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Quartet Tuning...

1724 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Agent27
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 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.

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