I'm not a fan.  My factory-tuned trombones like 440!   Image
ttf_FranksProject43
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Tuner accuracy

Post by ttf_FranksProject43 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:37 am

Not all tuners are created equal! The cheaper tuners that have lights as indicators leave too much wiggle room. I use this for my 6 string bass and for orchestra.  https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywo ... e1ir4ian_e
ttf_robcat2075
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Tuner accuracy

Post by ttf_robcat2075 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:45 am

Of the three tuners I have there's about a +-1Hz window at 440 from highest to lowest.

It's not random error. The low one is always the low one and the high is always the high.
ttf_harrison.t.reed
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Tuner accuracy

Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:52 pm

Use a drone to develop your ears in the practice room, and when the oboe plays, definitely don't use a tuner. You have at least two slides and both of your ears. That said, usually tuners that use vibration rather than a mic input are more accurate. Overtones and other musicians will cause havoc with a mic based tuner.
ttf_Whitbey
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Tuner accuracy

Post by ttf_Whitbey » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:13 pm

Quote from: harrison.t.reed on Nov 17, 2017, 12:52PMUse a drone to develop your ears in the practice room, and when the oboe plays, definitely don't use a tuner. You have at least two slides and both of your ears. That said, usually tuners that use vibration rather than a mic input are more accurate. Overtones and other musicians will cause havoc with a mic based tuner.

That is my problem. You sit there and wait for the entrance and my ear says the note is where it should be and they are a mile off. When I push my tuning slide in a half inch my ear and hand wants to fix it. The other day I took my pitch pipe up to the oboe players tuner. That tuner was flat while the two viola tuners one row up were right on.

I figure if I could understand the variations then I could say something to the conductor politely.   
ttf_hyperbolica
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Tuner accuracy

Post by ttf_hyperbolica » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:32 pm

Quote from: Whitbey on Nov 17, 2017, 01:13PMThat is my problem. You sit there and wait for the entrance and my ear says the note is where it should be and they are a mile off. When I push my tuning slide in a half inch my ear and hand wants to fix it. The other day I took my pitch pipe up to the oboe players tuner. That tuner was flat while the two viola tuners one row up were right on.

I figure if I could understand the variations then I could say something to the conductor politely.   

There is a way to calibrate the frequency of A. Maybe they are set in different places. Maybe there is a flaw with the device. Maybe the oboist just plays not in the center of the pitch. Also, some tuners are more sensitive than others. The Snark tuners have a pretty wide band of what is considered "in tune". Some tuners allow you to specify how many cents off of nominal is ok. My Adroid app Tunable has a Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced settings, with +/-10, 6 and 2 cents respectively. The Snark won't get down to showing that.

Here's a screen shot from my phone. I was trying to play with no hands and do the vulcan mind meld screenshot thing at the same time. The dark green band is 12 cents top to bottom, you can see how much I waver. This is the intermediate setting. You can't get this kind of detail on a Snark.

Image
ttf_Le.Tromboniste
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Tuner accuracy

Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:17 pm

Quote from: Whitbey on Nov 17, 2017, 09:33AMI am questioning tuner accuracy. I have noticed when certain people give a tuning note for the orchestra or band that many are not the same. The oboe at an orchestra is always sharp. When she gives the note it is interesting to watch ever person up and down the brass row and some of the woodwinds that I can see push in.

Curious who else deals with this and how much variable is in the tuners?   

Yeah, having a bad oboe player give the A is always ******. On the other hand, it's her job to give you the A and your job to take the A she gives you. If she's sharp and you're okay, well she's right and you're flat, and that's the way it is (sometimes, unfortunately).
ttf_harrison.t.reed
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Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:08 pm

Quote from: Whitbey on Nov 17, 2017, 01:13PMThat is my problem. You sit there and wait for the entrance and my ear says the note is where it should be and they are a mile off. When I push my tuning slide in a half inch my ear and hand wants to fix it. The other day I took my pitch pipe up to the oboe players tuner. That tuner was flat while the two viola tuners one row up were right on.

I figure if I could understand the variations then I could say something to the conductor politely.   

The problem described here is not about tuners, but about not being able to match pitch. While waiting for an entrance your brain and ears should be telling you your entrance pitch as dictated by the ensemble around you, not your internal or tuner based absolute. And if during tuning the oboe gives you a wonky A, and the strings and everyone else matches the wonky A, but you either know the drone tone from 440 or are using a 440 tuner and not matching the wonky A with everyone else, then you are not matching pitch.

