Thursday, March 22, 2007

Deep Question #2: "Just Alone?"

Here's my second deep question for the Alessi seminar.

Should you play with just intonation when playing alone?

It seems trombonists agree (as they should) that the third of a major chord should be lowered.
For example the D in this chord:

...or the G-sharp in this chord:

But what if you're playing an audition round alone and you run across this passage:

...or the G-sharp in this passage:

Will it sound better with just intonation or equal temperament?

A few thoughts:
  • I suppose in a room with a big echo, you would be harmonizing with yourself, thus just intonation.
  • To what extent do the other instruments follow these concepts of just intonation? Do the strings do this? The oboe? The trumpets? They may be on the committee.
  • If you believe in just intonation all the way, what do you when playing with piano accompaniment?

Here's a link to deep question #1 "Slide vibrato"

Here's a link to a summary of intonation adjustments on the BoneZone website.

1 comment:

GroupsAlias4930 said...

Old post revived!

A while ago, I heard some great advice from a finalist in a NYP percussion audition, and timpanist in a major symphony: you can’t always know if you sound good or bad to a string player because certain each instrument has a few quirks that are standard because of the way a passage fits in the ensemble. To answer your question, get a string player to hear you play excerpts both ways. Then, get another string player to do the same another week. They’ll tell you what sounds out of tune without bias towards the way “it usually goes.” Our problem is that both temperaments are in-tune, but, to outsiders, both don’t always sound in-tune. I’ve asked a few players the same question, and have come up with a few answers such as no just, use just, but not when it requires you change the pitch for consecutive repeated notes, use just, but not for fast things, and, the best, make it sound good for the committee.

Here’s a spoiler: I bought a keyboard and use my drones much less when preparing excerpts.