pitch bending

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by coolerdave, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    I have been practicing some exercises where you bend a pitch down a half step and then bring it back up. Seems pretty good for chop building. So I got the idea of trying to bend the pitch up a half step. After failing miserably, I wondered if there is a reaons I haven't seen any exercises for that.
    Is there some reason that it is so difficult.. as in trumpets aren't made to do that?
  2. D.C. Al fine

    D.C. Al fine Banned

    May 8, 2012
    Cause it is easier to relax slightly then tense up slightly.
  3. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    hmmm .. the pitch seems to want to flip up the the next partial going up before bending very much ... maybe since the partials are closer together going up there is less room to bend?
    but I do hear ya D.C.
  4. patkins

    patkins Forte User

    Nov 22, 2010
    Tuscaloosa, AL.
    Actually some trumpets at least in my experience low it better than others. My Martin Committe allows it for example better than my Schilke X3L. I think it is a good exercise especially when you listen to Miles who does it so well. I was reading that an older trumpet with a lot of slop in at allows it as well. I had an old Besson MEHA in which that was true. I just didn't like the extra play in the valves. But others do. I think Dr. G. Could give us a good perspective. I think he has enough pro in him to add to the discussion.
  5. D.C. Al fine

    D.C. Al fine Banned

    May 8, 2012
    That is what I find too. I can bend down (the note...) but if I bend up it goes to the next partial.

    At least this is not a french horn we are talking about..
  6. AKtrumpet

    AKtrumpet Piano User

    Jun 4, 2010
    I think pitch bending is most valuable in finding the most resonant sound on a partial given your horn/mouthpiece/body/brain setup.

    From a seminar with Hakan Hardenberger on his warmup and bends:

    "Those of you who know about Stamp, know the ”bend” notes? This is the kernel of the whole system. It is the same with Schlossberg if you look in the beginning of Schlossberg – he is not using ”bending”, but trying to achieve the same, that is, the balance between air and vibration.
    We all know how it feels when you are stiff and then try to blow it away - buaaach (HH blows strongly with his lips) – like this. Then you have destroyed it for the rest of that day.

    What I start with is – almost without wanting to play – just placing the trumpet on the lips to make what Stamp calls ”poo” – the ”poo”-attack – no tongue – just air – absolutely not strong – and then you see what happens. (HH plays a G, softly with a ”poo” attack, holding it for a long time). Then I try to listen to where my tone is that day – if it is full of archxxx – if the lips feels like (HH stamp his foot on the floor) – then I know it will take longer today.

    From the very beginning those (points at his ears) are as important as any other part of our body when playing the trumpet. If there is any experience I have gained when listening to people all over the world, it is that people are not using their ears properly. Even those who ”have ears”! One goes by feel all the time and by this one fools one self into a corner.

    Now comes the ”bend” – which means that you bend the tone out of the centre and then return to the centre to get a cleaner centre.

    Any questions about what I just said? - because this is the central point! (HH plays a soft G with ”poo” attack, bend down to F#, then slowly back to G).

    A tone is never static. Even this one (HH hits a note on the piano) – it is on its way to some place.

    We have a tendency with this, as I said, fight-instrument – when we play a G – bamm – a G is there and then we play it static and keep it immobile – baaaaHH. A tone is always on its way (HH plays a G again and bends it down and back).

    I stay in the register on the trumpet that offers me no resistance – between G and (low) C. Here I do bends at first. (Bending again) – did you hear the ”gravel” in my tone? It is completely normal at the beginning of a new day – and that is where the meditation process is: “gravel” in the tone? Ok – let the “gravel” disappear. (HH bends down, first G-F#-G, then F#-F-F#, etc. – two times bending on each)

    Anyone who wants to try?

    What one must not do is to push against the tone (demonstrates bending with a ”push”) – but like this (without ”pushing”) – to let the tone “rest” and keep its freedom.

    There has to be some questions about this? This is the most important thing I will say during these two days.

    What do you do when you bend?

    What happens is, that you make a small vocalising (sings halftone interval O-AA-O) – just a small change in the throat. You make no extra push with the air. If you start to push with air, you introduce a fight against the trumpet instead of letting the trumpet “walk” with you and let your mind control the trumpet. I use to tell a little metaphor: When I was a little kid we had a very big dog, a St. Bernhard, and when we were out for a walk, he was out walking me. In my relation to the trumpet I try to be different: I decide over the trumpet and not vice versa.

    The Stamp book (edition BIM) says that you should use force when bending?

    Yes - absolutely wrong! It’s the same with the Schlossberg book written by his son in law. Schlossberg wrote out exercises like a doctor prescribing medicine for each of his students. Most certainly very precise! In fact I have a copy of Stamps lesson when he as a very young man went to Schlossberg – a little prescription for next weeks exercise. Someone then collected these notes and put it together as a book. What we also know is that Arban, Clarke etc, the text in the books serve no purpose. It is not what you practice, but how you practice.

