All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians
SYOS

Intonation intonation practice TE Tuner

georgesax

Member
Subscriber
Messages
91
May I ask what is the acceptable range of (+-) percentage when practicing initiation on ET Tuner?
would the range of 10% (+-) be considered acceptable?
thanks
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
4,586
Consistently within +/- 8 cents (without using your eyes on the tuner) is good, but it's better to be on the sharp side than flat. Most people probably would hear it as in tune if you play within 5 cents, but it depends on what other instruments are doing - you need to play in tune with your bandmates (or backing track).

But if you play a saxophone with a completely neutral embouchure and don't try to adjust to be in tune, you will probably be all over the place - possibly +/- 25 cents even on a good modern instrument with a decent mouthpiece. That's why you have to work at playing in tune until it becomes natural (not sharp or flat).

Rhys
 

mizmar

Member
Messages
70
I use the TE tone generator (through headphones) with long tones and try not to look at the numbers.
Occasionally I'll look to see how smiley the face is.
Another useful exercises I saw on one YouTube somewhere was to play a short phrase ending in a sustained tone... And look at the tuner when your playing the tone to see how well you've landed.
 
Last edited:

John Setchell

Member
Messages
78
Consistently within +/- 8 cents (without using your eyes on the tuner) is good, but it's better to be on the sharp side than flat. Most people probably would hear it as in tune if you play within 5 cents, but it depends on what other instruments are doing - you need to play in tune with your bandmates (or backing track).

But if you play a saxophone with a completely neutral embouchure and don't try to adjust to be in tune, you will probably be all over the place - possibly +/- 25 cents even on a good modern instrument with a decent mouthpiece. That's why you have to work at playing in tune until it becomes natural (not sharp or flat).

Rhys
I start warmup with half a dozen long blows thro’ MP & neck only to hit E (tenor) on tuner - soft to loud; also bending & return to note.
I then put tuner away, put sax together, and practice by ear.
Works for me.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,102
An exercise I used to do with my students was to have them play a chromatic scale from low Bb to high F one note at a time while another person watched the tuner and recorded how many cents flat or sharp each note on the instrument is. The idea is that having a chart of your instrument's (or your) pitch "tendencies" allows you to know in advance which notes to adjust. There is a tuning app called "AP Tuner" available for iphones that does essentially the same thing. You can play a phrase and the app maps the intonation of each note played.
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
4,586
I start warmup with half a dozen long blows thro’ MP & neck only to hit E (tenor) on tuner - soft to loud; also bending & return to note.
I then put tuner away, put sax together, and practice by ear.
Works for me.

Interesting.

I guess it depends how experienced you are and how familiar you are with the intonation characteristics of your setup(s).

Rhys
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,301
Each piece has its own intonation. A tune you know well will pitch correctly and easily. A new tune will be more random as you concentrate on other issues.
Playing live with others, just blend. The note you add may pull the whole band together or apart.
Being able to hear pitch gets easier the more you play.
Tuners are for strings. Mainly guitars. Imo. Equal temperament in fourths is hard to hear.
Saxophone is able to play proper harmony. Put the tuner away and...just play nice. ;)
 

Wietse

New Member
Messages
16
Tune a few notes with a tuner. Then, practice long tones and wider intervals in major/minor scales with organ tones or a tone generator, with a tone that functions as harmonic center of the key you're playing in. Try to make them sound as 'right' as possible, trying to blend in with the organ tone. This is how you can practice your ear to correct your pitch to what is considered 'right' in West-European harmony.
This link explains the difference between equal and just temperament: Scales: Just vs Equal Temperament
And on this link a German classical tromboneplayer explains it very clearly with sound examples. If you don't understand German, switch on the subtitles ;-)
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KM8udpWGIk
 

mizmar

Member
Messages
70
And on this link a German classical
Intersing. The same issue, I guess, as in the video posted by DavidUK - but without the tr*mb*nes!

But I'd remark that folks might take into account that some of is - including, I suspect, the OP - probably don't have as great ears as more experienced players.
 

