Lower brass

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by simonstl, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. simonstl

    simonstl Pianissimo User

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    While I'm having a lot of fun returning to my trumpet, I'm finding myself doing something I never would have imagined possible when I was last playing.

    I keep listening to music and thinking that the lower brass actually sounds more interesting.

    I know, I know - TREASON! The trombones, baritone, euphoniums, and tubas must all be kept in their place in order that the clarion sound of the trumpet may reach the audience.

    But I keep thinking, and this Arban fellow showed other, lower, instruments above his fingering chart, which got me to thinking... and then I noticed that Bach had a weird-looking bass trumpet, and other people do too. And there are valve trombones, and...

    Reading about it so far, I get the sense that there's a major difference in mouthpieces between the trumpet/cornet/flugel range and the trombone/euphonium/baritone range.

    I'm guessing I'd stay with an instrument that has valves, so slide trombone is out. But if I were, say, to experiment with this, are there any of the lower instruments that are more approachable from a trumpet-playing background? More compatible with continuing to play trumpet?

    I may not go anywhere with this, as I'm definitely enjoying my return to trumpet, but it seemed worth asking, anyway. Well, apart from the treason part, or so we would have called it in middle school.

    Thanks for any advice you have!
     
  2. tunefultrumpet

    tunefultrumpet Pianissimo User

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    Apr 9, 2008
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    Interesting post, Simon. I am a trumpet player who dabbles in tuba, valve trombone, slide trombone, in fact I'll play any brass instrument I can get my hands on because they are all fun to play. First up I have found that playing the lower brass improves my breathing (to be specific, my blowing), particularly tuba. Coming back onto trumpet I always have a fuller sound. Playing the trombone seems to improve my upper range on trumpet, also. The only draw back I have found in doubling on lower brass is that if I go onto one after a significant session on trumpet I find my chops are often too tight to get a nice resonant sound...they aren't loose enough.

    I think the experience of lower brass varies a lot between players. I know a trumpet players who can't play lower brass well or have difficulty going back to trumpet aftward, it messes them up. For others it seems to only benefit their trumpet playing.
     
  3. FlugelNoob

    FlugelNoob Pianissimo User

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    Jan 5, 2009
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    Lower brass would help your air on the trumpet, and for me it made my sound more full and rich then before. You also are able to breathe more in the same time span, so you can play longer without breathing as much.

    Most brass instruments require almost similar techniques, so it wouldn't be all bad. The only major difference is the embouchure change that you will encounter, which is obvious due to the different MPs you will encounter.

    My suggestion is that if you do go on to lower brass, remember to keep practicing your trumpet as well, especially the very technical issues like your toungings(single, double, triple etc), your finger speed.

    Your tounging because when you go over to lower brass, you will tend to play more long notes and phrases, especially when in tuba and euphonium. This will help improve your intonation as well, but when you stop all your fast toungings, it will be dificult to build them back.

    Fingers as well, because of the bigger pistons and because you will be required to use the valves less often, your muscles may slow. And also, because when you use lower brass, there are 4,5 and even 6(though quite rare) valve instruments, so when you use alternate fingerings, you might not be able to use them on the trumpet(unless you burn your wallet and add more valves to your trumpet, but most likely craftsmen wil only do this for super big-timers).

    Basically, just keep praciticing your trumpet as well. It would be very good to be a versatile brass player. Good luck!
     
  4. tunefultrumpet

    tunefultrumpet Pianissimo User

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    Apr 9, 2008
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    I forgot to add another advantage of playing a bass instrument like a tuba. No-one seems to notice if you play a wrong note, not like on the trumpet!
     
  5. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

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    I've recently been experimenting by playing my long tones and easy warm-up ballads on my Eb Tenor (Alto) Horn and I find that shifting to the trumpet after 15 mins of this gives a very satisfying trumpet practice session. I have no idea if I am murdering my trumpet embouchure, but the Tenor Horn is such an easy thing to play. I use the Trumpet scores and trumpet fingerings, and everything seems to sound OK to me. I don't play in a brass band, in fact the Tenor Horn has only once reached the bandroom, but I do love the sound. Where I struggle with an upper register on the trumpet, the tenor horn allows that to work fairly easily - perhaps it's telling me to relax the trumpet embouchure??
     
  6. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

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    Where in the trumpet range do you start to struggle?
     
  7. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

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    The trombone, baritone are just an octave below the trumpet. It's an easy switch. Playing any of the above horns will notmess up you trumpet playing and most people find that it improves it. I have a 1929 King mellophone that I like to play. lots of fun.
     
  8. Trumpet guy

    Trumpet guy Forte User

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    Yes. I have noticed this too when I practice trombone and trumpet on the same day. Both augment skills that help with the other. I find the biggest advantage I've gained from playing trombone is breath control. I also find it helps me relax on high notes after practicing on the trombone and then (after a break of course) going to the trumpet. This sort of follows Nick Drozdoff''s daily routine of practicing all his brass instruments throughout the day in order from largest to smallest.

    The larger mouthpiece will not likely mess up your trumpet embrochure because trombone mouthpieces lie on a slightly different set of muscles, different enough for you body to easily remember an adjust between them with a decent amount of practice. If you really what to stay closer to the trumpet mouthpiece size, Bass trumpets are said to work best on the very smallest of trombone mouthpieces, like bach 22C and schikes in the low 40's. These are only about 4 to 6 mm larger that a 3C instead of the usual 2x diameter.
     
  9. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

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    Bob, I go wrong with B (1st line) above the stave. I can 'fairly' easily "walk" up through the scale (when playing scales) to High C, (or C3, or 2 leger lines above the stave), it's just that when I have a go at that B above the stave when playing say, "My Way" then I think I run out of puff due to poor breath control planning - it seems I continue to breathe too early in the measure. Then when I take a breath to try and repeat the note, my embouchure goes to pieces - and I get frustrated because I know I can play a higher note.

    I reckon it's breath control but I think to achieve the note I will need to drop the 3rd beat in the previous bar to breathe. Does this make sense? I have absolutley no desire to scream into the upper register, I much prefer slow mid range ballads, but I would like to reliably get that High C - it simply opens up the choice of pieces available for the band to play if I can hold up my end.

    I'm a bit keen on the tenor horn because the mouthpiece is part way between a trumpet and trombone MP in size, the fingering is the same as the trumpet. I can actually play the tenor horn using my trumpet mouthpiece, but I don't think that does me any favours if I wish to play a gig with the tenor horn - it distorts the range.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2009
  10. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

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