Hard & Loud, is there a limit?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by crowmadic, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 3, 2006
    Should all horns produce a clear and open sound no matter how hard or loud you play? Particularly in the low register, and specifically when 2 & 3 valves are engaged. Although it can happen with other combinations. The result I get on most horns is muffled, choked, stuffy, or pitchless. Do very expensive professional horns respond differently to extreme force?
  2. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

    Jul 18, 2006
    Casper, WY
    Crow, is there someone nearby you who can give a listen and with whom you can switch horns?

    Sort of a resonance play testing?
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    what a horn does at the upper limit is dependent on the design. There is no correlation between absolute volume in dB and the color of the sound.
    A well built professional horn SHOULD have a consistent sound at each volume level. When played softly, high to low should fit together. When played loudly the same! Any horn/mouthpiece combination that has a "stuffiness" at a particular volume and/or octave indicates that something is WRONG. The 23, 13 and 123 valve combinations do add sharp curves and thus interfere with the standing wave pattern and the proportion of cylindrical to conical lengths of the horn. Most professional designs make alterations in bore, taper or bracing to compensate. So the answer to your question is YES. Mouthpiece design can also cause the effects that you mention!
    Pushing yourself and the horn to the limit generally does not make the ensemble, your audience, conductor or contractor happy. It is not something that I recommend. If you have a conductor that demand excessive volume, stop at the level that you can handle, then turn red/blue in the face. He will think that you are playing louder........................
  4. johnmarkpainter

    johnmarkpainter Pianissimo User

    Jun 16, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    It is hard to say because we don't know what your idea of 'hard and loud' is.
    To be an old man about it....I doubt that anyone else wants you to play that loud :)

    And I am a Producer/arranger/contractor/conductor

  5. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

    Nov 16, 2005
    Vidin, Bulgaria
    That desease is called TROMBUS SIMULANTIS ROFL
  6. The BuZZ

    The BuZZ Pianissimo User

    Apr 3, 2007
    Chester, NY
    When in doubt, I subscribe to the following:

    The Ten Brass Commandments
    1. Loud is neither right nor wrong, it just is.
    2. Rhythm is irrelevant as long as you play loud enough.
    3. Whoever plays the loudest has the right rhythm.
    4. Whoever plays loudest wins--and we always win.
    5. Intonation is optional at fff or above--tone quality is also a
    6. Tone quality may can should must be compromised for sheer volume.
    7. Always have a target.
    8. Humour the conductors in rehearsals--the performance is yours.
    9. An outstretched palm means 5X louder.
    10. A two-bar diminuendo is merely a big accent.
    11. This rule just shows that we really can go to eleven.
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    A good trumpet will allow us to bark out the low notes; it need not be really good for this, being good should suffice. Our choice of mouthpiece an affect this greatly, so it is a good idea to try different mouthpieces to determine if it is the horn, the mouthpiece or the player. To determine if it is the player, have somebody else test the mouthpiece/instrument combination.

    From your description of the drastic changes with fingerings, it may be that the vertical allignment of the valves is faulty. It can be a relatively cheap fix, involving felts and corks.

    Fixing the player is even cheaper, but it does involve some time and patience.

    Long tones with extreme dynamics are highly effective for expanding our usable dynamics. Start pp, crescendo to fffff and decrescendo immediately once the sound starts to break up, and continue the decrescendo to ppppp.

    For the lower register, staccato quarter notes, accented, each louder than the one before. Start with middle c and work chromatically downwards. The goal is a big, ugly, barking sound downstairs at a level far louder than we must usually play.

    These exercises, over time, can produce some excellent skills that, like riding a bicycle, we never can truly forget.

    If, however, the horn or mouthpiece is the weak link, no amount of practice can correct it. Have fun and good luck!
  8. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    As has already been stated, equipment defects "can" cause a dead, stuffy lower register. The usual problem is the player and his/her use of the horn. Practice on pedal tones is my cure for this, played as softly as I am able. The loud stuff is easy. The soft tones are difficult, if played with good tone and proper intonation.

    If you think that your horn is the problem, the major cause of a dead lower register, other than as a result of improper player control is leaky valves. To test quickly, pull the valve tuning slides, one at a time, press down the corresponding valve and blow into the receiver, while blocking the upper outlet from that valve. If the valves are leaky you WILL hear the hissing of the escaping air from arround the valve.

  9. tobys346

    tobys346 New Friend

    Nov 14, 2006
    Extreme volume levels (loud playing) can be destructive to the player. There are a few mpc/horn combinations that can handle amazingly loud volumes of sound but what it does to the player, other players in front of you and the audience is NOT good! The music also suffers and that is most important. Remember that it's not the loudest tone that gets heard but the the best tone QUALITY. Ultra loud tones tend to lose some of their vibrance due to distortion and "spreading". Good tone tends to project better because it holds the overtone series better and is more vibrant. In other words it "cuts through" better and travels farther and is far more pleasent to hear than something that is blatty, out of tune and out of control. If you are playing in situation like this I would suggest you get out of it soon. If you must play in a situation like this practice making your tone as good as possible with the least amount of volume. Take the strain off of your body and let the mpc/horn combination do the work! That's why we spend the big bucks for quality, state-of-the-art equipment.
  10. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 3, 2006
    Thanks to all. I just want to clear up the fact that I'm not, and have no desire to play as forcefully as I described (which is as forceful as you can blow and buzz). It was a matter of curiosity and expanding my knowledge base about the limits of horn (not horn player) capabilities. Gaining this knowledge on TM is the least expensive way of learning the capabilities of trumpets and trumpet playing. I try different horns whenever I get a chance. But the availability is not as great as a trumpet convention or conference where trumpet manufacturers display their goods. Thanks for the input. I always learn a variety of things from one question.............crow

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