Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 12:49:11 -0500
From: John Daniel <>
Subject: Re: Intonation

Albert et al,
It is just great to have a discussion on tpin about something musical for a change.  I'm excited.  A few years ago I started making my students sing and buzz everything in their lessons.  IN TUNE.  The slightest scoop or meandering pitch center and I stop them immediately.  You just can't believe how much this change in my teaching has profoundly affected the progress of my students and myself.  I'm ashamed to say how many times I've performed the Tomasi from memory without bothering to make sure I can sing and buzz every passage first.  So these days I practice mostly easier stuff and plan on taking a lot of time when I try to prepare the hard stuff, so that it doesn't come out halfbaked.  My students for the first time have learned to pace themselves in the practice room because the eartraining takes time.  With improvisation, no more BS, if I can't hear it, I don't play it.  No  more playing notes from a scale just because I know in theory it will work.  So I've gotten away from using the tuner as much, unless I'm picking up an Eb for the first time in a few months or flugel etc.


Hi all,
>I have been reading and enjoying the discussion on intonation, although I
>have missed an entry or two. I would like to share a thought or two on the
>subject, if I might.
>I have found that the development of good pitch starts with working a great
>deal with a tuner so that one is in tune with ones self.  The small
>electronic tuners available on the market today are just no match for an
>old Strobo Conn or Peterson Strobo Tuner.  I find some of the less
>expensive models have a tendency to change pitch a great deal when close to
>the source at loud volumes.  Other do not, including the ones mentioned
>It think that if a student uses a personal tuner, then moves on to the more
>advanced ones for reinforcement and refinement of the tuning process, they
>gain a great deal in personal ability to play in tune with ones self.  If
>one can do that, it is one less battle to be fought.
>Second, once a player gets to the point that they can play in tune well
>with themselves, as well as comprehend the whole tuning process, they then
>must learn to play with others in tune.  There are lots of ways to play out
>of tune, but only a few ways to play IN tune.  The student must strive to
>work for instantaneous adjustment of minor details, or if playing the top
>part, tuning themselves to the ensemble around them.  Having a common frame
>of reference and a good ear are the best ways to develop good ensemble
>tuning, and if the player has developed a good sense of personal pitch,
>corporate pitch should follow as an extension of personal pitch.
>I firmly believe that, except for those with perfect pitch, the best thing
>one can develop is a great sense of relative pitch, and that of course is a
>developed ability.
>Hope some of this makes sense.