Is language a factor?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Principaltrumpet, Jun 26, 2007.

  1. Principaltrumpet

    Principaltrumpet Pianissimo User

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    I was having a discussion with an old teacher the other day and he stated that the launguage a player speaks can have a huge impact on the way a player articulates on the horn. Does anyone agree/disagree?

    Would learning a language such as french help someone articulate lighter?
    JR
     
  2. BergeronWannabe

    BergeronWannabe Piano User

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    Key words, I've had some very opinionated old guys teach me.
    I disagree
    No, same as saying speaking German (a 'rough' language?) makes you a worse player. I don't think so, there are many fine players from ALL countries who speak ALL kinds of language.
     
  3. bachstrad72

    bachstrad72 Pianissimo User

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    Maurice Andre seemed to think that language made a huge difference. In French (the language of Arban), Arban's suggested syllable to "tu" is more towards "tiu" to us English speakers. Maurice Andre was quoted as saying that our language put English speaking trumpet players at a disadvantage due to ths difference in syllables.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2007
  4. BergeronWannabe

    BergeronWannabe Piano User

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    Tell that to Phil Smith.
    Maurice is a fine player, but please- are you kidding?
     
  5. bachstrad72

    bachstrad72 Pianissimo User

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    Not kidding in the least. I'm not saying that one can't overcome predisposed tendencies. That being said, with all of the different chop methods, tongue position methods and attacks methods to think that something like pronounciation makes no difference, in my mind is just being naive at best.
     
  6. BergeronWannabe

    BergeronWannabe Piano User

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    You can call me naive if you wish, but your statement is asinine. Only a fool would believe that if you took two children of the same age and started them on trumpet- one who speaks French and the other who speaks English...that one would have an 'easier' time playing the horn or sound better because of the language they speak. I understand your point about the tongue which could make a difference, but I doubt it. For the mere fact that when we play, it's completely different than when we talk.
    My 2 cents...
     
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    I have had some conversations with a bona-fide Ivy-League philologist about languages. He told me that babies, when they start to vocalize, produce every sound found in every language, and that we "unlearn" the sounds we don't use or hear over time. This results in the difficulty learning to speak a foriegn language later in life. (The problem Japanese have with "r's" is not with the mouth and tounge, but the ears.) French (and German!) often combine a vowel sound plus "eee," as the "u" in our "beautiful." I suppose if we were to strand a European and an American on an island with trumpets, the European might have a slight advantage. Give each one a lesson or two, however, and the advantage would be gone.
     
  8. RG111

    RG111 Piano User

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    Herbert Clarke once noted that Spanish speaking people often were able to tongue more quickly than those who had English as a first language. So, he and Andre.....hmmmm... Are they asinine? I don't think so!!!!

    Roy Griffin
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I believe that your native language makes a big difference in the way that you articulate and that comparing Phil Smith vs Maurice André is asinine! MA is not a world class orchestral player and PS was not the travelling world class picc player. They have different skill sets unique to what they did for a living and BOTH would have to develop additional skills to cross over! You would have to compare Pierre Thibaud to Phil Smith and then you would have a very french vs a very american style of playing that is not interchangeable! The same would be true of the solo trumpet player of the Berlin Philharmonic vs Mr. Smith - a much different approach to articulation!
    The position of the tongue in the mouth, the shape of the consonants that we have learned to speak and the overall color of the language change the expectancies at the ear dramatically. If you spend time with singers from all over the world, you see what they go through to develop projection and articulation in all the languages that they have to sing. When you grow up, you generally are not confronted with a big choice of dialects, you learn what is spoken where you live. Your first trumpet lessons are also based on what is available and where you can play.
    If you spend time with latino players you learn a different type of articulation than with german posaunenchor or english brass band players. Russian players also have distinct traits based on heritage.
    The internationalized type of higher education has "standardized" the skill sets to a certain extent because players want to be able to get jobs all over the world. That just means that players with a light sound and lightning quick articulation would have to spend time learning to get a bigger sound - if they want an orchestral position somewhere. Players with a huge sound, may need to learn to lighten the articulation up for the same reason.
    In many cases, the obsession with a big sound does cloud the brain for diverse articulation.
    Learning a foreign language does increase the sensitivity of the ear for tonal shading. This can help your playing by giving you a bigger palette of color and articulation to draw from. Living in Europe with a very international community, I do see big cultural differences. While it is impossible to isolate only language influences on playing, your language does create some of the first aural expectations, so why not?

    Please forgive the rant, but I do have trouble sometimes when people not in the international scene make comments beyond their scope of experience. It is a very big world that we are in and after 40 years of playing, I have learned that just about anything is possible!
     
  10. bachstrad72

    bachstrad72 Pianissimo User

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    Rowuk, being versed in more than one language, I think that your insight lends more credibility and perspective on the topic. Thanks for the input!
     

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