Efficiency instead of fast air

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by rowuk, May 11, 2008.

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Now that we have the concept of air speed clarified from several angles (A big, special thanks to Kalijah and Erik Veldkamp), let's get down to what is really happening and counts!

    The magic word is efficiency and that can be our embouchure, our equipment, our body use or any combination!

    Jens Lindermann had a great post on a new "smaller bore" Yamaha, the Vizzutti model that is supposedly much more "efficient" than other models.

    I understand efficiency for trumpet players to mean less work to get the SAME job done.

    Common examples: controlled aperature ("tight corners"), relaxed approach to playing, preference of somewhat smaller mouthpieces, certain model of instruments.

    The math shows an efficient resonant system as having more playing resistance. That more efficient horn may be harder to play if it is not optimally in tune.

    My experience shows that many players describe their instruments as "efficient" because they can hear themselves better when playing. That actually means a less efficient system as sound is escaping through of the back of the bell radiating to the player. This constitutes a LOSS of energy to the audience. Of course no energy is ever "lost", only transformed. This means that our description of efficiency can vary according to what we are trying to describe!

    A player looking for a "free blowing" instrument by definition may not get a very efficient one - but still be able to get the job done.

    Feel free to add and comment. I'll jump in a bit later with more!
  2. flugelgirl

    flugelgirl Forte User

    Jan 20, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Efficiency is the reason I switched to the V Raptor - I have never played another horn that made it so easy for me to do what I need to do. That, in combination with a mouthpiece change, has made a HUGE difference! I recently had a pretty nasty cold, and this was the first time I can remember that I actually didn't lose range and endurance while I was sick. Efficiency is definately the key, though - that's how small people like me can keep up with guys twice my size! I also find that being in good physical shape helps me. If I feel strong all over, then playing isn't so much work.
  3. Veldkamp

    Veldkamp Piano User

    Mar 29, 2004
    the Netherlands
    For me playing with more efficiency has to do with getting a maximum result out of the horn with minimum effort.

    There are a few things needed to get that result:

    First of all you've got to have the best equipment FOR YOU. That means, that I play a trumpet that slots very well, has a very good intonation, response well, projects well but has also got enough feedback for myself and my section members.

    You have to have a mpc that fits you and helps to create the sound you want to hear. I believe if you can play smaller mpc life will be easier. You don't need a 1C to create a big sound on your trumpet, a 3C may also do the trick. But with a smaller mpc you will have better endurance and range (if it feels comfortable to you offcourse).

    Also the player has to play as efficient as possible. For me that means that I worked on my air support and learned different ways to breath. If I play classical and want a broader sound, I breath low. If I play mostly in the range between G2-C3 I breath higher (chest). When I have to play loud high tuttis I use the wedge to get a well projected sound.

    Next to that efficient playing means to me you have to play as relaxed as possible but in always with energy (active not passiv). That means no unnecessary tensions when breathing in, the breath you're taking in doesn't have to be bigger then the breath you're going to need, etc. But you have to be ready and prepared for what you're going to play.

    It's also very important to hear what you're going to play (in your head) before you are going to play it for real. If you don't hear what you going to play, you will probable kicks the note, or have bad intonation, bad phrasing, timing and so on.
  4. EdMann

    EdMann Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 20, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I don't pipe in much in these forums, but this is a subject that's been of interest to me and many of my colleagues here in Los Angeles.

    After many years of playing large equipment I shifted (after a LONG layoff) to relatively small equipment for big band (8310Z Shew Yamaha and Schilke 13A4) and found that things got easier for me in that setting, but my range-- always an issue-- was going nowhere, and my sound was pinching as I ascended. Further investigation was needed and after consulting fellow pros here in LA I discovered that some rebalancing was in order.

