Brightness vs Darkness too Obsessed?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by melodictrumpet, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. melodictrumpet

    melodictrumpet New Friend

    Nov 23, 2010
    Planet Earth
    Many player believe that as dark of a sound as possible is desirable, but as professional player in classical, jazz, and commercial styles I find that rarely outside of jazz combo playing is a very dark sound actually desired. Overly dark sounds project less and can't be heard well so player must play louder to compensated with throws of the balance of the ensemble. A very bright sound isn't desired in most playing situations either outside of lead playing as well as it is cutting and hard to blend. Unless a player's tone is at one of these far extremes, the majority of players would be best off excepting their tone as it is focusing on improving more generally vs trying to sound dark or bright since the best sound a player can have is their sound be it slightly on the bright side or the dark side.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2011
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I never worried about whether I was playing to the "dark side" of the pitch or anything like that - I have always tried to play the most resonant dead center of the horn I can.
  3. Kujo20

    Kujo20 Forte User

    Sep 29, 2010
    It's really all up to the player I think. Some people think too much about it, yeah. But, it is their all the power to them.

    Other players don't really have a choice. There have been, and are players that just have a naturally dark or bright sound.
    Some other fortunate players can influence their embouchure to make dark and bright Adam Rapa for example.

    When it all comes down to it though, I think that it's really up to the man/woman behind the horn. We all strive for a certain sound, and if we achieve it...awesome!

  4. melodictrumpet

    melodictrumpet New Friend

    Nov 23, 2010
    Planet Earth
    "I never worried about whether I was playing to the "dark side" of the pitch or anything like that - I have always tried to play the most resonant dead center of the horn I can."-trickg

    Thats exactly what all trumpet players should try to do instead of fussing over brightness and darkness since once you do that everything takes care of itself.
  5. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    +1, we each have our own sound and must make the most of it, this was brought home to me when 20 years ago I was lent my friends 1952 Besson New Creation, I could not hear the difference between it and my new Selmer B700, what I was hearing was my sound!

    Regards, Stuart.
  6. Jon Kratzer

    Jon Kratzer Pianissimo User

    Nov 27, 2003
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Too obsessed? And how!

    I haven't posted much in the last several years, but this topic is something I struggled a lot with growing up, so here is my experience with it.

    I spent a lot of time chasing a sound, a sound that was not my own. There are a number of factors that determine our sounds, bright or dark, we're all unique. Even with all of that we just cannot hear from behind the bell. I spent a very long time chasing after this 'dark' sound, recording myself constantly, and not understanding why I couldn't accomplish it. I wanted to sound like a specific trumpeter, I listened constantly to his playing and tried my best to accomplish this.

    It wasn't until later in life that I heard said trumpeter, I got to stand right next to him and I realised one thing, the magic of a good recording sound man makes a huge difference. I decided very quickly from that point not to worry about 'bright/dark' sound. Having the best trumpet sound that you can produce is the most important, and finding that sweet spot to just make your own.

    As we mature as players we are then able to use our talents to develop and use the many colours of our sounds to accomplish the mood we would like to set. Chasing dark sounds can often result in muffled or dead sounds that aren't appealing at all to ear, the same goes for bright sounds too shrill and overbearing. The uniqueness of our sounds it what makes us stand out from other trumpeters. You can accomplish the same results by pairing yourself with the right equipment, thus eliminating much unnecessary work allowing you to just play the horn and create music.

    It took me a while to realise you have to work with what you've got. We all try to emulate other players, I see no problem with this, but obsession with this dark/bright sound can be so crippling to developing players imo. The more we do fundamentally correct, the better what we have naturally sounds.
  7. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Here's my 2 cents. I play a number of horns and I can make any of them dark or bright by changing my mouthpiece. However certain horns do have different timbres. My Conn 40B is brighter than even my Getzen 900H. Comparing it to my Martin Committee or Blessing Super Artist is like night and day sound wise. BUT, if I put in a deep bowl mpc, it falls more in line with both. I agree that it is an obsession driven, in my opinion, by some custom horn builders and others selling "stuff" trying to recreate the Miles sound.
  8. rainbowboy023

    rainbowboy023 Pianissimo User

    Feb 15, 2011
    I agree too many players focus on one type of sound not realizing that their are many types of good tone. It took me a while to discover this in my youth always trying to get a sound that just wasn't mine. When I just accepted my sound I was finally able to evolve as a player and improve. Although now I still alter the mellowness/brilliance (I dislike using the words bright and dark) of my horn through my embouchure and switching off between 2 different mouthpieces to get whatever sound I feel I want during that playing situation.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2011
  9. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    Especially in jazz, where the player is supposed to create their own unique sound, dark and bright considerations go out the window .... Nothing is either too dark or too bright when you don't have to blend with a bunch of Bachs. And, I'm pretty sure ANYONE can influence their tone with just their embochure, to make it brighter or daker, not just the "talented" pros.


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