"playing on the "low" side of things"

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

  1. ebtromba

    ebtromba Pianissimo User

    I doubt mouthpiece popping has any relevance…well, to anything.

    http://www.grmouthpieces.com/questions4.htm

    You can believe whatever you want, if thinking the moon is made of cheese will help change your sound and your playing for the better, more power to ya.

    I wouldn’t worry about where the tuning slide is, either. Just put it where it needs to be. I see Michael Sachs play his Bb trumpet every 4 or 5 days. His tuning slide is pulled out pretty far, maybe ¾ of an inch, maybe as much 7/8. I don’t know exactly, I haven’t cared to bring a ruler with me and measure yet. Heh. Anyway it is out much farther than mine. Guess who sounds/plays better? Not me.
     
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Derek's analysis and answers are spot on. Playing to "the low side of the pitch" is essentially an antidote to the fact that the vast majority of trumpeters, amateur and professional, tend to play with tight bodies and with sharp intonation. One tends to lead to the other.

    With all due respect, Eric, you're just wrong on this one if you equate the moon 's molecular structure to the effects of having a mouthpiece that responds with a certain set of pitches when you "slap" the cup with your palm.

    http://ccrma.stanford.edu/courses/150-2001/brasses.html

    No ONE set of acoustical circumstances will create an optimal situation. However, when one does what Dave Monette did and string a bunch of positive acoustical, metallurgical, and body use absolutes together you do get something that is vastly different and improved. That is irrespective of what great trumpet-playing colleagues like Mike Sachs and Phil Smith have accomplished and contributed to the musical world without playing Monette trumpets. I know what I, who have also contributed plenty, have accomplished as well. When a student walks through the door and hands me another brand of instrument and mouthpiece and if I sound great on it, it's because I'm a great musician. I know how to make a conventional set-up work and I strive to make the music come out the bell no matter what I'm playing because the music comes first to me. Then I grab my equipment and I feel comfortable and am not working as hard relative to the way I approach playing... emotionally, intellectually, and physically.

    So, there... now you can all run and post that as out of context as you wish and make me out to be an egotistical braggart. Whatever. I'm just a bit tired of allusions to "drinking the Koolaid". It's enough, already.

    The fuse is lit.. enjoy the show.

    ML
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2006
  3. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    I learned from a very good player to think in extremes. Lets say the tuning slide is out 3" or 4" is that too far? Why does it need to be out that far with one player and not another? It has to be more then the amount of lip in the cup. If 4" makes a difference, maybe 2" makes a difference. I'm no expert but, I think the "pop" is a good guide and I also think that nothing is absolute. Not GR or Monette or Bach. We have guides to learn and try new things and advance.

    Some one on here has a tag line, "keep an open mind but don't let your brains fall out" Some of the best advise I've read.
     
  4. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

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    Tempe, Arizona
    Eric,

    You wrote:

    And Manny said,


    The point of my original message was to highlight what Manny mentioned above. I said “over 90 percent†of players and Manny said the “vast majorityâ€. For those players, this popping test may well help them to experience that they are not in phase with their instruments and could benefit from a different approach to sound production.

    I clearly understand that we all play differently. I didn’t know that Michael Sachs played with his slide out further than other players on his Bb, but his personal approach to sound production clearly is working great for him.


    This is a post that Peter Bond wrote when we were talking about Resonance and sound on TH:
    And in another post in that same thread, he wrote:

    So what I take away from all of this is players with different “singing†approaches to sound production can rise to the highest levels of performance on the instrument. However, when I read that some approaches put a player on the “very razor's edge of the sound (courting disaster if all of the physical elements don't line up just right)â€, I would say that very strong personal modeling would be required for a student to be successful with this approach. On the other hand, “playing deep into the sound†seems to be more forgiving, especially when it comes to providing “written suggestions†on the Internet.

    I clearly am in line with what Manny advocates, but I also understand that sound production has many “right†answers. I’m not sure if you’ll ever be a teacher (I’m not a teacher), but I wouldn’t discount this idea of popping the mouthpiece to help someone that does not yet have a “singing approach†to sound production. It may be that for the large majority of your future students, this idea might be the stepping stone that they need to move to the next level.

    Just a thought! Hope these additional posts add something to this conversation.

    I like Peter Bond's final idea for this post:

    Read, study, experiment, and learn, but realize that there are no rigid rules that apply to everyone.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2006
  5. trumpettrax

    trumpettrax Piano User

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    If I'm getting what you guys are saying (I think I've heard it a little differently though) simply - we are trying to make our instruments "ring" as we play. I think people feel that if you have that perfect instrument - like a Monette or in my case a Bach (hehe)- it should automatically make this happen or make it easier. But, according to Manny he can do this with any make trumpet. So, my question is this, when you play the instrument correctly, which I'm assuming is what you are doing when you make it ring, will it "feel" different (like when playing a student horn and then switching to a professional horn - that feeling) or will you hear it and just KNOW that your are making that thing ring or sing? The sound production will be different - I mean drastically?

