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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Im in the proces of finding my sound on my alto sax and are currenty using the TE Tuner app for pitch control/awareness, even though I know that in the long run its better to be able to rely on my ears rather than the eyes :)
I have just entered the universe of Sigurd Rascher and his "Top-tones" and are struggling with his exercises around mastering dynamics.
Have looked for an app which measures sound level and possibly can give me some kind of graphical representation - ie for instance of going from fff - ppp.
Have found several apps which measure dB - like Decibel x, DecibelMeter, Decibel N, Sound Meter, however except for Sound Meter none of these come even close to a workable tool for practicing dynamics.

Any info on apps which could be useful for practicing dynamics - or any other insigths on how you use apps for building up intonation etc would probably be most helpfull :cool:
 

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Check out this app called Total Energy.
TE Tuner is Tonal Energy I think.

Im in the proces of finding my sound on my alto sax and are currenty using the TE Tuner app for pitch control/awareness, even though I know that in the long run its better to be able to rely on my ears rather than the eyes :)
I have just entered the universe of Sigurd Rascher and his "Top-tones" and are struggling with his exercises around mastering dynamics.
Have looked for an app which measures sound level and possibly can give me some kind of graphical representation - ie for instance of going from fff - ppp.
Have found several apps which measure dB - like Decibel x, DecibelMeter, Decibel N, Sound Meter, however except for Sound Meter none of these come even close to a workable tool for practicing dynamics.

Any info on apps which could be useful for practicing dynamics - or any other insigths on how you use apps for building up intonation etc would probably be most helpfull :cool:
The app you have already can do that, if you click on the Analysis option at the bottom, one of the options is a waveform and pitch. The blue waveform is volume.

I'm constantly finding stuff in tonal energy that I didn't know about, for instance I swiped by accident from left to right and found all the recording options.

It is worth reading the manual:


Richard
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thks ... know it - this is the one I referred to as TE Tuner :) ... its a great tool, and agree, also indicates dynamics like volume level when you use the "analyse" function, however dont think its usable for what im looking for - ie preferably a graphical representation of volume level, which could help me keep track of the volume level while im playing the saxophone.
But in lack of a specific tool for this I could also settle for just a dB number ... have found this chart:
ppp​
very quiet​
Pianississimo​
30 db​
pp​
somewhat quiet​
Pianissimo​
40 db​
p​
quiet​
Piano​
50 db​
mp​
moderat quiet​
Mezzo-Piano​
60 db​
mf​
moderat loud​
Mezzo-Forte​
70 db​
f​
somewhat loud​
Forte​
80 db​
ff​
loud​
Fortissimo​
90 db​
fff​
very loud​
Tortississimo​
100 db​

...
Have - as i wrote earlier - tried several different dB measurement app tools, and a few actually looked like acceptable solutions for what im trying to accomplish, however experienced that they all went "to the roof" - ie. 80-90 dB very quickly, even when I tried to play very softly on the sax. This was true for a couple of the apps, so maybe im also up against some challanges with the ipad microphone,
I practice in a home studio - 2 x 2 m - so the distance from the ipad mic to the sax is ofcause narrow, however should be able to slowly progress from 30 dB to 70dB - but this was not possible with the two apps I tried out. They both went from 30 dB when i played extreemely soft (something like pppp) to around 80 dB when i tried to increase volume just a tiny bit!!

Guess I'll probably have to settle for the analogue solution - my ears ;-) ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
TE Tuner is Tonal Energy I think.

The app you have already can do that, if you click on the Analysis option at the bottom, one of the options is a waveform and pitch. The blue waveform is volume.

I'm constantly finding stuff in tonal energy that I didn't know about, for instance I swiped by accident from left to right and found all the recording options.

It is worth reading the manual:


Richard
Thks Richard ... im not familiar with the recording options ... will have a go at the manual :cool:
 

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Thks ... know it - this is the one I referred to as TE Tuner :) ... its a great tool, and agree, also indicates dynamics like volume level when you use the "analyse" function, however dont think its usable for what im looking for - ie preferably a graphical representation of volume level, which could help me keep track of the volume level while im playing the saxophone.
But in lack of a specific tool for this I could also settle for just a dB number ... have found this chart:
ppp​
very quiet​
Pianississimo​
30 db​
pp​
somewhat quiet​
Pianissimo​
40 db​
p​
quiet​
Piano​
50 db​
mp​
moderat quiet​
Mezzo-Piano​
60 db​
mf​
moderat loud​
Mezzo-Forte​
70 db​
f​
somewhat loud​
Forte​
80 db​
ff​
loud​
Fortissimo​
90 db​
fff​
very loud​
Tortississimo​
100 db​

...
Have - as i wrote earlier - tried several different dB measurement app tools, and a few actually looked like acceptable solutions for what im trying to accomplish, however experienced that they all went "to the roof" - ie. 80-90 dB very quickly, even when I tried to play very softly on the sax. This was true for a couple of the apps, so maybe im also up against some challanges with the ipad microphone,
I practice in a home studio - 2 x 2 m - so the distance from the ipad mic to the sax is ofcause narrow, however should be able to slowly progress from 30 dB to 70dB - but this was not possible with the two apps I tried out. They both went from 30 dB when i played extreemely soft (something like pppp) to around 80 dB when i tried to increase volume just a tiny bit!!

