How to develop sound?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Steve A, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. Steve A

    Steve A New Friend

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    Hi Andrew,

    First off - thanks for taking the time to do this.

    My question is: what do/did you do to develop your concepts of sound and musical style (vibrato, styles of articulation, etc.), and what would you suggest to a student interested in improving in these areas?

    Thanks!

    Steve
     
  2. amtrpt

    amtrpt Pianissimo User

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    HI Steve,
    I'm sorry I haven't gotten to this yet. I have been really busy the last few days and haven't gotten a chance to get to this forum.
    I will post a reply tomorrow, but in the meantime please feel free to post responses to Steve's excellent question.
    Best,
    Andrew
     
  3. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

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    Steve

    1) listen to a wide variety of players and decide which ones you like. Based on that and on your practice, formulate an idea of the sound you want to make.

    2) WHENEVER the mouthpiece is in your mouth, listen to the sound your making....listen to how it changes when you do things like breath, articulate differently...anything that changes your sound (whether if SHOULD be changing your sound or not)...in short ALWAYS be aware of the sound you are making, and the sound you want to make.

    3) Strengthen your chops - long tones, lip slurs (SLOWLY!!!), play ballads, etc.

    4) ALWAYS be aware of your breathing.

    If you are constantly listening and constantly evaluating the sound your making against the sound you WANT to make, it will eventually come as you do the proper practicing (3 and 4 above).

    However (and this is VERY important to understand) this can take years to evolve. I play jazz and improvised music, and from the time I first started playing sessions and thinking of myself as a 'real' player (meaning I figured I had the basics down) I wanted to have my own sound. I basically did what I've outlined above, along with all of the other practice and playing that one does....I'd say it took at least 10 years before I started getting into the ballpark, and probably another 5 to 7 years before I really started feeling like I was getting the sound I wanted. Be patient, and be aware, but don't obsess about it in a negative way...just keep working.

    bigtiny
     
  4. nplotts1

    nplotts1 Fortissimo User

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    Something that I have recently started to do is transcribing parts that I like from different pieces in all forms of music. As you listen to a piece, figure out the notes and rhythm patterns and then play along with the recording, also try and match the tone production of the player in the recording.

    Just last night I was doing this with the call from Pictures at an Exhibition. I got the notes rather quickly, but it took me a couple run throughs before I could match pitch (as best as you can in a dorm room at 2 AM with a silent brass in the bell.) When I do this, I only play between a measure to a phrase worth at a time. I didn't write out any of the part until I was nearing the end of practicing, and that was only for sake of having a quick memory jog when I continue with more of it tonight.
    I have also done this in the past with different jazz and swing solos ( I Remember Clifford being one of my favorites)
    Also, it is interesting to see how closely you can match the sound of a Bb trumpet to that of a C or Flugelhorn.
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    BigTiny has it!
    as a baby our first developments are based on IMITATION. We learn that smiling at somebody generated a positive reaction. The urge to be mobile is based on our experiences as is walking and talking.
    We can use that most basic of human skills to help our playing too. Listen, listen, listen to all music, not just trumpet.
    We have 4 possibilities to create vibrato: a light shake of the hand, a chewing action with our chops, movement of the tongue (tah-eeh-ah-eeh-ah), or a "natural" vibrato from the breathing apparatus. A REAL trumpet player wants it all and practices each technique individually to be prepared for any occasion.
    Articulation is like learning a foreign language. There is soooo much more than taah, teeh and tooh. T, D, K, G, L are all consonants that can be at the beginning - or end of a musical "word". the vowels a, e, i, o, u(oo) and the foreign variations ä, ö, ü (or the french u) give each tone a unique character. Imitation is the key here too! Phrasing involves expanding your bodies capabilities and studying the music to figure out what was originally intended. After that, you play what you feel.
    Find role models, Maurice André was mine for a long time. Dig up everything you can and just DO IT. Your trumpet teacher can help for sure!
     
  6. amtrpt

    amtrpt Pianissimo User

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    Steve,
    There are already some great ideas here. Here are two other things that I would keep in mind.

    I find it helpful not only to listen to trumpet sounds that I like, but also vocal sounds. In particular I will listen to pop artist that I like. Here are a few examples. When I first started to learn how to use vibrato my teacher in high school gave me the Whitney Houston Greatest Love of All album. This may seem a bit strange but singers like that are great at using vibrato to change their sound, or lead a phrase. Opera singers are of course great too, I'm just not a huge opera fan so I listened to the music that I liked the most. Another example is Sarah McLachlan. She has a great sound for soft phrases and I like to listen to her for things like Mahler 3 posthorn, or the 6th mvt. chorale. I think the most important thing is to find music and sounds that you love and incorporate them into your playing.

    The second thing and this is more technical is to be aware of how full the vibration of your lips is. This is easy to check with MP buzzing. I think we take it for granted that we are always vibrating to our fullest when in fact for a variety of reasons we often aren't. Listen to your mp buzzing for a full relaxed and even sound. Try to keep it focussed and as clear as you can. Remember that ultimately the vibration of the lips is what causes the sound and I think worth looking into. That's one of the reasons that I buzz every day.

    It does take time. When I was in high school I mostly played a Schilke 13A4A mp. I got into the tanglewood high school orchestra playing this thing if you can believe that. When I got there and heard the other players it took me a long time, years, to get a sound that I was happy with. There were a lot of steps involved, equipment, listening, relaxing the air and buzzing were all important steps. I think that now it's one of the things I am most happy with in my playing. Stay patient and look for small victories. It will be worth the hard work.
    I hope that is helpful.
    Best,
    Andrew
     
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  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Jens Lindemann would have been VERY proud of you. He is VERY adamant about using small mouthpieces. Al Vizzutti too..........
     
  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Hmmmm.... a 13A4a might be just the thing for those loud spots in the rep.-- Great Gate, Planets, Bolero, etc. Heck, Al Hirt used his Jet-Tone on the Haydn!
     
  9. amtrpt

    amtrpt Pianissimo User

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    I loved that 13 A4A. I doubt if I could get my lips in one now though. We're recording Shostakovich 7 this week. Maybe that would be a good time to try the schilke again?
    Andrew
     
  10. Jeff23

    Jeff23 Pianissimo User

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    Wow, I had that same philosophy in high school (and still do) Andrew! I bought all sorts of recordings of vocalists whom I wanted to sound like when playing trumpet. One that sticks out in my mind is Sarah Brightman. She had such a clean, crisp sound in her voice and freely moved throughout her range. I tried to imitate her on my Concone etudes that I was working on for lessons with my teacher. Thanks for sharing! I've definitely known people who said you should only listen to trumpet to help trumpet sound.
     

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