Playing in the Center...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trjeam, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. lonelyangel

    lonelyangel Pianissimo User

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    Hello jd. You don't need to find the centre of each note. Just one note will do - to help you discover what it is like to play in sympathy with the horn. I would suggest starting with second line G.

    You can find the sweet spot or slot with the main tuning slide in any position. In fact I encourage my students to do this. Start with the slide fully closed and dp the bending excersize to home in on the loudest pitch. Then to move the slide half an inch or more further out than normal and agaimn home in on the sweet spot.

    One of these notes will be very sharp, one will be very flat.

    Then you can take a tuner if you like and play the G bang in tune on the meter, with your slide pushed all the way in. To do this you will obviously have to bend the pitch doen below the sweet spot on the horn. The sound will be flabby, dull and lifeless. Then play in tune with the tuner with the slide in the extended position - by lipping the note up. The sound will be thin, strained nasal and lacking in vibrant over tones. Both these notes will require a lot of air to get a decent volume.

    By experimenting in this way and by gradually reducing the distance that you move the slide you can home in on the correct position where the sweetspot is in tune for the G.

    Now unless you have a perfect trumpet - which does not exist - some notes will be high and some low - so your tuning slide position is a compromise. However experimenting with the slot or seewt spot might lead you to some suprising discoveries, or inspire some fresh thinking about your playing, which is never a bad idea.

    I recently began to feel that when I make ajustments to my slide it is not because I am out of tune. There is really no need to ever be out of tune on a trumpet - we can bend the notes so easily. But I will make ajustments to the tuning slide if i feel that I am slightly off the sweet spot, that I am working too hard to be in tune or I am not really happy with the resonance of my sound.

    Have fun experimenting and let us know what you discover.

    All the best. Noel.
     
  2. Bugleboy21

    Bugleboy21 Pianissimo User

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    Don't ya'll love when you are playing so centered that extreme loud AND soft playing is virtually effortless? Max overtone production really is the key to beautiful sounds and efficient playing.
     
  3. lonelyangel

    lonelyangel Pianissimo User

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    Hey JD. How's it going - any joy with the experiments? Just remembered a top tip when trying the pitch bending excersises.

    Use a harmon/tin/bubble mute (call it what you will) with the tube or stem removed and bend the pitch slowly up and down. You will find that there is a very narrow band of pitch where the mute really buzzes or sizzles - you know, the classic harmon sound. That is when you are on the sweet spot, when the fabric of the mute itself is vibrating in sympathy with the pitch you are playing and achieving maximum ressonance.

    You will notice that this pitch is clearly louder than when you move off the pitch centre and loose all the sizzling high overtones.

    Also you should find that the sweetspot with the mute in is not 'in tune' but is probably considerably sharp. That is why one generally has to extend the main tuning slide when using a harmon mute.

    This technique - using the mute - exaggerates the effect of moving on, off and through the sweet spot or slot, but exactly the same thing is happening when you play the slot finding excersises open.

    I just thought that might be of interest to somebody - maybe open the door to the world of more efficient playing.

    All the best. Noel.
     
  4. Bugleboy21

    Bugleboy21 Pianissimo User

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    I'm not sure who it was...maybe David Bilger, advised using the Harmon in the way just described to achieve maximum resonance. I'll have to check his notes from a masterclass in '95.
     
  5. jdshankles

    jdshankles New Friend

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    Nov 28, 2005
    Rochester, MN
    Hey Noel!

    Thanks for the extra post. I had heard of the harmon mute technique but had not employed it recently. I just did the other day and sounds like my low notes need a little work :oops:

    I have been enjoying the extremes of finding the center (tuning slide way out and way in). I have mostly been doing this on middle G. My question then is which note is the best to find the center and tune to, even though the horn won't perfectly be in tune? I know bands use concert Bb and orchestras an A typically.

    So basically, how do you find the best overall place for your tuning slide to be?

    Thanks for all the help and insight!
    JD
     
  6. MrClean

    MrClean Piano User

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    Oct 22, 2005
    SoCal
    Some of that could very well be the mute. Harmons are notoriously stuffy downstairs...

    J
     

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