Quality of Brass...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by crowmadic, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

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    If you played a trumpet like you play a cymbal, by striking it, then this discssion on variations in alloys would be really appropriate. What the brass on a trumpet does is to form a closed-end tube (when your lips are on the mouthpiece), which becomes a resonating chamber for the vibrations which you introduce when you buzz. This is the most important concept at work here and the composition of the metal is a minute factor by comparison. Not that it is of NO consideraton, but references to tapping the horn are somewhat ridiculous. The shape, length, contour, bends, surface quality, and taper of the interior, bracing and bell shape and flare are the chief factors in sound production.
    Brass is used mainly because of its maleability. More or less copper does make it more or less maleable. More maleable means easier to bend (even after the horn is built). Less means more resistant to bending (and more resistant to abuse). My copper belled flugel is easy to injure. It does sound different, but I am not sure if it is largely due to its material or its shape and size. It seems like it wouldn't ring like a harder alloy.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2007
  2. brem

    brem Mezzo Forte User

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    Why not try to make a trumpet in concrete and see whether it makes a difference?
     
  3. godchaser

    godchaser Banned

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    Good call i suppose veery, but then again. And i feel like i'm with you all so far Felix. As it is, i understand that there's not much practicality in considering these things presently? And possibly that's all that need be said? Course i do realize your suggesting that there's not cause to begin with.

    Pardon my using your posts for discussion's sake here Robin. I don't mean to draw out debate, anymore than Felix does.

    Given that your busy buildin' what i'm talkin' about- :)


    Just hopeful to find some reading of experimentation done.



    Robin mentioned this earlier on:

    'The material itself is not as significant as one might think.'

    'The "TONE" that we hear has more to do with the temper of the metal, the position of the braces and the horn "flare".'

    'The material has a cosmetic influence, can change the susceptability to corrosion and all other factors being identical, the difference in mass could result in a slight change of tone.'



    So we're talking about the mass, or purity of the metal that may influence tone?

    And to that- whether or not these 'resonant properties' survive the building process, and to what degree is food for thought? But a relatively moot point given the builder's compensative experience and artistry in making the horn go right? Both points were mentioned here:


    "by the time the instrument builder has beaten the brass into shape, it has been annealed and tempered several times and NONE of its original resonant properties (remain)" (?)

    "The master will select one of the few alloys suitable for his instrument - more for cosmetics than sound"


    Now i think i've been gathering it right to now- in that the minimal, if any 'resonant properties' (remaining) -given the metal's impurity, and the build stress to the metal ..that it'd be IDEAL if its purity were higher?

    But it's expensive, and-

    if this higher purity does have any impact in compensating the metal's resonant properties ..the grounded reasoning is that this purity isn't worth the cost. It's not really an appreciable benefit? Any significant advanatges that could be had, can be attained by the builder anyway?


    -And in sight of more practicality- considering cryo can revitalize resonant properties, (?) or relax build stress, and stresses that occur in the metal's manufacture? -Is there even less cause of discussion?

    OR-

    (Possibly there's greater advantage still.. when we double and triple up with a renewed cryo'd metal, that's also higher in purity to start, and add to that, a builder's expertise?)

    My thinking's that if the streeses can be nullified, and consequently the 'original resonant properties' are restored/enhanced? -And could be brought to greater 'significance' in 'TONE' with added purity and builder finesse? -Why not go ahead and take it a step further and factor into the wish list a (pure batch) mix of brass, copper, gold and silver together and see what comes of it-

    Is it actually layering resonant tone, and creating greater depth? Or is it likely that it'd be little more than a muddy collage of too many colors occupying the same space?

    Which is another bowl of wax all together, particularly when it comes to builder artistry/strategy making use of it? But it seems like it follows in understanding form and function, in cost-effective build philosophy? Not to mention industry negotiation in realizing the most from the builder's skills and experience?

    And materials?

    It doesn't feel like i'm talking about a perfect world. And again Robin; Felix -or anybody that's maybe read something of the experimentation that's been done already. I'd sure love to read about it. -If we're talking about a lack of opportunity to genuinely experiment and learn more because it ain't cost effective, that's one thing. But if the experiemnts ya'll are referring to didn't get into the effectiveness of high ratio purity, or a mix of same... i'm sorry, but it wouldn't satisfy my admittedly, motorhead reasoning, of more's better. Which isn't a fair statement, but nonetheless-

    Could be, there's some serious horns waitin' on the industry to get after some pure practicality? :) I dunno- Till then i'm going to try and find some references of experiement, which'll be plenty enough trail blazing for my appteites. Maybe you all can point to some as well?



    C
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2007
  4. NYTC

    NYTC Forte User

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    Chris,
    It has been done many ,many times,and many years before all of us were born.
    There is no reason to reinvent the wheel.
     
