may be helpful to refer to the following pages that highlight the unique
tuning problems of each family of instruments.
Points to Ponder:
1. Good intonation
must be based on the lowest sounds of the band. Since all sounds
create overtones, it is crucial to get the fundamentals of these overtones
in tune. Overtones of the tuba fundamentals, for instance, must
align with the fundamentals of the trombone and euphonium an octave
higher, and the trumpets two octaves higher. This is why brass
sections can achieve a unity of sound not possible in the woodwinds. It
is still important, however, for woodwinds to match their pitch to
the lowest octave they can hear at any given point in the music.
2. The teacher who asks, "Is
that in tune?" "Are you sharp or flat?" or "Which
instrument sounds out of tune there?" will achieve more long-term
results of students listening than the teacher who simply corrects
the problems as they occur.
3. Doing some measure
of tuning each day reinforces your belief that playing in tune is vital.
more than one note gives you a stronger degree of accuracy in finding
a student's pitch center.
a tuning "ritual" helps speed up the process: students
should know which notes you are going to check, if you are tuning one
at a time.
air direction is such a major factor in flute intonation, have them
look at their music as they tune, rather than up at the director.
7. Don't tune
a piccolo to the strobe: it will sound flat, since our ears are
used to that register of the equally tempered piano being "stretched." Tune
piccolo by ear!
8. High school
players can be taught to lower the third and raise the fifth in block
major chords so they resonate off the overtone series.
9. High School
players can be taught to raise the 3rd and 7th scale degrees and lower
the 4th scale degree in melodic situations.
Some bands are fortunate
to have enough tuners to have them spread throughout the band during
rehearsal. This is a double-edged sword, however. Whereas
it can be helpful in correcting some isolated problem pitches, it can
lead to a student's reticence to match pitch with another player, as
in the following scenario: