High note problems & Mouthpiece queries

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Justamirage, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. Brasseria

    Brasseria Pianissimo User

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    I love how some people think they are the authority on how a labelling system works and get to be the dictator of the English language. Language is a negotiation, not a totalitarian affair. Everyone uses language differently all the time. Meanings of words drift and shift and change by context, and each person has a subtly different understanding of each word. Perfect example - Maynard used BOTH of the labelling systems at different points in his career when talking. At some point he switched to calling 4th ledger G 'double g'. No one went to Maynard and said "Hey, you're calling the notes the wrong thing!" Because of who he was, and being one of the best upper register players... people just worked out the meaning behind the words, rather than getting in a frenzy because he wasn't using what they thought was the correct terminology.

    To say that there is a single "right" way to label musical notes on the trumpet is BS. There a several labelling systems, all which have an inherent logical premises to them, and none of those premises are superior to any of the others, which is why people STILL argue about it.
    Can't we just learn to infer from context what someone means, and if we are unsure, ask? Why does there have to be a big hoo-haa when someone uses a different labelling system than our own? There isn't a single right answer to how to label pitches, and it changes by country/region/community what that dominant system for labelling pitches is.

    I mean, Modern English is Anglo-Saxon in origin... People managed perfectly fine with French, German and Old English being spoken in the same place, learning to speak a fusion of the three... I think we should be able to handle some variation in how notes are labelled... right?
     
  2. Brasseria

    Brasseria Pianissimo User

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    Also, that's just not true at all in my experience? Who told you that? I imagine you're probably referring to instruments whose range starts from a C. So yeah, sure, Flutes label by Cs because C is their lowest note without a footjoint.. But even then they don't use the system we're talking about. G, A & B in the staff are not referred to as 'low B', although their C, D, E & F often are.

    Which means... surprise surprise... that flute players often switch labels around the G just like trumpet players.

    The reason this happen very frequently is because the nature of the treble staff means that B is right in the middle. So it doesn't make sense to a lot of people to call that note "Low B" on a flute. And if that B become middle B, then it's also strange to call the A 'low A' and so on. So the G often ends up being the point of compromise in an imperfect system.

    Happens on all the instruments. Switching at Cs isn't as common as you might think...
     
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    And there we have it! I love being right all the time. :D ;-) :lol:

    I thought from the beginning that it might be a slotting problem with that particular horn, rather than a mouthpiece pressure problem.
     
  4. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Brasseria,
    are we (i mean we and not just you) arguing to argue about describing notes?

    Yes, on the street we have many words whose usage has become less definitive. Fat, Cool, Bad, etc. In the case of music, America has probably the weakest street description of the octaves. Why does someone use the description double A? simply because they never learned what octaves are called. Perhaps there is no value placed on this in school education? In Germany we do not have this issue. The octaves and notes get a number. Double C is C4 for instance, triple C is C5. Every school child with school music class learns this.

    The history of notation uses C as the starting note for each declared octave. Pipe organs are built with 32 foot, 16 foot, 8 foot, 4 foot, 2 foot and 1 foot stops -all corresponding to a length of pipe that sounds a C.

    There is no need to become warriors when a missing link pops up. There is only need for minor correction. Instead, many pile on and turn a valuable learning experience into a pissing contest. If someone says double A and we know immediately what they mean, then language has fulfilled its purpose. In this case, there was no ambiguity, there was a simple innocent wrong use of the word double.

    The same deals with pressure arguments. Here we have a very ambiguous use of the word "pressure". Without knowing how much beating the body can take as it varies per person and playing hygeine, any discussion can only be very general. My over 40 years of teaching have shown that when our range stops at a specific note, excessive pressure is the reason. The lips get clamped off, the fine motor embouchure muscle activity no longer has the strength to overcome the vice grip on our lips. We solve this by replacing brawn with brains. This is not only reducing direct pressure to the lips, but also by removing the reasons that we used too much pressure from the beginning - weak breathing habits, body tension, posture, too heavy articulation and inadequate preparation.

    In this thread we are dealing with marching band. Posts like this one come up every year and even although the solutions are simple, the threads become very long over issues with the least ambiguity.

    Now the trumpet has been identified as the root evil. We can believe that or not. Fact is, if it was the trumpet, it is nothing a tech could not easily fix, but the thread OP now needs a new horn. Is that coincidence? I think not.
     
  6. Ljazztrm

    Ljazztrm Piano User

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    Hey! I want some credit too! I echoed Patrick's sentiments as being a possibility as well. I want a share of the profits on this!

    We are getting paid for this right?

    Should I paste my paypal addy here or do it privately?

    :-D
     
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Could it be possible that this is just a bit of an oversimplification? I could also point out that in the case of the OP, the range didn't stop at E - they just had an issue getting it to center.

    The embouchure, particularly when talking about playing in the altissimo range of the trumpet, is a very complex mechanism - is it really as simple as saying "we replace brawn with brains?" If that were truly the case, we'd have a lot more successful stratospheric players than we do. Guys like Doc, Harry and Maynard were revered for their command of the stratospheric range of their instruments for a reason, and particularly Maynard due to the sheer power with which he was able to do it. I don't think that "brains rather than brawn" is quite all there is to it.
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Patrick, to be honest, I even have more grounds for simplification in this particular thread.......... And yes, it is that simple. When we reduce pressure with better playing habits, our range, endurance and tone get better. It is not magic, it is not overnight, it has not failed me or any of my students. We all start with pressure, because it works to a certain extent. When we want to improve, we need to do something about that.

    A trumpet with a leaky spit key or red rot hole could lose a note. Actually, it would be a series of notes. At least one in the lower register.......

    There is actually a whole generation of players now with an excellent upper register. Check out the graduating class at Julliard, Eastman, Berklee, North Texas State. Listen to the DCI or college band half time shows. The military bands have also improved enormously with better educated players for instance. That does not mean that they have the musical charisma to become Maynard Ferguson. The school of hard knocks insures that there is not too many superstars created.

    Education is the key to unlocking potential in any case.

     

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