How many of you have allergies? It seems, in today’s world, most of the population has some sort of allergy. Perhaps this is a strange way to start out a blog on intonation…or perhaps not. If you have several allergies or severe allergies, you have likely gone to an allergist and been poked in the back with different allergens to see if you react. This is necessary to see which allergies need to be treated. This is akin to testing our flutes to see which notes “react” poorly. It’s also important to note that our intonation is a result of our instrument’s natural tendencies and our natural tendencies. An instrument cannot be solely blamed for bad intonation, but an instrument with better intonation will make our jobs easier.
This exercise is the bonding process for a flutist and their instrument. In order to play with good intonation, you first need to know what you’re up against. I use an intonation chart in tandem with the app RTTA Tuner. If you’re unfamiliar with this, RTTA stands for “real time tuning analysis”. The upside to working with this app is that when you stop sounding a note, the app retains the pitch of the note as you left it. This allows you to accurately see what your intonation on that note was after you stop playing the note. It’s difficult to get an exact reading of your pitch on most other tuners.
To put this exercise to work:
You can do this exercise as often as you like, but I would recommend completing no less than one chart per week. Refer to the most recent chart when you are completing a new chart, so you can anticipate problems. This exercise will not only help you to predict possible intonation problems, but it will also help refine your hearing. You will eventually be able to distinguish changes in intonation more precisely. This is the progress one of my students made over the course of four weeks.
1st: Top Left
2nd: Bottom Left
3rd: Top Right
4th: Bottom Right
Sorry for the shadow....