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Hi, I wasn't really sure where to post this.

I wanted to know, can you actually play an A442 saxophone in an A440 group?
Can the player compensate for the 2 cents?

I'm asking this, mainly out of curiousity.

Thanks,
 

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Depends on the player and the specific instrument but generally, usually the difference is within the range of the compensatable without any real issue. Saxophones are a mish mash of compromise in any case. The case is similar for 440 in a 442 and 442 in a 440.

For clarinets- themselves also a mishmash- the case is similar; though a bit more challenging. The reverse- playing a 440 clarinet in a 442 environment is really really hard in many cases on a clarinet. if too sharp you can pull the barrel and suffer a bit but probably do OK. But to go sharper you play a harder reed and use a shorter barrel to bring up the pitch but the tuning really goes wild when you do so. It requires an embouchure of iron to do it creditably. 440 Selmers in particular are frequently perfectly set for 440 with no pull at all; too soft a reed ETC and you'll be playing flat even at 440. The jump to 442 can be a challenge in those cases.
 

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no real problem at all, no need to pull anything (that wouldn't change anything in terms of frequency since it is built in in the instruments measures you could only tune one note to perfectly match but the other notes would be even more off ). The difference is so minimal that at the very most, if two instruments were holding a long note together it would sound like a very slow vibrato (which is produced by the small interference of the two frequencies)
 

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I'd be amazed if anyone could tell the difference.
http://dooley.dk/swindlersguitartuner.htm

Play the 440 and the 442. You would have to be pretty special if your playing is so accurate and you ear so good that you would be able to tell any difference. I know I couldn't. Any vibrato and it would be wholly academic.

This is not like the old high pitch vs low pitch thing...that would be rather more of a problem, what was that A=457?
 

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Canadiain said:
... Any vibrato and it would be wholly academic.
Yes it is , a problem that doesn't exist! :)
 

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Fascinating! I have never heard of a A =442 saxophone before. How do you know it was built to play best at the 442 pitch? What make and model are you referring to? Is it one of the Buffet saxes Pete Hales refers to in this article?





John
 

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At one point a few years ago I actually owned two S1 altos- one US and one European. I spent some time comparing them and was able to convince myself that the European one did play slightly sharper but absolutely would not testify to squattolla in a court of law that that was so. The necks (cut out and all) were interchangeable and quite frankly any difference was best described as at about the same level as the difference between a horn finished in tinted lacquer vice one finished in clear lacquer...

Clarinets are a different game. The difference is pretty noticeable pretty quickly and it does have an easily measured effect using plain Jane tuning meters.
 

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Good piece by Mr Howard. My experience was on two S-1's. Affecting my own "nothing to testify to but seems to play slightly better when tuned sharper" take was the S-1's weakish (to me) top end (main reason why I no longer own either) and the sad fact that any effort to blame squirrely intonation for the top G on anything but me would be ludicrous since I'm sincere but not particularly talented in the "push whatever keys seem to work" register.
 

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Isn't 2 Hz more like 8 cents not 2? You could definitely hear a difference if one player was purposely playing at 442 and one was at 440 but a real musician would subconsciously compensate anyway, making it irrelevant. Not saying that I'm a "real musician" or anything, just saying. I don't think it'd really be an issue on a saxophone, but I've never contemplated what pitch my saxophone might be intended to play at. I'm just happy when I can lock in to something.. :)
 

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I took a music acoustics class in college years ago, and the prof did one experiment/demonstration of what he referred to as Just Noticeable Difference. He had large tuning forks, tuned to 440, 441, 442 etc. When two of them were sounded together everyone could hear the "beats". But when 440 was sounded, then 442 was sounded, a roomful of musicians could NOT tell reliably which was which. Apparently the JND is about 3 cycles per second.

So yeah, pull out a little and it'll be fine.
 

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It truly is under the threshold for the home putzer; quite frankly even the real differenct when dealing with HP instruments can be accomodated with the pich control on my record/cassette/CD players andthe differenc is instantly adapted to by my mind.