    Thanks,

    Trax

    hope this made sense! :)
     
  6. trumpettrax

    trumpettrax Piano User

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    I remember now what I was thinking earlier regarding making the trumpet ring. A teacher used to make me do note bends to find the center of the pitch. Is this also (playing at center of pitch) what the pros are automatically able to do and therefor able to make the trumpet ring? Am I on track here?

    Trax
     
  7. ebtromba

    ebtromba Pianissimo User

    OK maybe the moon made of cheese thing was unnecessary. Ok, maybe it was totally unnecessary and a tad mean-spirited. Heh. I stand by everything else. I did not even need to mention the M word to state that I disagree with the views expressed. We are still allowed to disagree with ideas presented in this forum, right?? If so, then there is no need to get upset. While the link I provided was from a mouthpiece manufacturer’s website, the understanding is that it applies to all makes and models. This discussion has nothing to do with brand A equipment vs. brand B equipment, so no need to make it into one.

    “You wanna know how to sound beautiful when playing a solo at ppp??? Don’t let it go sharp.†- my undergrad teacher (Obviously, he wasn’t the first, nor is he the last to suggest this)

    We (you, me, Mr. Reaben, B15m, etc) all wholeheartedly agree on this. Where we differ on this issue of eliminating tension and playing in the resonant center of the horn are the aspects of semantics and procedure. I don’t agree with your reasoning, but I fully agree with the goal. Because its my goal too.

    We have both been told different things about how these issues work, and we both believe them. Again, the only part where we disagree is the question of whether hitting a mouthpiece with one’s hand can show us something about sound production (the setting up of a standing wave inside the horn) (when we play it) (with our lips).

    So specifically, I have been told that hitting the mouthpiece with your hand and listening to the pitch of the resulting pedal C bears no relevance to how the system of mouthpiece + trumpet + player will work when making music. The reason is lip engagement. This is new thinking. Again, http://www.grmouthpieces.com/questions4.htm
    It boils down to this: when you play, the lips engage into the mouthpiece differently than the palm of your hand engages into the mouthpiece when you hit it. They both remove cup volume. They do not remove the same about of cup volume. Therefore, their pitch will be different. Since we don't play trumpet by hitting the mouthpiece, (although, I did play a new music concert the other day with that....ugh) the fact that the pitch is lower (since lips remove more volume than your hand) when you hit the mouthpiece logically has nothing to do with where the horn wants to go when the system of trumpet + mouthpiece + lips is in use. If you disagree with that, then we will have to agree to disagree. But,
    “If we cannot agree on facts, our opinions are irrelevant†– Dennis Prager

    I read everything on the link you provided. While everything there is correct and fine academically (as far as I know) nowhere on that page is anything about lip engagement. This issue is less of a “how the trumpet works in a physics lab setting†and more of a “how the trumpet works in the real world when played by real humans†(humans using their lips, powered by their lungs to set up the standing wave, and not their hand)

    It seems every time I differ with you on such a minor issue, I suddenly become the enemy of relaxation, the champion of tension, and a xenophobic freak to any equipment set up not exactly mirroring that of mine own. It is so unnecessary and stupid. Again, I did not even mention anything at all about M’s life work. You brought it up. I don’t care.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2006
  8. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Sigh...

    Okay, have it your way, then, Eric. I suppose that Albert Pujols should just use a 25 ounce aluminum bat because what is most important is his stance, stride, and swing. The balance and overall design of the bat is meaningless and doesn't add the final part of the equation that helps him to become a great hitter.

    The only reason I invoked the dreaded M word is Dave was the first one to put Benade's theories into practical application by changing the length of the trumpet mouthpiece which had, up to that point, remained unchanged since the 19th century. Fine, the violin's design is basically unchanged since the 18th century but then they had Antonio Stradivari to define an optimimum in design. We didn't. The point is that's why I brought it up, not to put you down as you intimate in your last post.

    Your logic is flawed and therefore the excellent Prager quote doesn't hold. I started the post with the Pujols example to support that. You say that because popping the mouthpiece to see how well it's constructed has no bearing on ones performance because lip engagement is different. I maintain that the efficiency of play is detracted when the equipment is not optimal. I didn't say the play was impossible or unnacceptable. There are many excellent players, pro and am, that have/had great careers without the benefit of Benade's theories.

    I'll leave you with a Dennis Prager quote that may be more apt here:

    "Clarity is more important than agreement."

    ML
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2006
  9. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Wow...did this ever get heated.

    2 days away to conduct a festival and I miss the fireworks! Oh well.

    Trax, I've done alot over the last year and a half or so on finding my resonant center. My slide is now so far in that I could probably play Peter Bond's game and use the card on its edge. (I used to play with the slide about 3/4" out). I can really relax now that I've switched mouthpieces.

    Playing on the low side does feel different. When the horn/room ring and vibrate, you feel it, first of all. You definitely notice a difference from an aural standpoint. Physically, it feels more relaxed. I almost feel like my body is made of jello, on a high C. My upper chest is relaxed so breath can fill up so I feel 4 sizes larger than I am.
     
  10. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    I think slide position is a generality. When my teacher took my trumpet and pushed in the slide it was way out, about 2-1/2". I just measured where I play and it is dead on 1/2". On my E flat trumpet I can do the credit card thing, about 1/8".

    If I went farther in on the b flat what would I do on the E flat?
     

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