18. April 2009 · 8 comments · Categories: Ramble

Intonation can be a tricky thing. Really tricky. And we tend to be rather defensive about it when someone tells us we are having pitch problems. Or at least I do. I think it’s because it implies I can’t hear things correctly. It’s scary to think I might not be hearing correctly.

And sometimes I don’t, I guess, because I do get corrected by some people I trust to be better than I about these things. Sigh.

What is really interesting, though, is to ask people who are all in the same group about intonation issues. It’s sort of like polling an orchestra on a conductor; the responses really run the gamut and you wonder if everyone was seeing the same person on the podium.

I do try to work with my students on intonation. Oboes have a tendency to be sharp. I know I do. Because we tend to be sharp we sometimes over compensate and play flat. Go figure. It’s a tough situation.

But it’s just intonation. Right?


  1. “But it’s just intonation. Right?”

    No. It is equal temperament…

  2. I was WAITING for someone to jump on that! Thank you for paying attention, and for commenting. Figures it would be YOU! 😉

  3. All my instruments were tuned at the factory, so it’s never a problem.

  4. Maybe your instruments are only supposed to be played at the factory, Tim? Just an idea.

    KIDDING. Really.

  5. :p

    I’d settle for playing anywhere about now…

    Anyhow, off to see Wicked in a bit (matinee).

  6. Have fun! Actually I guess you’ll read this after, so I hope you HAD fun! There’s an oboe/EH book for that one. 🙂

  7. It was about the best performance (of any show) I think I’ve ever seen. The orchestra was great – I only noticed oboe once, and clarinet once, and horn or trumpet a few times – often I pay more attention to the orchestra than the stage, but not this time. The cast was flawless, as far as I could tell, and I was really impressed with Vicki Noon, who was standing in as Elphaba (she’s got pipes to spare). The effects and lighting were amazing, but rather than overshadowing the performances they enhanced them. Patty Duke was fabulous also (I suppose it’s not too surprising that an Oscar-winner might have acting chops), as was Kendra Kassebaum as Galinda/Glinda (“the ‘guh’ is silent”).

    We also only drove up as far as Daly City and took BART in – there’s an exit from the Civic Center station that puts you right at the theater – way more convenient than driving (and parking) in SF – they’re sort of car-hostile there.

    We were in orchestra row C (yes, only three rows from the stage), which is a little too close, but I still loved it. We picked up a CD of the original Broadway Cast and my daughter’s already ripped it to her iPod.

  8. Sounds like great fun, Tim!