Playing the Shofar with projection

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Liad Bar-EL, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. Liad Bar-EL

    Liad Bar-EL Forte User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Jerusalem, Israel
    Playing the Shofar with projection

    Everyday for the last three weeks before the High Holidays, I have been playing the Shofar at the Western Wall (Kotel).

    I usually play it about 4:00AM with several hundred people who are present praying a repentance prayer called Slihot. At certain sections in this prayer, I play a certain ancient sequence of notes called the Tisraht (teesraht). Everybody, except me, plays one note on one octave for the Tisraht; however, I can play up to 11 different notes including octaves. They usually play soft toned notes which sound stuffy, fluffy and huffy. My notes are very clear, on center with lots of overtones and very loud. Everybody has to stop talking, praying, thinking, studying, etc because they can't hear nor concentrate on what they are doing until I finish the Tisraht.

    Every day people ask me to play in their particular prayer group and every day someone has to look very deeply in/at my Shofar at both ends to find out if they can see why this Shofar sounds so different from all the other Shofarot. I have had Chief Rabbis, Kabbalists, and many other Rabbis look at this horn to see if it is Kosher…………….and of course why it sounds different. I have had it mentioned to me that I put something inside of it to make it sound that way…………………would you believe it?!

    My Shofar is about 1 meter long.

    I play it right next to The Wall so that the sound will bounce off and carry throughout all the neighborhoods sounding the Old City.

    As I am blowing, I am not only thinking of blowing pure sounds that will "speak" to G-d but sounds that will blow down the evil stone walls of the Mosque on the Temple Mount as the walls were blown down in Jericho. Of course we all know that the walls of Jericho went down not only from the sounds of the Shofarot; so, I think those walls on the Temple Mount will be there for awhile longer until G-d decides when they are to be removed. I can always play and pray with hope, however, right?

    Many people there have said that it is amazing at loud I can play; however, this is not quite true for loudness is not all that makes a sound to be projected.

    Now for a little secret I learned from Leon Merian concerning projection and rather than me taking pieces of his points to explain and so that you will not miss anything that might be important for you to know, I will post his whole message that I received concerning projection, loudness, blasting or whatever terms you may want to use.


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Reaban, Derek"
    To: "Leon Merian"
    Sent: Monday, March 06, 2006 3:02 PM
    Subject: RE: [TPIN] Projection Etc.

    I took several phrases from posts by Dan Ostler and Leon
    Merian to highlight some points about "projection".

    Dan Ostler Wrote:

    Starting with a Quote from Leon Merian:
    The key word to describe this kind of playing all night long, for 4 hours and maybe an early rehearsal to run over a couple of new charts , is *INTENSITY*......... NOT BLASTING but just keeping up that continual intensity <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    > Whatever you call it, it's certainly what Leon does.
    > A perfect example for the projection thesis.

    > A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to see Leon with the big
    > band. He could cover the whole band, including electronic
    > amplification while he was standing offstage to the side of the
    > bandstand.

    Covering a big band (one man against 12-17 players, some with amplification), can't happen simply with volume alone. The math just doesn't make sense. That's why this discussion is important. Loud sounds don't carry as well as resonant sounds. Resonant sounds can be loud and powerful, but achieving this kind of resonance is something that very few players will ever experience in their own playing.

    > It was in a tent like structure on a pier attached to the club with
    > lots of place for sound energy to leak out. Further, he wasn't even
    > visibly working at it! It just sailed out of the horn.

    Leon is amplifying the sound that he hears in his head.
    When you say, "he wasn't even visibly working at it" to me
    that says that he wasn't introducing any harmful tension in
    his playing. Why is it that the majority of people think
    that you have to work extremely hard to get the horn to project? That's a preconceived idea that hurts the majority of players when it comes to sound production.

    > After this exhibition of tone quality and projection,
    > the lead trumpet player felt compelled to point out to
    > the crowd that he had no idea how Leon did it.

    Even some pros have trouble understanding how this approach
    to sound production is possible. This is simply not
    intuitive to the majority of players! We can all learn something from these stories!

    Leon wrote:
    > After all, I learned how to do it with control from the masters.

    This is extremely important. How many players can make a statement like this? Leon, you have a very special gift. You hear the sound in your head with clarity and intensity, you have worked with the greatest players that have ever played the horn, and I'm guessing that you practiced your tail off as a kid.

    Intensity versus blasting is exactly what I wanted to
    point out in the "projection" topic. If you have a
    player standing beside you that tries to play as loud
    as they perceive that you are playing, they will tense
    up and kill all of the productive overtones that allow
    the sound to carry. They may feel like they are playing
    as loud or louder than you are, but from the perspective
    of the audience, you will be "covering the band" and the
    other player's sound will simply be lost. Your sound (generated through intensity) will be ringing with the full spectrum of overtones and the "loud" player's sound (generated by blowing harder) will be strongest in the fundamental with very little of the important part of the sound (overtones). They may even be louder than you in close proximity to the bell!

    > Just keep on honkin' and to all of you guys & gals,
    > never mind about heavy valve caps, projection, and all
    > this analyzing.

    I think a little analysis is productive. When I discovered
    how my sound carries at a distance versus the sound of my
    two great instructors, I starting looking at what was the
    key to finding this sound in my own playing. You said that
    you "learned from the masters". If you learned that
    "analysis" was harmful and you should:

    "Just keep the corners firm, get a good "set", take a deep Breath and put that air straight into the horn and away you'll go"

    I completely understand. But there were the other things
    that you learned that simply can't be communicated in
    words. What was that special "zing" in their sounds that
    you incorporated in your playing because you knew that it sounded great? That special something from behind the bell that you could hear, but that those of us that haven't ever been in that situation are simply missing in our playing (or don't possess to the level that you have in your playing).

    I know that we are on the same page in this discussion!
    I'm simply saying that if it's possible to show a player, through a recording, that their sound doesn't carry at a distance ("project") as they may think that it does, this would allow them to start asking the right questions to make a tangible change in their approach to sound production. I cringe to think how I would sound today if I hadn't learned this lesson years ago!

    Derek Reaban
    Tempe, Arizona
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2006
  2. Liad Bar-EL

    Liad Bar-EL Forte User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Jerusalem, Israel
    If I could edit the title of this thread, I would for this information applies to playing the trumpet with projection.

    Read the section below the Shofar information.

    Liad Bar-EL

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