  5. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

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    Chris,

    You are wearing out my vertical scrollbar.
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    The german instrument builder Amrein did exactly that - he cast a trumpet in concrete and advertised it as the heaviest trumpet in the world. It was his cynicism towards Monette at the time. He did learn however that the projection of the instrument increased greatly and that it was more difficult (impossible) to hear oneself. The tone quality suffered by immobilizing the bell.
    Most bells do in fact "ring" to a certain degree and that is used to "color" the sound. Certain rotary and most natural trumpets damp that ringing by adding a crown on the outside of the bell - yet another palette of color is available to us.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2007
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Chris/Godchaser:
    you can make your posts more readable when you limit them to one or two issues(questions). I have a 20" LCD screen and yours often take up 2 pages. The desire to wade through that is not very great, mostly because you really don't show that you have done your homework (we are not the only source of answers) and ask already answered questions.

    I think that it could be worthwhile to study materials suitable for use in musical instruments. The only place where one could afford to do that would be a technical university for a doctorate. The scope for such things is very limited however. That means that we would perhaps find some material, but the additional development in tooling and field testing could not be dealt with. If you were a musical, technical trumpet playing professor, several generations of doctorands could perhaps develop a new, incredible, trumpet - that would probably receive a "Monette" type reaction : "non standard sound! - not interested!" or "$10K? - I can buy 4 Yamahas for that!" Check with your local Audi dealer about fixing the aluminum bodied cars when they get dented or damaged. New skill set required.

    Brass as we know it is very easy to work with, has extraordinary acoustical properties AND is relatively cheap. Alternate materials would need to share those traits to be considered! You do not need the Nasa budget and a rocket scientist to try new things out.
    Start writing to technical universities, maybe you will find someone with the resources!
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2007
  8. lmf

    lmf Forte User

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    Hi, Chris,

    What brass instrument do you play?

    What is the compositiion - types of brass? Light or heavy?

    What kind of finish?

    Best wishes,

    Lloyd
     
  9. godchaser

    godchaser Banned

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    Understood Felix, the wheel will forever be a wheel, no argument here Bud. But respectfully.. what's been done many many times already? Where's the puddin'? :) Did the experiments use material that was intact of its 'resonant properties'? Is that an accurate and relevant statement? Don't misunderstand, maybe i'm not seeing it right, and i'll explain my meaning more here- but again, i'd like to read about what was done if the documentation exists? And i told Robin earlier i wasn't gonna say anymore about this, and now you've got me all turned around.

    :)

    Bear with me here- this is some of the post you pointed me to earlier that Robin mentioned:

    '..there are only a couple of "blends" that are commonly used. There is no "quality stamp" like on gold or silver because brass is an alloy and therefore "impure" by design.'

    -and here too:

    'Thin = lower mass = different sound depending on the temper.'


    Given that 'temper', or the 'blend' of the metal, does impact a 'different sound'- would a higher purity blend be more effective in enabling sound, is one of my questions? Seems there's no reason to think so? And again, i'm questioning whether greater purity is appreciable in tone quality; despite a builder's talent to create this in absence of the material's 'resonant property'?

    (Which apprently has been more or less entirely dulled in its manufacture?)

    I'm saying if a builder can create with less - what could they accomplish with more? Would a purer blend, benefit an even greater 'difference' - of appreciable sound? I realize your suggesting that in all reasonableness, the answer's no Felix.

    (And certainly a 'difference of sound' doesn't mean better? Or is necessarily an indication of the metals capacity to ping better on a scale ratio from impure to pure?)

    The reasoning the answer's no; if i'm hearing it right, is that builder's are not having to build with material that is 'less' or 'more' - that the material is what it is? That there's no reference of anything else? Which is more to the heart of my questioning.

    -What reference has the experimentation that's been done offered up to compare to? Apparently nothing at all, (?) given the metal can't be more than it is? Which goes back again, to whether or not cryo restores the 'resonant properties' that were present in the material prior to manufacture?

    If so, and we can make optimal use of an impure blend, with the resonant properties it had before it got tempered to death; what are we looking at? Possibly this is the equivalent of a cryo'd horn, no more no less? Stands to reason i guess?

    So now i'm thinking if we got back what was lost from an 'impure' blend with cryo, what'll come of a blend with higher purity from the get go? And from there, what'll come of mixing pure metals together? In double combo's, triple and quad? And add to that, all the admixture strategies that could potentially come into play in blend ratio benefit of this or that sound as well?

    Seems reasonable that there's a lot more to be had here?

    It's understood we're talking about inches, and not miles Felix? I couldn't agree more that the wheel can't do more than go round. :) Let me know what you think? Course the practicality of this is another story-



    C
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2007
  10. godchaser

    godchaser Banned

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    -True enough Robin, but i feel we're talking at cross-purpose. You'll let me know after reading this last post. Apologies to all for the length. I talk fast though, so it reads quicker in my head. :)


    _____

    Hey Loyd, i'm workin' on that Bud.

    :D

    It's some good fun.
     

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