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Tuning the Band and Orchestra

Robert W. Smith • January 2022Playing Tips • January 19, 2022

When tuning the band or orchestra, be sure to focus not only on matching pitch, but tuning octaves. Many instruments of the ensemble are displaced from the reference pitch by an octave or more. I suggest beginning with tuning the principal players. Once the pitch and octaves are secure, use the principal players together as the reference pitch for the rest of the ensemble. The resulting reference octaves allow all in the band/orchestra to match a pitch and hear the octaves throughout the context of the ensemble.

Robert W. Smith
Troy University – Troy, AL

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