Pedal Tones ... Why?

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

  1. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    Gary - you really do need BigDub - put Wayne on a retainer Now!!
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Pedal tones do not build nor hurt range. They are simply a tool advocated by some. If an entire brass section is losing range, there are other issues.

    I think that there is a lot of danger in a "little" knowledge. You see, if a brass player has a solid daily routine and practice habits, the only thing that can shake the quality and endurance is stupid beating up of the chops in rehearsal. This is much more common in marching band than in concert band where simply too loud and too high are often sold as virtues.

    Instead of trying to build an anonymous case based on internet comments from those that have no idea what else the teacher is doing, I would suggest talking directly to the teacher. Get the pedal tone pedagogy first hand.

    By the way, for a trombone player, the pedal notes are part of the standard working range. With trumpet players, they generally are part of the practice routine. I do not use them myself, but not because they are dangerous. I have other paths to success that I teach.

    So, do not secong guess, get the meat first hand. Concerned parents are a great thing, but uninformed concerned parents can be a real pain where the SON does not shine.
  3. Franklin D

    Franklin D Forte User

    May 23, 2009
    The Netherlands
    Rowuk is like always right. Only an annotation.
    The pedal notes on a trombone (and on the flugel!) have good slots. But not on a trumpet. Practising pedals on a trumpet is purely practising embouchure- and breath control. A litle bit like practising an e-scale with the f-fingering.
    But on a trombone it's within the normal range. (I played 28 years the trombone). Though I (almost) never used them in concert, because I always played first or second chair, I practised pedal notes almost every day.
    But there is one little danger: because beginners will not always succeed in attacking a pedal note (I speak about the trombone), there will be air, no sound, they sometimes (especially when there is some pressure of a group) are using an artificial embouchure by putting the rim of the mouthpiece against the underlip, lowering the instrument a little so the underlip rolls in the mouthpiece. In that way it's quite easy to hit a fast pedal but it's a completely WRONG way! And it may be dangerous for the embouchure. But it happens. So the teacher have to tell them to practise the pedals to get a steady embouchure and to get more breath control which is the main key to good pedals. If rightly executed they are good for the embouchure and will sure not harm it.
  4. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Or in this case a freek'n keyboard with an e key that works. Wish Getzen made typing keyboard keys then they could be fast enough to take my finger strikes.
  5. Rapier

    Rapier Forte User

    Jul 18, 2011
    Maybe you even WISH Getzen made typing keyboard keys too?
  6. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    All I can say is that I simply call them low notes and question why anyone calls them pedals when played on trumpet as they are not played and/or operated by the foot. Perhaps if one were an organist, it would be a different story. Teachers/tutors of trumpet try explaining "pedals" to a beginning student. Too, never have I even tried to play a low F on a Bb trumpet or my recently acquired flugelhorn, and further have never seen a Bb trumpet part that low.
  7. Pinstriper

    Pinstriper Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 26, 2013
    What we were taught (lo! these many years ago in DCI, so...) is air support, to help flush blood back in the lips, to learn to focus your playing without tension, to find the note that isn't there/doesn't slot.

    If there is a correlation between your line's loss of range, it could be because the director is trying to get them off of playing with tension and pressure and is using pedal tones to reteach them off their bad habits.

    The reason they do it as a line is...they do EVERYTHING as a line. And to find those unslotted notes and still play in tune with the line, articulate with the line.

    Whether it is being taught and used correctly, and the line is managed correctly so they aren't blowing themselves out or being overworked is another question. But in and of itself, I wouldn't see pedal tones as inherently harmful.

    That's what I remember. Others who know more (which is just about everybody) can gainsay any of the above.
    J. Jericho likes this.
  8. EdMann

    EdMann Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 20, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Overdoing anything is no good. Too long, too loud, too low. There are methods devoted to the practice of these, and the BD should refer to that at the very least before warming up the ensemble.

    I never liked it when my BD warmed "us" up. I do my own warmup, but I get it. Kids. Direction. Sounds like he needs help.

  9. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    That works. Another BigDub wannabe... Oh boy... but it does take a village to keep my editing in check... for sure.

    AZTBNDAD New Friend

    Sep 3, 2014
    Chandler, AZ, USA
    Thanks for the additional input.

    There's a lot of dynamics in the band organization that basically prohibits parents from questioning anything ... parents never interact with the techs (the director flies high cover) and director assumes that parents don't know anything.

    Hence I decided to "protect my own".

    FWIW, I haven't found a pro-'bone or 'bone instructor that endorses the off-range pedal tone on 'bone.

    Thanks again for all the input! It is much appreciated.

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