    I picked up a Maggio book at the suggestion of a rather well known man and wife trumpet team, and something very interesting took place. I switched my mpc to a CG Personal (a similar rim but a giant throat of #22-- hardly "efficient") and a large bore MF Horn for these exercises and others: essentially a Gordon type setup and after two weeks it seems that my problem was less a matter of efficiency but developing relaxed, flexible chops that helped me translate the sound concept in my head to the bell of my horn, that being a fat, solid sound in all registers. When I switched to a smaller set up, I didn't have to work quite as hard, but the larger one doesn't tire me out as it once did; more "stuff" is vibrating and when proper air is applied, the chops can hang longer.

    Without reservation an efficient setup will help most folks, but what goes on behind the horn, proper breathing and a routine that allows for maximum vibration, has brought me far better results and an ability to switch equipment to match the job at hand. I hope my little anecdote is helpful.

    Ed Mann
    MySpace.com - Ed Mann - 51 - Male - LA, California - www.myspace.com/jazzlips
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    We can define efficient as using "just enough" of any specific characteristic. Efficient tonguing is minimal use of the tongue and generally leads to maximum speed. An efficient "tight" embouchure, is strong but does not tax the face muscles as more moving air gets turned into sound. A less efficient embouchure would "leak" more air.

    When we talk about mouthpiece design, there is plenty of room for argument. Even although I do not use it anymore, I personally feel that the Schilke 14A4A was one of the most technically efficient mouthpieces ever made.

    When we talk about efficient instruments, we mean sharp slots, but we also have to take into account that it is harder to "change" the tone of this instrument. Inefficiencies help us "bend" notes more easily, play with a greater palette of colors, BUT at the cost of more work (less absolute endurance).

    At the end of the day, it is useful to know where one could possibly gain some advantage - and what it may cost!
  6. Veldkamp

    Veldkamp Piano User

    Mar 29, 2004
    the Netherlands
    In generally good slotting is found on heavier instruments like a Monette, Taylor or my Oiram. But as you can see with the new Yamaha Artist serie, or with the Eclipses or van Laars, standard weight instruments can also get better slotting because each note is better in tune (also in the upper register till G3) compared to horns of other well known brands.

    One of the reasons I switched from my excellent sounding Bach Mt.V to my van Laar B4 is that it's so much easier to play above high C. Especially or a leadplayer it's much more efficient when each note on the horn responses, intonates and slots well above high C. Because the higher you go, the harder the embouchure has to work to get things going as anyone knows.
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Efficiency almost always produces a brighter sound, and this can work for and against us in the orchestra. When I played those (typical German) "rehearse and perform the same day" Carmina Burana marathons, I used a Purviance 8A on my C trumpet and backed off in the rehearsal--and the conductor still found the trumpets "zu laut." Cool! He didn't say anything about being too bright, or not German enough, but it was a very efficient set-up.

    For Brahms, however, this combination would be deadly--my rotary C with a Curry B-Cup and Monstersleeve is very unefficient but appropriate. With wimpy sopranos and string quartets, I used a flugelhorn mouthpiece in my Scherzer for Jauchzet Gott. Again, highly inefficient, but also appropriate.

    We now have motorcycles much more efficient than Harley's--but they don't sound as cool as Harley's do!
  8. Sophar

    Sophar New Friend

    Jan 30, 2005
    Efficiency of air means being able to play:
    1. extremely and High extremely low
    2. extremely fast and extremely slow,
    3. extremely loud and extremely soft
    4. with beauty and clarity of sound and clear articulations.
    I think that says it all !!! If you can't do that on your horn then you are not playing efficiently " William "Bill" Fielder"

    These are the characteristics of all the Great players.
  9. godchaser

    godchaser Banned

    Jun 17, 2007

    '..they don't sound as cool as Harley's do!'

    Apologies to the thread, but i had to respond Vulgano! :)

    Granted, the earth pounding stomp and lope of a built v-twin warms the heart, but the violently quick and fast whistle of a Zuki'll make you beam with pride too.


    Course your point ain't lost on me. The standing thirties technological 'efficency' Harley's made so famous, is some fine music indeed. -Trumpet Builders can sure strike a nice balance, and make the pistons pop. Tip of the cap.

    Last edited: May 21, 2008

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