Pedal Tones ... Why?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by AZTBNDAD, Sep 8, 2014.

  1. AZTBNDAD

    AZTBNDAD New Friend

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    So, I am curious as to the purpose of playing pedal tones on brass instruments, and specifically the trumpet.

    To clarify, when I say pedal tone, I mean a note that is off the bottom end of the useful range of the instrument....it sounds like a growl more than anything....far lower than a low F# on the Bb trumpet.

    My son's marching band brash-tech really pushes this across the entire brass horn line. It's pretty much trashed by son's upper range on trombone and I've noticed that the brass section seems to have lost all of the upper range. I doubt if any of the trumpets can sustain a high C more then a few seconds. They play these at the end of their pre-performance warmup... (not a warmdown). They are played at various dynamic levels (up to ff) and articulations (up to fast 1/8th notes)

    I've consulted with some others professionals and forums and with the exception of the DCI-crowd, no one seems to like them for this age group and most don't like them at all. The DCI-crowd sites that is it "warming-down", "for balance" and "to hear each other".

    The directions given to play these notes is to "open your embouchure and blow down as hard as you can". After consulting with my son's trombone instructor (DMA performance) he advised my son to stop playing them all together ... which he has and his upper range has recovered a 4th so far.

    So ... what are they for?

    Thanks in advance for the input!
     
  2. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

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    I use Pedal tones as part of my warm up. I know that if I can get my Pedals then my lips are relaxed and flexible. If I can play the pedal, then I KNOW my high range is in place. I will warm up with lip slurs etc, and Pedals before I go higher. A Pedal C to High C is a good indicator to me, and usually where I stop my quick warm up.

    Read "Sail the 7 C's" and listen to the CD. Pedals are wonderful for flexibility and a relaxed lip.

    It does take a lot of air to get down to the Pedals. They help to get the air going
     
  3. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

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    BTW I also dabble on Trombone, and don't use them on Trombone. It already takes a lot of air support to play a solid trombone. I have a better High Range on Trom than on Trumpet, but has a split embouchure for the high notes. I play the Trom with a fixed bottom lip, and treat the trombone mouthpiece as if it contains a trumpet mpce, so move the mpce higher - almost under my nose to get the high notes.

    Anyway, there are a lot of players who do not use Pedals - for trumpet I found them very useful.
     
  4. AZTBNDAD

    AZTBNDAD New Friend

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    Thanks for the input...so can you offer any conjecture as to why the upper range has collapsed across the horn line? It holds true long after the MB season is over ... jazz bands sound terrible.
     
  5. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

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    I think if you lose upper range, then it may be that the players are pulling the mpce too hard back into the chops. The pressure will cut off the flexibility in the lips, and kill the vibration of the lips, as well as the pressure will limit endurance.

    Perhaps the players are not using their air support correctly, or are compensating for lack of "match fitness" by pulling back to go high. It takes about the same amount of air to play pedals as it does to play high. I do not think Pedals are the cause, but they may be high-lighting incorrect playing technique - IMO
     
  6. Bochawa!!!

    Bochawa!!! Forte User

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    Because Arturo does them!
     
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    I've never used them. Then again, it's not like I've got stellar range, so maybe I should? Dunno.
     
  8. tjcombo

    tjcombo Forte User

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    Hi Brian,

    I'll watch this thread with interest to see what those more knowledgeable than me have to say. My own experience is that whilst using pedal tones in exercises that span my entire range, the range has expanded at both ends. I also know some decent players that don't use pedals too.

    It's interesting that your son's band is playing pedals as a whole-band exercise. It'd be good to understand the rationale behind this. Whilst some find pedals to be useful, over-emphasis of any one aspect of development can't be a good thing. For example there are probably a whole lot more players trashing their chops by focusing on poorly executed high-note exercises than developing pedals.

    The band must sound bloody awful with them all playing pedals - pedal tuning tends to be squirrelly depending on the type of horn and the ability of the player.
     
  9. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    'Cause the sound so cool and rich. I end a ballad our keyboard player wrote on a pedal F. The only note I put into his song that he did not write. He told me the other day, it was his favorite note in the song.
     
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Let me qualify my last statement. I play most pedals on my copper belled Kanstul flugelhorn. In that range, it has the sound of butter slowly melting on sun kissed tile.
     

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