Longtones / tone quality

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by JackD, Oct 10, 2004.

  1. JackD

    JackD Mezzo Forte User

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    Nov 30, 2003
    Manchester / London
    I posted this on TH, but I'd like to hear some of the opinions of the people overe here.

    Mr Hickman's Gimmicks thread [on TH] got me thinking about tone, and in particular about long-tone exercises.

    I used to religiously do about 30 mins of these before playing every day, and at that point had a good sound, but a very limited range (we're talking an unreliable high-C, or even Bb).

    More recently I have discarded these exercises, and now normally start of with about 20 minutes of slow scalic passages descending to pedal tones. However, my tone is not always as rich and resonant as I would like it to be, and perhaps not always as good as it was when I was doing the longtones. However, my range is much better now, but I am afraid I may be starting to compromise too much in favour of range.

    My question is this: what is the verdict on long-tone exercises? Can they have adverse effects? Are they really the best way to work on getting that 'perfect' tone?
     
  2. MUSICandCHARACTER

    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

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    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
    There is a question without an answer!

    Most teachers I have known recommend long tones both for warm up and for tone building. But how much is enough? I have known some great players who would do no more that 10 minutes a day.

    I have known some to do 30 minutes or more. Some will do it both for warm up and warm down.

    I think you will get some personal opinions -- and what works for an individual. You simply will probably have to find your own formula. If 30 minutes is too long -- or too short.

    Pedal tones have become a rapidly popular way to warm down and to make sure the embouchure is relaxed. I ask my students to use them for warm down. It makes sense.

    Jim
     
  3. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

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    Nov 2, 2003
    I don’t care for long tones; I prefer to warm up by buzzing some melodies, scales and arpeggios from mid to pedal then mid to high range. I follow up with some Cichowicz flow study patterns. After that I will go to the horn and do a few Clarke studies 2 though 5. try that and see how it works for you, it works great for me.

    click here to check out alittle bit more about Cichowicz.

    http://www.trumpetguild.org/conferences/conference99/friday/f14d.htm
     
  4. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    5,915
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    Sep 29, 2004
    USA
    "I used to religiously do about 30 mins of these before playing every day, and at that point had a good sound, but a very limited range (we're talking an unreliable high-C, or even Bb).

    More recently I have discarded these exercises, and now normally start of with about 20 minutes of slow scalic passages descending to pedal tones. However, my tone is not always as rich and resonant as I would like it to be, and perhaps not always as good as it was when I was doing the longtones. However, my range is much better now, but I am afraid I may be starting to compromise too much in favour of range.

    My question is this: what is the verdict on long-tone exercises? Can they have adverse effects? Are they really the best way to work on getting that 'perfect' tone?"

    Dear Jack,

    I must admit that I was a bit shocked when you mentioned the sheer length of time you used to spend on long tones. I believe, as you found out on your own, that 30 mins. is way too long to spend on ANY technique at one sitting. Had you said that the time was broken up over the course of, say, a two hour session then I could see it.

    I'm not a pedal tone guy myself but that's just because I'm lousy at it! I've heard Doc on numerous occasions and obviously it hasn't hampered him. If I can share one useful thing I learned from Arnold Jacobs, it was that brass playing should be based on a balanced diet like one needs to maintain nourishment and health. It was at a lesson I had with him where he felt that I was doing too much Rochut/Concone style slurring at the expense of other techniques.

    Interestingly, I have recently made piccolo playing a part of my daily playing again and it's amazing how much focus it puts back in my playing. It's very easy, doing what I do, to lay the piccolo aside and play the big broad style that 95% of the repertoire I play demands. So, there you have it...a different way of maintaining a balance of the things that are important for us as performers.

    Have a warm one for me (had a Newcastle dark the other day...wonderful!),

    ML
     
  5. JackD

    JackD Mezzo Forte User

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    Nov 30, 2003
    Manchester / London
    Hi Manny - I started doing that after reading the following written by Wynton:

    "Try to get as rich and pure a sound as you can -- an "unbrassy" sound, the kind with no metal in it. Louis Armstrong is a good example. His sound is really bright, but not brassy. It has a core that is warm. During the first 15-20 minutes play long tones, soft, from second line G down to low G."

    I sort of figured that if he did 15 mins and sounded great, I'd do 30 and sound better! Well I'm young and stupid still, so that's my excuse.

    I think you (and Arnold Jacobs!) are definitely right about the "balanced diet" thing - thanks for sharing that. I suppose, apart from everything else, varying what you practice makes life more interesting.

    Cheers!

    Jack.
     
  6. pangaea

    pangaea Pianissimo User

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    0
    Nov 10, 2003
    This is a fascinating thread. Over the years I've begun to suspect that more than a few minutes' worth of long tones might not be good for me. Currently the only real long tones I do are the first few Caruso exercises, augmented with lip bends.

    I think I'm finding that flexibility exercises and flow studies are a much more powerful tool for tone, range, and endurance.
     

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