Who gives the A If there is no Oboe?
I'll be concertmaster of my school symphony. We have every band instrument but the oboe, contrabassoon and English horn. Who gives the first and second A for the band?
Most likely either the principal clarinet, or you.
Y'all tune beforehand, off stage, using phone apps. Then the CM "tunes" the orchestra on stage as a quaint and very fake ritual.
Probably you as concertmaster like Mary Ellen said, unless there's a piano or some fixed pitch instrument, in which case you get the A from piano, and then orchestra gets A from you, or everyone gets the A from the piano directly.
Both Mary Ellen and Paul are correct. :-)
had this happen in a youth symphony rehearsal before. all of the oboes were gone that day, along with most clarinets and flutes and all bassoons. we were left with four woodwinds and nearly a full brass section. they had me give the A and it wasn't a particularly successful tuning experience
No contrabassoon? You must be really threadbare!
In one 50-piece community orchestra I play in, the start-up tuning protocol is a B-flat by the oboe for the brass and woodwind, followed by an oboe A for the cellos and violas, and then the upper strings last. The double basses apparently make their own arrangements. Later re-tunes during rehearsal or a performance are by the orchestra as a whole.
In both of the orchestras I play in, the first substitute if no oboist is present is a clarinet, and if no clarinets are present then the concertmaster is next in line.
Oh, and I've played in one of those bad orchestras Dorian refers to. They weren't not fake-tuning... in fact, tuning often took up to 15 minutes because each instrument in the winds and brass got a separate A, each string section had a separate A, the second violin and cello sections would tune one stand at a time because it was the only way to get them in tune, and the concertmaster would direct individuals to tune up or down in almost every rehearsal.
Once upon a time at our uke group a pro violist (who is now my violin teacher) turned up to slum it. We two were early and she wanted to tune her uke to mine. I told her it would be better to wait until a few more people arrived and then take an average.
Malcolm said he uses a tuning fork. Well, the OP is in a school orchestra. I have NEVER seen a teenager use a tuning fork. Andrew H's situation is not that uncommon. A lot of community orchestras have elderly players whose hands have long since lost the ability to wrestle with their tuning pegs. But the solution is to find a room offstage where you can form a "tuning line" where there is an electronic tuner and someone sitting there to help. Why they don't get gear pegs I'll never know.
I say, have someone with perfect pitch hum an A.
Never seen a teenager use a tuning fork? I can record a video and send it to you, if you want. It's rare, but not very interesting.
I've given an A, but never given a F.
I've still got the Hohner A440 tuning fork I bought in 1974 as a 14-year-old oboist.
Leader = concertmaster
Tom I feel like that might be unreliable, especially in a high school orchestra...
Cotton thanks for the offer but my own kids know how to use tuning forks. However when they go to rehearsals they use phone or tuner.
The community orchestra I am in rehearses once a week without the brass and wood winds.
In my community orchestra, the conductor said the same as Paul; tune beforehand using a phone app, all four strings. The final tuning to the oboe is mostly, mostly, for show.
Tune the A to the phone app.
I bought a few A440 tuning forks recently on Amazon. Two (Planet Waves and a dirt-cheap Chinese Kasstino) were perfect. The third, a Sodial, was 450Hz according to my Snark! I don't own a smartphone.
David Finckel, former cellist with the Emerson Quartet, and currently co-director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center has written that the Emerson used to tune to a tuner - it avoided arguments. But I did not learn what "tuning system" they used.
For chamber music, my usual solution is to tune my D and G strings in perfect 5ths so they are in tune with the violins, and then use a phone app to tune my C string to an equal-temperament 5th below the G string.
shoot the pianist.
Actually I agree with Mary Ellen. It's how I do it, but it's not what the conductor recommended. It's an equal temperament issue. Tuning the other strings by ear gives you perfect fifths, a bit wider than what the app will give you. So if you use open strings and you've tuned all four by the app maybe you'll be better in tune with the winds than if you tuned perfect fifths. Same with a piano tuned in equal temperament.
If a viola (and cello for that matter) are tuned in perfect fifths in a string quartet environment the E harmonics of the C strings of those instruments will clash with the open E of the violins.
Some years ago, when on holiday in Ireland, I attended the finals of an important harp competition. I think the 1st prize was €6000, so it was not inconsiderable.