You should tune to drones to help you hear and match pitch (or play intoned intervals) -- not to memorize what a given pitch sounds like.

So, again, same solution, but change your drones to A444, A438, A442, etc, and just get used to it. Pitch changes, and you play one of the instruments that is easiest to match anyone with.
ttf_harrison.t.reed
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Tuner accuracy

Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:19 pm

Quote from: Whitbey on Nov 17, 2017, 01:13PMWhen I push my tuning slide in a half inch my ear and hand wants to fix it. The other day I took my pitch pipe up to the oboe players tuner. That tuner was flat while the two viola tuners one row up were right on.   

Also, if the tuner is flat, why are you pushing in? Or is it that it shows the pitch pipe is flat? It's probably set to A442
ttf_fsung
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Tuner accuracy

Post by ttf_fsung » Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:33 pm

Quote from: Le.Tromboniste on Nov 17, 2017, 02:17PMYeah, having a bad oboe player give the A is always ******. On the other hand, it's her job to give you the A and your job to take the A she gives you. If she's sharp and you're okay, well she's right and you're flat, and that's the way it is (sometimes, unfortunately).

Exactly.

Thank you.
ttf_Andrew Meronek
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Tuner accuracy

Post by ttf_Andrew Meronek » Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:50 pm

Quote from: harrison.t.reed on Nov 17, 2017, 03:19PMAlso, if the tuner is flat, why are you pushing in? Or is it that it shows the pitch pipe is flat? It's probably set to A442

When the tuner reads flat, raise the pitch to match the tuner. It makes sense when you work out the geometry.
ttf_harrison.t.reed
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Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:38 pm

Quote from: Andrew Meronek on Nov 17, 2017, 03:50PMWhen the tuner reads flat, raise the pitch to match the tuner. It makes sense when you work out the geometry.

The tuner reads flat if it is tuned sharp, but OP said the tuner was flat. A tuner tuned sharp to A442 would read A440 as flat, so you push in. Based on the confusion over just this, I think that the OPs orchestra has people with tuners out, not listening, and some tuners are 440 and others are at 442.
ttf_BillO
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Tuner accuracy

Post by ttf_BillO » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:33 pm

Tuners are great for home practice, however noting beats training you ears.  Tuners should never be used in an ensemble unless everyone tunes to the same tuner.  Learn to hear.

All that aside.  Modern digital tuners (could include those with analog meters)are pretty accurate.  They are based on similar technology that keeps quartz watches within a second or two a week.  If you have a noticeably bad one, it is likely to be 1 in a million or thereabouts. If you suspect you do, go and buy another one.  I recently posted a thread about tuners you could buy at 2 for $10 (shipping included)  The 2 I got were smack on.  As are the other 4 or so tuners I have rattling around my house.

Basically they are just playthings.  I use them to test my speed accuracy.  For real tuning I use a whatever - mostly my little keyboard.  I play a note an try to match it.  I'll also try to match all the notes in the arpeggio using the note on the keyboard as the root.

I can't remember a concert or a dance I've played in the last 2 years where I have not adjust my tuning at some point in the event.  You absolutely need to be able to tune to circumstances by ear.  It is totally useless to tune to an accurate tuner if most of the other players are playing 20 cents off - and chances are they will be.

As trombonists were pretty luck.  Just tune your horn a bit sharp and adjust with your slide.  However, to do this you must practice.  Even still, it's likely that you would have to make a tuning slide adjustment during any event that lasts long enough for the weather to change.  Like a 3 hour dance.


Tune by ear.  Tune early - tune often.
ttf_Le.Tromboniste
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Tuner accuracy

Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:54 am

I'll just add to Harrison and BillO's great comments that not only is using a tuner on the fly bad because it doesn't take into account that others might be out of tune and you might need to match them anyway, but more importantly, it doesn't take into account that we never, ever play in equal temperament. Equal temperament is for pianos, not for orchestras. We play movable just intonation on an equal tempered scale.

In other words even if the rest of the group plays exactly in tune, and you are exactly spot on with your tuner, you'll be out of tune most of the time, because your tuner doesn't care about harmony and won't tell you to lower/raise your thirds by 14 cents or very slightly raise your fifths and lower your sevenths...

