low dynamic frustrations

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by bigaggietrumpet, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. bigaggietrumpet

    bigaggietrumpet Mezzo Forte User

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    Jan 23, 2004
    Nazareth, PA
    Manny-
    It's been quite some time since I've had to take a seat on the couch and ask for help. You'll be happy to know that since that point I did finally break down and by an Arban's. :lol:

    Anyway, I'm facing a really tough problem at current, and I know that it's something most likely fundamental. We're playing "Salvation Is Created," for our Europe tour, and for whatever reason, I can not seem to get a good tone at lower dynamic levels on this piece. I find that my tone is getting somewhat brighter, and I develop a rasp. I also seem to lose endurance on the piece, and find my face incredibly sore. I realize that this probably is the result of me not putting enough air into the horn, but that's the crazy thing, I've been focusing mentally on putting as much fast air into the horn as I can while still balancing and maintaining that low dynamic. Yet, I still find my tone thin and raspy. Am I thinking too hard, or is there something I'm forgetting?
    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    I'm going to venture you're mouthpiece is too small and you're not vibrating maximally in the lower register. That's the crux of all problems on trumpet, improper vibrations and the lack of balance to the airflow. That problem has MANY root causes and here it could simply be a rim/cup/lip relationship that is uncomfortable once you get to the lower register.

    You shouldn't look much different playing a G above the staff as when you play a low G (that's a two octave distance).

    I wish I could give a more comprehensive answer but i have to go to rehearsal right now. Think about what I wrote and let's continue the conversation.

    ML
     
  3. bigaggietrumpet

    bigaggietrumpet Mezzo Forte User

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    Nazareth, PA
    Oops, it's what I get for trying to sound smart; I meant I have trouble playing softly. It really feels like a strain to just get the horn to respond at piano, and this is a problem I haven't really had until this piece. I play on a Laskey 80B at current, so I don't think the piece is too small. Thinking too much, maybe?
     
  4. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Relax your tongue and make it less active. Warm the air in all registers. Haaah... not heeeeh or hich.... haaaah.

    ML
     
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Sometimes it's the horn. Can you really get the low notes to "bark"? You know -- big fat ugly honking low g's and such. If not, it might be your horn. Have somebody else with good low chops test it. Can they honk the low notes out? If we can play the low notes loudly, it is possible to play them softly as well, but if the horn sucks down low it sucks. Unfortunately, true Vulgani are seldom invited to get involved with the design of horns, so some of these beasts (which are otherwise good horns) get out on the market.
     
  6. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Jerry brings up a good point. One test is how much upward bend there is to a low G. If it's hard to bend the note upward, chances are you have a horn that is pretty stable. If it goes up a major 2nd or (gasp) more, I'd consider that pretty rubbery and I wouldn't be surprised if it was hard to focus in the low register.

    My guess remains with an overactive tongue and I'll throw in a tighter-than neccesary tummy as well. Want fries with that?

    ML
     
  7. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Mike- That line right there is, to me, an indication that Manny is (again) correct. Fuller and more relaxed breath, coupled with "thinking sound and color" (as he wrote to me once) is your key here.

    Break out some soft scale studies, beginning mid register and descending. Think of relaxing back onto your air and breathing big full relaxed breaths down into your tummy; avoid tensing the tummy muscles as you play. You might try this wiggling around E to G or A for a while until you get the hang of it. (Clarke 1st and 2nd studies are my suggestions).
     
  8. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

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    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE
    You know one of the things that keeps amazing me is that as a tuba player who now plays trumpet lots of the same answers apply to both instruments. Relaxed 'warm' air in a continuous stream, full breaths seems to be a constant for playing softly. Sound forward of the bell.

    Actually it's always surprised me how much air playing trumpet actually takes regardless of dynamic or register.

    Regards,


    Trevor
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2007
  9. bigaggietrumpet

    bigaggietrumpet Mezzo Forte User

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    Jan 23, 2004
    Nazareth, PA
    Yup, that fixed it for the most part.

    And that definitely helped. Thanks a lot, guys.
     

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