The 2 HZ difference is immediately apparent when using a tuning meter- though easily compensated for on a sax. It would also be perceptible though not neccesarily objectionable if left uncorrected on a lead horn. Play at 442 when everyone else is at 440 when playing harmony or backup to a vocalist and you'll hear something though......... The strings do it all the time however; "brilliance" they claim.
 

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pitch

haduran said:
Play at 442 when everyone else is at 440 when playing harmony or backup to a vocalist and you'll hear something though......... The strings do it all the time however; "brilliance" they claim.
good point. the difference in timbre may be much more apparent than the difference in pitch. 2 Hz sharp will absolutely make the sound brighter.

hey, hope this isn't go too off-topic, but i've always wondered why woodwind instruments go flat when overblown while brass instruments go sharp. how ridiculous is that?? :?
 

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haduran said:
The strings do it all the time however; "brilliance" they claim.
No, the strings do not.

As somebody who has made his living and purchased all his saxes from the proceeds of playing as a professional violinist I can tell you they do not tune sharp or flat or any such thing. The only note which is played at the tuning pitch is the lowest note on the instrument - the open G string. Violinist tune by ear and generally use perfect fifths to tune their instruments - not tempered fifths. A perfect fifth is larger than a tempered fifth. If anything a string player will end up flat on this note due to the math involved. All the rest of the tuning is done on the fly by ear, not by a factory determined tonehole placement or length of tubing.

Tuning the instrument one way or the other does affect the acoustic properties of the instruments as the sympathetic resonances involved change the timbre of the sound.

I could go on, but trust me, No they do not tune sharp for "brilliance" and then play above pitch.
 

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Beg to respectfully reassert that strings often deliberately tune slightly sharp in orchestral settings. I'm glad that here in Minnesota we've taken the moral high ground in regards to tuning but know from personal conversation with professional string players that several major string sections on the East coast and in Europe view it as an accepted norm. There's certainly room for, "Just as many- perhaps even more- don't." as a position however.
 

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They tune the entire orchestra sharp for the "brilliance". That is why you will find clarinet mouthpieces set up for 442.

I did most of my playing outside of Minnesota, except for a few gigs when I moved here 3 years ago.

Don't assume Minnesota = rube. I'm not going to get in a pi$$ing contest with you. But you talked with, I am/was.
 

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Live in Minnesota myself- no slam on our state intended. Not a professional musician myself but sister is- conducts/ accompanies opera singers. Brother in law a tenor (AY CARUMBA). Father roomed at Carnegie hall in the thirties. (See- two ways to get there; you can practice or pay rent... Took my comments from low brass professionals (I play tuba as well) and former first clarinetist at the Met. Since (along with the oboe) you strings set the pitch and slides and barrels pull but don't push once at the limit but strings can always start out just a bit tighter this was a sore spot for many of the orchestral non stringers from NYC to Stuttgart. Did not intend that the orchestra was willy nilly tuned to differing pitches merely that there was a consitent but slow pitch creep driven in large part by the strings. Again- no offense intended and I do not do anything to your professional credentials but envy them.
 

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alot of clarinets are manufactured in the 440 and 442 options. Just go look at the selmer or buffet or leblanc websites.
some provide 2 barrel for both pitches

and clarinet mpc manufacturers make mpcs at 440 and 442
 

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I own a Selmer at 442. Google "orchestral tuning standard" and you'll find a host of grousing about the issue. From Basooninsts on up (an especially poignant plea from some poor Joe who was tagged to play some piece involving a harmonica with the orchestra. Harmonicas can be tuned... but not exactly on the spur of the moment) The notion that a more brilliant tone is achieved by tuning sharper seems to lead to a constant slow rise in pitch which eventually renders much of the orchestra which depends on resonating air for pitch either really sucking wind to correct intonation problems or forces them to come up with new instruments designed for the higher pitch. Musicians unions are, in some cases, inserting clauses about what pitch is to be allowed into contracts. That the movement is driven primarily by violinists is debatable though a consensus that that is the case almost certainly exists among non violinists. That the effect on the instrument of a sharper tuning pitch is least- approaching nil- on the strings is beyond doubt. The guy who runs the metronomes for pieces by Cage is also unaffected...
 
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