On a person's sound...

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

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    BT, I never consciously worked on my sound, and yet arguably, I have a good sound, and it is "my" sound. My thought has always been that unless you have specific tone-related problems, there are other things to focus on. This isn't to say that things like long tones or breath control concepts should be ignored, but only to say that we shouldn't over-think it.

    I always thought Bud Herseth's sound was as much like like a lead big band trumpet player's as anything else - big, but also fat, brassy and bright. Is that what you mean when you say "a particular sound that orchestral players tend to have?" I ask because Bud seems to be the guy that so many have tried to emulate.
     
  2. fraserhutch

    fraserhutch Mezzo Piano User

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    I'll quibble with the "For jazz and more commercial" part -I do believe that what you say holds true for jazz players and those who become headliners, but in the commercial world you provide the sound they are looking for or you don't work. It's not about you, it's about the job. In that respect, I tend to classify commercial work (sessions, and the like) in a different way because it is about you fitting in to what the contractor/leader wants and is looking for stylistically. there are exception, such as where the leader looks to hire a specific player because of his/her talents (including sound), but those are the exceptions rather than the rule until you make it to the upper tiers.


     
  3. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    schleiman asks:
    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.
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    Pending you are playing the instrument correctly, I think during the development phase(which is where you are), a person's sound will mature over time which in and of itself will create a change in sound.
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    Is it something that just naturally develops and that's the way you play and the way you sound?
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    yes
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    Is it possible to focus on a specific quality to one's individual tone?
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    You might do better to focus on "who" you want to sound like at this point in your development. Later in your development you'll ask "What do I want to sound like"
    Find someone you want to sound like and do your best to emulate them.
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    Are there things to keep in mind when develping embechoure and apeture regaurding a specific tone?
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    Yes. You want to develop a good fat tone. Do your best to try and sound like Clark Terry or whoever inspires you. Much has been written about embrochure and mouthpiece pressure. Check out Mouthpiece Pressure Assessment.
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    Remember, you can't email or chatroom your way to a great tone.
    Practice everyday. Here's Wynton's practice routine:
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    Wynton Marsalis practice routine & tips

    Three hours will allow you to cover all aspects of playing, but 45-60 minutes is enough for one sitting. The quality of the practice is more important than the length of time it takes.

    Practice has several basic objectives: sound, slurring, tonguing (single, double, triple), phrasing. The Arban book [Arban's Complete Conservatory Method for Trumpet (Cornet), published by Carl Fischer, 192.] is set up that way.

    Try to get as rich and pure a sound as you can -- an "unbrassy" sound, the kind with no metal in it. Louis Armstrong is a good example. His sound is really bright, but not brassy. It has a core that is warm. During the first 15-20 minutes play long tones, soft, from second line G down to low G. For the next 30-45 minutes work with pages 5 and 6 in the Max Schlossberg book [M. Baron, publisher], varying the dynamics and the tempos. Try to play through every slur, getting an even, round sound on every note, and getting over the breaks in the instrument. Also, exercises 59 and 60 in the Schlossberg book are good to strengthen your lips.

    Take a break.

    Use the Second Study (page 8) in the Herbert L. Clarke Technical Studies [Carl Fischer]. Work on velocity, with a metronome, in major and minor keys. Slur some, tongue some, and double tongue some. Also work on the "kah" syllable. Go straight up the scale, starting with the middle C (exercise 32). In the Arban book there is a series of exercises to work on your single tongue attack. Number 19 on 28 is especially good. Try to get a nice round attack with some "pop" in it.

    Then you can open an etude book. Theo Charlier: Etudes Transcendantes [Leduc] is good for advanced players, or the Arban book for others. Do some double/triple tonguing exercises. That's another hour on tonguing.

    Take a break.

    Now deal a little more with slurring, but not too much; you don't want to kill yourself. Work out of a book like Advanced Lip Flexibilities [Charles Colin, author and publisher]. Then do some phrasing exercises out of the Arban book.

    Finally, play some characteristic studies from Arban, or etudes from Charlier or Schlossberg. When you play these etudes, or any exercise, always go straight through without a stop the first time. Then go back and practice the places you had difficulty. Play everything -- no matter how trivial or trite it might be -- with dynamics and sound and musical expression.
     
