Re: Range and Pedal Tones

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by camelbrass, Dec 20, 2003.

  1. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE

    I've noticed that as my range and endurance improves note by note above High C so has my ability to play and pitch pedal tones. I haven't concentrated on either particularly, just tried to push the limits in my normal playing until it becomes natural and of course lots of very soft long note work.Is there a relationship between the 2?..I must admit it's not obvious and may only be coincidental. Any thoughts?


  2. dbacon

    dbacon Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Scottsdale, AZ.
    As a developing player I spent time everyday doing pedal tone studies from Maggio (ala Carlton MacBeth and Clyde Reasinger), Claude Gordon (I practiced through that book for several years). Keeping the same embouchure from top to bottom seemed like a good idea, and getting the best tone possible on each pedal (as good as that's going to be) then moving back and forth between registers smoothly also seemed like a good idea. It was when I heard Robert Nagel practice note bending/pedal tone excercises that it really hit me that correct pedal practice was important. His pedal register had such resonance and ease, his note bends sounded like a trombone gliss, it hit me that there was more to do with this type of practice than I'd understood. His complete control all over the trumpet convinced me to work with note bends/pedal tones for more efficiency in embouchure development rather than just range building. This was about (or just before) Jimmy Stamp's book was published. Using Mr. Nagel's book "Trumpet Skills" I found an entire new approach to pedal practice that I've followed ever since. A couple of years ago I got lazy and stopped doing them for a while, got back to them over a summer and was re-convinced of their importance. I've also heard Tony Plog (before he retired from active playing), Ray Mase, Dave Hickman (what a great pedal C he has!!) play in and out of this register effortlessly and with a marvelous sound. So I do a pedal routine as part of my daily practice and find it does help my playing. Keeping a good set-up (not changing anything as I move in and out of the pedal register), using air flow very freely, getting the best possible sound, and not making a big deal out of it. I don't do the triple pedal thing anymore, like Tim Morrison says, "I get the most good down to pedal C." Note bends/pedal tones done but not overdone seem a good part of the daily workout.
  3. MPM

    MPM Pianissimo User

    Nov 10, 2003
    " The purpose of pedals is not only to increase range, but to release tension. The pedals do not allow the left hand to come into play. Consequently, there can't be any twisting or pressing. Automaticly the lips become free - free to move, climb and sound. By playing the pedals and freeing the lips from the left arm, you will then release tension."

    Carmine Caruso
  4. dbacon

    dbacon Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Scottsdale, AZ.
    Bond on Pedal Tones.

    "Tommy T." <[email protected]> wrote in message > "Peter Bond" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > > In the beginning, flat pedals are indeed case for many people, but if
    > > you play correctly, the pedal C, (and B and Bb) will be perfectly in
    > > tune. >
    > Sorry old man, but that C does not exist as a resonance in the modern
    > trumpetat any place near an octave below the C one ledger line down. The
    > resonance is actually more than a fourth lower.

    Hey, I'm not THAT old (gray hair notwithstanding).

    It is true that one way of
    > using pedals in practice is to dramatically lip it up into tune, but being
    > able to bend a pitch doesn't change the physics. See, Backus, The
    > Acoustical Foundations of Music (2nd, ed., 1977), Figure 2, p. 263.

    Are we talking about the same note? I am speaking about the
    fundamental of the instrument; the fifth space below the treble clef
    staff. What is usually referred to as "low C" is it's first harmonic
    (one line below treble staff). These fundamentals are clear and in
    tune on every (modern)horn I own, and the production is the same as
    for the more conventional range. An octave below THAT (advocated as
    benificial by some methods) would indeed be "fake city." A deeper
    mouthpiece (flugel, cornet) makes producing these even easier,
    because-just as in the normal register playing-they are more
    The tendency for some to play the fundamental flat on the trumpet
    seems irinically to be a product of too much tension. As one relaxes
    the chops, the sound "floats" into tune (the opposite, if you will, of
    'bending'). The lip and wind function used in obtaining these
    "fundamentals" is identical to that for the upper octaves, but they
    can be "muscled," and pedals cannot; thus the usefullness of
    practicing them.

    > Because of these problems, recognized and respected teachers and writers on
    > trumpet pedagogy differ as to whether, how and to what purpose pedals should
    > be practiced.

    This would be one recognized and respected teacher that believes them
    to be useful for the reasons I cited earlier.

    > As for the "false pedals," I agree that my use of the term "embouchure
    > distortion" is causing semantic problems. It is clear, however, that
    > playing those notes does not use the lips and air stream in the same way as
    > playing the higher notes.

    Not to be deliberately contrary, but I believe the function to be the
    same, albeit a little more forced (one can buzz these notes on the
    m'piece alone with no trouble) because the instrument does not
    resonate (or reinforce the standing wave) at these frequencies.

    Peter Bond
  5. yourbrassinstructor

    yourbrassinstructor Banned

    Sep 30, 2008
    Although my response is about pedal tones and range, this will probably end up in the trash can or classified section, but for those of you who get to see it, I am sure you will get some value out of it as has many of my students.

    At the very least ( for you advanced and pro's)....try the test in this tutorial!;feature=channel_video_title
  6. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    "The most hardest." That's gotta be hard....
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    My observation has been that playing pedal tones in tune, with a normal embouchure, gently work the same muscles needed in the upper register. The exercises must be done mindfully (like everything else).
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Pedal C to Gb are the lowest "resonant" nodes on a trumpet. They are actually the "fundemental tones".

    F to low C# is the same as "lipping down". Additionally, all of the notes below pedal Gb get no "support" from the trumpet system and are also essentially just "controlled lipping down". The lipping down accounts for the dramatically worse "tone" of those notes. Lipped down notes are controlled purely by the muscles in the face. There is no standing wave or "slot" in the trumpet to help.

    Although it is interesting to "see" Kurt playing these notes, and they no doubt help his range - for his embouchure and type of playing, none of the dangers of doing it wrong are mentioned. If you know what you are doing, you know what to look for. If you are learning to play pedal notes and have to twist your embouchure to get there, more damage than help could very well be the result.

    Pedal notes do NOT help everybody and they are NOT the "key" to unlocking the upper register. When done properly, they definitely do not "hurt" however.

    Just a side note, one of the most obnoxious things that a trumpet player can do, is show up to a rehearsal and warm up there with pedal tones. If you are one of the pedal note types, warm up at home.
  9. jtpowell

    jtpowell Pianissimo User

    Mar 15, 2011
    I also read that in more than one of my Claude Gordon books. Right now I simply accept that on faith from wiser and more experienced players and educators then I. Could you spend a few moments helping me understand the why? Also could you tell me more about the F to C is lipping down. Thanks.
  10. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Lipping down can be used from any note. Take for example a "g" in the staff--we can bend that down a half-tone to "f#," "f," etc., but at some time it will break and we'll hit the "c" below the staff. Rolf Quinque had an exercise that involved playing a C major scale from "c" in the staff to the "c" above using no valves. Wicked hard at first, but would impress students when I was "showing off." Keep in mind, however, that just like our diet, we require a balance of trumpet "nutrition."

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