"Perfect Pitch" -- Relating buzz pitch to the Horn?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by mush-mouth, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. mush-mouth

    mush-mouth Pianissimo User

    Aug 3, 2009
    I put "Perfect Pitch" in quotes because in this case there is nothing perfect about it...

    However, I have an odd problem here -- I can instantly sing or hum any arbitrary reference note [and it's associated chord tones/modes], or whistle said notes, or even free-buzz or mouthpiece-buzz them, but I am having a great deal of trouble applying that same pitch to the trumpet.

    I'm not having trouble with the mode/chord per se (relative pitch is not the problem here), but with the instant recognition with finding the initial reference note as it pertains to the trumpet. In my case I'm having trouble applying the physical sensations of the lip-buzz to the trumpet?!?!

    I think it is the 7 fingering permutations that throw me off, more so on the upper-registers (strangely enough). That is, I can buzz the note or an even octave of, but when it comes to actually playing that note on the trumpet my brain gets confused with the valve-fingerings. Furthermore, my lips get confused with the valve-fingerings because the lip-sensation seems to be the same for the 7 (descending) valve permutations for a given partial of the horn... To be clear here, i.e. my lips feel more rather than less the same playing a G on top of the stave as a 4th space E. This goes for any open partial between low C and High C...

    I have a few tricks to guess the initial note -- Concert Eb, Bb, C, F (or 4ths/5ths thereof) etc., depending on the instrumentation (Sax, Trumpet, Keys/Guitar...), but there is, of course, much more to music that those few keys, and my best guesses leave me hanging more often than not...

    In short, how do I learn to apply "pitch [lip] sensations" to the actual pitch of the trumpet?
  2. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Sorry I can't answer your question. But, I can welcome you with open arms to the crazy, wierd, strange universe of analysis paralysis (I am the #1 sufferer, by the way). About the only thing I can suggest is to just practice a lot and try to "let the force guide you" instead of trying to calculate all of the permutations and related partials.

    Good luck.
  3. mrbill00

    mrbill00 Pianissimo User

    Apr 20, 2009
    Middle of Georgia
    time...practice time
  4. Mambo King

    Mambo King Pianissimo User

    Aug 20, 2009
    I'm not 100% certain that I follow you here, but if I read it right you're looking for a cerebral, intellectual connection and I think a more natural and musical route would be to be patient and allow the feel of the notes/modes/key centres develop instinctively over time, by osmosis. Don't force the situation or have a tick-box approach. Go the other way, forget it about it totally and just play and reappraise the situation in maybe six months. What do you think?
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Trumpet fingerings and patterns have almost nothing to do with chords, most of the time. Bleeh!
  6. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    In short, how do I learn to apply "pitch [lip] sensations" to the actual pitch of the trumpet?
  7. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    You are hearing concert pitches. The trumpet is a Bb instrument. If you buzz a concert E, you have to do the trumpet fingering for F#. This is tricky for people with perfect pitch at first.

    Or at least that's what I make of the OP.
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I don't buy into the perfect pitch excuse. Sure there are people that can hear pitches very well. One alto that I knew was singing in the opera in Stuttgart. She had perfect pitch A=440. Unfortunately, the orchestras here play at A=443. She was always flat. The orchestra tuned down once and everything was ok - that one time.

    Back to you. Developing a "feel" for the trumpet takes hundreds-thousands of repetitions. Forget about reading music if you feel that that is an issue (I do not). Play the horn blind until you get the hang of it. Then attach fingers to the notes.

    We can talk ourselves into and out of just about anything. That is the nature of being human. If something is important, we find a way. Perfect Pitch is not a hindrance. It is also of no advantage in the beginning.

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