Note/pitch centring issues

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by TomThornton, Dec 16, 2015.

  1. TomThornton

    TomThornton New Friend

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    Oct 30, 2015
    London, UK
    Greetings,
    I am a student in the UK (in the latter phases of school). Recently I have been having difficulty always finding the centre of a note when I pitch (the problem occurs at the f# on top the staff and above). In general, notes have become rather slippery and malleable in this register. This is not something that was previously a problem, but recently has become an issue. Is this down to my instrument, me, lack of practise time (due to lots of academics) or something else entirely. Any help is appreciated, even if the answer or methodology is glaringly obvious and I haven't asked a very good/clear question feel free to point that out :-P
    Thanks,
    Tom
     
  2. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    Better qualified people will answer this more astutely.

    But at your age (and I was 17 once) you're not a fully mature player. And your embouchure is still rather plastic and making new adjustments to the demands you place on it. Maybe you're just going through one of those in-between phases as you move from one equilibrium position to another. A bit like when your voice breaks. You sound like Daffy Duck for a while but a few months later you emerge all deep and gravelly.

    The only reason I feel confident enough to provide some sort of answer on this is that after 2 years comeback of playing way sharp above the stave, I've suddenly run into a spell of hitting it flat. It may well be a good sign. At least, it's no great cause for panic while I see how things pan out.
     
  3. Clarkvinmazz

    Clarkvinmazz Forte User

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    How's the compression on your horn? I've noticed that that happens on trumpets with more worn valves- try a thicker valve oil, and see if that helps. Hetmans #3 is what you should use.
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    These symptoms are very typical when we use muscle tension/high tongue for high notes and not breath support.

    I recommend lip slurs over an octave low C to 3rd space C, C#, D, Eb. E, F, F#, G, Ab, A, Bb, B, C.

    Just try and blow a bit harder to get the octave without changing your embouchure.

    When our breath support sucks, we twist our face into being able to get the note out. The horn is metal and pretty fixed in its ways. Compression has to be WAY off to cause this. That would be a product of YEARS of wear , not a recent change.
     
  5. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    There you are! The astute response!
     
  6. richtom

    richtom Forte User

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    I've been re-reading Luis Loubriel's book on Vincent Chicowicz, "Back to Basics for Trumpeters". I suggest everyone get a copy of this. Chicowicz was finest teachers ever and a brilliant player. Many of his students have the BIG orchestral jobs and are also top call commercial players. To this day, many of them do the exercises he taught them and they say so in the book.
    Anyway, Rowuk's postings on breath support and flow are very, very similar to Chicowicz's theories and teaching. When you sound lousy, it is almost never an embouchure issue, it is lack of air support and flow.
    In the OP's case, he has this issue and lack of practice has distorted his sense of pitch. If you don't hear it and support it, it will not be in tune.
    The only way to correct this is back to basics with breath support. In other words, correct practice.
    Clark, I am sure you know who Rafael Mendez is. Although he endorsed Olds horns and certainly did play them in concerts, the horn he used to make the recordings was his old Besson Meha. This horn did not have the best compression and was somewhat leaky from worn valves. He didn't play out of tune. As Rowuk stated, the compression has to be terrible to play so far out of tune.
    Rich T.
     
  7. fels

    fels Piano User

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    I have read these posts and had lessons from pros --but it only makes sense when you experience it. When i trust my breathing, the upper register flows. Maybe this is too "zen" but with the breath support - you follow (or lead) the notes up and down - but it begins with the breath and support. Eventually the embouchure strength has an important element - just like in any physical exercise. When everything works - it is a wonderful thing -- then - it is a journey to replicate it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
  8. rufflicks

    rufflicks Pianissimo User

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    When was the last time you cleaned your horn?
     
  9. TomThornton

    TomThornton New Friend

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    Hi all,
    Thanks for l the advice! Rufflicks, the last time it was cleaned was a.few weeks ago (along with my other trumpets). Interestingly, this problem is only prevalent in my Bb playing. Flugel and Eb sing effortlessly. Is this likely to be the fact that they are different animals, my mouthpieces, me or a combination?
    Thanks again,
    Tom
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I think that force and tension are not easily recognized. The lip slurs that I recommended should show any issues. The acid test is to let someone with a solid range and good playing habits try your Bb trumpet.


    You may want to check if your spit key is not sealing. That really doesn't affect a big range of notes however, rather specific ones.......

     

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