FFFF Playing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by talcito, Dec 11, 2004.

  1. talcito

    talcito Piano User

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    Feb 18, 2004
    Hello Manny:

    I play a great deal of traditional Cuban dance music and normally have two types of playing scenarios. The first involves playing in 6-7 piece bands that play mainly acoustically and the solo trumpet is the only brass instument . The second scenario involves playing larger "salsa" type orchestras with 2 trumpets. trombone and Bari sax in the brass section.

    The volume of the playing seems to impact my playing skills more than it should. In the smaller band I will play a 2 hour set and feel like I just warmed up. While in the larger band I start to feel tired very prematurely in the first set!

    Since the main differance in the two types of playing is the sheer volume, I was wondering how you prepare for work that involves playing at large volumes for an extended period .

    Thank you for taking your time to help us out!
     
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Sep 29, 2004
    USA
    Dear Talcito,

    Clearly the issue is volume and how you fight the tired feeling from honking away. Since you feel more at home with the small group music maybe you need a different horn for the bigger band. I'd try something that gives you freedom and let's you relax while you blow.

    If you fight the horn, it's going to tax you.

    Past all that, remember to relax the breath when you inhale and let the musical tension be only in the music not the body. You'll last longer and feel fresher after the gig. Don't overpower the horn, it'll back up and that is the worst feeling.

    Go into the next gig really psyching yourself up as the world's most relaxed, big breathing player and see what that produces. It's worth a shot. I promise you won't be worse of than you were before.

    ML
     
  3. talcito

    talcito Piano User

    393
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    Feb 18, 2004
    Dear Manny:

    Thank you for your advice!

    I had one of those hard honking gigs last night and your advise did help.

    Its mainly about trying to overblow the instrument as you said. What happens on alot of these gigs is that I will tend to get caught up in the high energy of the moment and start to open up my aperture to try to produce the sound that is typical of the guys that play this music(Arturo Sandoval, Piro Rodriguez). Unfortunately, I will tend to forget about air support on the gig and as a result tension and fatigue will creep up(Like a Mike Tyson left hook). You just do not see it coming until you are flat on the floor!

    Last night I tried to maintain the "mantra" in my mind about relaxed breathing, no matter how crazy things got around me, and it seemed to work. The biggest challenge in maintaining this trend of thought occurs during improvisation where I will tend to focus more on the music in my head as opposed to trumpet mechanics. When playing the lead parts I find it much easier to concentrate on trumpet mechanics, breathing, relaxation etc.

    As long I maintain your breathing,relaxation concept going , and maintain focus on not opening the aperture too much, I think I will overcome the problem of early fatigue.

    As for the recomendation of having a second horn. Well, my wife was reading your response at the same time I was----She is currently in full possesion of my credit cards!(Note to self-"Never open up emails with your wife lurking in the background").

    Thanks again for your great attitude and willingness to share with others your gift!
     
  4. davtpt

    davtpt New Friend

    Age:
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    Jan 14, 2005
    Connecticut
    Honking

    I used to play with Merengue bands out in Puerto Rico, the sound system was always super loud except for us trumpets, we couldn't hear ourselves & our lips would just die away, we fixed the problem by putting one ear plug in, we heard ourselves nicely ( I'm sure the audiance didn't ), but we still got paid & seriously we were doing about 3 gigs every day for over 3 years ( wayyy too long ), I hope some of this helps someone..
     
  5. talcito

    talcito Piano User

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    Feb 18, 2004
    When you do alot of those merengue band gigs it seems like everything else is "a walk in the park", doesn't it.

    There is something about playing with the merengue bands that always confused me. Here goes: I found that most of the players from Santo Domingo who played in the merengue bands were pretty awfull players, yet when it came time to play the gig, these guys played really LOUD and could play LOUD and HIGH all night long. When you heard these guys warming up or just foolong around on the horn they just cannot play the trumpet!!

    On a couple of occasions the regular Dominican guys could not make the gig. I would call in well established NYC trumpet players. Well, by the middle of the first set most of these guys would start flapping their lips and looking at there watches!!!

    This irony is one I have yet to figure out. The guys with all the schooling, resumes and good looking horns died out while the guys with the broken down horns, lack of schooling and unable to play a clean C scale could sound strong on this gig for hour after hour.

    Any ideas?
     
  6. bandman

    bandman Forte User

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    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA
    I have a question about your FFFF. If FF is fortisimo with forte meaning "loud" and isimo meaning "to the greatest extent" (used in perfect tense) then isn't FF technically the loudest dynamic level? In my arrangements I never use anything above FF because I find it just causes people to want to play in an out of control manner.

    I find that we in music simply use isimo as a suffix that serves as an intensifier. One more question -- if forte is loud, and fortisimo is FF, then what word to we use for FFF and FFFF?
     
  7. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

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    Nov 27, 2003
    Denver
    I suspect you've never played with an electric guitar, electric bass and rock drummer! :cool:
    Dave
     
  8. JackD

    JackD Mezzo Forte User

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    Nov 30, 2003
    Manchester / London
    I've heard "fortisissimo" for fff
     
  9. bandman

    bandman Forte User

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    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA
    Nope, I've played with them -- they are some of those people I was talking about -- you know -- loud, the same as a trumpet player blasting!
     
  10. bandman

    bandman Forte User

    Age:
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    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA
    The Virginia Tech dictionary of music actually uses the terms Pianissississississimo and Fortissississimo -- all I can say is that sounds a little Hokie to me! I'm still not convinced such a work actually exists.

    That would be like saying greatest, then saying greatestest, and then greatestestest, or lowest, lowestest, and lowestestest.
     

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