No Nasty Notes?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Sethoflagos, Sep 12, 2014.

  1. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria

    With my current small collection of 'nice' notes, I can run through most of the hymn tunes and ballad type melodies I know by heart and be happy with the sound of most of them. There's a sort of envelope of speed, range, dynamic and endurance which if I stay within it, the sound is generally 'nice'; if I stray outside, some of the notes will be 'nasty'.

    One of my standard practice pieces (Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana) is within the envelope save for one run of four (slow) quavers (eighth notes) G - low A - F - low G. If I play it in minims (half notes), the notes are nice, but at speed, I've not yet gained the necessary flexibility to centre the low notes and they sound nasty. Should I:

    1) Continue to practise the piece, tolerating the squirrels in the hope that eventually they'll straighten out.


    2) Stop playing the piece and religiously practise slow minor seventh lip slurs until I develop the flexibility to control the low notes at faster speeds.

    Is there a danger that in tolerating the squirrels, we actually reinforce them by repetition and embed them into muscle memory?

    Should we ONLY play the notes we can play nicely and patiently wait for the envelope to expand in its own good time?
  2. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    Hi Set could you let me know where in the piece the quaver run is I can't pull that to mind as part of the music
  3. Rapier

    Rapier Forte User

    Jul 18, 2011
    I'd keep playing them slow (but not too often) and try to increase the speed gradually over a few weeks. Maybe just once at the start of practise and once at the end.
  4. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    Strange. I've never looked at the music and learnt it by ear off a Black Dyke LP 40 years ago and play it moreorless a straight octave down from this violin part.


    I say 'moreorless' because somewhere along the way the G-C-F-A of bars 17/18 have become G-A-F-G modeled on the G-A minor seventh plunge in bar 10 (another squirrelly one) of which it's a melodic variation. Whether it's my own embellishment, or one in the Black Dyke arrangement, I know not.

    But that's by the by. It was a general question anyway. I'm thinking that most of us will have a few awkward notes and articulations in the pieces we play. Whether it's a note at the top that needs a bit of a squeeze, or a finger that just slips off third valve a little too fast in a particular run. Same question applies. Is it necessary to leave the piece alone until we have worked on and mastered all of the technical challenges?
  5. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    Tee-hee! Just found this from Emley Band. Looks like the squirrelly bits do get adjusted by arrangers from time to time :-)

  6. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    I don't think you need to worry about the squirrels too much as long as you keep in mind a sound concept of how they should be and continue to strive to achieve that. One way to make progress for us adult learners/relearners of the instrument is to continuously challenge ourselves by tackling pieces that are just a little beyond what we can comfortably play. A consequence is that parts of the piece won't sound exactly how we'd like. That's ok as long as you continue challenging yourself and playing more and more difficult stuff. In a few months, you may realize that the squirrels have acquired a little more discipline, while you were working on other things that required flexibility too.

    I wouldn't start religiously practicing flexibility studies, but you should keep them in your practice regimen and inject variety as well as slightly more difficult exercises; keep poking at it and let things happen without too much attachment to the expected outcome. After a while, it starts feeling different, perhaps not easier, but yielding better results for the effort/attention spent on it. All these transformations take time.
  7. Dupac

    Dupac Fortissimo User

    Aug 19, 2008
    Bordeaux, France.
    Nasty no. Nutty yes.
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I would say-it depends. If the problem is not having the low note available at any speed, I would say, stop. If the problem is relaxing for the low note at normal speed, I say practice after taking a hot shower.
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Sethoflagos, this sounds like a case where a bit of mouthpiece work might be in order. Try playing the lick on your mouthpiece--is it accurate or all over the place. If you have a piano handy, play the problem spot on your mouthpiece and piano at the same time until you can play it accurately on the mouthpiece. When playing on trumpet, take care not to telegraph the next note by sliding (and slipping) up or down.

    Hopefully this will help.
  10. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    The question (which I probably presented badly) was more general than the particular example from Cav Rust.

    Phil986 got it I think. It's more about the general approach to perfectionism, and to what extent we allow 'it'll do' into our practice regime. Do we always insist on the finest Belgian chocolates in everything we do, or do we allow the odd gobstopper to slip through for the sake of having a repertoire ready to perform?

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