Flat Upper Register

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Juarez-MA, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Here we go again. With no knowledge of the player, suggestions. The only condolescence is that posters really don't understand what they were told and don't try any of this stuff seriously anyway!


    The first thing to check is to give your horn and mouthpiece to a really accomplished player that has a great upper register and let them see if the combination is OK. My suspicion is that the hardware is just fine.

    Determining what could be wrong with you is something that could take 1 to 10 lessons. Fixing what is wrong is surely a project for 3-6 months. That doesn't mean crap until you are that far, it just means that we need to stay realistic and upper register with symphonic C trumpet qualities is not a plugin that can be downloaded.

    I do have a stupid question however: Why the hell does someone buy a professional trumpet that they can't play reasonably in tune? I mean a Bach Chicago C is not pocket change! I ALWAYS make time for my students when they buy instruments. Mistakes like this just do not need to happen.
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Where did you read this bullshit? Do you have any idea how many successful players are using standard Bach Mouthpieces? Do you know that intonation more often than not is due to poor playing habits? A flat high register is not unusual when the basics are not adequately covered! There are techniques that many players use to compensate for body/hardware issues.

    Bigger backbores many times make weak body use and breathing even MORE obvious!

    The octaves on any quality trumpet should line up during the audition of the instrument. If you can't play a horn in tune, you don't buy it.
     
  3. Juarez-MA

    Juarez-MA Pianissimo User

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    I was about to write a pissy reply. I hadn't done that here. After a second reading, I know what you mean.
    At any rate, this bit still applies: the trumpet was fine when I got it. I had my trumpet colleagues from Western Michigan University play test it. One of the professors wanted to buy it off of me.
    It was playing fine. Mind you, I have spinal arthritis. My bone situation is getting to be utter chaos. I imagine my issue is physically me.
    The second part that applies is that this is just the first C trumpet I have personally owned. I happened to buy it without any existing owners. I have performed on C trumpets before the one I own. MY high range is fine; the issue is that I overblow the partial just as I near the correct pitch.
    Again, my bone issue (jaw). I have started to notice that I can't even buzz my mouthpiece properly anymore. I see I had the answer the whole time now. Thanks for your help.
     
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    For C# and D above the staff; C# = second valve; D = no valves.
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I still do not understand the problem.

    We inhale and then exhale into the horn allowing the lips to "vibrate" sympathetically with the resonance of the horn. If our breath support is adequate and we do not apply armstrong or extreme upper body tension to "hit" high notes, an octave remains exactly that. If an octave is too short, there is a deficit that needs to be identified. Generally too much body tension makes us play sharp. Too flat is generally poor support, mashing the mouthpiece into our chops or a learned pivot. None of these things happen "overnight". Those compensations just show that the root evil has NOT been addressed.

    You claim that your high range is fine, but that is according to what you have written (not only in this thread) not the case. On your Bb you appear to have found a combination of compensations that allow higher notes to be closer in intonation.

    I suggest that your breathing is the biggest part of the problem (only a hunch). Even with serious arthritis, your breathing does not go from good to bad just by switching horns. That means your problems are common to ALL of your instruments, but an intonation deficit is most pronounced on the C.

    The solution is to go back to the drawing board. Get breathing up to snuff, remove as much tension as possible from your playing - even if it means short term sacrifice of supposed upper register.


    Actually pissy answers are never a problem for me. They show whether the poster is in RX or DX mode. RX is for sure a big advantage when things aren't working as they should.


     
  6. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi Juarez,
    You stated:
    "I am noticing that my upper range is quite flat. I can lip up a little but not enough."
    ---
    I do not know your proficiency level or how "upper register" you are referring. With that said, I'm going to approach this like a person who is a little more than beginner skilled and could play the notes properly at one time.
    1. The first thing I'd recommend is to clean the horn and check for loose corks or other similar simple fix situations.
    2. If cleaning didn't do the trick and the horn has good corks and no problems are seen, let someone who's proficient in the upper register play the horn and see if they have the same problem.
    3. If they play the horn and it sounds just fine to them and you, then we have unearthed the culprit and it's you!!
    4. If it's you, then ask yourself "are you using the right mechanics for what you're trying to do?"
    Why is your upper register flat? Maybe an easier question would be, "What causes a student to play flat in general?"
    *This can be due to an improper use of air
    *not hearing the notes before you play them
    *Not hearing the notes because your ears are effected from sinuses
    * Somewhere along the way you've gotten into the habit of playing flat in the upper register and now you're stuck.
    Hopefully the problem is as simple as a new cork or the use of Allegra for your sinuses. If not, then you might want to seek out someone to help you get back on track, that's assuming that you could play the notes in the proper pitch in the first place.
    Hope this helps
    Dr.Mark
     
  7. shooter

    shooter Piano User

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    If you have good intonation in the upper register on a Bb then a C should be no problem. Methinks you have an ornery horn.
     
  8. Juarez-MA

    Juarez-MA Pianissimo User

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    I'm pretty sure it's just me. I mentioned my condition because it's not ordinary arthritis. This is an autoimmune disease. I've been mostly bed-ridden for the past month.
    I can't stand on my own too long. I think I just don't have the strength to play anymore. Just speaking-wise, I lose my voice much too easily these days.

    Alas, I'm working on deleting myself from here. You get someone asking for genuine help and their ability is scrutinized.
     
  9. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi Juarez,
    You stated:
    "I'm pretty sure it's just me. I mentioned my condition because it's not ordinary arthritis. This is an autoimmune disease. I've been mostly bed-ridden for the past month.
    --
    Now see. That's unfair. We were not afforded this information and if we were, our answers may have been a little different.
    --
    I can't stand on my own too long. I think I just don't have the strength to play anymore. Just speaking-wise, I lose my voice much too easily these days.
    --
    See! again this is totally unfair. We were led to believe that you were as most of us, healthy.
    --
    Alas, I'm working on deleting myself from here. You get someone asking for genuine help and their ability is scrutinized.
    --
    That is too bad for I think you're an asset but do what you feel is best for you. I also recommend the same with your current situation on the trumpet. Do what you feel is best given your currewnt condition.
    Dr.Mark
     

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