Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
269 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Could someone enlighten me - how many cents off the "correct" tone is generally allowable in order for a horn to be considered to have good intonation? I realize this is subjective but I'd like to have a feeling for what a competent tech considers "close enough" - perhaps I should say acceptable - in setting up a horn.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,336 Posts
A cent is a hundredth of a semitone. One vibration per second, say from A=440 to A=441 would equal approximately 4 cents sharp on the tuner. For most notes to be within 5 cents would be a remarkably well in tune instrument. Unfortunately there are some notes that are naturally sharp due to the compromise required for the octave vent placement such as 4th line D and A above the staff. If these notes are within 10 - 15 cents sharp they are within the range for a well made instrument. Installing crescents in the toneholes covered by the low C and the G keys respectively can bring these notes closer in tune as can using alternate fingerings which close additional keys.

John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,488 Posts
I think good intonation is being able to play in tune with a band. Good intonation is about being flexible with your pitch understanding what is dead on, what is flat, what is a little sharp and being able to fix the things you hear on the fly.

For instance you know you are in tune. You are playing great. Now comes a unison part with a player that is always a little sharp. Instead of sounding bad you instantly match his pitch creating a sound that is better then it would have been if you played in tune and the other player was sharp. The closer the sound waves are to each other the worst it is when playing in unison with another player. Being able to play in tune with other players is to me what encompasses good intonation. It's not just being in tune when you play against a tuner.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
selmer 26 nino, 22 curved sop, super alto, King Super 20 and Martin tenors, Stowasser tartogatos
Joined
·
3,406 Posts
My experience has been that even 20 cents or so is livable, *if* all the neighboring notes are also similarly mistuned. It is when all of a sudden one note in a range is much sharper or flatter than its neighbors that is really murderous, as it leaves no time to adjust the embouchure in normal playing.

Toby
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
selmer 26 nino, 22 curved sop, super alto, King Super 20 and Martin tenors, Stowasser tartogatos
Joined
·
3,406 Posts
playitfunky said:
snip

For instance you know you are in tune. You are playing great. Now comes a unison part with a player that is always a little sharp. Instead of sounding bad you instantly match his pitch creating a sound that is better then it would have been if you played in tune and the other player was sharp. The closer the sound waves are to each other the worst it is when playing in unison with another player. Being able to play in tune with other players is to me what encompasses good intonation. It's not just being in tune when you play against a tuner.
Ack! This reminds me of when I was young, playing first oboe with a second oboist who was consistently 20-30 cents sharp. It was always "Sophie's choice": either I could be in tune with him and out of tune with the rest of the orchestra, or vice-versa. A no-winner...

Toby
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
Different players has different notes that tend to go sharper or flat. They have to be aware of it. common are mid Ds n high Cs i suppose.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
selmer 26 nino, 22 curved sop, super alto, King Super 20 and Martin tenors, Stowasser tartogatos
Joined
·
3,406 Posts
Short-tube notes are much more bendable (sensitive to embouchure) than long-tube notes, so often when you have players who "bite up" on the reed you will find them getting progressively sharper as they remove fingers.

Toby
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member, musician, technician &
Joined
·
5,062 Posts
Maybe it is worth mentioning that how in tune something is is in comparison to people's ability to hear when something is out of tune. According to research the area that is easiest for people to hear out of tune is around concert G above the staff. Most people can hear about 5 cents difference there, when two notes were played one after the other. Higher and lower notes will be harder to hear, for example around 10 cents diufference possible to hear around the middle C area.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
selmer 26 nino, 22 curved sop, super alto, King Super 20 and Martin tenors, Stowasser tartogatos
Joined
·
3,406 Posts
You of course know the definition of a minor 2nd: two oboes playing in unison...

Toby
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top