Guess I'll probably have to settle for the analogue solution - my ears ;-) ...
dB is a relative measurement. unless you are in a calibrated setting, these number are meaningless.
 

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Guess I'll probably have to settle for the analogue solution - my ears ;-) ...
Please do. You're approaching this as if you are some kind of robot. All you have to do is play as soft as you can (ppp), then as loud as you can (fff). As you crescendo and decrescendo, the steps in between are pp, p, etc. If you're in a sax quartet in a small room, your p will be much softer than in the sax section of a big band playing outdoors over the rhythm section and the rest of the horns. Any attempt to quantify this with numbers is useless. So use your ears and think in terms of soft and loud.

Here's something you can try to put some rough boundaries around your dynamic range. Pick a recording to play along with and play as soft as you can. Turn up/down the recording volume so it's the same level as your playing. That's your ppp baseline. Now play as loud as you can and turn up the recording to match. That's fff. Divide that range by 8. That's your incremental volume change from one dynamic to the next. For example if your volume range for your play-along is 10%-80%, that puts mf at 50%. Of course this is a simplification, and the scale isn't really linear. But that will get you in the ballpark and at least exercise your ability to make dynamic changes. In the end, when you play with a group, your job is simply to match the dynamic level of the group or section.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
dB is a relative measurement. unless you are in a calibrated setting, these number are meaningless.
In my case I could calibrate both apps to abt 20 dB, which was - as far as I could see - the general background noise in the room.
My rational was that I by calibrating to 20 dB should be able to find a volume level in the vicinity of "ppp", when hitting a measurement of around 30 dB.
Im aware that the db number itself - ie being able to find out how much air (+ lip and tongue) I need to apply when playing the sax in order to hit exactly 30 db - is probably not important.
My goal was (is) to build up awareness of how to move trough the different dynamics (levels) ie from ppp all the way to fff, ie building awareness of the relative distance between the different levels.
Im not trying to be scientific abt this, but just like I think its very productive for me to use the TE app to build awareness of correct pitch, I had hoped that I could apply the same approach to practice different volume levels.

/Jakob
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Please do. You're approaching this as if you are some kind of robot. All you have to do is play as soft as you can (ppp), then as loud as you can (fff). As you crescendo and decrescendo, the steps in between are pp, p, etc. If you're in a sax quartet in a small room, your p will be much softer than in the sax section of a big band playing outdoors over the rhythm section and the rest of the horns. Any attempt to quantify this with numbers is useless. So use your ears and think in terms of soft and loud.

Here's something you can try to put some rough boundaries around your dynamic range. Pick a recording to play along with and play as soft as you can. Turn up/down the recording volume so it's the same level as your playing. That's your ppp baseline. Now play as loud as you can and turn up the recording to match. That's fff. Divide that range by 8. That's your incremental volume change from one dynamic to the next. For example if your volume range for your play-along is 10%-80%, that puts mf at 50%. Of course this is a simplification, and the scale isn't really linear. But that will get you in the ballpark and at least exercise your ability to make dynamic changes. In the end, when you play with a group, your job is simply to match the dynamic level of the group or section.
Think yr reply makes a lot of sence - thks :)
 

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In my case I could calibrate both apps to abt 20 dB, which was - as far as I could see - the general background noise in the room.
My rational was that I by calibrating to 20 dB should be able to find a volume level in the vicinity of "ppp", when hitting a measurement of around 30 dB.
Im aware that the db number itself - ie being able to find out how much air (+ lip and tongue) I need to apply when playing the sax in order to hit exactly 30 db - is probably not important.
My goal was (is) to build up awareness of how to move trough the different dynamics (levels) ie from ppp all the way to fff, ie building awareness of the relative distance between the different levels.
Im not trying to be scientific abt this, but just like I think its very productive for me to use the TE app to build awareness of correct pitch, I had hoped that I could apply the same approach to practice different volume levels.

/Jakob
I think a better way to calibrate yourself would be to:
1. maintain a steady relative position between your sax and the microphone, both in orientation and distance, as well as keep a consistent background noise.
2. measure the dB of a medium level (mp or mf), both to reduce the cumulative error at the ends of the range, and for increased Signal/Noise compared to ppp you were using.

Whatever dB your app shows at this point, crawl the table rows up and down by moving in steps of 10dB from there. E.g. if your mp measures 52dB, p would be 42dB and so forth.

This should work well for a given note played. Another factor to consider is that your HW may not have a flat frequency response, and it's not clear whether the app adheres to a dBA weighting either (best reflection of our ear's perceive loudness). So, for different registers on the sax your relative mid point may move around as well.

I agree with you, using your ears is probably a much better solution here...
 

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I haven't gotten a chance to personally try it yet, but I have seen some ads for an app called sax-o-meter that makes claims of being able to describe your timbre, which may be helpful with the Top-Tones stuff.

Would be very interested to hear what anyone thinks about that app if they've tried it or decide to check it out!
 
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