Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Gxman, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. Gxman

    Gxman Piano User

    Jan 21, 2010

    I looked through different online lessons for trumpet... I can buzz my lips with no problem... just breath out and put lips closer together and BZZZZZ. The thing I dont get is the 'valves'.

    valves 000 (3 open) = C?
    X0X D
    XX0 E
    X00 F
    000 G
    XX0 A
    0X0 B
    000 C

    C-G = 5 (where the trumpet breaks) hence both are 'open' and use the mouth shape technique to get G right?

    How come E and A are also XX0 when theres only a 4 space between the two not 5?

    The other problem I have is...

    Pressing those valves are not changing anything I play. It sounds like a fartcann whether I press them or not and there is nothing explaining this part that I can find.

    Can anyone explain this one?

    To get a C sound... I just blow...

    When I go to play D (real C - piano) and press X0X what else am I meant to do to get that D? and then from D-E, I press XX0 but what else do I do?

    I get a tone change with X0X but the scale goes C and then when I press the X0X sound goes deeper rather than higher? and when I go to E-F-G they all sound like the initial C (no tone change)... what else is involved with the valve + ?
  2. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    You really REALLY need a teacher.
  3. Gxman

    Gxman Piano User

    Jan 21, 2010
    I know that. I got one lined up. But I thought until I go there someone could explain so at least for next 3 days I can actually make a few notes.
  4. a marching trumpet

    a marching trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Feb 11, 2009
    Murfreesboro, TN
    you have it up to C in the staff, after that its XOO D, OOO E, XOO F, OOO G, XXO A, OXO B, OOO high C.
  5. a marching trumpet

    a marching trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Feb 11, 2009
    Murfreesboro, TN
    hope that helps some, get the lessons guy to teach ya
  6. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    OK, you have two questions: (1) How do the valves work to make different notes, and why not always the same combinations, and (2) Why do you not hear a different note when you press the valves?

    I will answer the second one first as it is the easiest. Currently, when you blow, you do not make a clear note. You are combining several notes at once which simply makes a noise. So, when you press the valves, you still have several notes combined and so you cannot tell that they changed (although they did).

    But, on to the harder question about the fingering. Here is an explanation. But, as you can see, it is not trivial and will probably take longer to read than you have left to wait for your lesson.

    The essence of this explanation is the idea that with brass instruments, the greater the distance the sound wave must travel inside the instrument, the lower the pitch goes. The valves re-direct the sound wave through the slides making the distance longer (open valves is the shortest possible distance through the trumpet).

    For valved brass instruments (not a trombone) we have the following relationships: Open valves at the lowest playable note are always written as a C but the actual pitch played defines the “key” of the instrument. So, for a Bb trumpet, the lowest open valves play a concert Bb (written as C below the staff). [Note: from now on I will refer to the note as it is written for Bb trumpet, not the true or "concert" pitch.]

    [Note: the following section deals with open notes above low C. These are formed by changing the air flow and lips as you blow - referred to as embouchure.]

    Going up the staff, the next open valve position plays a perfect 5th (7 semi-tones) above low C, which is the G at the bottom of the staff.
    Next, we go up a perfect 4th (5 semitones) to 3rd space C
    Then a major 3rd (4 semitones) to E at the top of the staff
    Then a minor 3rd (3 semitones) to G above the staff
    Then a sort of minor/minor third (2 1/2 semitones) to a very flat Bb above the staff
    Then a major second (2 semitones) to “high C” – 2nd ledger line above the staff

    That is enough for now because most of us can’t play higher than that. But, now you see why the number of semi-tones between open valve positions gets smaller and smaller as you go up the scale. It is related to how the sound wave inside the trumpet is divided up.

    Remember, the above notes are the ones played with open valves. So, what happens when you push down a valve? It is actually quite simple. Starting with any open valve note, do the following:
    - Push down the 2nd valve - this drops the pitch one semi-tone from the starting note regardless of which open note you are playing.
    - Push down the first valve alone - this drops the pitch two semi-tones from the open note.
    - Push down the first and second together - this drops the pitch three semi-tones. [Note: the 3rd valve also drops 3 semi-tones but normally the preferred fingering is 1+2 rather than 3].
    - Push down the 2nd and 3rd together - this drops the pitch 4 semi-tones
    - Push down the 1st + 3rd together - this drops 5 semi-tones
    - Push down 1+2+3 together - this drops 6 semi-tones from the open note.
    [Note: a rule of thumb to remember is that valves can only make the tones go lower – embouchure is what makes the notes go higher.]

    Now, you may look at the above relationships and then look at a fingering chart and quickly realize that starting with any open valve note and moving down, you do not see the fingering always go in sequence (2, 1, 1+2, 2+3, 1+3, 1+2+3). If you start with 1st space G and go down, you do see this sequence. But, if you start with, for example, 4th space E and go down, the fingering chart shows Eb/D#=2, D=1, Db/C#=1+2 - so far so good - but then C is open rather than 2+3. Well, this is because as we noted earlier, as you go up the partials (space between open notes) are closer together so the fingering positions start to overlap. Actually, 3rd space C can be played as either 2+3 (the way you would expect) or open – this is referred to as “alternate fingering” and the choice for the fingering depends on the note sequence in the music and which fingers are easiest to use when playing very fast passages.

    As I said, this is not trivial. It is better to start with if you just take a fingering chart and memorize the notes rather than trying to figure out all of the above. But, you just had to ask, didn't you? ;-)
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Long tones will suffice until you get the teacher. Getting a clean sound and getting used to breathing deeply are the first important lessons anyway. Learning fingerings is one of the easy things.
  8. simonstl

    simonstl Pianissimo User

    Nov 25, 2008
    Dryden/Ithaca, NY
    I agree with Rowuk (for once). Just focus on getting a clean tone out of the trumpet. Once you have a clean tone, interacting with the valves will make more sense.

    And it's good to hear that you have a teacher lined up.
  9. Gxman

    Gxman Piano User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Ive noticed playing the C-C scale (Bb to Bb) you basicaly blow a note (Bb hopefully) and then as you press valve XOX for D you gotta make smaller hole in mouth and then XXO for E = smaller hole again then XOO for F smaller again and then G... extremely hard.

    I dont know, maybe Im 1 octave too high to start with?

    Is that the right principle though? (smaller hole as you go up higher with embrouchure) + valve choice... ?
  10. frankmike

    frankmike Piano User

    Dec 5, 2008
    are you trolling by any chance?

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