Hi all,I have a King Zephyr Special alto that plays very flat w/ the palm keys, middle register,Eb,E and F.With the octave button,these are in tune an octave higher.Is it me or could there be a mechanical issue with the horn? Thanks.
Charlie parker was known to use Eb palm key in middle register (without octave key) to play D. Handy for a trill or difficult phrase. Otherwise...use a fingering chart. Isn't it great to find out the horn is fine and it's you who's not sharp.
I sometimes use palm D in addition to the usual fingering to brighten the tone of the stuffy middle D on my tenor. (i.e. lh 123, rh 123, octave key, plus palm D.). But it makes the D even sharper than normal.
I also sometimes use palm D and palm Eb as trill keys to get to D from C# or C.
You can actually get away with this on some horns...usually Tenors (playing lower register with palm keys). Some are made such that they will not intone badly there....but I am talking maybe 20% of 'em. Altos much less likely.
Acoustically the farther away the octave vent is from a note's "ideal" octave vent location, the sharper the note becomes when the octave vent is opened. According to Gary Scavone, the neck octave vent is in the "ideal" location for the note B, hence the notes A and C# two half steps away are typically sharp. As we go to the "shorter tube" notes played with the palm keys that are farther away, opening the octave vent makes them extremely sharp. This is why the toneholes for these notes are put in a location that produces notes that are very flat when played in the lower octave so to be closer in tune when the pitch is raised by opening the neck octave vent.