"Brassy" sound- good or bad?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Haste2, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. Haste2

    Haste2 Piano User

    Jun 16, 2010
    I don't really understand what people mean by this sound. It seems like most of the time people refer to it, as a bad thing, yet to me "brassy" is a good thing. I found an article that talks about the "sizzling sound", which they use synonymously with the "brassy" sound. I always thought the trumpet sizzled more as it got louder, and I'm glad to find an article confirming that, and that my ears aren't messed up or something! (well, maybe they still are messed up in some ways....I forgot I have an ear wax problem....haha) It also explains why the really-loud Lee Morgan had an incredibly resonating, sizzling sound (IMO, at least) compared to other solo trumpeters. It's an article from the ITG.


    Also, it's normal to hear the "sizzling" of the trumpet sound from the player's side of the horn, right?

    Now, back to the "brassy" again... is there a "bad" type of brassy?

    (Of course, if you sound "brassy" when playing SOFT, that probably means something is wrong....)
  2. wezley

    wezley Pianissimo User

    Oct 24, 2011
    To me a more "brassy" sound is good if you are in a marching band or something but if you are in concert band then I wouldn't really consider it a good thing because it could make you stick out and that is something you wouldn't want to do.
  3. Haste2

    Haste2 Piano User

    Jun 16, 2010
    So would a good "marching band" sound be nearly synonymous with brassy? I could certainly see why that would be a problem in other contexts....
  4. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US
    I like the brassy sound for marching band, and a smooth trumpet sound for concert
  5. Schwab

    Schwab Mezzo Piano User Staff Member

    Feb 26, 2004
    There are only really two kinds of sounds: good and bad. It's usually pretty easy to decipher which one is which.
  6. Haste2

    Haste2 Piano User

    Jun 16, 2010
    It's true, Schwab. I always try to produce a sound that would be most appropriate and just forget about all of those terms like brassy, bright, dark, sizzling, brilliant, mellow, etc, because worrying about that in the context of playing will do nothing but inhibit a trumpet player.

    I would love to hear some good answers to that question, though!
  7. larry tscharner

    larry tscharner Forte User

    Apr 30, 2010
    dubuque iowa
    Brassy sound...just what it is, good in context where called for, bad in context where not called for. I always ask myself what the intent of the composer is, and what the listener would appreciate most. A good musician plays music, not just strings sounds together. Brassy, not good when playing Silent Night. Brassy, good when playing most Sousa marchs.

    Dont confuse brassy with overblowing and splattering the notes. This is never appreciated. Best wishes.
    gmonady likes this.
  8. fraserhutch

    fraserhutch Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 23, 2004
    Novato, CA, USA
    It's a brass instrument - it's supposed to be brassy. When you get the resonance going, it sounds brassy to the player, even buzzy.

    Just another part of the mishmash of terms I suppose, that include bright and dark.

    To me, the opposite of brassy would be dull.
  9. chenzo

    chenzo Piano User

    Jul 18, 2008
    the trumpet is a brass instrument ! so what is mean't by being to brassy?
    It could mean not blending in with others in a mixed instrumental combo.
    The trumpet should just be an extension of you and should be your singing voice.
    Sing some Jazz,............... Sing a Ballard, and every thing else.
    the trumpet can sound different to suit the occasion.
    its up to us, trumpet players to play musically.

    cheers chenzo
  10. guitarsrmine

    guitarsrmine Piano User

    Dec 29, 2008
    Franklin, Pa
    Brassy is good!!! I like "velvety" too, ala Chris Botti, Herb Alpert,etc...........:play:

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