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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone bought this book? It has a really interesting intonation theory about tuning the low register and learning the harmonics/overtones, not just tuning to G or F# (and it lists all the intonation issues you'll get when you do, which matches my list perfectly :| ). Anyone try this theory? It seems really different, but does it work? I might try it, but I want to know if it's probable first... :D
 

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When I studied with Trent I learned a lot of the concepts you mentioned firsthand. I do not own, or have not even seen the book, however. His workbook that he uses for his students at WMU has some intonation-based exercises in it which I found to be useful, and of course, the Daily Studies book is excellent for other aspects of technical development.

Tuning to the overtones can be very effective at bring a saxophone in tune with itself.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So what's the consensus? Tune to G and compensate, or perfect the overtones and harmonics?
 

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I figure that tuning the Bb on the horn to the concert pitch ( concert Ab on tenor, Db on alto ) is best since it's the most "natural" note on the horn.
I could be wrong. But it makes sense to me.
Then perfect the harmonics from there. Get your embrouchure so that there is a match between the natural fingerings and harmonic fingerings.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I see what you're saying, but don't they purposely build the sax to have a sharp Bb? I might be wrong on that, but I'm thinking tuning to B or C is better if you're going to use that theory. (What do you do personally?)

Thanks for the opinion though, keep 'em coming! :)
 

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ZephyrSax said:
I see what you're saying, but don't they purposely build the sax to have a sharp Bb? I might be wrong on that, but I'm thinking tuning to B or C is better if you're going to use that theory. (What do you do personally?)

Thanks for the opinion though, keep 'em coming! :)
In my experience, the middle Bb is one of the last notes to be raised "in tune" when pushing the mpc progressively further on the cork. It tends to be very flat for me on tenor, and a little bit on alto.

I like to tune the low and middle B naturals. This will leave my mpc fairly far in on the cork, so everything else needs to be voiced down.

I know you didn't ask abt this particular article, but you might find it interesting:

http://www.yamaha.ca/advertising/downloads/wsp_articles/Wind_Tips_Duke.pdf

-Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the article! I read it a long time ago and it meant nothing to me then, but now...it's a lot more applicable. I understand it a lot better...

Even so...it's really hard to voice down that far! :?
 

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ZephyrSax said:
..but don't they purposely build the sax to have a sharp Bb? .. (What do you do personally?)
I've never heard that - any confirmers or decriers?
I usually tune to F2 and C3. The idea of using Bb because that's the natural note of the closed tube seemed to make sense to me, but I have no hard information that supports it. Is there "hard" information in the Kynaston book?
 

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ZephyrSax said:
..but don't they purposely build the sax to have a sharp Bb? .. (What do you do personally?)
I've never heard that - any confirmers or decriers?
I usually tune to F2 and C3. Seems good enough. The idea of using Bb because that's the "natural" note of the closed tube seemed to make sense to me, but I have no hard information that supports it. It would be interesting to know if there is any.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Pgraves said:
I've never heard that - any confirmers or decriers?
I usually tune to F2 and C3. The idea of using Bb because that's the natural note of the closed tube seemed to make sense to me, but I have no hard information that supports it. Is there "hard" information in the Kynaston book?
Not particularly, no. As I mentioned earlier, though, Kynaston says to tune to low B, though, not Bb, as he says Bb is built naturally sharp. :dontknow: I'll check what it says in more detail later...
 

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I was taught quite awhile back to tune to F#, and no matter what horn I've played, that has worked the best for me in getting it into tune with itself.
 

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dstack79 said:
In my experience, the middle Bb is one of the last notes to be raised "in tune" when pushing the mpc progressively further on the cork. It tends to be very flat for me on tenor, and a little bit on alto.
If your middle Bb is flat, you need to push in more.

We were debating this issue in another thread dealing with altissimo and the reasoning behind playing the overtones in tune - even though the theory behind them suggests they are not naturally in tune.

Bb is a great note to tune to. Here is a couple of things to try so you can see for yourself.

