Overtones?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Satchmo Brecker, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. Satchmo Brecker

    Satchmo Brecker Piano User

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    I've seen various posts here that say "listen to the overtones". Is that just jargon for "the sound of the note" or is there something more than that? How do you listen for the overtones or how can I tell that what I'm hearing is overtones versus just the regular sound?
     
  2. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

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    Here's one way:

    Sit at a piano with the top open so your sound can get to the strings.

    Push the right pedal down and hold it while you play a note on the trumpet. The sound from your trumpet will "excite" some of the strings in the piano so that they vibrate. End the note on the trumpet, keeping your foot on the pedal, and listen to the piano strings ring. You should hear more than the pitch you played.

    Play on the trumpet a low C (Bb concert) while holding down the Bb on the piano to the left of middle C. End the trumpet note, but leave your finger on the piano key and it will ring. Now, hold the piano Bb an octave higher, and once again play the low C on your trumpet. When you stop the note, you will hear that higher octave Bb on the piano ringing.

    Repeat this with the same trumpet note, but hold down the F above that last Bb, It will ring. As you go higher, what notes on the piano will respond? Test it and see.

    The low C on your trumpet contains overtones which are vibrations twice as fiast, 3 times as fast, 4 times as fast, etc., as the vibrations which produce the C and make the low Bb on the piano ring. The overtones are present as a part of that note, and as you learn what to listen for you may begin to actually hear them when you play. Without the overtones the note would sound dull, and dead. With them you get brightness, and the "timbre" which is characteristic of your trumpet/mouthpiece/player combination.
     
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  3. Satchmo Brecker

    Satchmo Brecker Piano User

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    Great info. And here I practice right next to a piano so it'll be real easy to try out. Oh, and seems like I can turn that into a parlor trick too! Impress the wife and kids. :lol:
     
  4. stevesf

    stevesf Piano User

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    this is a great exercise....I will add a few more things.
    the more overtones you have in your sound, the more core or meat or fatness you will have.
    Don't get caught up in achieving perfection though....every horn accentuates certain frequencies more than others....try to achieve a proper balance.
    A strobe type tuner is essential for this fine tuning
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011
  5. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

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    There is a whole series of overtones that come with a trumpet note .... some you can hear and some you can't. Your dog will hear a lot of those that you can't (turtles too) ... But you can teach yourself to hear more of the overtones coming off the horn, that are within the range of human hearing. It's a good exercise to really listen for them. Helps to be in a very quiet environment, both room and mind.:-)

    Turtle
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011
  6. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

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    Damn, N +1 + Piano :shock: Will it work with an Electronic Keyboard?
     
  7. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

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    Yes, but N+1+P is better IMHO than N+1+EK. A loudly banged piano note with the top open probably contains more overtones than a similarly amplified keyboard drone, coming out of an amplifier. They're probably more organic too.

    Turtle
     
  8. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

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    only if you use a microphone
     
  9. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

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    you can also try playing a note and directing your air spream a little high in the mouthpiece .. you will hear less overtones and as you move it down eventually you will hit a sweet spot and the horn will light up and you will hear overtone ringing out...... Well it works for me
     
  10. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Once I'd been in the section long enough to "mind-meld" I would imagine the principal playing above me while practicing my third part. It was years later that the second player told me he had been amazed at my ability to match the principal player's sound, and frankly, it was a wish to do so, but the mechanics were totally unconscious.

    Your mouthpiece/horn combination will favor some overtones more than others, but for an exercise, consider imagining the octave above (useful on piccolo) or the octave below (useful for a full orchestral sound).

    Experiment, and have fun!
     

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