    Many do not succeed when they try these bends. The tone does not change – it is still a G or F regardless of what they do (HH makes ”locked throat sound” with his voice). This is a sign of stiffness. You have to solve that problem first.

    (HH bends again, but add a new tone, G, F#, F, F#, G). I use a lot of time in the morning on this if I have time. This is my main section.

    When one gets ”gravel” in the tone one often tries to force it – and then one does not hear it (laughter). Or how? This is what we do.

    Once in my life I was forced to work a lot on this. In Paris one time I became ill – measles or something like that. I was so sick I could not play for a whole month. When I started up again it sounded like a ”saw mill in upper part of Norrland”. I had a terrible amount of ”gravel” in the tone. Earlier I had never been used to that. I had a very dry practice room where I could hear my tone very clearly. What I did was, I went to a corner where it became very clear. Then I thought – now you have to take it easy. If you are overwhelmed by panic, you will never play again. I stood there for hours and did bends and used my ears. It is all about not losing the balance. If you have this basic attitude all the time: You shall not force anything! (plays bends, two semitones down). I do this in the morning and get ”gravel” in my tone, as I did a while ago, it is not the end of the world. You just continue with the next exercise. You do not have to get rid of the ”gravel” right away – but just use the meditation moment: calm now – now it is gone – now everything is fine.

    After so many years I have a feeling that I can get back to. If you haven’t been ”there”, that's quit another matter. Later when we are going to talk about articulation it is all a matter of ”a pure hit”.

    How many of you play a sport like tennis or golf?

    It is the most useful therapy for a brass musician inasmuch as it builds on the same feeling. The same feeling as when you hit with a perfect stroke. If you have never experienced it, you must search for it with your teacher. But you have to search for it in an ”anti violence” manner. This is what I try to introduce now. Ok?

    Do these bends until it feels good. It should be lovely to play the trumpet right from the start of the day. To place the trumpet on the lips should be a good feeling. Stamp always did this. (HH places the trumpet with the mouthpiece against his cheek). This is the feeling!

    Do this with your trumpets!

    In the cheek – not close to the teeth – but in the cheek. Like this! - a lovely feeling - soft and warm. (HH places the trumpet light on the mouth and plays some short soft tones with ”poo” attacks).

    What is this ”poo” attack? Like ”ball hits”. The ball is coming towards you – and there you hit it (HH simulates a tennis player).

    In the instrument is air (taps on the mouthpiece). I will meet this with my air coming from here (points at his lungs). In the middle is this ”poor bastard” (points on his lips and plays ”poo” tones). If the air is in front (plays – PHU-ooo) - or there is no air – then there is no proper "hit".

    The purpose of playing with ”poo” and not with a TAH attack is to play softly. If one uses the tongue it is so easy to ”push” the tone. If one work with the ”poo” attacks, one builds the reflexes: here in my body is my G. (HH plays C’ G C softly with ”poo”).

    If you practice (HH plays C’ G C strong) – then it is not practicing – it is ”blasting” the trumpet. The feeling for the trumpet is not developed."

    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012
    coolerdave likes this.
  7. Jerry Freedman

    Jerry Freedman Piano User

    Mar 4, 2005
    In Laurie Frinks ( I have it but not handy and the name escapes me) book a lot of space is devoted to bending. She has what I call "non-bends" in which a note is played ( first line E for instance) and notes going up ( or down ) are fingered but the note must stay the same. IE Play that E using valves 1,2. Finger an F (1st valve) but stay on the E. Finger F# ( 2nd valve) stay on the E and finally go open but still play E. Great exercise.
  8. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    My teacher gave me some warmup exercises that he got free from the UltraPure website, that has an exercise like this. You do some stepping down (1/2 step) with fingering, then the same 1/2 step down by lipping it down. This was a great exercise for me to do on an old Martin I have that has the loose slotting, and no intonation adjustment (pre-rings). You HAVE to lip down, so it's good practice. It's a lot harder to do that on my Recording.

  9. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    A lot of it depends on the horn and mouthpiece. Some combinations bend really easily and others don't. The lower the note, the easier it seems to bend upward, though. When playing my Civil War era cornet, the first space F has to be bent up an extreme amount to be in tune, and I have never jumped to the next partial when doing it. Most note bending is downward, though, because that's a common effect you want for jazz, blues, etc.
  10. BigDub

    BigDub Fortissimo User

    Dec 19, 2009
    Hillsborough, NJ
    Coming from a lazy person, have you tried pressing either of the valves slightly one or more at a time, or doesn't that solve your problem? I've been playing with that a bit and had some results- That might not be what you're going for, so disregard if that is the case.

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