Band director (and myself) wants a darker sound out of me

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by RB-R37297, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. kalijah

    kalijah New Friend

    May 5, 2008
    Let us see the article.

    Tongue movement and jaw movement, however large or small is an important part of embouchure manipulation.

    But a belief that simply making the oral space larger (or smaller) due to some "resonant" effect or "air-speed" effect is erroneous.

    There is little or no physical similarity beteween a thumb over the hose and the tongue inside the mouth if you examine the system as a whole.

    But if imagining or visualizing a thumb over the garden hose helps you make the correct embouchure them be my guest.
  2. aptrpt12

    aptrpt12 New Friend

    Dec 14, 2009
    Phil and kalijah are both correct, but I am not referring to vocalization, just a quick way to play a note so an individual can start to hear the difference between bright and dark. It will and does cut some of the higher overtones and darkens the sound. The suggestion is made with the assumption one does not have access to other equipment to change the sound. Bells, mouthpieces, valve caps, braces, etc. all play into darkening the sound, I am assuming this individual doesn't have them on hand. The best suggestion...follow the direction of your teacher. We can not see how your are playing the horn or what you sound like to be able to prescribe the solution to your issue. Good luck.
  3. Phil

    Phil Pianissimo User

    Jun 7, 2009
    Thank you aptrpt12 for saying such. I do believe that there is more involved in tone production than voicing and air control; they are only two of MANY factors involved. Personally, I had trouble playing darker on my old trumpet, but as soon as I bought another trumpet and played on it for the first time without changing anything, the sound was instantly darker.

    Unfortunately I can no longer find that article; it was online before I became a member. I did, however, find Dr. Douglas Wilson, the moderator for "Ask the Teacher" on the ITG Youth Site, saying to use that analogy for faster air. If you think about actually placing your thumb over a hose, as I'm sure we all have done at some point in our lives if we have touched a hose, you know that it does make the stream more rapid even though the water is still coming out of the hose at the same rate in the same volume, the only difference is that the thumb is condensing the volume of the water making it more dense and has to travel faster across the thumb to come out of the hose at the same rate; it can't go back into the hose and back out where the thumb allows, the pressure from the hose is constantly pushing it out. The same CAN be said of the tongue and air; by placing our tongue in the path more, we are doing the same thing; the air is still coming from the lungs at the same rate and still filling the mouth with the same volume, but by condensing the size of the container, the mouth, we are creating more pressure which it relieves by exiting the mouth more rapidly. Try this: keep your tongue down and blow onto your hand,then raise your tongue, alternating back and forth from the tongue completely down to the tongue slightly raised; if you are keeping your air constant, the only change is that the air will feel more focused.

    ITG Youth Site - Ask The Teacher
    About 7 questions from the bottom.
  4. kalijah

    kalijah New Friend

    May 5, 2008
    Phil you do not understand why a hose nozzle does what it does. Not that it has anything to do with playing. But since you brought it up:

    Actually it is not the same flow (volume is something else, so don't confuse flow with volume please)

    The thumb over a hose limits the flow of water. This reduces the flow. Which, in turn, reduces the velocity thru the long narrow hose. Therefore less energy is lost due to the viscousity (friction) along the long and narrow flow path of the hose.

    No. The density does not change of any significance. The water exits faster because the pressure has been restored to something closer to the actual pressure of the source. Velocity thru an aperture is totally dependent on the pressure difference. Not the size of the aperture. However flow does depend on the size of the aperture once the pressure is established.

    Where was the resistive aperture in your garden hose example? Or the back-pressure from the instrument?

    Not so. What goes out of the pulsing aperture is what comes in. The size of the space before has no positive effect on this flow, it can only diminish the flow or the total air pressure.

    If you try it with a small aperture on the same order of what you use to play there is only a reduction in the air flow and velocity coming out of the aperture for extreme reductions due to the arch.

    The maximum air pressure is the air pressure in the bottom of the lungs. There is nothing you can do to give the air more energy than this. And attempting to "focus" the air flow will only serve to reduce the pressure you are attempting to focus.

    But again. If you visualize such to get a result then more power to you!

    But it will never make the air faster thru the aperture, where the pulsations occur. Not that the speed of air thru the aperture has any cause of pitch, which it does not.

    The analogy is easily dismissed as fact. It is only a mental picture to make embouchure manipulations.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2009
  5. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    I think your questions about the garden hoses and oral cavities can be found in a simple little instrument called a jaw harp.
    If you're not familiar with one, buy one (approx.3.00 USD). They're pretty cool. I've played one since I was a kid. One word of caution. Don't hit your teeth.
    As far as a dark sound, Phil Woods says we sound the way we do due to our physiogomy. I think there are a rare few that can change the characteristic of their sound. An example of this (in my opinion) is the CD Trumpet Evolution by Arturo Sandoval. Its a damned good CD and the song (yes song) Maynard Ferguson will give you goose bumps and is worth the cost of the CD alone.
  6. Phil

    Phil Pianissimo User

    Jun 7, 2009
    Sorry, I have to finish this argument out. I meant to do this response earlier but I couldn't get back on TrumpetMaster:

    It’s a matter of basic physics. Remember “piv-nert?” p=nRT/V. Pressure is equal to the dividend of the amount of moles of a gas, the ideal gas constant, and the temperature of the gas, divided by the volume of the container. Reduce volume only and you have more pressure.
    Density is mass over volume; again, we only changed the volume, therefore we increased the density.
    Using the conservation of energy principle, the energy in the hose before the thumb was present must still be there when the thumb is present. Using the Bernoulli principle with this, the pressure created by decreasing the volume must be relieved. This is done by increasing the speed. I can’t explain it too well since I’m not a physics major, but here is what a physics major said about the thumb in the garden hose, taken from a physics forum:

    ”The key to understanding Bernouilli's principle is conservation of energy and the relationship between pressure and energy.

