Intonation : a source of information for the university wind ensemble conductor

No Thumbnail Available
Chandler, James H.
Hargreaves, Robert, 1914-2000
Issue Date
Thesis (D.A.)
Other Identifiers

The purpose of this study was to make a comprehensive examination of factors concerning the intonation and methods of tuning the wind instruments in the university wind ensemble. The study concerned itself with the following issues:1. Temperaments and tunings used in tuning the university wind ensemble2. Pitch discrimination of the individual ensemble member3. Collective intonation variances of the instruments of the university wind ensemble, and how may they be corrected4. Methods of tuning the university wind ensembleThe study assumed that the musicians in the university wind ensemble are selected upperclass and graduate students auditioned from the university band program, who possess professional or near professional playing ability.Furthermore, the musicians have been exposed to university theory courses, which include melodic and harmonic ear training. The instruments played in the ensemble are of professional quality, and the environments in which the wind ensemble performs are the rehearsal hall and the concert stage.Information for this study was obtained from essentially two sources. A survey of literature pertaining to tuning systems and temperaments, the pitch discrimination ability of the individual, intonation variances of musical instruments in the wind ensemble and tuning methodology provided the first source of information.The expert testimony of eminent university wind ensemble directors was the second source of information. The directors interviewed for this purpose were John Paynter of Northwestern University, Mark Hindsley (Director Emeritus) of the University of Illinois, Harry Begian of the University of Illinois, Mark Kelly of Bowling Green State University and Frederick Ebbs of Indiana University. Each director was asked to read the first part of the study and subsequently to comment on how he felt the information applied to the tuning of the university wind ensemble. A set of interview topics was used to guide the wind ensemble directors over the given subject matter. Their answers were tape recorded and transcribed for the study. Conclusions were then drawn from these two sources.The findings and conclusions of this study are as follows:1. A survey of literature revealed that theories concerning the overall tuning system of the wind ensemble vary. Furthermore, university wind ensemble directors interviewed in this study were not in agreement as to what intonation system the wind ensemble should utilize. This study was therefore inconclusive in identifying a single method of tuning the wind ensemble that is universally accepted.2. Different components of musical sound were found to affect the pitch discrimination ability of the individual. The individual's perception of intonation was found to be influenced by the range of pitch, phenomenon of beats, vibrato, duration of musical tones and timbre. The influence of first order combination tones and increased volume on pitch was found to be a controversial issue in both written and interviewed sources of intonation.3. The wind ensemble is composed of a large number of wind instruments capable of emitting a wide range of musical pitches, which in turn represent a great number of possible intonation variances and deficiencies. Both conductor and performer must have a comprehensive knowledge of these-problems and their remedies in order to attain uniform ensemble intonation.4. Tuning practices do vary according to the ensemble's needs and the director's rehearsal procedure. However, proper attention must be given to warm-up procedure, level of pitch, selection of reference pitch or pitches, method of relaying the pitch to the ensemble and methods of correcting faulty intonation to insure consistent intonation within the ensemble.