Use your tuner to tune your instrument when you're alone and find the default slide positions on your horn for that basic equal tempered scale. Then leave it in the case, use drones to practice pure intervals over that scale, and use your ears to play in tune in ensembles.
ttf_Andrew Meronek
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Post by ttf_Andrew Meronek » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:38 am

Quote from: Le.Tromboniste on Nov 18, 2017, 01:54AMWe play movable just intonation on an equal tempered scale.

I like the way you put that!  Image Image

Concerning tuner accuracy, I have not actually used a tuner in many years now. I just don't find them useful. However, watching others use a tuner, I find it amazing how after using a tuner many people don't actually match the tuner when they go back and play a note again after say, 30 seconds. I also find it amazing how when, during that group tune-up, lots of people play along with that tuning oboe (or clarinet or whatever) and don't actually match it by ear either. One problem is that you get lots of people playing that tuning A, not matching the oboe, and then just simply don't move, or they hold their off-pitch making it very difficult for the rest of the group to find that original oboe pitch. You only really need less than one second of sounding a pitch to see if you match or not. More than that, you're just getting in the way. Or, go do some serious long tone work if it takes you longer than that to physically stabilize your buzz.
ttf_Whitbey
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Post by ttf_Whitbey » Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:48 am

We played the orchestra concert last night. The trumpets could not go high enough to make pitch and went off crazy like trumpet players can. They put another tuner in front of the oboe and everything was fine. Moral of that story is quiet logic is no match for crazy.

I was happy.

I was trying to practice playing sharp to try and convince my ear that it was ok. Was not going well. So getting back to A 440 was nice. Maybe I should have posted this question in a different section on how to play off pitch so you match a band.

On a lighter note, I realized in the 5 sharp part of the piece that an A# in alto clef is on the same line as Bb is in bass clef. It is hard to un-see things like that.     
ttf_Le.Tromboniste
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:39 am

Quote from: Whitbey on Nov 18, 2017, 07:48AMI was trying to practice playing sharp to try and convince my ear that it was ok. Was not going well. So getting back to A 440 was nice. Maybe I should have posted this question in a different section on how to play off pitch so you match a band.  

You don't play off pitch, you play on a different pitch. 442 is a really, really common pitch to tune to. Several music schools tune their pianos to 442 now. 441 is becoming very standard for concert bands because most percussions are tuned to 440, and if your piano is at 442, tuning the band at 441 is the best solution to avoid having either sound of tune. Many major orchestras play higher than 440. Some as high as 445. Under Charles Dutoit, for a while the orchestra was tuning so high that Pierre Beaudry had his tuning slide shortened to have some wiggle room. And in the world of early music, we have folks playing at everything from a=392 to a=520 (which is a span of roughly an equal-tempered major third). Playing at a=430 isn't forcing or convincing yourself to play everything flat, it's just playing in tune at a=430. And we play in different tuning systems, meaning even at the same reference pitch, what "playing in tune" means varies widely in terms of the pitches/slide positions we actually play. It is not uncommon for me to play slide trumpet at a=520 in pure intonation in the morning, then play sackbut at a=466 meantone, and later at a=440, all on the same day, with occasional a=430 in some well-tempered system or equal temperament thrown in there.

If your ear can't handle small variations in reference pitch, train it, because you'll almost never play at precisely a=440.
ttf_Doug Elliott
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Post by ttf_Doug Elliott » Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:09 am

I disagree that we "never play in equal temperament."

I have heard a trombone soloist play something like just intonation with a piano and it was absolutely horrible.

There are plenty of times when equal temperament is totally appropriate.  Most of my gigs include a piano.  I would not intentionally play out of tune with the piano.  I guess you would.
ttf_Matt K
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Post by ttf_Matt K » Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:31 am

Also, fwiw, you can use Tunable to tune to just intonation. I second the recommendation for it very highly for anybody with a phone of reasonable quality.  It works exceedingly well with my Motorola (Android) phone. 
ttf_Le.Tromboniste
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:21 pm

Quote from: Doug Elliott on Nov 18, 2017, 11:09AMI disagree that we "never play in equal temperament."

I have heard a trombone soloist play something like just intonation with a piano and it was absolutely horrible.

