Tuning Help

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by kate_the_horn, May 24, 2005.

  1. kate_the_horn

    kate_the_horn New Member

    Recently, i've been having hell with my tuning on me Besson Soverign Tenor horn.
    its been gradually getting worse, and it has gotten to the point where I am nearly in tears because it is annoyign me so much.

    This is both with band and piano accompanyment.
    I tried using another horn, and the tuning slide was all the way out with that also.
    Its usually ok, untill we start playing.
    being the soloist in the band i really need to get it sorted, before uni, any comments or tips will be greatfully recieved

    thank you#

    kel x
  2. mr.forde

    mr.forde Member

    I am also a horn player who use to have the same proberlem with my besson horn, it is irriversable. Try getting a Soverain Eb Horn (alto horn to the americans.) The Besson company do make great insroments but they arn't so good at the tuning slides:biggrin:
  3. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    The tuning on my Sovereign (main tuning slide nearly all the way out) changed dramatically when I changed mouthpiece size (to a 2). And mr.forde she already has a Sovereign Tenor Horn!
  4. Trog's

    Trog's Member

    I really don't think it is something to worry about so much that you feel like crying!

    I find with my sov' that middle C# through to G# have to really be listened to, quite a few notes (i.e. E) for example need to be played on alt' fingers

    I would personally just take sometime to just look at your technique (is everything as it should) and look at your practise, are you doing any more, any less or anything different?

    Also when you do play in the band, do you tense up in anyway?

    There are members in my band who swear that when the pressure is on people tense up and do tend to play sharp.

    Also I found practising with a practise mute altered my tunning.
  5. Trog's

    Trog's Member


    How long is it since the piano was tuned,

    and also, My old band played very sharp as a rule because the conductor had a different tunning machine to most other band conductors. (apparently there are different ones???) and I found it very hard to fit in tunning-wise, but the problem was solved when I moved on!

    These might be possiblities you may consider.

    Hope I have helped. Sorry if not!!!
  6. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    It's not only tuning machines that cause these problems. If you happen to play in a band that has an 'active percussion section', then you end up having to tune your band to the contents of the kitchen section. I've known people chop bits off old glockenspiels and tubular bells to sharpen them up just so they're closer to brass tuning.

    Trying different mouthpieces is a practical solution - make sure though that you try models from different manufacturers as well as different sizes from the same manufacturer.

    There are ways of extending the tuning slide on instruments, but I'd only really look at it as a last resort.

    Tuning is really about using your ears as well as the musculature in your face. Sometimes it can help to practice long notes with a well tuned piano or an electronic keyboard. If you use the latter, make sure you use a sound that doesn't contain a lot of harmonics - the closer to a sine wave you get the closer to the actual pitch of the note the sound is. Make sure you check the tuning of the keyboard against a tuner you may have at band - if you scan through presets on a synthesiser you'll find that the pitch of the note may vary depending on the sound you're using, which means you're pitching against a bad reference.

    Just as important as the state of your chops is the diaphragm support you're using. If you don't support the air column, you'll end up screwing the mouth piece onto your face, and letting your lip do all the work. This'll eventually result in your lip being over tense for most things (and eventually you may lose your top register). Essentially, the note you play is made by amplification of your lip vibrations by the instrument. The speed of vibration (and therefore the pitch of the note) is controlled by your lip tension and the speed of the air column. I'd advise you think about exercises that work on the latter ;)
  7. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    Is it just the tuning or is it the intonation as well (internal tuning).
  8. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Good point ;)
  9. kate_the_horn

    kate_the_horn New Member

    if u meen like, if i play like f's and a's yeh they are terrible too, i find the worst 1st valve.

    k x
  10. Trog's

    Trog's Member

    Yes I have found that!

    At times I have had to tune, say the F, and had to suffer with, for example the 3rd line up Bb!

    I also find depending what sort of form i'm in, the more able I am to 'bend' notes.

    The sov' horn are noturios for that.

    But different instruments have different 'problem notes' that need a bit of lip bending.

    So I wouldn't worry too much, if you play with good technique you'll get through it!
  11. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    I guess what Steve's getting at is the 'tuning' problems you're having down to the instrument or you. There's a thread somewhere about top Gs (and Fs!) on Sov Euphs...this problem is inbuilt into the design of the instruments due to the physics of pipes.

    Is your tuning note actually right, or is it horrendously sharp? Are you having to pull it out to get your 1st valve in tune? Is the instrument in tune with itself (e.g. Ds on 1st and 1/3, Es on open and 1/2 and 3)? There'll always be minor discrepancies with the alternate fingerings, but it should be broadly in tune with itself. If your G's mainly in tune with your main slide in a respectable position, play with your other slides.....

    I came out of retirement to play with Leyland at the Area this year on 2nd Bari - imagine my surprise that, after a lifetime of playing Euph with all it's foibles, I had to play all middle As on third valve....sometimes that's just a fact of life...
  12. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    OK, Get your horn and push all the slides right in

    1.) when you play a middle G is it always sharp?
    2.) when you pull out the tuning slide are your middle G's then in tune?
    3.) Are they intune every time once you have pulled out the tuning slife?
    IF NOT THEN IT IS YOU AND NOT THE HORN, Irregular embouchure and not listening normally the cause.
    4.) If they are always in tune go through the alternate valve tests and adjust your slides as necessary (i wont tell you which are normally the problem ones as it is by trying this excercise that you will learn all about intonation).

    G - open - 1/3
    A - 1/2 - 3
    B - 2 - 1/3
    C - open - 2/3
    E (above tuning note) open - 1/2 - 3

    Hope that doesnt sound patronising, let us know how you get on.
  13. probertprestige

    probertprestige New Member

    Come On!!!

    Come on miss Kenyon! You sounded great on friday night.... :clap:

    If you still think you bad then you might consider you embouchure...

    Or you might have been unlucky... Clean the horn out?

  14. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    I don't want to cause offence, but I suspect that certain Sovereign instruments - horn, euph, Eb bass - may be 'built' sharp, perhaps to produce a 'brighter' sound at contests (one theory that I've heard.)

    With the exception of Sop (Schilke), flugel (VB Strad) and trombones, my band is all Sov. All three horns have main tuning slides pulled that far that only grime or willpower holds them in. Both euphs have suffered the indignity of main slides falling out during rehearsal, because they were pulled to the max., and both Eb basses have had the same happen during concerts. Laggy bands and bits of string are now major repair kit items.

    (Before anyone says a word about lack of practice, one horn player attends a rehearsal or two before a concert, while another is a music student who plays more per day than I do per week, rehearsals included...)

    So, the problem appears to be the instrument, rather than the player. Unless you know better...
  15. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    Don't know about that. It is common practice to build instruments slightly sharp because they can always be made flatter if required by pulling out the slides (within reason). If the instrument is built flat, then only major surgery could make the instrument be in tune in a band that plays sharp.

  16. sywity

    sywity New Member

    I have the same problem with top E's on my sovereign its only that note that i have a major problem with....have to play it on 1st and 2nd to make it sound nearly in tune with the rest of the band.....Does any know if Yamaha Maestros are a better breed of tenor horn?:confused:

    Simon Scholes
    Solo Horn
    Pilling Jubilee Silver Band:clap:
  17. Trog's

    Trog's Member

  18. Cantonian

    Cantonian Active Member

  19. Trog's

    Trog's Member

  20. flower girl

    flower girl Member

    have you cleaned it recently, because apparently, if you have alot of deposits trapped inside of your instrument, that can change the tuning.

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