On a person's sound...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by schleiman, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. schleiman

    schleiman Piano User

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    Hi there, I'm a comback player, been playing about six months now and things are going very well. I wish to make a career of it, go back to school for music etc. I was wondering about personal sound. There seem to be lots of factors contributing to a person's individual sound. The player obviously, the horn, the mouthpiece, the room you play in. In terms of style, what I am wondering is it possible to change your sound....and by that I mean one's personal sound on the instrument not concerining horn choice and mouthpieces. Or is it something that just naturally develops and that's the way you play and the way you sound. Is it possible to focus on a specific quality to one's individual tone? Say, a "brilliant" tone versus a "dark tone" One of the things I love about the trumpet is it's propensity for individual development. I know I just started back and I may be jumping the gun here. But are there things to keep in mind when develping embechoure and apeture regaurding a specific tone? If I want a really fat sound, is there something I should conentrate on? Excersizes or simply things to keep in mind while playing? I love roaming this website and as a result I've seen loads of really awesome advice and viewpoints. Any opinions on this subject would be welcomed and appreciated. Thanks, and keep practicing!
     
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    My thought is that regardless of equipment, which can be used to alter the timbre a bit, a person's sound is pretty individual. But, I would also contend that if you have a fairly developed embouchure and developed sound, while it's going to be specific to you, the quality should be such that it almost doesn't matter what you play in terms of style - your sound will be ok for it, although to than end, as a player you can color the sound a fair amount.

    There was a time I used 1 trumpet and 1 mouthpiece for everything, and the music I played ran the range from concert band, ceremonial band consisting of marches, brass quintet, big band, and solo liturgical trumpet - mainly baroque in style. It wasn't until I started playing Latin Band where I deviated and went to a mouthpiece that made it easier to get the kind of sound I needed to have, although in truth I mainly made the switch due to endurance issues I was having by pounding my chops with a mouthpiece that was roughly a 2.5C in size.

    My advice would be to work on the things that are going to help you develop good breath support and control, and focus to your chops - if you do that your sound is going be vibrant whether it is darker or brighter, but it will be YOUR sound.
     
  3. fraserhutch

    fraserhutch Mezzo Piano User

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    It really depends on what your concept of sound is, because ultimately that;'s what going to come out. However, IMHO, if you're looking to make a living with it, I would suggest that you should be looking at emulating the qualities in the sounds of the iconic players the genres you play, because it's the mainstream sound that people will generally want to hire. Your own sound and personality cannot help but impose itself to some degree.
     
  4. schleiman

    schleiman Piano User

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    That sounds like good advice. I'm a big believer in having laser focus in my practice sessions. I really try and understand the purpose of the exercises and keep conscious of that while I play. Things are coming along well. I play many other instruments, so this isn't my first crack at learning something. I know what it takes. Hard work, determination, tenacity, and in the case of trumpet, above all PATIENCE! Thanks for your thoughts TrickG. I will put them to use while I practice today. :)
     
  5. schleiman

    schleiman Piano User

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    Good point. I really love Louis Armstrong and Conrad Gozzo. Two of my favorite players. But I have no idea how they got such monstrous tones from the horn. But I also love classical music as well. I think it would be prudent to stylistically study both. I want to go to school for jazz studies with a minor in composition. But I've got a couple years before I'll be ready to audition. In the meantime, practice practice practice. Thanks for your reply!
     
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    I can understand the concept that what you listen to can greatly influence your own personal sound. When I was in HS, to me, for Classical trumpet, Wyton's sound was IT. I had two Wynton albums that I rotated and listened to a lot, and that was the sound concept in my head when I was playing. Whether or not I got anywhere close to that is debateable (probably not) but I've never really spent a lot of time working on my sound specifically, although I did a fair amount of work on things that help to develop a strong supported sound, like long tones.
     
  7. schleiman

    schleiman Piano User

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    Oh man, I love Wynton. I've got a classical and a jazz album of his with standards and ballads and stuff. He has such a silky style, but he can get down and rough when he wants to. He's a very versatile player, and I would like to work towards being the same. I do long tones when I warm up and when I warm down. Right now, my main focus is crafting a good core sound from the instrument, and learning to balance my air. I basically feel like if something feels too difficult, I'm probably making it harder than it really needs to be. And I try and reverse or augment my approach.
     
  8. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

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    If you really want to persue a career in trmpet playing a goos teacher is critical. All of your competition are taking lessons. Do you have a good teacher?
     
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Agreed - if you want to be good enough to gig and get paid, not so much, but yeah - if you are going to ascend to the top tiers of players, a GOOD teacher (not just any old teacher, but someone who really knows what they are doing, what they are talking about, and most importantly KNOWS HOW TO TEACH IT) is crucial.

    I believe that I might have gone even further as a player if I had done that. I'm the former - good enough to gig and get paid, but not quite good enough to ascend to the top tiers.
     
  10. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

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    Ahhhh....an individual's sound....

    Okay, first of all, generally speaking, if you're going to pursue classical playing, then by definition you are trying to cultivate a particular sound that orchestral players tend to have. Their job is to sound and play in a traditional way that is well established. The task for this kind of playing is not to cultivate an individual sound, but to cultivate the accepted sound.

    For jazz and more commercial playing this holds true for lead players to some extent, though I think, not as rigidly. Lead players (like the ones you've mentioned) do tend to have 'big' sounds. Jazz players (or should I say improvisers) tend to (or should tend to) try to cultivate their own sound as part of a larger task of cultivating an individual musical interpretation or identity. That's what improvisational music is all about.
    Listen to Diz, Miles, Don Cherry, and Lester Bowie and you'll see what I mean. Now see if you can imagine any of them sitting in an orchestral section playing Beethoven...not really. They can certainly play the music, but their sounds are not designed for traditional interpretaion and ensemble playing.

    To work on your own sound, whatever you decide that needs to be, the most important thing is to ALWAYS BE LISTENING TO YOURSELF AND AWARE OF YOUR TONE! Practicing long tones, arpeggions, the Haydn, transcribed Clifford Brown solos, playing with a polka band, whatever....always be listening to your own sound and evaluating it. Does the tone change when you do certain things on the horn? Do you like the change? This constant listening and self-awareness, along with your evolution as a player are what is going to let you evolve your own sound. It takes a long time.....

    bigtiny
     

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