A440 - bands and percussion

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by skillfull brass, May 11, 2004.


Should bands tune to A440?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. Don't care

  1. skillfull brass

    skillfull brass New Member

    Should bands be tuned to the percussion section using A440 or to the Principal Cornet player?
  2. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    here is an idea...how about tuning to percussion instruments like the glock. that should have the same tuning all the time..
    a cornet , bass , trombonist can play a different note everytime they play .Best Idea is to listen and blend
  3. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    I believe there is already some discussion on another thread which might be relevant, however I would have thought the simple answer is that the band should tune to the principal cornet player who would himself use a tuning machine (or fork) to ensure that he is sounding an accurate A440. (or whatever pitch the percussion is actually tuned to; evidently some modern "fixed-pitch" percussion instruments are actually at A442 ???)


  4. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    I think you should tune to the glock for the simple reason that you can't alter it (well, not without a file, anyway). If you really want to be A440 then get the glock tuned to that by the manufacturer (if it isn't already).
    Just about everything else can be altered. Mind you, what do you do if your tubular bells/xylo/marimba/vibraphone/glock don't match? Any percussionists had that happen? Do you carry a large file in your stick bag :?: :)
  5. skillfull brass

    skillfull brass New Member

    What about what happens in your own bands?
  6. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    why should everyone tune to 440? as long as everyone is in tune with each other, and the shedbuilders don't get in the way of the music too much ;) you can produce a different overall band sound by tuning slightly sharp or flat.
  7. skillfull brass

    skillfull brass New Member

    What about when the tuned percussion have a nice melodic solo with one of the brass players and the brass players are as you said tuning sharp of flat. Clearly there will be some sort of problems!!!!!!
  8. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    ............... because it is an internationally recognised and ratified standard, adopted at an international conference in 1939 ?
  9. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    much like the metric system, eh GJG ;)

  10. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Well, it was an American conference ..........
  11. How about just getting the top man to play his C and then everyone matching that....

    all this technical jargon withers away your natural musical sense
  12. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    1939 was a long time ago.... I mean, the 'accepted' (even if it wasn't ratified) standard pitch for baroque period performance was supposedly A=415hz, look around a number of recordings and you will now see printed in the CD booklets, pitches ranging from A=395 to A=465!

    In the end, it pains my ears to hear any ensemble and the tuned percussion playing at a different pitch. If, (as seems to be the habit of late) glocks are tuned to A=441-442, then really I feel you should go with that. Still, if you have a glock tuned to A=442, and a xylo tuned to A=440............ Oh sod it, I give up! ;-)
  13. Well Worth It

    Well Worth It Active Member

    I think the point Ben is that the percs can not then match the top man.
  14. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    Our glock is flat, so flat in fact the we've had to tune down to it!!

    Usually our band (on the rare occassion that it does) tunes to me for some strange reason, I think it's so that most of the band can play a true unison note.
  15. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    Once met a conductor who tuned his euphos always sharp....
  16. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    its not illegal to play at any other pitch though. if it was, players with shit intonation would be arrested, and we would have no band movement. most bands play flat anyway and are well below 440.
  17. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    Yes but we would be pure! :shock: :D

    The tuning police, can you imagine it???
  18. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Imagine it, eh?

    'Ello 'ello 'ello. Are you the conductor of this 'ere band? I'm from the Metropolitan Pitch Police and we 'ave reason to believe your band is consistently playing at A=439hz, and deliberately flouting the 1939 convention which standardised modern concert pitch at A=440hz. I shall 'ave ta ask you to accompany me to the station, sir, if you don't mind. I must warn you sir that anything you say will be taken down a major 3rd and may be used in evidence against you.'
  19. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    I did actually post this in reply to Nadia before I saw this! Honest! ;-)
  20. Lauradoll

    Lauradoll Active Member

    That's one of our conductor's favourite lines! We rehearse near a fire station (mmmmm firemen) and everytime the sirens go off we get "Oh here they come, the tuning police" or "here they come , the split note police". As long as everyone's in tune, who cares if you're tunes to 234 or 5009????