1. Play low Bb with the mouthpiece barely on, then pushed all the way on. You'll hear very little pitch change. Do the same thing with middle or high Bb. It's drastic.

2. The overtone pitches aren't affected as much by the mpc position either. Try the same thing as above with over tone middle Bb and regular middle Bb.

3. On tenor, close only the right hand notes all the way down to low Bb. If the horn is sealing properly and you pop the keys precisely, you'll hear a perfectly in tune Bb. (Temp. effects this) it's best at room temp.

What all this means - you have to tune the horn to the lowest pitched note on the horn and open up your throat so everything else isn't sharp. That's what practicing the over tone series in tune trains us for. Otherwise, you'll be pinching on the flat notes and ending up with a pinched sound.

Find the spot where you can match the pitch and tone of the over tone note. Go between Bb over tone and regular Bb. Then B, then C the same way. Your over all intonation will improve drastically.

Disclaimer - I have not read the Kynaston book. But it appears from the original post that this was the theory behind it. It I am way off, I apologize in advance.
 

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ZephyrSax said:
Not particularly, no. As I mentioned earlier, though, Kynaston says to tune to low B, though, not Bb, as he says Bb is built naturally sharp. :dontknow: I'll check what it says in more detail later...
Maybe he was playing my ol' Balanced Action - its low Bb was way sharp. :shock:

Those broadsweeping statements are dangerous. He cannot be speaking for all saxophones - some are that way, others not so.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ah, thanks for bringing this thread back to my attention. For the benefit of this discussion, I'll type out the section exactly so that you know what I'm talking about:

INTONATION

"The saxophone sound is very flexible and so is the pitch. Slight changes in your larynx, embouchure pressure, or air support can have a significant impact on intonation. That said, some general tendencies should be noted.

If you tune the instrument to its low G or F#, the following pitch tendencies occur on alto.

1. Low Bb is sharp (the saxophone is intentionally built that way)
2. Low C, C#, D, Eb, and sometimes E tend to be flat
3. Middle C# is usually flat, especially on older horns
4. Middle D, Eb, and E are very sharp
5. Notes above high B are sharp

*Tenor players beware. The middle C on tenor is usually quite sharp. If you tune to Bb concert, you will probably pull out too much and tune the rest of the instrument flat.

Do the experiment with your horn. Tune the low G, then check every note throughout the entire range and make a graph of the tendencies.

The only way to effectively play the saxophone in tune is to tune the lower register and learn to play (voice) the upper notes down. The concept is called voicing, using your larynx to adjust the air stream to create the desired pitch and tone color, just as you do when you sing.

That's what I'm referring to! Keep chimin' in, folks! :D Let me know which method you use (i.e. tune to G or voicing).
 

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ZephyrSax said:
Ah, thanks for bringing this thread back to my attention. For the benefit of this discussion, I'll type out the section exactly so that you know what I'm talking about:

INTONATION

"The saxophone sound is very flexible and so is the pitch. Slight changes in your larynx, embouchure pressure, or air support can have a significant impact on intonation. That said, some general tendencies should be noted.

If you tune the instrument to its low G or F#, the following pitch tendencies occur on alto.

1. Low Bb is sharp (the saxophone is intentionally built that way)
2. Low C, C#, D, Eb, and sometimes E tend to be flat
3. Middle C# is usually flat, especially on older horns
4. Middle D, Eb, and E are very sharp
5. Notes above high B are sharp

*Tenor players beware. The middle C on tenor is usually quite sharp. If you tune to Bb concert, you will probably pull out too much and tune the rest of the instrument flat.

Do the experiment with your horn. Tune the low G, then check every note throughout the entire range and make a graph of the tendencies.

The only way to effectively play the saxophone in tune is to tune the lower register and learn to play (voice) the upper notes down. The concept is called voicing, using your larynx to adjust the air stream to create the desired pitch and tone color, just as you do when you sing.