There are plenty of times when equal temperament is totally appropriate.  Most of my gigs include a piano.  I would not intentionally play out of tune with the piano.  I guess you would.

I'd like to point out that I did specify I was talking specifically about orchestra playing and that equal temperament applies to piano (and the whole thread is about playing in orchestra). I don't think your insinuation that I would obviously play intentionally out of tune is warranted.

That being said although I mostly  agree with you about playing with piano, I also almost never heard somebody who didn't at least lower some of their major thirds a little bit when playing with piano. When I did hear it, that sounded horrible. Good accompanists will also occasionally leave out thirds in important chords because they know we can make them sound good and they can't, and give you a chance to make the chord ring on important chords or held notes.
ttf_Doug Elliott
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Post by ttf_Doug Elliott » Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:42 pm

Well I never thought about the possibility of an accompanist intentionally leaving out 3rds.
It would be great if composers wrote that way - do you know of any specific cases?  I haven't been in that world for a long time. 

Sorry, I missed the fact that the whole thread was about orchestra tuning.  I've just been horrified at the intonation of some soloists with piano, who should know better but apparently don't.

So do string players tune differently for playing things with piano like the Trout Quintet?
ttf_harrison.t.reed
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Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:21 pm

Off topic, but anyone who says you never play in equal temperment probably hasn't played with a rock band, or a jazz band that uses electric instruments. Just intonation is NEVER appropriate for those groups. Pythagorean tuning is though. The singer will automatically do it without knowing they are. Soloists and melodic lines can use it too

Also, technically not a good idea to use true equal temperment (as in, tuner perfect) with accoustic pianos, since they use stretched tuning and you often have to take that in to consideration. Also not a good idea to use just intonation when playing a solo with a modern piano, since it can't do that. Luckily, as the soloist, you are likely not lingering on any thirds or anything like that, and if you do, you match the piano rather than have him/her drop notes off the page. The piano is much more likely to be playing thirds that are not part of the melodic line. The solo line should use Pythagorean tuning, which will sound just fine against an equal tempered chord, but will not sound right if you are playing the line in unison with the piano.

Phil Myers (I think? It was one of the big name horn players) suggests to always play in equal temperment and only adjust when absolutely dictated by the music.

This German guy also lays it out hard:

Intonation: Which System to Use When:

http://youtu.be/QaYOwIIvgHg
ttf_Bruce the budgie
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Post by ttf_Bruce the budgie » Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:32 pm

Quote from: Doug Elliott on Nov 18, 2017, 12:42PMSo do string players tune differently for playing things with piano like the Trout Quintet?

One way to tune the open strings of a violin to a piano involves banging a D minor chord on the keys with a B in the bass, B D F A in the neighborhood of middle C. Making each string sound OK with that is about as good a compromise as one is likely to get. (That may be an annoying cliché to some jaded string players, or I may be wrong.)

I don’t know what works best for viola and cello. If the A is tuned to the piano, their harmonically tuned C will be six cents flat w.r.t. an equal tempered C, enough to jangle many ears.

Of course, fingered notes can be played in any intonation the player likes.
ttf_GetzenBassPlayer
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Post by ttf_GetzenBassPlayer » Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:18 pm

Quote from: Le.Tromboniste on Nov 18, 2017, 12:21PMI'd like to point out that I did specify I was talking specifically about orchestra playing and that equal temperament applies to piano (and the whole thread is about playing in orchestra). I don't think your insinuation that I would obviously play intentionally out of tune is warranted.

That being said although I mostly  agree with you about playing with piano, I also almost never heard somebody who didn't at least lower some of their major thirds a little bit when playing with piano. When I did hear it, that sounded horrible. Good accompanists will also occasionally leave out thirds in important chords because they know we can make them sound good and they can't, and give you a chance to make the chord ring on important chords or held notes.

I am note sure if this true in all cases. I talked to a principal oboe and clarinet about playing in just and equal temperament. They said move in weteen.
ttf_BillO
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Post by ttf_BillO » Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:02 pm

Maybe I'm just a backwoods ignoramus, but the way I play is to be in tune with the group.

