Centered Tone

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Satchmo Brecker, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. Satchmo Brecker

    Satchmo Brecker Piano User

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    What does it mean to have a centered tone? I'm guessing it's not the same as simply being in tune (i.e. "centered" pitch).
     
  2. DaTrump

    DaTrump Forte User

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    I cant explain it without drawing it out but I know how you can find it. Start on a written G, bend the pitch down, then up, then back down again until you find the point at which the tone is the biggest and fullest.
     
  3. Satchmo Brecker

    Satchmo Brecker Piano User

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    Hmmm, how do you bend a note without changing the pitch (which would be simply be making it out of tune)? Maybe this is an aural question that has to be heard rather than explained?
     
  4. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

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    It probably means something like "that portion of the pitch where (on a brass instrument) the maximum tone and resonance occurs"

    Thus if you constantly blow on the low side of the partial? You're playing on the low side of the note and limiting projection and tonal quality.

    If you blow on the high side (as I sometimes tend to do)? The note is "bent" and brighter.

    Classical types blow on the low side of the partial. Jazzers bend it up.

    You'll notice a lot of big band lead trumpet players with their tuning slide pulled farther out than their peers. Why? Because they pull their whole range of notes slightly up so they must compensate by pulling out the tuning slide.

    Its all relative though. One of my favorite local jazz trombonists pulls his notes way above center but it is a great tone.

    The thing is that regardless of where we bend or push our pitches all sorts of tiny measures need to be taken in order to keep the trumpet playing well in tune. On top of that some notes on the horn sound better when blown sharper! Maybe some sound better flat but probably not.

    This from Well v.s. equal temperament

    In fact, western music from the time of Bach until the turn of the 20th century was not intended to be performed in equal temperament. Equal temperament is appropriate for some music of the 20th century, especially atonal music, and music based on the whole tone scale, but not for the works of the 18th and 19th centuries.

    I can't remember when it started happening but the piano began to sound slightly out of tune to my ears. Maybe my whole life but its there. Reason? Because as a trumpet player I'm probably more inclined to hear the "well tempered" scale not the "even tempered scale"

    As for my own playing? Suppose I could learn to blow lower on the pitch and this would make my tone more "classical" but I don't want this sound. In fact the sound of a good classical trumpet player blowing jazz often sounds funny to the ear. Unless he is able to cross over well.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2012
  5. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    I'd guess some of the extra pull is due to using extremely shallow mouthpieces, too. But, yeah, playing slightly high on the pitch gives a "brighter" sound.
     
  6. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

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    True fact Dale. Makes me think that perhaps Maynard had two reasons for boring his mouthpiece throat so wide:

    1. To get a fatter tone in the middle register

    2. Allows the itch to drop down enough so that the horn played normally.

    In this video he's playing a Monette M/F mouthpiece with a number 16 bore. See about 2:10 here: Maynard Ferguson on Equipment - YouTube

    This is a shallow mouthpiece that he mitigated the tinny tone by boring out.

    I've been considering taking my second shallowest piece, the 2011 version of 3x5 by Steve Cass and boring it out to a 16 or so. Maybe even putting in a second cup like Parduba. Did that with his dad's 3x4 and it worked superbly for the middle register. You can't tell the difference between it and when I blow the much larger Bach 3C. Other than ruining the collectors value of an historical piece it was a good idea lol.
     
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    If we think of the "buzz" ending at the end of the mouthpiece, the trumpet acts like a big megaphone. If we have a solid standing wave, past the end of the bell, it will sound and be "centered." Hard to put into words.
     
  8. DaTrump

    DaTrump Forte User

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    Exactly, it is much easier heard
     
  9. DaTrump

    DaTrump Forte User

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    Great explanation Local! Exactly what I meant
     
  10. Jfrancis

    Jfrancis Pianissimo User

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    Let me recommend using a metal straight mute as a centering device. Put in the mute, play a "g" mid-staff. Bend up, bend down, when you get the mute 'buzzing' - you are playing dead-center. Take out the mute immediately (perhaps even while playing the "centered pitch"). This where the note should fall. This straight mute method is far less subjective, as you can really hear results. Also try this experiment while playing in the corner of the room, so the walls give you feedback of what you are truly sounding like.
     

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