That's what I'm referring to! Keep chimin' in, folks! :D Let me know which method you use (i.e. tune to G or voicing).
Middle B,C. and C# on my 82Z alto are flat. If I tune these notes and voice everything down, the horn plays in tune with itself at A440/442. It's automatic now and it requires the mouthpiece to be pushed all the way in. When I see someone playing with their mouthpiece pulled out even to the middle of the cork I expect intonation problems. I think modern horns are designed to play with the mouthpiece pushed all the way in. I don't remember how far I had to push in when I played Selmer altos, but my Mark V1 baritone plays most in tune with the mouthpiece pushed in all the
way.
Martin
 

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ZephyrSax said:
The only way to effectively play the saxophone in tune is to tune the lower register and learn to play (voice) the upper notes down. The concept is called voicing, using your larynx to adjust the air stream to create the desired pitch and tone color, just as you do when you sing.

That's what I'm referring to! Keep chimin' in, folks! :D Let me know which method you use (i.e. tune to G or voicing).
Voicing - if that's what you choose to call it. And tune to low G. It's a loaded question. Low F tends to be the flatest note on my tenor set-up, so that's what I push in for. I totally agree that you have to tune to the lowest pitch and voice everything else down. With that said, once the throat is open and the piece is on far enough ( On my VI alto and a metal C*, I am pushed almost the entire way in), the voicing is the same on all notes. I don't really have to open more in specific notes.
 

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eugesax said:
Voicing - if that's what you choose to call it. And tune to low G. It's a loaded question. Low F tends to be the flatest note on my tenor set-up, so that's what I push in for. I totally agree that you have to tune to the lowest pitch and voice everything else down. With that said, once the throat is open and the piece is on far enough ( On my VI alto and a metal C*, I am pushed almost the entire way in), the voicing is the same on all notes. I don't really have to open more in specific notes.
That theory works for me. But the flatest note on my alto is middle B. On my Mark V1 bari the third register is very flat. If I push all the way in and just relax everything falls into place.
Martin
 

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I play a Mark VI alto which I tune to low F# and G, making a compromise between the two notes because one is a little sharp - sitting at my computer I don't remember which.

The intonation tendencies on this alto are exactly as ZephyrSax wrote.

I have been working with the Kynaston book during the last year, i. e. with the accompanying CD, and I think my intonation improved a lot during this time. I just hear better when I'm in tune now.

I also tried to tune to a low B (NOT Bb!) as Kynaston suggests. This means you have to play with a very relaxed embouchure in the middle and high register. It didn't feel right to me, the embouchure got somewhat instable, so I gave up.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ah, thanks Toot Sweet!

Yes, I've been using the CD and working on the book myself for a while now, but I also tried the low B voicing method, and didn't like it much. If this is the thing to do though, well, I'd better get used to it...otherwise...I'm staying with what I've got!

But wouldn't these intonation tendencies, which I too experience, still be the same even with the mouthpiece all the way pushed on? Everything's relative, but they should still exist, no?

I just find his voicing method very difficult... :(
 

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ZephyrSax said:
If you tune the instrument to its low G or F#, the following pitch tendencies occur on alto.

1. Low Bb is sharp (the saxophone is intentionally built that way)
2. Low C, C#, D, Eb, and sometimes E tend to be flat
3. Middle C# is usually flat, especially on older horns
4. Middle D, Eb, and E are very sharp
5. Notes above high B are sharp
This matches my experience pretty well, even though I'm using a cheapo horn of unknown original (pretty sure it's Chinese). You can see the tuning results under the "Titan Victory Alto Sax" link on my "cheap instruments" page below.

My other saxes show similar tendencies to varying degrees.

Keep in mind I did these tests trying to keep everything about myself steady (embouchure etc) after tuning middle G/C--bascially, what do you get when you don't make an effort to play individual notes in tune. When I actually play I do try to voice the pitches into tune (I'm still learning so I still don't sound so hot).

I'll look into the method described in this book...
 
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