Finesse or power

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by B15M, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    Are you a Finesse or a power player.

    For years I was a power player. When I played lead with a big band I would really lay it down. In a concert band, I would push the section and sometimes the leader.

    In recent years, I've found that finesse is a better way to lead and play in general. Even in a fanfare, it doesn't have to be powerful.

    In the opening to the Arutunian(sp?) Big chance to play powerfully but, not really the best idea. When it goes up to the B-flat I used to push and fill the hall. Not any more. Maybe quieter is better.

    In the Hummel, third movement, in the minor section. It goes up to a high C. Some people even trill the B before and really nail that C. Try as it goes higher backing off.

    Just some musical thoughts.
  2. SteveB

    SteveB Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 15, 2008
    Prescott Valley, AZ
    I, too, have become an advocate of finesse over power.

    I frequently use an analogy related to my real-world occupation as a law enforcement driver trainer. Anybody can drive fast (powerfully), but getting there clean (with finesse) is the primary objective. ;-)
  3. nordlandstrompet

    nordlandstrompet Forte User

    Apr 5, 2008
    Finesse makes the audience listen
  4. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    B15M asks:
    Are you a Finesse or a power player.
  5. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    When do you use the power function?
  6. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    I also use both. I only play in big bands, and almost always the lead book. Last night we played the arrangement of "Almost Like Being In Love" that was recorded by Maynard's 60's band. Some of it could be finessed, but when you have 16 musicians playing ff and fff on the shout chorus' , then finesse alone won't cut it. Some arrangements are more in your face than others.
  7. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    B15M asks:
    When do you use the power function?
    I think we have a definition situation here.
    For me, both need to be at play.
    I know for sure that playing in the upper register (easily considered a power function) requires a delicacy of workmanship, not a brutish approach. It might sound hot and it might pin your ears back but the skills it takes are refined and delicate.
    Many unknowing high school students who are forced by their band directors to play in the stratosphere tend to go about it in a brutish fashion. The student will exhibit behaviors such as:
    >Shoving the mouthpiece down their pieholes to reach the notes.
    >Possessing no concept of dynamics because they are praised by their band directors for playing high and loud.
    Here's the problem. It usually lacks finesse.
    If they don't transcend this brutish methodology, they eventually get on this site (or other related sites) when their sound goes south, or their lips get sore, or their endurance diminishes.
    With that said:
    Finesse: Refinement or delicacy of workmanship.
    Power: The ability to cause an effect
    Merriam-Webster 1999
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2010
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    The consummate trumpet player needs it all: from warm fuzzies to cutting glass.

    I think that it is part of musical maturity to figure out what is really necessary and when. Even the same piece on two different days or halls could demand different things. I'll have to admit that the high C in the Hummel always has a crescendo before it. The intro of the Arutjunian I play around mf

    Musical immaturity means using a shoehorn.
  9. leftmid7

    leftmid7 Mezzo Piano User

    Sep 21, 2010
    Franklin, TN
    I think the problem is that 'power' is many a player's default and it's not a good, controlled power.

    It's the Bionic Man syndrome, 'louder, higher, faster' which when played by someone inexperienced or immature translates to unfocused, blaring and tacky.
  10. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Well said. I too think you need both to be "well rounded". Sometimes have to do both within the same arrangement so I work on both.

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