Just a practicing comment...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by VentureScore, Jul 3, 2014.

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Sorry Klaus,

    I have to ask: Play the same lick twice in the comfort in your practice room at home with no one listening. Record it and then listen to it a day later or so. Which one is better (one will be)?

    Now do the same thing when someone you respect does SOMETHING in between and listen to them later. You will hear the SOMETHING being better whether you want to or not. Demos like this are 100% BS. That does not mean that Bob Malone does not know what he is doing, it means that you guys really didn't hear what you thought that you did. He may hear a relevant change, the audience will not!

    The differences in clocking a mouthpiece or removing minimal amounts of dirt can change things BUT the player compensates for any changes the first times around. It could be hours, days, weeks before minor changes become second nature and not the product of compensation. The things that change during these BS demonstrations are never quantified if they are mentioned at all.

    I have data on what exactly changes when we clean a receiver, set the gap, change the mass of the mouthpiece, change the back brace on the horn, change the mass of the receiver, drill out the throat. Admittedly, I have no data on clocking the mouthpiece, but in the light of the data that I do have, I feel that I can estimate the order of magnitude.

    You heard what you were told to hear and that would not have survived a blind test for one simple reason: the playing consistency required for such a test is not humanly possible. A bit more or less vibrato, volume, dynamics would skew the results more than the change. When we get a placebo, we will play more confidently. In this case, the placebo COULD have long term benefits (at least long term power of suggestion, maybe more). That is not the point.

    There is NOTHING wrong with clocking. For it to be technically significant we need to insure that many other aspects are covered. Live demos have a different purpose.

  2. Klaus_O

    Klaus_O New Friend

    Jan 8, 2010
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Hi Robin
    When I try something new, whether it is mouthpiece, slide, leadpipe, or even the clocking of the mouthpiece, I spend time in the practice room alone. After my observations, I bring in my daughter (also plays trumpet 20+ years) into the room and she listens with her back turned to me. I will mix up the combinations and often add do nothing to the testing. I then ask her for what she hears. Typically she will comment on sound and fluency but is 90+% consistent with her comments (good ears). I agree that this not very scientific and the sample size is small. Recording the sound would also be a good idea.

    When Bob Malone made changes to the trumpet (clocking, spit valve, etc) he always turned his back but did not talk about what he was doing. He then asked the student for comments and then the audience. Perhaps the opposite order would have been better because the audience might agree with what the student was hearing/feeling and thus not come to their own opinion. I don’t recall a do nothing scenario. Mr Malone would then talk about what he did after the comments. Part of human nature as well is that we hear or see a change because we expect it. It was a demo, and there was limited time to cover all the aspects Mr Malone spoke about. So it was not a definitive study. The main point he brought out is keep the horn clean and you will have less issues day to day.

    Totally agree with your playing consistency comment. The approx 10% error that my daughter had picking out the variations often occurred on the do nothing scenarios where my playing was not as consistent. The converse would also hold, in that I could have been making adjustments in my playing with change scenarios that she did not catch. A much larger sample size across many players is required in order to definitively quantify the results. Not going to happen with me though because I would just rather practice and play.

    I clock my mouthpieces at 12 oclock on every horn and run with that. The only reason it is 12 oclock is that it is simple to remember and not because it is “optimal”. Knowing that it is the same position all the time allows me to rule that out as a factor and I then make the adjustments, mentally or physically, to make things work.
  3. J. Jericho

    J. Jericho Fortissimo User

    Mar 16, 2011
    The only thing I can think of that would change the symmetry of a round mouthpiece would be the stamping of numbers/letters on the outside. This could conceivably work-harden the surface in that area to a small degree. The same could occur on other parts that are stamped with information, such as the bell, for instance. Bell mode studies that I have seen don't appear to show any indication of a variance of resonance in the bell area, which, being thinner, is subject to greater distortion from stamping, so I seriously doubt that the characters stamped on the outside surface of a mouthpiece would affect the sound, either.

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