Dark Tone.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Humbtresd, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. Humbtresd

    Humbtresd New Friend

    May 15, 2011
    My Band Director says I am starting to get a dark tone. I wanna get it Darker so i would appreciate some advice on it. But is "Too Dark" a bad thing? Like that confuses me, I always thought dark was good.:play: And I got Biggish Lips so i guess the extra mass in my lips should make it even Darker?
  2. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    I think you should ask your band director what he/she meant. Was it a compliment or does he want you to change your sound? In addition, what did he mean by "dark"? Did he mean full with lots of core? Or did he mean lifeless and flat?

    IMHO, "dark" is neither good nor bad. Dark is dark. Sometimes I try to play dark and introspective. Other times, I try to play bright with more sizzle, or with a full rich sound. There are all kinds of ways to play. Don't limit yourself to "dark".

    I don't think the size of your lips has anything to do with it. But I think your heavy 43H bell probably helps you get a sound with more core in it.

    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Darker is usually not measured in frequency response. It is measured by how much lack of "annoying" is in a players style. Dark sounding players normally have to play louder in ensemble to be heard. That is often a disadvantage.

    I always recommend working on breath support and consistency to develop YOUR natural tone. At the same time, we practice hundreds to thousands of tunes to develop "style". The elegance learned this way makes your playing OPTIMAL for all playing situations. It makes you a chameleon

    Lip size plays no role in the light or dark issue. It is only a very small part of the lip that vibrates! Check this link out:

    IWK Brass Research
  4. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    +1 to the above replies ... it really is just another color for you pallet. If I am playing lead in a jazz band and the piece is a cranking swing piece I am probably going to be using a brighter tone than if the section is playing a Soli line in a Bossa Nova. If I want a darker sound I tend to back off on my tongue and attack each note lighter and I feel like I hold my corners in. If I want to brighten it up then I attack a bit more with the tongue and pull my corners back .. this is at least how I seem to look at.
  5. tpsiebs

    tpsiebs Piano User

    Feb 6, 2010
    Randolph, New Jersey
    The expression "dark" difficult to quantify. Generally, a dark tone is considered to be very blendable within an ensemble setting and is actually a desirable attribute. However, as we're are in the throes of marching band season, I suspect that means that your sound is not projecting as well as your director hoped it might: thus, he's concerned about your 'contribution' to the group.

    True enough that "edgy, lazer beam" sounds might be considered "bright" and that may be what he's looking for. As a judge for two of the most prestigious marching arts organizations in the Northeast, I would counter by saying that such sounds are simply obnoxious and actually a detriment to your "indoor" program. Maurice Andre and Phil Smith have lovely bright sounds that are not edgy, lazer beam sounds.

    As Rowuk suggests, develop 'your' sound and with maturity and control, you will actually develop a palette of colors to choose from. There is no "short term fix" and simply moving to a shallower mouthpiece or one with a smaller back bore can only temporarily solve change things. This can, in fact make matters worse by causing pitch problems.

    Generally "dark" is good but if I use the term as a negative, it describes a tone whose core is so thick that it is no longer characteristic of a trumpet.

    That's my best guess.

  6. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    If you are getting darker already, just continue with what you are doing unless the director meant it in a negative way. Trying to make it darker could screw it up by over thinking.
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Again, you want a darker tone, turn off the lights when you play! This is the ONLY QUICK FIX way to play with a darker tone.

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