Do all brass horns follow the same harmonic series?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Nealium, Jul 2, 2015.

  1. Nealium

    Nealium New Friend

    16
    2
    Jan 9, 2015
    I'm supposed to be teaching a brass sectional for a local high school later this month. Seeing as I'm just a trumpet player, and fresh out of high school, I thought that I might read up on some other instruments' characteristics. I'm currently writing out some technique builders and some range exercises. I know what works for me, but I'm wondering if other brass instruments follow the same rules. So is concert Bb the same fingering/slide position as concert F, concert Bb (up an octave), concert D, etc? And are there any things I should know about low brass before I teach them basics? One thing I definitely DON'T want to do is teach someone wrong.
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,616
    7,962
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    The harmonic series is fixed as multiples of the fundemental frequency. It is in fact always the same numbers. This is different than the partial series (the notes that we play without changing valves). In theory the partial series works the same way, BUT the acoustic length of the horn changes with frequency due to the horn shape of the bell, the tapered leadpipe as well as mouthpiece geometry.

    What gives a trumpet the specific tone, is the proportions of harmonics to the fundemental frequency. This changes based on how loud that we are playing, the strength of our chops and how "centered" we are playing on the horns resonance.

    All normal concert band instruments work this way. A Bb trumpet, trombone and BBb tuba all have the same basic concept. A french horn comes in two flavors for band, a single horn in F and double horn in F/Bb. They work on the same concept, but in F start at a different pitch.

    The most important concept is that we call harmonics the tone shaping component and PARTIALS the varying pitches without changing valve/slide position. In sectionals, you do not have time to build range. You need to highlight intonation and timing: something that you can improve in a short time!
     
  3. Nealium

    Nealium New Friend

    16
    2
    Jan 9, 2015
    Always giving me some great information, Rowuk. Thank you. So as a correction, is the partial series the same per instrument? The sectional will be marching baritone, mellophone, tuba, and possibly trombone.

    I know the director personally. This is his first job, and his first experience with this school. He wants me to sort of give his students the tools to get better. He doesn't expect them to be professionals in a 4 hour sectional (maybe improvement on timing and technique), but he wants them to have the right ideas about improving range, playing with a better tone, and things of that nature that DO take a long time to build. These students haven't really had a "proper" teacher, if that makes sense.

    I have, of course, had my own successes and failures as a trumpet player, as well as advice from previous teachers, but most of that was trumpet-centric advice. I have no idea if tongue arch is the proper technique for a tuba player to adhere to. I have no idea if clarke studies would help a trombone player. I hope this clarifies my questions at least a little bit.
     
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    60
    12,460
    7,037
    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    So, uhh, Nealium, is this supposed to be a sectional or a low brass clinic?
     
  5. Nealium

    Nealium New Friend

    16
    2
    Jan 9, 2015
    A full brass (high and low) sectional for a marching band. It'll be over the course of 4 days, so while we will be working on music and things of that nature, he does want them to leave with a better idea about how to progress.
     
  6. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    60
    12,460
    7,037
    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Make them play mf most of the time. Teach them to listen to one another, to the contour of the piece and spend lots of time tuning. Remind them how to breathe, and work out the tough parts in the tunes.
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,616
    7,962
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    Nealium,

    the fundamental is one wavelength in the horn(pedal tone). The first partial is 2 wavelengths or an octave above the fundamental. 3 wavelengths in the horn is a fifth higher. 4th partial is 2 octaves above the fundemental, 5th partial is a third above that, 6th is the fifth again, 7 wavelengths is a flat 7th and 8 is the next octave.

    All western brass with a tuning slide, mouthpiece and bell work this way. As you can see doubling the amount of partials creates an octave. Of course a Bb trumpet has a Bb fundamental, an F horn F and a BBb tuba contra Bb.

    The harmonics are fairly consistent regardless of the amount of partials in the horn. They are created with another mechanism.
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,616
    7,962
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    The first thing that a clinician needs is to get the players motivated and keep them that way. Vulgano Brother has given you the recipe for success. You don't need Clarke or any other etude type stuff. Long tones (scales) and not beating their faces up are very important factors.
     

Share This Page