"playing on the "low" side of things"

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by beppe, Oct 18, 2006.

  1. beppe

    beppe New Friend

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    Feb 9, 2006
    "playing on the "low" side of things"

    What does it mean, in other/more words??

    Sorry, but sometimes I've difficult in understanding you deeply.

    Thanks
     
  2. gchun

    gchun Piano User

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    Dec 10, 2003
    It could mean:

    1. that you are playing flat, in terms of pitch (intonation), and/or

    2. you are playing low, in terms of the slots of your instrument. If you think of the notes in your horn as a target, you aren't playing in the "bull's eye." (center)


    The reasons could be:

    1. there is a certain sound color (texture) from playing low

    2. embouchure training/strength

    3. air support

    Hope this helps,
    Garry
     
  3. beppe

    beppe New Friend

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    Feb 9, 2006
    Sorry, the question was for Manny, who said in another thread that
    "Normally, playing on the "low" side of things is the way to go with Dave's equipment."

    I opened another thread, but this was a mistake (I had pushed the wrong button..)
     
  4. PatN

    PatN New Friend

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    Birmingham, AL
    I'm not Manny either, but I was just re-reading an article in the 6/2000 ITG journal that Bill Lucas wrote about piccolo trumpet playing and he talks about improving resonance and flexibility by playing "lower" in the trumpet; ie on the low side of a note. Its on the first page of the article, p. 61 of that journal.--You'll at least learn something about picc playing.
     
  5. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    Rochester, MN
  6. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

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    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    Gzent’s reference to the Monette site certainly provides the full detailed look at these concepts.

    For a simple test, play a one octave scale from low C to 3rd space C (or have a student do this if you already know where this example is leading). Hold the C for 6 counts and really listen to the pitch of the note. Memorize this pitch.

    Now take your horn and put the bell up to your ear and gently pop the mouthpiece with the palm of your hand. Does this C match the pitch of the C that you just played?

    For over ninety percent of the people that do this test (say nine out of ten students who do this for the first time), the pitch of the C that they played will be higher than the pitch that they hear when they pop the mouthpiece. They are literally playing above the resonant center of where the horn wants to play for that note.

    When Manny talks about “playing on the low side of thingsâ€, he literally means that you should be in alignment with where the horn wants to play. Since the vast majority of players are high to begin with, “playing on the low side of things†will help them to better align with the horn, providing them with improved vibrancy and resonance in the sound.

    It doesn’t mean to play flat, or to bend the pitch down. I just wanted to add some perspective on this issue based on some of the other responses.
     
  7. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    Monroe Ct.
    ok so lets say that the pitch doesn't match, how do you make it the same?
     
  8. John P

    John P Piano User

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    Jun 16, 2006
    Camp Hill, PA
    Playing low on the pitch tends to have a darker sound too, doesn't it?
     
  9. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

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    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    B15M,

    After you pop the mouthpiece and find the pitch where the horn wants to play, really think about that pitch. Pop the mouthpiece again with your ear to the bell. Memorize THAT pitch.

    Now take a full, relaxed breath, release the air and play a 3rd space C. Are you close to the pitch in your head? Does it sound better on the horn?

    The more that you do this, and find where the horn wants to play, the better the sound will be on everything that you play.

    The problem is, when something really technically challenging comes across your stand, or the range demands are excessive, or you practice after you are tired then tension starts to creep into the act of sound production (in the breathing mechanism or in the chops). This is when the pitch center begins to rise and alignment with the horn gets thrown out of whack. Unfortunately, this introduction of tension occurs so frequently that it becomes the accepted “normâ€, and then the baseline is established with some level of consistent, harmful tension.

    Practice fundamentals regularly (daily) to cultivate a sound that is vibrant and free from tension. Then your pitch center will align with the horn!


    John P,
    Playing square in the resonant center of the sound (in tune with where the horn wants to play for a given tuning slide position), leads to the maximum number of overtones ringing in the sound (both number and intensity of individual overtones). This is a colorful, vibrant sound that carries.

    Playing low on the pitch tends to dampen some of the overtones. This dampening of the higher overtones will cause the sound to be duller. This could be perceived as “dark†to the players' ears, but will simply be a sound that doesn’t carry to the listener in the hall.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2006
  10. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    Monroe Ct.
    I tried your popping idea and the pitches are the same. I guess one thing god for me.

    I think there is more to it than just relaxing.

    For a long time my pitch was way high. (not related to the pop, I just had my slide way out.) My teacher took my trumpet away from me and said, "stop playing high on the pitch". He then pushed my slide way in.

    Now I played way sharp and relaxed. I went home and tried to get the pitch down without moving the slide. For me it was my bottom jaw being too far in. I messed around with this for a long time before I made a permanent change. If I change my bottom jaw now I can change the pitch about a 1/4 step.

    Changing the jaw placement probably changed the air stream and maybe opened up the airway, I really don't know.
     

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