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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Why do some players insist in tuning to a concert A in a sax quartet when there are many other notes to choose from (apart from open C# or upper D)?

I prefer to tune with all the players playing written G :line2: regardless of size as it's a stable note and we can tune to the intervals, and the fact any adjustments can be done easily as it leaves the right hand free to do adjust the mouthpiece (though saxes are only in tune with themselves with a certain amount of cork showing - the rest is done with the chops).

But even in some big bands some sax players insist on a concert A being given to tune to, when a Bb is much better as all the brass can tune much easier to their unstopped concert Bb than a stopped A.

Though in quartet playing everyone should be listening to each other anyway, and making adjustments as they go along to get the intervals and chords in tune with their chops - rather than tuning up to one note at the beginning and then carrying on with the belief they're still in tune at the end.
 

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I was told, I think it was this past summer, it's generally a good idea to tune everyone to a low (written) F. I think the reasoning behind this was it's a natural overtone of Bb, so if you can get that note in tune, and get the intervals in the quartet tuned, then generally the horn will set better for everyone.

We tune multiple times before we start quartet (A, Ab, Bb, Eb) and then we always start with a chorale to listen around to eachother.
 

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When taking quartet coachings from Dr. Rousseau, he had us tune to written f#, thereby tuning to a P4th/5th.

Another way of thinking is the way string quartets play 'in tune'. There are no absolutes in tuning because of the Pythagorean comma vs. 'equal' temperment. It all comes down to your ears. IMO, even if you try to tune every note spot on with a tuner, you'll never play 'in tune' in all situations because of this.
 

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hakukani said:
When taking quartet coachings from Dr. Rousseau, he had us tune to written f#, thereby tuning to a P4th/5th.

Another way of thinking is the way string quartets play 'in tune'. There are no absolutes in tuning because of the Pythagorean comma vs. 'equal' temperment. It all comes down to your ears. IMO, even if you try to tune every note spot on with a tuner, you'll never play 'in tune' in all situations because of this.
The Pythagorean??? OWWWWWW - now my head hurts - thanks a LOT Johnnie
 

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Mark5047 said:
The Pythagorean??? OWWWWWW - now my head hurts - thanks a LOT Johnnie
Hey, you should follow me around one day. Dept. of edumacation dept of redundancy of redundant paperwork dept,,, replete with things like:
'Could you fax a copy your email to me when you get a chance. I need to sign it.'
 

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Dept. of redundancy dept.

Double post, sorry
 

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I totally agree with these responses.

Tuning is essential not only in the beginning of the rehearsal as you well know, but also at various points throughout. The idea is to get on the same page (or in the same ballpark) intonation-wise and stay there throughout the rehearsal. It has not been uncommon for quartets of which I've been a member to stop every so often to re-tune in rehearsals, especially between pieces.

I prefer tuning with everyone playing their own written F (for the same reason that Bezozzi mentioned), so that open intervals P4 and P5 happen (for the same reason as Rousseau as mentioned by Hakukani).

During the rehearsal, listen actively to yourself and others. Make sure (number one) that your own intervals are correct, and that you're also in tune with the other members of the ensemble. This requires a LOT of communication throughout, so keep it respectful yet honest. Hold each other accountable without being antagonistic (or defensive), and you should have some busy and fulfilling meetings.

It is also very important to have an accomplished coach or a pair of trusted ears in a critical listening role present on at least a weekly basis.

Angel
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I see why a written F would be better for every player due to it being a stable (with more fingers down) and well vented note.

But I don't honestly see why some people insist there should be a binding need for concert A to be the tuning note in sax quartets or wind ensembles when there are no stringed instruments present (though bass players in big bands usually tune to an electronic tuner), and also the need to tune to 440Hz as there's no piano. So long as the ensemble is in tune with itself and plays in tune with itself is what matters most even if the general pitch is all 438Hz to 442Hz among all the players (and not a mix of these pitches!), depending on the temperature.

And concert A on an alto and bari sax is a forked note in that there's a tonehole closed below the one the note issues from, so it's not the most ideal one to use.
 

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bezozzi said:
I was told, I think it was this past summer, it's generally a good idea to tune everyone to a low (written) F. I think the reasoning behind this was it's a natural overtone of Bb, so if you can get that note in tune, and get the intervals in the quartet tuned, then generally the horn will set better for everyone.

We tune multiple times before we start quartet (A, Ab, Bb, Eb) and then we always start with a chorale to listen around to eachother.
FYI, low F is not a natural overtone of low Bb. Middle and high F are, but the low one is not.
 
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