Mariachi advice

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Dale Proctor, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    I'm playing with a newly-forming Mariachi band this weekend with the benefit of one rehearsal, tomorrow night. Are there any Mariachi veterans out there who can give me any pearls of wisdom about performing this type of music? I'm familiar with the style from listening to the genre, but have never played in a Mariachi band before. We'll be reading charts and I'm a pretty good sight reader, so that's not a problem. I ran through La Virgen de La Macarena last night with a couple different trumpets and settled on my Bach 43 with a 3C mouthpiece. It seemed the easiest setup to produce the sound concept I have in my head. Any advice as to technique/style, volume, etc.?
     
  2. hup_d_dup

    hup_d_dup Piano User

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    Not exactly what you are asking, but do you have time to try on and alter the clothing if necessary?
     
  3. A.N.A. Mendez

    A.N.A. Mendez Utimate User

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    I don't think Mariachi is allowed in the south? Better get a Mendez trumpet just in case.... :-)
     
  4. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    I don't have to worry about that - this is starting out as a low-budget operation...white shirt, black pants, Mexican serape, and sombrero...:D

    Well, we now have armadillos and coyotes around here, so the Mariachi music had to follow...:play:

    The old Bach will have to do...I can play it pretty spicy if the rest of the band is hip.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2010
  5. Scatmanblues

    Scatmanblues Pianissimo User

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    Spicy yes, laser, no.

    I spent 3 years in a Salsa band that dabbled in mariachi tunes occasionally depending on the audience and the gig.

    The trick is tempo. Its easy to rush with this music, and you'll often be playing the exposed part that everyone will notice if it's a bit off. Really key in to the lower guitar voices and stay on the beat. It's deceptive in the same way polka music or a Sousa march are tricky. The song sounds simple, but you are constantly playing repetitive or challenging licks and you've got to do it at quick tempos and with lots of repeats and codas.

    Also, avoid blues scales or any funky chords entirely. Stay in the key and avoid extensions if you are improvising. The best are just melodic improvisations that play with the theme. You'll likely only have a few bars at a time or a cadenza at the end of tunes, but you'll want to keep it simple and in key. Arpeggios and repetitive patterns are your friend. Showy long notes can be fun in this style too.

    Don't feel obligated to try to recreate the insane 8vA stuff you hear on recordings or in Mexican restaurants. Most of those horn lines are synthesized. Every "real" mariachi band I've heard keeps the trumpets conservative and around the staff. Only occasionally will they go into "screamer" mode and play up the octave -usually as a tag at the end or during a "flashy" solo.

    Remember, this is usually music played while people are eating/talking/sitting in the park. They don't need their hair parted, and you should not expect to keep their full attention for more than a few seconds at a time.

    Good luck and have fun with it!

    Scatmanblues
     
  6. rettepnoj

    rettepnoj Fortissimo User

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  7. rettepnoj

    rettepnoj Fortissimo User

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    Double post
     

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