Projection

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by J. Jericho, Jul 23, 2015.

  1. J. Jericho

    J. Jericho Fortissimo User

    2,993
    2,331
    Mar 16, 2011
    I was using my decibel meter to determine the decibel limits (both minimum and maximum) of some of my horns to see how loudly and softly they can be played, and I found some unexpected results, which raised some questions in my mind: Does volume equal projection? If not, can projection be measured? If so, and it isn't just just decibel level, how would it be measured? Why can some instruments of the same type be played louder and/or softer than others? And how is projection perceived by the listener (player and/or audience)? Is it subjective or objective? Is it a contrast with the decibel levels and timbre of other instruments in an ensemble, or something else? What is projection? How does it relate to volume? Or does it?
     
    bumblebee likes this.
  2. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    3,935
    1,827
    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    How did you read your decibel meter when it is placed some distance away while you are playing?

    In addition to a decibel meter, it would be very interesting to see a spectrum analyser plot of the sound at various distances/volumes. I haven't ever done this myself, but I suspect that those horns which sound louder while measuring lower decibels are producing sound frequency components which are fewer and/or closer together.

    You can use some software like Audacity to show a plot of frequencies in a recording. I am inspired to give this a try at home tonight, if I don't forget to.

    --bumblebee
     
  3. J. Jericho

    J. Jericho Fortissimo User

    2,993
    2,331
    Mar 16, 2011
    It has a hold feature which keeps the highest reading. Easy enough for max db's; not so easy for low volume. For minimum decibels, I took a few readings and figured the lowest was the one I was looking for.
     
  4. ALWilts

    ALWilts New Friend

    46
    10
    Jun 26, 2015
    England
    bumblebee is right, perceived loudness is down to the range of frequencies used and the way they work with each other.

    Something else that comes in to play is the logarithmic scale of volume. If you playback one note at -40db (talking digital, it's how my mind works!) and a second at -20db, it won't sound twice as loud.

    Have a look on the web for Ian Shepherd. He's a mastering engineer and has some great views on the loudness war and perceived loudness!
     
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    60
    12,459
    7,035
    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Perceived loudness operates on a whole other plane than SPL. Best check is a pair of ears at the back of the hall.
     
  6. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    5,331
    4,732
    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    I think there's four main factors to projection

    1) How much acoustic energy is concentrated in a narrow cone leaving the bell (rather than being radiated sideways or back) - objective
    2) How distinct your sound is compared to other sound sources (blending issue) - subjective
    3) How much of the acoustic spectrum of your sound is packed into the band of maximum sensitivity of human hearing (wife's scolding voice) - bit of both
    4) The acoustic properties of the performance space. - objective
     
  7. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    3,935
    1,827
    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    Tonight I recorded myself playing as even a "G" on the staff as I could on my Committee and Shires trumpets into Audacity and looked at the frequency plots for a 4-second section. I always thought the Shires trumpet projected better than the Committee, yet the plots showed the Committee having a greater proportion of the energy in the fundamental frequency and the next 4 or 5 harmonics before dropping off while the Shires plot showed the next 8 harmonics with high peaks before dropping off, and it falls off slower. Maybe this is what I should have expected.

    --bumblebee
     
  8. gunshowtickets

    gunshowtickets Forte User

    1,243
    781
    Mar 11, 2015
    Tidewater, VA
    I dig this.
    You might want to add, regarding the other instruments, how much the rest of the band "projects". What if you have a trombonist playing on a 'bone that has a tight, compact, directional sound and you're playing a trumpet with a tight, compact, directional sound and you're both pointing different directions. A guy sitting in the path of your sound might hear you louder than he hears the 'bone and vice versa. Of course, this would be most noticeable in outdoor settings.
    Indoors, soooo many variables.

    In essence, you're wanting to measure flux, sound per unit area. How big of a diaphragm are you using? How far away from the sound source is the measuring instrument? What's its FSO?
    So many variables.
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,611
    7,955
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    There are different opinions about what projection is. For some it is being able to be heard at a distance, for others it has more to do with intelligibility at a distance, for yet others it is the ability to fill a hall up with sound. Let's investigate all three:

    1) The loudest instrument in the orchestra would be something like the bass drum. With the proper playing technique, it can frustrate musicians and recording engineers alike with its sheer acoustic power
    2) the greatest intelligibility in the orchestra is with a triangle. The attacks are crisp and regardless of how much noise the orchestra makes, it is ALWAYS very clearly heard. The instrument has little acoustic power, but what it has is exactly in the right place!
    3) filling a hall up with sound can be best accomplished with brass instruments - trumpet, trombone and french horn. We play, the room responds and we have the acoustic power to drive the room to resonance and even reach a point where we overdrive the room. Bruckner used this effect in wonderful ways in his symphonies. The texture of the brass section sound goes from cloud to flamethrower.

    How can we measure projection with the trumpet? Certainly not with a sound level meter. I would think more with spectrum analysis. A thick resonant sound, brilliant but not bright, broad but not dull can be heard as part of the orchestral fabric. It defines the leading edge, it gives power and breadth to the orchestral presentation, the first trumpet player can "shape" the orchestral fabric. On many Monette shop videos, they record across the shop or even outdoors at hundreds of feet away - those examples show that resonant playing has great color and intelligibility - even far away.

    Generally this time of year, this topic comes up only because of major BS being told in marching band. Projection becomes the term used by idiots to separate the supposed wimps from the real musicians. This is really a bogus situation because everyone loses. Again, in marching band, like in the orchestra, the sound that carries and is intelligible is NOT the loudest. As a matter of fact, when the sound starts to distort, it loses dramatically on acoustic power through phase cancellation - the very fundamentals and first overtones that define power and glory get sucked up in the blasters anal sound concept. Intonation becomes impossible. Only intelligent playing can keep the trumpet sound around dark red over time

    I hear players that understand projection, even when they play very softly. The sound remains full and resonant, its effect can be easily heard at a distance in the fabric of the ensembles sound.

    I don't think that projection can be rated, especially out of context.
     
    J. Jericho likes this.
  10. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    5,331
    4,732
    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    ...but if the context were to have the best chance of picking off individual wine glasses at 50 paces, I'd go for a Wick 4X Heavytop plugged into a Holton MF ST307. Very directional, very compressed bandwidth, and memorably described by my mother as 'somewhat shrill'.
     

Share This Page