Playing high on the pitch

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by B15M, Jan 20, 2006.

  1. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    When I think of playing high on the pitch I think of squeaking up to the notes and when I think of playing low I lean down a little into the note.

    A while back I was at a lesson and my teacher told my to stop playing high on the pitch and we worked for a while on lowering the pitch so I could pull in my slide some.

    I changed how I play a little and I can do it now.

    There was a thread a while back about a new Monette trumpet and pictures. Someone commented that the slide was pulled too far out and the owner shouldn't play it like that. (something like that)

    Since my changing the way I play the only thing that I have noticed is that my main slide is in farther.

    My question is: Who cares? what difference does it make if your main slide is out 1" or 1/2" or 1/4"

    I don't seem to play any better and as I started out this thread, I still think I am playing in the same place with each note. I was leaning down just a little before and I still am now. (But the slide is in about 3/4" more)
     
  2. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

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    Nov 2, 2003
    Some of the high end horns work better with the slide in a certain place. My Yamaha/Malone MC1 gets more overtones with the slilde in pretty much all the way. I can play it intune out farther, but the horn seems to work best with it there.
     
  3. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Sep 29, 2004
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    B15M,

    I always find it easier to understand concepts when I take them to Nth degrees in both directions. In this case, imagine that you took your slide out as far as it could go without it falling out. Sure, you could play it but think about the ramifications aside from the flatness of the intonation:

    if you pull the slide all the way out the horn plays oddly and the notes are tubby and uncentered. When you pull the tuning slide out, wouldn't you also have to pull the other slides out in order to bring them into balance with the tuning slide? Of course. You would also have to play a mouthpiece that is the proper length, as well. In this case it would have to be longer like a conventional mouthpiece, since you play a Monette B15M normally.

    So, there has to be an optimal place for the slide to be that brings it into balance with the rest of the horn. My Bb tuning slide is out further than my C trumpet slide just for example and my C mouthpiece is shorter than my Bb piece.

    ML
     
  4. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

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    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    B15M,

    After reading Manny’s response, it sounds like he is addressing the question from the perspective of finding the best sound for any given tuning slide position (deep into the sound).

    I’ve thought about your question, and while I have a good answer that applies in many cases, I think you might benefit from reading several posts that made me reconsider my unwavering position on the resonant center of the instrument for a given note.

    Have a look at a post by Peter Bond in a topic called Resonance and Sound where he responds to my post and talks about tuning using a credit card. Then scroll down 5 posts and read his next post where he provides some very insightful comments about different types of sound production. He compares the “very razor’s edge of the sound†versus “playing deep into the centerâ€.

    I am in the camp of playing deep into the center of the sound. This sounds like what your teacher was trying to communicate to you. There is a lot of merit in understanding this concept, but there are other valid approaches to sound production.

    Does this help?
     
  5. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I read both posts. Thanks for the info.

    If your slide is out you can still lean down into each note the same as if your slide is in. I don't think the slide position is relative to where you play "on the pitch" for each note.

    I have a theory that the body has to interact with the trumpet and the majority of trumpets are built for the majority of people. There are extremes on either side. The difference is inside your body, maybe the diameter of your throat or something. For me I think I was some how choking off a little and causing the air to move a little faster which made me sharp. I have tried to play the old way and I noticed that I can play both ways now and without moving the slide I can change the pitch about a 1/4 tone, maybe more.

    I am used to the new way now and maybe my sound is a little fatter. It's hard to know so for me I think fatter is good. I am probably playing more open now and letting more air through the trumpet. All in all a big plus.

    Thanks for the help.
     
  6. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

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    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    B15M,
    The quality of the sound is the issue here. Regardless of where the slide is you can find the resonant center of the sound (the place where the sound is the most complete and has rich overtone content). Getting this “best sound†to align with the pitch of the ensemble is the key.

    To achieve a really vibrant tone quality and be on pitch with the ensemble, there is going to be a place where you and your horn align to make the best sound. Being able to change the pitch by about a ¼ tone without moving the slide, I’m assuming that you mean that within this ¼ tone it has lots of vibrancy and ring. When you get to the edges of this quarter-tone the quality of the sound begins to degrade (has less ring). For me, playing to the center of the sound assures that my sound will be resonant and vibrant on every note that I play.

    Have you tried taping your self playing in both ways (different tuning slide positions)? When you say your sound is a little fatter but it’s hard to know, I’m guessing that you’re comparing the sounds from behind the bell. Put the recorder out in the hall and play in both ways. I’m guessing that your sound will project much more for one of the tuning slide positions (maintaining the same pitch on both notes). The recorder will pick this up as a louder sound (but you won't perceive much difference from behind the bell).

    Or it could be that your lips are able to vibrate better in this new position (less tension due to being in phase with where the horn wants to play).

    Good discussion!
     
