Opening up quietly

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by scrap, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    It does require more embouchure control, but much of the strenth is in the air column behind the note. The real work in developing the air column with enought support (potential energy) to keep lips vibrating from a diminished flow of air (volume). To keep the energy constant, pressure must adjust behind the air column (not force but pressure). You still have to control titrating the right amount of air flow to keep the note quiet.

    Work on the excercise as recommend by VB (an excellent methodology) but then try to added the respiratory reserve behind it as I noted in the thread above. Combining these two approaches, I stronly believe will enhance your success at playing the quietest of notes possible.
     
  2. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

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    Try attacking the notes from above. The embouchure for playing quietly is very similar to playing high. I find when I play normally I tend to miss lower, but when I play quietly I tend to miss higher, that is when I miss.

    Also does anyone know how to minimize air noise when playing softly?
     
  3. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

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    Practice. Or get a better trumpet (just kidding!!!).

    Turtle
     
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    The full exercise advocated by Webster is basically long tones, starting at a whisper with a crescendo (here's the tricky part) to just below the point our sound starts to break up, sound crass and sound ugly; then decrescendo back to a whisper.

    Warning, the following is a snide sexist comment not endorsed by Trumpetmaster, the Artists in Residence nor any of the other moderators!

    Yeah, uhh, it is like how guys look at women--we can tolerate "almost ugly" if they know how to be quiet at the right time, and I think that is the way other musicians, conductors and music critics view us trumpeters. If we can make our sound and dynamics "drop-dead beautiful," however, we can get away with all kinds of fun antics!
     
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Wow. I can't believe some of what I read above. Seriously guys?

    I thought that Jiarby and turtlejimmy had the best answers.

    Rather then muddle things up with a bunch of semi-wacky conceptual ideas, why not get right to the root of the matter in a simple form? Scrap wants to be able to play softer, which they admit they can't do very well, so why not start with what they can do by playing loudly, but comfortably?

    My take: do long tones, starting off by playing a note at a volume level that is comfortable, and then work on dialing back the volume. Stop worrying about relaxing, (I'm of the belief that playing trumpet isn't exactly playing relaxed - it's more about doing things in a balanced way between tension and release) or starting notes from above, or anything else. Play a note, and then while holding it, simply concentrate on making it softer - maintain sound and intonation, but work at bringing the volume down, and allow the mechanics of what needs to happen in order to do that to take care of themselves.

    You aren't going to get there in a day. You might not even see a marked improvement in a week. If you want to learn to play softer, then work on playing softer - period. Keep after it day after day until it starts to come around. It will.
     
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    What exactly IS quad pianissimo? Dynamic markings are not static levels - they are always based in relation to the rest of the piece or what else is going on. Quad pianissimo is still pretty loud when held up against the sound levels of an area rock concert.
     
  7. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    Thanks Patrick for correcting my spelling, but what I try to achieve on trumpet and have not yet been successful is "pppp" viz 4 of them is a "quad" and it means very soft / quiet. Such would be a "wipe out" against the blaring loud levels of a rock concert as even moreso amplified, but then considering what my efforts have been to play "pppp" it is probably best that they not be heard by others.
     
  8. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Ed, I knew what you meant by quad pianissimo - "pppp" - I understood that perfectly. What I wanted to know was whether or not you felt that the pppp marking was a specific dynamic level or not, because it's not - it's relative to the piece being played, or I suppose it could mean simply, "as soft as you can fricken play, you loud obnoxious trumpet player!" ;-)
     
  9. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    Patrick, I was almost sure you did, but usually I try to play it whatever the composer indicates or as the director tells me to and otherwise I just play it as softly as I can and hold a good solid center tone. As I'm often transposing from other instruments for trumpet I get caught up in this ordeal a lot. Its just by comparison to my p, pp, and ppp that pppp doesn't seem quieter and I may just be losing it from feedback because there ain't enough left to "bounce" back to me. Still, I am happy with my recorded rendition of Shubert's Ave Maria as transposed from low vocal sheet music, but that was recorded before all my health and dental issues and I'm nowhere close to regaining that capability but trying as much as I am able to day by day.
     
  10. Chuck Cox

    Chuck Cox Forte User

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    Shubert's Ave Maria is my favorite piece for a beautiful religious piece. I play it on every trumpet that I buy for comparison. That and La Virgin De La Macarena total opposites musically. One shows me soft beautiful tone....and the other the brassy, brazen, blazing speed.
     

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