For trombone, tuning is not that well cast in stone.   If I tune my Bb about 1/2" off the stop, I can play in tune whether it is equal temperament or just temperament, or whatever.  I really just tune by ear.  If I find I'm off (usually flat) I'll adjust my tuning slide on the fly as required.  Other than that I'm pretty good. Unless of course I've misread the key signature ... then I just claim ignorance ... which happens far more 'occasionally' than I'd like. Image
ttf_Andrew Meronek
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Post by ttf_Andrew Meronek » Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:35 pm

Quote from: harrison.t.reed on Nov 18, 2017, 02:21PMJust intonation is NEVER appropriate for those groups. Pythagorean tuning is though.

Pythagorean tuning is a form of just intonation.
ttf_harrison.t.reed
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Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:10 pm

Quote from: Andrew Meronek on Nov 18, 2017, 09:35PMPythagorean tuning is a form of just intonation.

not quite as applied to melodic lines. It makes scales and melodies sound better, not necessarily intervals and chords.
ttf_Geordie
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Post by ttf_Geordie » Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:15 pm

Quote from: BillO on Nov 18, 2017, 08:02PMMaybe I'm just a backwoods ignoramus, but the way I play is to be in tune with the group.

For trombone, tuning is not that well cast in stone. 



THIS!
ttf_svenlarsson
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Post by ttf_svenlarsson » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:35 am

As Harrison.T. pointed to the phytagorean intonation is about melodic playing, in some cases, like thirds and sixths actually the opposite direction to just intonation. As a trombone player it is good to know that melodic (phytagorean) achordic (just) and equal (like the piano) intonation is different.

I never came across a tuner that wasen´t accuat.
All good tuners can be set to low tuning like 415hz to high tuning like 465hz, actually both higher and lower. The tuner is used by most oboe players to give the A that the orchestra is using. I play in orchestras using 415 430 440 441 442 and rarelly 465. (well, not on the same instrument though)

Many organ players avoid thirds on the final chord when playing with trombone solist.
ttf_timothy42b
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Post by ttf_timothy42b » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:23 am

Quote from: BillO on Nov 17, 2017, 09:33PMTuners should never be used in an ensemble unless everyone tunes to the same tuner.  Learn to hear.

It is totally useless to tune to an accurate tuner if most of the other players are playing 20 cents off - and chances are they will be.


I think there is an advantage to the ubiquity of the cheap tuner, even though it's aggravating at times.

That 20 cents off is 20 cents away from an A 440 now, whereas in the past it might have been 20 cents away from anything, more than a half step up or down.  The tuner has standardized the amateur central pitch to where you can adjust close enough. 


ttf_harrison.t.reed
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Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:05 am

Thanks Sven
ttf_Andrew Meronek
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Post by ttf_Andrew Meronek » Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:46 am

Just to make sure we're all on the same page, why I say Pythagorean tuning is a form of just intonation:

Just intonation is tuning intervals by integer ratios. Nothing more.

Pythagorean intonation is tuning intervals by integer ratios specifically where the highest prime factor allowed is 3. Effectively, this is what multiplying and dividing by fifths means - multiplying and dividing by 3/2. Multiplying and dividing by 2 also gives us control over octave equivalence.

Just intonation in the sense of tuning thirds and sixths is typically 5-limit, which is another more specific form of it, and I think this is what people generally refer to when they say they use just intonation to tune.

As an interesting side note, we can tune thirds by higher limits than 5-limit, although you'll get generally farther away from 12ET when doing so. For example, 9/7 (septimal major third) and 7/6 (septimal minor third) are very nice and are naturally a part of harmonic 7th/9th chords.

For that reason it can be useful to clarify "5-limit just intonation" when referring to typically tuned thirds and sixths.

ttf_Whitbey
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Post by ttf_Whitbey » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:02 am

OP here.
The issue is many tuners are bad. Give one to the person that sets the pitch for a orchestra or band and now we have a social problem trying to convince the person with a bad tuner that they are wrong.
Or in Bullwinkle terms, it is a lot easier to tell someone to jump off a bridge that get them to do it.

A few years ago I had the same problem with a concert band. Just as the tuning note was played I played one full volume in tune and got everyone to use my note.

The issue is wrong happens. How to deal with it and maybe change it?
ttf_Bruce the budgie
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Post by ttf_Bruce the budgie » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:00 am

[s]Never mind.

Carry on...[/s]

Some prime limits may be seen in this image, with a zoomable vector version (svg) ar wikipedia’s article on ET.

ttf_growlerbox
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Post by ttf_growlerbox » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:07 am

Playing in tune is overrated.
ttf_Ellrod
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Post by ttf_Ellrod » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:13 am

Quote from: growlerbox on Nov 19, 2017, 11:07AMPlaying in tune is overrated.