  7. mazzrick

    mazzrick Pianissimo User

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    Sep 16, 2005
    Berlin, Germany
    Derek,

    This, sadly, is mainly regarding the Resonance and Sound topic. I read most of the link you put to Peter Bond's postings. I hope I can answer some questions that remained unanswered after that thread was finished. I studied with Jim Pandolfi very recently, about 4 years ago until he retired. The thing that most people don't know about Jim is that he is legally and almost completely blind. He suffers from a "disease," maybe a "condition," (jargon unknown) called rhetinits pigmitosis (spelling unknown). It's essentially a degenerative blind spot that one day just showed up and ever since has just grown. Whenever Jim would talk to me, he would look about 3 feet to one side, because he needed his periferal vision in order to see me at all. I think he played for something like 5 or 10 years in the Met being legally blind with a telescopic lense on the right lense of his very thick glasses. Nowawdays, he told me he's got a new system using two telescopes.
    Jim's whole concept on the tuning was based on sound placement. Something that I think Peter Bond illuded to very briefly, was sound-type. I think he mentioned Jim playing on the "very razor's edge." I don't quite know if I agree knowing Jim's playing, but I do see where Bond is coming from. I remember the first time I heard Jim play was in a hallway backstage in the Met, ligned with Poland Spring coolers. Jim's about 6'4", 250, shaved head, goatee, gold chains: reminiscient of a Mafioso linebacker. I think when he played was the first time my jaw actually dropped. He had the most beautiful sound I've ever heard on a trumpet to this day. He still does when he decides to play which is not often. Back to Bond's "razor edge" statement, I think he was talking about Jim's ability to put an incredible amount of zip behind notes getting them to project very well. Jim's volumes also matched his personality, being very loud and with plein de panache.
    He played on "light side" of the note, always advocating placing the sound on the top of the note. Please, to anyone reading this, don't leave this thinking that means sharp! It doesn't. Jim's take was that most trumpet players are too inefficient with their air and they overblow causing their playing to get heavy and causing them to over-exert energy from their chops and face. Thus in Jim's mind, the lower side of the note was not the place to be. Again, this is not in reference to pitch. I ended up, soon after, needing to pull my slide out further in order to keep the horn's intonation in the same place just because I was placing the sound in a different manner. Because he couldn't see the point on the slide, he used a credit card to measure and I'm sure got plenty of flack from the section about it. In many lessons I would line up his slide and also his mouthpiece, which always had the writing facing precisely the same way.
    Jim had one of those "Beer: saving marriages for 115 years" posters with 20 or 30 of those sayings in his locker. I think it was Bond who used to offer to read Jim a new one everytime he played a good show.
    While Jim may still write a book, I saw it in stages, I think he has left the trumpet world for good, and probably the music world too. He's more involved now in golf and bowling. How does a blind man play golf? -insert lame joke here- no idea from me.
    His dad is Nedo, unlce is Roland. I'm very sure Nedo's still alive, at least he was last year... maybe in RI. Nedo played trumpet in the BSO, whether as a regular or a sub I don't know, but I do know that there were some problems between him and Voisin. Nedo taught Jim as well as Russ DeVuyst, and a third whose name is escaping me who plays in LA these days I think.
    I know that there are differing views on sound and playing and that not everything will work for everyone. What I do know is that Jim had a beautiful sound, "tongue like a snake" as Vacchiano supposedly said, "best chops I ever seen," (Vacc again) a triple high C even after playing Parsifal (the whole 5.5 hour opera), played the most incredible brandenberg I've heard, and unfortunately is not know nearly well enough in the trumpet world. Anyone who can play 5 years in an opera pit with that repetoire memorized and a telescope fixed on James Levine... well you can award medals at your leisure.

    Matt
     
  8. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

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    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    Matt,

    Wow! What a fascinating look into a player that I've heard marvelous things about, but only with bits and snippets from a few players. I had heard about his failing eyesight (what a shame). I certainly appreciate sharing this perspective about your teacher.

    I'm right with you on note placement (not related to pitch), but where to sit on the sound to get the most "zing". Most of my sound models are more in the camp of being "deep into the sound". When I was at the ITG in Denver, I did notice that there was something intangible about David Krauss's sound that I hadn't experienced before. I had the same kind of experience when I had a lesson with Russ Devuyst in Montreal. I'm guessing that both of their approaches are strongly influenced by Jim Pandolfi. I would need to really sit down with him to internalize this subtlety, though.

    I do hope that Jim will persue writing a book. Everything that I've heard about him suggests that his message is strong and clear. We need books that share this message.

    Thanks again for your detailed post. I really enjoyed reading it!

    Take care,
     
  9. mazzrick

    mazzrick Pianissimo User

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    Sep 16, 2005
    Berlin, Germany
    Derek,

    I couldn't remember the name of the other player who studied with Nedo Pandolfi for the life of me, so I asked Russ (DeVuyst) today. It's Ron Blaze. He used to play in a military band in San Fransisco, and now I think he freelances in the area. If you're in Tempe, I guess that's not too far if you ever wanted to try and search him out for any reason. In any case, Ron Blaze.

    Matt
     
  10. poochie

    poochie New Friend

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    Nov 3, 2005
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    While I don't want to speak for Jim or Pete or any of my other section mates,one thing Jim does believe in is playing a note where it rings rather than where it sits perfectly in tune. Jim's moto when missing a note was"well at least I missed it from above."
    We've had and continue to have many conversations and I came to understand that Jim's sonic ideal was directly tied in to his physiology.He did'nt need full breaths because of his size.This type of breathing up high gives immediacy to the airstream and "spin" to the sound.
    The past post does a good job of conveying some of Jim's ideas and ideals. There is not a week that goes by where he is not missed.,He cared deeply about the trumpet,had strong ideas and was not afraid to voice them.
    If you ever get to see him,be prepared . He is intense and will give you his all if you take a lesson.
    Mark Gould would occasionally lean over between us and say "Dolph, what the hell are you doing down there?", Dolph would inevitebly answer,"saving your career ...again"
     

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