    Pressure of a liquid or gas, P, represents potential energy/volume. PV = potential energy. If energy is conserved (no energy escapes the enclosed space, which is, say, a pipe), then the total potential and kinetic energy of the system cannot change. So PV + KE = Constant.

    Now consider pipe full of a fluid or gas of mass M at pressure P flowing with speed v . The energy is determined by:

    PV+ (1/2)Mv^2=C

    The energy per unit volume is (rho= density):


    Now the substance suddenly passes through a pipe section with smaller diameter. The total energy/unit volume cannot change. In order to maintain the flow rate, the speed has to increase to v', so the substance gains kinetic energy. Now the energy density is:


    but because energy is conserved, we know that:



    So, when the speed increases, pressure has to decrease. If it didn't it would have to obtain energy from somewhere, which is contrary to our assumption.

    Bernoulli's Principle

    Also, there is the oral cavity and then there is the aperture; the aperture is the opening between the lips. By the principles demonstrated above, we are simply creating a higher velocity of air to pass through the aperture altering how the lips vibrate.
  7. kalijah

    kalijah New Friend

    May 5, 2008
    You must understand that Bernouli's principles as you describe do not account for viscosity. It only considers an inviscid fluid. Which air is not.

    You wrote:

    no, you changed the size of the aperture, the water flowing thru has the same mass and density. The flow, of course, is less.

    This is where you are making an error. The energy available for the two cases are quite different.

    You cut and pasted Physics that you don't quite understand and can not apply to the situation.

    No, the velocity of air through the lips is subject to air pressure avilable there. Reducing the oral size MIGHT (or might not) increrase the velocity over the tongue. But, as appears in your "physics" above, there is an equal reduction in the potential energy (called PV above). Also known as static pressure. The aperture is subject to the TOTAL pressure available. Not the pressure due to kinetic energy alone.

    (The relatively slow movememt of air thru the oral space with an aperture present would not increase the kinetic energy of any significance anyway)

    Now considering that air is viscous, any reductions in the path of flow leading to the aperture will increase the viscous loss of air pressure. Of course this will reveal itself more when the width of the path becomes small compared to the length. (Look at HyperPhysics)

    This is why the nozzle-less hose has a relatively slow velocity of water. The pressure has been lost due to viscoucity of water flowing freely through the long and narrow hose. When the flow is restricted the viscousity loss of pressure is diminished and the pressure at the nozzle is increased and can approach the limit which the water pressure regulator allows.

    But there is no eqivalent to the trumpet player system. The lung air pressure is basically the same, or just a bit less, just before the aperture unless the flow is restricted by a closed throut or an exessive oral resrtriction.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
  8. Phil

    Phil Pianissimo User

    Jun 7, 2009
    Bernoulli does apply to air because it has been applied to explain and develop better methods of lift in airplanes; but enough with the physics, apparently I'm too rusty in it to really be able to think it through and actually make an argument via math; however, I am going to argue from experience. I have experimented with this, especially over the last couple of days. In my experience, I DID feel the air moving faster and more focused when I blew on my hand changing tongue positions. I DID take it to a tuner and noticed my pitch dropped almost 40 cents when I lowered my tongue all the way down. I NORMALLY don't think about tongue position, I just simply place it where it works. Just place the tongue where it works best for you; if the analogy works for you like it does me, great, if not, don't tell other people it's wrong.
    The basic idea: Have a good embouchure, good air support, good intonation, and a good sound concept in your head of what you want to sound like.
    And final clarification, the aperture when applied to brass instruments is the opening between the lips.
  9. kalijah

    kalijah New Friend

    May 5, 2008
    It does apply. But in the real world you must also consider viscousity and friction. Which is not considered in Bernoulli's theory.

    You should not also draw a conclusion about air energy based on velocity alone. Bernoulli doesn't. Why should you?

    To quote myself from an earlier post:

    Tongue movement and jaw movement, however large or small is an important part of embouchure manipulation.

    It is usually required in varying degrees as part of the whole system. But it has nothing to do with air pressure or speed like you think.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
  10. Brett Getzen

    Brett Getzen Pianissimo User

    Sep 19, 2006
    Elkhorn, WI
    I do have to agree with Ed Kennedy to an extent. The trumpet you have may make it more difficult to get a darker, richer tone. Keep in mind that the 390 is designed to help students get a good start. It is meant to provide an instrument that is easy to play with even tone and intonation. However, because it has a bell on the tight side, a nickel silver leadpipe, and nickel silver inside slide tubes it is going to naturally be on the brighter side of the spectrum. I'm not saying that changing horns is the definitive answer, but it will help.

    On that note (no pun inteded), I would suggest something like a Getzen 907S or even a 700S. Stepping up all the way to a Custom Series horn may make your parents a tad nervous. Of the two, I would recommend the 907S Eterna Proteus. It is designed to be more of an all around horn. In fact, there are several people that prefer it to the 3050 and it comes in at $600 MSRP.

    On that note, you should pop over to Getzen : 70th Anniversary Giveaway and sign up for our 70th Anniversary giveaway. You could win your choice of the Eterna instruments and pick the 907S.

    Brett Getzen

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