+1
ttf_harrison.t.reed
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Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:54 am

I agree... nevermind lol.
ttf_svenlarsson
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Post by ttf_svenlarsson » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:43 pm

 Image Image Image Image Image
ttf_Bruce the budgie
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Post by ttf_Bruce the budgie » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:51 pm

Quote from: growlerbox on Nov 19, 2017, 11:07AMPlaying in tune is overrated.

OK.

All I know is what I hear. That, and some of the easier math behind it. I’m still learning not to get passionate about intonation on line, with 8x10 color glossies with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back explaining. Those who understand need no explanation. For those who don’t understand, no explanation will suffice. That’s why I edited my previous post.

Happy Turkey Day, for those of us who celebrate it.
ttf_harrison.t.reed
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Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:34 pm

Quote from: Bruce the budgie on Nov 19, 2017, 12:51PMThose who understand need no explanation. For those who don’t understand, no explanation will suffice.

That's why I agreed with your nevermind
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Post by ttf_growlerbox » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:14 pm

Quote from: Bruce the budgie on Nov 19, 2017, 12:51PMOK.

All I know is what I hear. That, and some of the easier math behind it. I’m still learning not to get passionate about intonation on line, with 8x10 color glossies with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back explaining. Those who understand need no explanation. For those who don’t understand, no explanation will suffice. That’s why I edited my previous post.

Happy Turkey Day, for those of us who celebrate it.

Sorry, man, didn't mean to ruffle your feathers.  My post wasn't directed at yours (which is why I didn't quote it), but was a tongue in cheek reference to an entirely different thread with some of the same punters involved.
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Post by ttf_Bruce the budgie » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:24 pm

Thanks, guys. Must have missed that earlier thread, maybe a good thing. Now if I could just figure out where the things making whooshing noises over my head are coming from...
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Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:30 pm

Quote from: growlerbox on Nov 19, 2017, 03:14PMSorry, man, didn't mean to ruffle your feathers.  My post wasn't directed at yours (which is why I didn't quote it), but was a tongue in cheek reference to an entirely different thread with some of the same punters involved.

That must be me!  Image

It was and still is a joke man. If you were referring to the "tone doesn't doesn't matter" joke, poking fun at the sad excuse for jazz I hear on the radio daily. But it was also dead serious.
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Post by ttf_sirisobhakya » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:04 pm

A bit off-topic and newcomer's question, but I have always wondered. I have never played in symphony orchestra, only wind bands. If the orchestra tunes to A, but most of the brass instruments' closed pitch is in Bb, how do people in the brass section know that their instruments' closed pitch (where other tuning slides positions are derived from) is in tune, not just the 2nd valve tuning slide (or in case of trombone, the slide position)? Is it done entirely by ear?

And why doesn't the oboe gives A for strings and Bb for the brass section? (And maybe F for the horns and F tubas?) Theoretically the oboe should be in-tune for its entire range, isn't it?
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Post by ttf_timothy42b » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:08 pm

Quote from: sirisobhakya on Nov 19, 2017, 04:04PMA bit off-topic and newcomer's question, but I have always wondered. I have never played in symphony orchestra, only wind bands. If the orchestra tunes to A, but most of the brass instruments' closed pitch is in Bb, how do people in the brass section know that their instruments' closed pitch (where other tuning slides positions are derived from) is in tune, not just the 2nd valve tuning slide (or in case of trombone, the slide position)? Is it done entirely by ear?


I think the proof is in the results.

I have listened to a lot of orchestras on CD and radio, a few professional ones in person, and a much larger number of amateur ones in person.  I've even occasionally played in an amateur one.

The professional ones play in tune, mostly.  The amateur ones do not (and it can be painful).  But even at the amateur level, the offenders are not the winds.  They are the violin and viola sections.  That's just my experience, YMMV.
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Post by ttf_GetzenBassPlayer » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:24 pm

Quote from: sirisobhakya on Nov 19, 2017, 04:04PMA bit off-topic and newcomer's question, but I have always wondered. I have never played in symphony orchestra, only wind bands. If the orchestra tunes to A, but most of the brass instruments' closed pitch is in Bb, how do people in the brass section know that their instruments' closed pitch (where other tuning slides positions are derived from) is in tune, not just the 2nd valve tuning slide (or in case of trombone, the slide position)? Is it done entirely by ear?

