A=432Hz

Discussion in 'Technical Side of Things' started by Jackal, Feb 14, 2019.

  1. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    For B and E flat instruments, I understand there is only one reason - to save paper. It allows more instruments to fit in a score if their parts don't go too high above or below the treble or bass clef of 5 lines. I am curious if I have been misled.

    It should be note that these instruments are still tuned to the same notes as everyone else, the only difference is that a C is notated on sheet music as a B flat or E flat (the sheet music usually indicates if it was intended for a non-C instrument).
     
  2. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    I don't think that's accurate. The strings, trombones, and any other non-transposing instruments would still have to be notated to actual pitch.
     
    Henry and wabash slim like this.
  3. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Age:
    69
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    I worked closely with the University's band department. Euphoniums are still in use. The warehouse had some great gear in it. They use 80 year old Sousaphones daily. I got to work a series of shows using ancient instruments. In one on trumpets, half of the show was about the collection the musician brought along with him, from serpentines onward. Had a small chamber group where the upright bass was particularly rich Offstage, I noticed that the surface was totally covered in small crazing. I asked how old the instrument was. "Built in 1610", he replied. I asked why he'd take such a valuable instrument on the road. "You ever heard another that sounded so good?" You could feel the acoustic low end thump off stage.

    I still don't see why a sax couldn't be made in E rather than E flat. It'd only have to be a fraction of an inch shorter.
     
    new6659 likes this.
  4. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    I didn’t realize Euphoniums were stil being used. I guess I shouldn’t have melted mine down for scrap. :) Over the years, there have been some amazing instruments made and in varieties almost beyond imagination.

    As for the E natural sax, I think it comes down to convention. Most brass instruments are in Bb, with a few in other keys. That’s why a lot of Jazz is done in flat keys, to keep the horn players happy. I’m sure they could make saxes in any key, but at thousands of dollars apiece, it’s not like harmonicas, which can be collected in number. There might also be intonation issues, because playing any wind instrument is a far simpler matter than playing a wind instrument in tune. :) I can blow a scale on a sax, but it will not be in tune or pretty. If there were various sizes of saxes to accommodate different keys, I wonder if a player would have to adapt to each separately, in order to play in tune.
     
  5. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    Not sure which part is not accurate. Transposed instruments can be tuned to and can play the same notes as non-transposed, they just call a C a B flat or E flat. But the B flat on a B flat instrument will have the same frequency as the C on a C instrument.

    There are two factors. Actual tone, i.e. the frequency. And then there is what we call that frequency or notation. The frequency is what it is, we buy notation is arbitrary, although standardized.

    I think we are actually in agreement.
     
  6. RocknRollShakeUp

    RocknRollShakeUp Synchromatic

    503
    Jun 20, 2017
    USA
    Well a one milimeter difference may not make a difference, until it does, and here the difference while somewhat small, makes a difference to me, and more importantly to some world renown opera singers as per the video I shared, in their own words. I'm not trying to be contentious either but it would be funny to see you telling them how the difference they describe is not in fact significant to them, no ? :)
     
  7. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    What I would find more interesting is to have the same singers perform a blind hearing test to see if they can tell the difference and make a preference without knowing which is which.
     
  8. Floo

    Floo Country Gent

    Dec 16, 2012
    Elmshorn, Germany
    There are C-saxophones. My bandmate plays an alto and a C (plus trumpet and flute). It's always confusing when she's talking to the other sax-player with her baritone or tenor about which key either of them has to play...
     
  9. Roger49

    Roger49 Country Gent

    Feb 18, 2015
    Germany
    My nephew's son who is 13 years old and 61 1" tall(!) now plays euphonium in a brass band in the North of England having started with a tenor horn. He changed to the euphonium because he thought it was more impressive than the horn! He is also learning guitar with no-name Tele and a Cube amp. I jammed with him last year but I'm not overimpressed with his choice of music which was almost entirely Oasis, but was fun nevertheless.
     
    MotorCentaur likes this.
  10. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    On a Bb instrument, the note called C, is actually a Bb. So a Bb, played on a Bb instrument would have an actual pitch of Ab. The Bb instrument plays a natural scale (no sharps or flats) of Bb Major. From the perspective of the player, that would seem like a C scale, but from the perspective of a listener, it would be a Bb scale.
     
  11. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    If you sing into a strobe tuner, near the center of your range, the variability of pitch will far exceed 1.85%, just from natural vibrato. However, if someone has perfect pitch, and that pitch is calibrated by having listened to performers at 432, then I could understand their claim as having some validity. But 1/12 of a whole step is not enough to prevent someone from hitting a high note.
     
    MotorCentaur likes this.
  12. blueruins

    blueruins Country Gent

    May 28, 2013
    Savannah, GA
    This will change everything!
     
  13. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    This will change nothing.
     
    MotorCentaur and wabash slim like this.
  14. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    Lol, quite right
     
  15. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Age:
    69
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    That's just confusing as all get out.
     
    new6659 and Henry like this.
  16. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    I have absolute pitch and started on piano and violin pretty young. At age 10 or 11, I started trumpet, a B flat instrument and it drove me absolutely nuts because the actual tones were already baked into my brain on C instruments and would feel wrong. It was like one of the exercises where colors are typed in a color different from the word (e.g. blue printed in red ink) and you have to read the word but not the actual color of the word.
     
    MotorCentaur likes this.
  17. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Age:
    69
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    When is a C not a C?
    I won't say that I have perfect tone pitch, but it's pretty good. It's good enough that someone out of tune can give me headaches. Calling B flat C is just wrong. B flat is B flat and nothing else. Perpetuating this fallacy is criminal. No wonder kids rarely play brass these days.
     
  18. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    Any wind instrument has a natural pitch, plus harmonics of that pitch, which are available without pressing any valves or keys. The natural scale of one of these instruments will be the Major key associated with its natural pitch. It would be like a keyboard where the keys are arranged so that all the white keys come up with a Bb scale, instead of a C scale. There have been wind instruments in all sorts of natural keys, but the ones most used in our day tend to be in the flat keys. I’m sure there are good reasons, but I don’t know what they are. The thing is, conventions, once they have taken root, are very stubborn.
     
    MotorCentaur likes this.
  19. Scott Fraser

    Scott Fraser Country Gent

    Jan 14, 2012
    Los Angeles
    Speaking of transposing instruments, you all know, of course, that guitar (and bass) are transposing, i.e. the pitch written is not the pitch that sounds.
     
  20. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    Right you are. Most guitar sheet is written one octave above actual pitch. I am a big advocate of teaching, and using, both bass and treble clef.
     
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