Middle 'A' syndrome? any sufferers?!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by flugel_fancy, Sep 2, 2007.

  1. flugel_fancy

    flugel_fancy Member

    This was something that came up in rehearsal last week and I am curious to find out if anyone else suffers from this porblem?!

    I have played cornet/flug since I was 14 and have always have a problem with middle A. I am always flat! Every teacher, totor and conductor I have had has picked up on my A's!

    whenever I have to play an A that is a crotchet or longer I have to mentally remember ot lip it up everytime I play one yet every other note is nion perfectly in tune. It's not the instrument as I have a few cornets and have the same problem with all of them.

    I've tried 3rd valving it at the suggestion of our conductor but this still doesn't help.

    Can any one explain this strange problem I have with middle A or maybe there is someone out there that suffers from the same condition of middle 'A' syndrome?!
  2. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    A seems to be the weakest note with Tuba, Not so much tuning, If I am playing a loud passage the middle A is the note most likley to split, I need all the controle I can get with middle A.
  3. flugel_fancy

    flugel_fancy Member

    I knew I wouldn't be the only one out there that has a problem with a particular note. ;)

    I don't think there is anything I could really do about just be aware so I can lip it up/down each time I play.
    It's just so frustrating especially when there is a sustained A in a solo and every single time it's played it sounds horendous until I adjust it! :redface:
  4. ohIdoliketobe

    ohIdoliketobe New Member

    I spent a year playing BBb Bass and the nightmare note on my Imperial instrument was middle A. Not so much tuning, just hitting it straight in the middle. Definitely a case of "hit and hope".
    I was obviously not successful as I have now returned to the sop where there is less chance of being called upon to hit middle A.
  5. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    I've had problems with middle A too - although not with tuning. It does split horribly easily, although thankfully being on the lower BB part at the moment, tt's something of a rarity to be playing that high!

    The worst note I've got for tuning at the moment is my middle G. Nothing I do seems to sharpen it enough to pull it into tune. - although the rest of my open notes are usually fine!
  6. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    Try Practicing scales with very long notes for a few weeks, Will help with tuning and hitting A bang on in tune , Takes about a month with half an hour a night of long notes. My A is still weak and likley to split , But it is in Tune.
  7. Aaron

    Aaron Member

    I have suffered from this ever since I made the move from euph to baritone, at first I assumed it was me during the transition from mouthpiece sizes etc, but it has continues ever since & I have been on baritone nearly 3 years now. I have tried everything to ammend it, & the only solution I have come up with was to lip up everytime I play that note, which is not ideal by any means & is not consistent!
  8. This answer is far from being medically "tested", but it may nevertheless help you:

    Tuning is very much a brain thing (apart from the obvious tuning problems that most instruments have with certain notes whereby the case for this is down to pure physics). It's all about "(pre-)hearing the notes inside".

    People that have (or work based on) the so-called "absolute pitch" (although it mostly is not as near as the word absolute might suggest) rely on the note their brain "provides". Now it can happen that the "brain-tuning" for some notes is simply wrong. You then literally don't find out about it because it is "right" for you. You'll always the problems with the same few notes. People that do not have an absolute but a relative pitch "work" with the spaces/intervalls between the notes. Therefore, if such people have tuning problems, they do not always play wrong the same notes but, for example, the note they reach after a fourth or a quint might tend to often be too high/low.

    I know 3 (possibly) helpful solutions to all this. You should focus on one or the other depending on the above given explanations:

    1. Train your brain. Play your "problem-note" always with a tuner. Try to listen exactly to the (now) correctly-tuned note. Your brain may eventually learn the correct tuning.

    2. Try intervall exercices. Sing them (not using your instrument) after having checked your startnote is perfectly tuned. Then, play them.

    3. Feel your instrument. There are certain instruments that somehow "swing" if the note is tuned well. It's somewhat difficult to explain but I experienced it with my new Xeno cornet. The instrument gives some reaction and vibrates differently depending on your played note being well-tuned or not. It's kind of a good-vibrations-syndrome, lol.
  9. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    I know what you mean, on my trombones, I have them slightly sharp when the slide is all the way in, it is called using a floating first position. But when I play a C (treble) in tune right down the middle, I know about it because the trombone vibrates in my hand, feels wonderful!

    My problem note at the moment is a Bb (Concert above middle C, genrally refered to in brass bands as a top C). on my Rath the note rips, I can play the A or C either side of it but not the Bb. Any other make of instrument and I can play it till the cows come home, just ping them out all day.
    The thing with Rath trombones is that they are amazing to play, but if your technique isn't spot on, you won't be able to do half the things you can on other makes.
    I am working very hard on solving my Bb issues lol!
  10. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I can't say I've had any major tuning problems - and don't go saying that basses can't play in tune anyway :eek: - but I do tend to use third valve, rather than one & two much of the time.
  11. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    Ive used 3rd a few time Eb Bass part in Marching onward springs to mind
    a row of semi Quavers e d e d e d e d instead of 1/2 followed by 4 i tend to lean to 1/3 followed by 3 it's fast enough not to notice if there are any tuning probs
  12. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Of course we can!

    In fact, with the tuba's innate nature of allowing a player to lip a note a semitone one way or the other, we've got to work harder on tuning than most of the other players. (Give or take the trombones!)

    In fact, I concentrate so hard on my tuning, I sometimes struggle with the technical stuff... ;)
  13. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    Interesting you say that Thirteen, I can play a full semitone either way on any position with my lips, never mind my slide lol!
  14. Robhibberd29

    Robhibberd29 Active Member

    Me too, must be a bass trom speciality wahay!
  15. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    Though from the bottom Bb (C to you brass banders) I can lip gliss a full octave down to the pedal Bb in 7th! Quality stuff!
  16. Robhibberd29

    Robhibberd29 Active Member

    tromboneers rule!!!!!! Aye!!!!

Share This Page