And why doesn't the oboe gives A for strings and Bb for the brass section? (And maybe F for the horns and F tubas?) Theoretically the oboe should be in-tune for its entire range, isn't it?

I don’t know what the valves instruments do, but for trombones in orchestra, tuning to A  is not an issue. We have a tuning slide in our hand and we are are making adjustments to compensate for many issues such as playing on a cold instrument or adjusting for changes in the pitch center that tends to occur with most groups.
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Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:54 pm

Quote from: sirisobhakya on Nov 19, 2017, 04:04PMA bit off-topic and newcomer's question, but I have always wondered. I have never played in symphony orchestra, only wind bands. If the orchestra tunes to A, but most of the brass instruments' closed pitch is in Bb, how do people in the brass section know that their instruments' closed pitch (where other tuning slides positions are derived from) is in tune, not just the 2nd valve tuning slide (or in case of trombone, the slide position)? Is it done entirely by ear?

And why doesn't the oboe gives A for strings and Bb for the brass section? (And maybe F for the horns and F tubas?) Theoretically the oboe should be in-tune for its entire range, isn't it?

Trombone should not tune the Bb to a closed position, but instead to a useable one a few cm out (hotly debated, but just my experience based opinion). That said, everyone should come to a rehearsal already well practiced in tuning. They should know if the orchestra is A440 or A442, and practice that way at home. They should also be able to recognize if the rehearsal hall is warmer or cooler than where they usually play. So, they should come pretty well warmed up and tuned.

The tuning A should feel familiar and right, since the player already tuned previously. It can be tested against other notes.

In the end, as long as both a Bb (or D above it) and B can be played in tune with the group, all other notes are also in tune. Tuning surprises mean you didn't practice with the group or someone needs to be fired.
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:31 pm

Quote from: sirisobhakya on Nov 19, 2017, 04:04PMA bit off-topic and newcomer's question, but I have always wondered. I have never played in symphony orchestra, only wind bands. If the orchestra tunes to A, but most of the brass instruments' closed pitch is in Bb, how do people in the brass section know that their instruments' closed pitch (where other tuning slides positions are derived from) is in tune, not just the 2nd valve tuning slide (or in case of trombone, the slide position)? Is it done entirely by ear?

And why doesn't the oboe gives A for strings and Bb for the brass section? (And maybe F for the horns and F tubas?) Theoretically the oboe should be in-tune for its entire range, isn't it?

Well, it also isn't the "closed pitch" for most of the woodwinds. Many concert bands do give A for woodwinds and Bb for brass. But trumpets are more often in C in a symphony orchestra. So are tubas, when they're not in F. Trumpet in Eb is not uncommon, and alto trombone either...you'd quickly reach 4 or 5 different notes to give...

You get used to know the necessary adjustments based on the given A. Also, we typically tune more than just an A. While the oboe only gives A, you can also touch D and E (as the strings need to play and tune those notes too).
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Post by ttf_SilverBone » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:10 pm

Quote from: sirisobhakya on Nov 19, 2017, 04:04PMA bit off-topic and newcomer's question, but I have always wondered. I have never played in symphony orchestra, only wind bands. If the orchestra tunes to A, but most of the brass instruments' closed pitch is in Bb, how do people in the brass section know that their instruments' closed pitch (where other tuning slides positions are derived from) is in tune, not just the 2nd valve tuning slide (or in case of trombone, the slide position)? Is it done entirely by ear?

And why doesn't the oboe gives A for strings and Bb for the brass section? (And maybe F for the horns and F tubas?) Theoretically the oboe should be in-tune for its entire range, isn't it?

Some orchestras I've played in do give both an A and a Bb when doing.  I don't like the practice.  What if the given A and Bb are not in tune with each other?  Furthermore, I have no problem tuning to an A.  I play the D above it and listen to the interval.

It doesn't really matter if I tune exactly to the oboe A.  Just as long as I'm close, I have the world's longest tuning slide in my right hand to fix minor errors.  I actually prefer to be tuned slightly high relative to the oboe A so that if I'm flat in first position I can fix it on the fly.  (First position being slightly off the bumpers.)
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