John Setchell

Member
Messages
78
Each piece has its own intonation. A tune you know well will pitch correctly and easily. A new tune will be more random as you concentrate on other issues.
Playing live with others, just blend. The note you add may pull the whole band together or apart.
Being able to hear pitch gets easier the more you play.
Tuners are for strings. Mainly guitars. Imo. Equal temperament in fourths is hard to hear.
Saxophone is able to play proper harmony. Put the tuner away and...just play nice. ;)
Inspirational Sir.
I came here via 30 years of playing bass where the note you fret plays.
Then 10 years of Hammond which is basically two rows of well behaved switches (sometimes!)
Starting sax is a bit like childbirth - nobody warns you of the pain! The dominant frequency which presents itself is as much about state of mind as physics. The player is merely the resonant part of the instrument upstream of the reed.
 

GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
Subscriber
Messages
1,653
Inspirational Sir.
I came here via 30 years of playing bass where the note you fret plays.
Then 10 years of Hammond which is basically two rows of well behaved switches (sometimes!)
Starting sax is a bit like childbirth - nobody warns you of the pain! The dominant frequency which presents itself is as much about state of mind as physics. The player is merely the resonant part of the instrument upstream of the reed.
Yes, absolutely state of mind. You prehear the pitch in your mind and it will tell your body how to produce it. It takes some patience and practice, but it really is remarkable how it works.
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
2,211
Yes, absolutely state of mind. You prehear the pitch in your mind and it will tell your body how to produce it. It takes some patience and practice, but it really is remarkable how it works.
This is absolutely true and is precisely why it's important to learn to play by ear, especially if you intend to improvise. If you are strictly reading and have only developed an eye to fingers ability to play you will not be hearing the note before you play it. Can you sing the line you're reading? Great players (and trained singers) can, so tend to play/sing in tune. If you're improvising and just playing chord tones or "theoretically", you may not have a clue what pitches you're about to play. The best improvisations are usually melodic lines. Again, if you can't hear it how are you going to play it? The other factor is the voicing of the instrument. The higher the pitch (soprano and sopranino) the more difficult to play in tune as small changes in embouchure = big changes in pitch and timbre.

Hearing the pitch you're about to play is the key to not only playing in tune, but also being able to play well with appropriate feeling, dynamics, and expression. It's also the key to true improvisation.
 

David Dorning

Senior Member
Subscriber
Messages
708
If you are strictly reading and have only developed an eye to fingers ability to play you will not be hearing the note before you play it. Can you sing the line you're reading? Great players (and trained singers) can, so tend to play/sing in tune

I suspect most musicians who play from a score, and may not be interested in improvisation, will nevertheless develop more than just an “eye to fingers” ability. Eye to fingers must to an extent involve the ability to read ahead, and I think that helps develop the ability to “hear” ahead. It may not be done consciously but isn’t hearing ahead part of playing in tune for any musician? You don’t have to be a great player to play in tune, although of course you need the ability to play in tune to be a great player.
 

John Setchell

Member
Messages
78
This is absolutely true and is precisely why it's important to learn to play by ear, especially if you intend to improvise. If you are strictly reading and have only developed an eye to fingers ability to play you will not be hearing the note before you play it. Can you sing the line you're reading? Great players (and trained singers) can, so tend to play/sing in tune. If you're improvising and just playing chord tones or "theoretically", you may not have a clue what pitches you're about to play. The best improvisations are usually melodic lines. Again, if you can't hear it how are you going to play it? The other factor is the voicing of the instrument. The higher the pitch (soprano and sopranino) the more difficult to play in tune as small changes in embouchure = big changes in pitch and timbre.

Hearing the pitch you're about to play is the key to not only playing in tune, but also being able to play well with appropriate feeling, dynamics, and expression. It's also the key to true improvisation.
Improvisation is a sea-change for me. Up until now as “back-line” I have spent gig evenings holding the chord progression and groove down while the guys on “front line” danced all over it!
Focusing on and pre-hearing the melody is a new discipline I’m having to learn for sax.
- And of course punctuation with those wonderful horn-chops!
 

David Dorning

Senior Member
Subscriber
Messages
708
It depends. Here's Pete's advice:

Exactly. To be a great player you need the ability to play in tune, which enables you to create tension by controlling the extent to which you play out of tune and bend the notes.
 
Top Bottom