How to play quieter at gig w. out sacrificing tone quality??

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by rviser, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. rviser

    rviser Pianissimo User

    Dec 26, 2008
    Do you guys have any advice on how to play at a lower volume without sacrificing the characteristics of a nice full tone? I know I get carried away in the music sometimes and start playing really loudly, and apparently lately club owners have been complaining to my band leader that I'm too loud. I feel like if I back off on volume then I don't have that nice fat sound anymore. Anyone know what I'm talking about and have any advice? Thanks!
  2. ryancibc

    ryancibc New Friend

    Nov 8, 2008
    soft quiet practice but with a clear fat tone. Lots of long tone with crescendo decrescendo and efficient air use. Relax. I think the hardest thing to do is to play quietly with a great sound.
  3. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    Whatever you play on the gig, start playing softer and softer when you practice it. Don't go from fff to ppp all at once, get there gradually. Your ears will preserve the sound quality.
  4. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    I use a RingMute
  5. mchs3d

    mchs3d Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 30, 2005
    Provo, UT
    Keep the pitches deadlocked in the center and you can get as quiet as you want.
  6. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    I agree with Pedal C -- practice more quietly and make sure the tone stays rich and full.

    Think about how you got to where you could play loud with full tone -- when you started way back in 4th or 5th grade you sure couldn't do it. You simply kept working at it until you developed the muscles and the control to have good tone. It won't take you the same amount of time, since you're a much more advanced and (hopefully) mature musician, but it does take work.
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    What you hear has NOTHING to do with what is coming out of your bell.

    A full sound has NOTHING to do with volume. It is a sound concept in the head. That is created by listening when you practice and practicing in rooms of various sizes. The best sounding players have the most opportunities to play in good sounding rooms. practicing in bedrooms is convenient but generally does not let ones sound grow!
  8. jdostie

    jdostie Piano User

    Feb 20, 2008
    Is the use of monitors not practical for trumpet? I've never tried one, etc., but this question makes me think about it.
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    If it is so loud on stage that the trumpets need monitors....................

    I don't know how into Radio Controlled things that you are into, but they all use something called a servo for steering and stuff like that.

    A servo is a motor and a feedback circuit. That means that there is a check for every motion to see if the is situation matched the should be.

    Trumpet playing is also a servo. We play, sound comes back from the room, our ears pick it up, make adjustments and the sound is tailored to the situation. Any time that I mess with the servo, unpredictable things happen.

    If we practice in small rooms, the reflections from the wall come back to our ears too quickly. Our brain sorts out things after about 10 milliseconds. If reflections come earlier than that, our brain cannot sort it out - the information is discarded or confuses. After 10 milliseconds we get clues to the size of the room, quality of sound in the room and what we have to do to fill it.

    On stage with clip microphones and monitors up close, we have succeeded in completely screwing up the servo system. In essence, we are on auto pilot. Before the indignant scream "WAIT! Even Tower of Power does this!", let me say that the human state is extremely flexible. We can learn to function in an amplified environment. It deals our acoustic playing a hammer blow however. We can lose quite a bit of our "symphonic" capabilities this way, not to mention the potential ear damage by monitors louder than the trumpet!
  10. rviser

    rviser Pianissimo User

    Dec 26, 2008
    I will say that this really is only a problem in certain places I play. Usually smaller venues that have a lot of carpet and that segmented type of ceiling w. the panels you can push up, in other words, really sound absorbing material. It's like my sound gets lost and I'm forced to play louder to hear. On the contrary, when I play in rooms that are concrete floors and walls, and sometimes they have antique tin ceilings, my sound resonates and I'm FORCED to play quietly because the sound and feedback is much louder

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