  4. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

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    Well, I don't know how anyone can conceive of a sound, practice and try to get a good sound, without listening to themselves and thinking about it. I never even mentioned sound developing exercises in my post at all, I said that WHENEVER and WHATEVER you're playing, you have to be concious of your sound. I find it hard to believe that you could develop ANY sound at all, without doing this, though maybe not to the degree that I'm talking about.

    As far as Herseth goes, I don't know enough about his playing to comment. I know he's highly revered, but I still think that if you take any first chair player from a major symphony and ask him to play the way he does in the symphony....he'll sound very different than a big band lead trumpet player. His sound may be big, but it will have a different quality than a big band or commercial player. Part of that may be due to phrasing and articulation.

    bigtiny
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    So often I have to smile because some think that sound can be "measured" and that everyone has their "own" sound as if that was some "static" thing that we keep for our whole lives. It just ain't so.

    The fullness of our sound is covered by our breathing, the color of our sound as well as the style is covered by our brains. If we play intelligently, our sound adapts to the playing situation whether that be blend in a section, the razors edge as a lead player or a smokey chorus in a jazz ensemble. The better prepared we are, the easier it is for the subconcious to get through all earthly failings.

    If you want an optimum sound, you need to feed your BRAIN first, Then you have to be hungry to prepare enough to be able to let that knowledge do what is right. Finally, you have to be smart enough to continue to grow every day - and let your playing grow too. Your sound WILL automatically, like fine wine mature with age.

    Good sound comes from musical understanding. There are no tweaks or exercizes that can replace the brain. The players getting the jobs may not have the subjective darkest or brightest sounds, they have the musical and rhythmical qualities that get the job done. Work on your musicianship - that is where we all need to be.
     
  6. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight Pianissimo User

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    I am trying to figure out about what people call “sound” as well. I had a free lesson with the trumpet professor at my university, and he had me play some long tones. He then said that I should slightly curl my lips over me teeth and blow a jet stream of air to open an aperture between the lips, then “plant” the mouthpiece on my lips. Notes came out very effortlessly.

    I was previously buzzing into the mouthpiece and he said that he could hear my lips hitting inside the mouthpiece Is that the metallic or brassy sound that people are talking? I don't know. The professor said the method he showed results in a “cleaner” sound and would take me much farther. At any rate, that is my experience thus far with changing sound.

    Best Wishes,

    David
     
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Fair enough - I was always conscious of my sound, but I never thought about it as it's own thing that needed to be worked on because by the time I got to a point in HS where I would have had to think about it, it was already solid. I thought about it as a whole with the line I was playing at the time, which is probably why I never gave it a lot of thought when I was playing in various ensembles from day to day that were stylistically way different from one another, on the same trumpet and same mouthpiece. Granted, it was a ML Strad 37, and I suppose that's one of the better "one horn does all" trumpets made.
     
  8. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    DK asks;
    I am trying to figure out about what people call “sound” as well.
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    If I'm reading this right, you want to know how to distiguish between one musician from another. Just listen to a lot of trumpet players and you'll get the sound in your head. After a while you'll hear Dizzy and know instantly, it's Dizzy. The same goes with other trumpet players you listen to too.
     
  9. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight Pianissimo User

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    OK. That makes sense. So, for example, Harry James has a very distinct sound to me. I can always pick him out. However, Bunny Berigan has a very similar sound (at least to me). I can only tell the difference beacuse I know Harry James' work much better. Then, it makes sense to me that Al Hirt has a similar sound to Harry James as he was the person that Al Hirt wanted to be like.

    Thanks,

    DK
     
  10. lakerjazz

    lakerjazz Mezzo Piano User

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    The perceived sound has a lot more to do with style than tone. When you listen to Bunny Berigan's tone carefully, it is actually very different from Harry James or Louis Armstrong (whom he emulated), but when you listen to it as a whole, you can hear traces of both Armstrong (his idol) and James (his contemporary) because the style is so similar (phrasing, vibrato, articulation). If you have a clean, quality tone, that is YOUR tone. You shouldn't change it. If you want to SOUND like Louis Armstrong, listen to the WAY he plays and emulate his style. A combination of your tone and styles you've emulated will create your personal sound.
     

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