Re: tuning slides
Posted by SouthEast Central on 12/6/2019, 2:50 pm, in reply to "tuning slides"
Um.. no amount of embouchure and air support will adequately fully tune an instrument. Use the slides and adjustments. |
For more information about this, go back to your methods class notes and textbooks. This is basic band director stuff, even if you're a "percussion specialist." However, as a general rule:
Making the instrument longer lowers the pitch.
For more specific information:
Piccolos and flutes should check their alignment (headjoint/tone hole), then pull out/push in as needed. Any "rolling" in or out will also affect tuning, so make sure it's centered and not adjusted. Check the cork on their headjoint about once a week with their tuning rod.
All single-reed instruments should ensure mouthpiece, ligature, and reeds are placed appropriately, not cracked, and the appropriate hardness for the player and the situation.
Soprano Clarinets tune at the barrel first (concert F). Then tune the center of the instrument on a concert A (3rd line B) or Bb (either middle C or 4th space C works, depending upon age/skill of kids). Some people even try to tune the bell, but this really isn't necessary.
Alto and Bass clarinets should tune at the neck, and if the instrument comes apart in the middle, at the center joint, just like a Soprano clarinet.
Alto and Bari Saxophones should tune to F# (Concert A). A "D" is a terrible tuning note on an Eb saxophone, it's almost always out of tune. Tenor saxes can also tune to the F# (Concert E) or a B (Concert A).
Bassoons and Oboes should have the reed fully inserted/on the bocal. This is the one instrument that tuning with embouchure is most critical, but you can make bocal adjustments and possibly pull the reed out slightly if needed.
Trumpets should tune at a Bb concert (fourth space C). The partial for Concert F is slightly sharp, so tuning "F" in tune will make everything else slightly flat on the rest of the instrument.
Trombones and Euphoniums should tune to Bb also (above top line) for the same reason. Tubas as well, to second line Bb.
Horn is a monster, and there's a lot of back and forth here. My way of tuning horns depends on the wrap. Look at the back of the horn. If the mouthpiece receiver directly runs into a tunable slide, that is usually your "F" side tuning slide. Tune that slide first on a concert F. Then add the trigger and pull the slide on the opposite side of the horn (top vs. bottom, not front vs. back). On some horns, you do the exact opposite - you tune the Bb side first, then adjust the F side. It depends entirely upon the wrap.
If you don't know how to read a wrap, pull out the slide not attached to the mouthpiece receiver. Push the trigger down. If it plays, the second slide is your F side slide. If it doesn't, it's your Bb slide. And to make things even more fun, some horns have three tuning slides (Conn comes to mind). In that case - trial and error will help you sort out which is which.
Finally - stress to your students that now that you've tuned ONE note, EVERY OTHER NOTE is now out of tune, and the amount of tuning issues depends entirely upon what note they're playing, what the chord is, temperature, humidity, and every possible variable. Learning to tune is a process, not just a "set it and forget it" skill.
Good luck and thanks for wanting to be a better band director.
What are some rules of thumb for tuning slide/headjoint/barrel/mouthpiece placement?
We have been trying to tune via air support/embouchure etc. but what about to instrument itself?