Consistency of Timbre

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by BFlinch83, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. BFlinch83

    BFlinch83 Pianissimo User

    119
    1
    Dec 12, 2005
    Baltimore, MD
    Hi Andrew-

    I'm really glad to see your new forum up and running. It's already provoked helpful responses about interesting topics.

    I've been having an issue with my middle-upper register. The timbre around f# to b-flat on top of the staff is "smalling up" and changing from the relaxed, resonance of the middle and lower register. When going into the upper register from high c to e-flat, the sound is fine and full with lots of zing. Obviously in that area a more pushed sound is slightly more acceptable (often it feels like just getting those notes in Alpine to come out of the horn is good enough), so I'm not sure if it's open or I'm just lowering my standards.

    How would you suggest pushing the upper limit of playing with relaxed, full, resonance in the middle-upper register?

    Thanks and again, welcome!

    Brent
     
  2. amtrpt

    amtrpt Pianissimo User

    Age:
    47
    186
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    Feb 17, 2008
    toronto
    Hi Brent,
    First of all I'm sorry for taking so long to respond and I really appreciate your patience.

    Your question is a great one, and it's something that I have worked on a lot over the years. Here are a couple of ideas for you to think about and see if they are applicable to your playing.

    One thing that I have found is that tounge position will have a pretty big effect on the upper register. When we are playing higher we are always trying to find a way to speed up the air without using tension of the throat or chest. I think using the tounge is the most effective to do this. Try to imagine using your tounge as a water valve that never closes, but when needed can raise up to make the water go faster. There are lots of ways to practice this with or without the trumpet. Just try blowing air and raising the tounge as you do it. Listen to the different sound the air makes. What you described sounds like a little too much chest or throat tension. I tend to find that it's easier to accept a more zingy sound when I get in the more extreme upper register like high C and up.

    The other thing that I would suggest is stretching your registers slowly. I'm a big fan of three octave work. I prefer to start in the middle octave, work my way down then back up two octaves to the top. This way I have an excellent reference point for what the correct sound and feel should be. You can do this in any way that you want. Chromatic, whole steps, arpeggios etc. I only suggest that you do it mostly slurred at first so that you have as few inhibitions to the air as possible.

    I hope that makes sense and is somewhat helpful. If you have any questions please let me know.

    Best,
    Andrew
     
  3. BFlinch83

    BFlinch83 Pianissimo User

    119
    1
    Dec 12, 2005
    Baltimore, MD
    Hi Andrew-

    Thanks for your response! Good suggestions.

    I think my problem comes from confusing the tongue angle with throat tension. To me they are kind of one in the same, so that I'm either trying to keep a flat tongue, thus making range and intensity in the upper register suffer, or arching which includes tension, making the upper register sharp and pinched, changing the timbre.

    Any thoughts on mentally separating tongue angle from throat tension?

    Thanks!
     
  4. amtrpt

    amtrpt Pianissimo User

    Age:
    47
    186
    2
    Feb 17, 2008
    toronto
    Hi,
    You bring up a great point and I don't know of an easy answer. In an earlier post I talked about feel quite a bit. This is one of those areas for me that I really need to know what feels right and especially what feels wrong. If I can indentify those feelings then I can often point myself in the right direction.
    Best,
    Andrew
     

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