Sectional Playing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by jmberinger, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. jmberinger

    jmberinger Pianissimo User

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    Often on the forum I read of the exploits of those playing the first trumpet part, or we concentrate on the principal's attributes, but what about the support players? My personal experience is that a second can bury a first, or make them heard with twice the projection.

    From your experience, what are the attributes of those that best play support roles, such as second trumpet in the orchestra? Third trumpet

    What examplifies a good second chair performance in relationship to the principal? I'm not talking about the guy to takes a solo ride so much, but the guy in the studio that is always supporting the first player.

    When you have an orchestra gig, who do you call to play second or third? Why? Do you sit between the two or in descending order?
     
  2. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    A- It just depends. Different orchestras do it differently. Just go with the flow as to how things are done and don't make waves if someone lesser than you is setting in front of you. Things like this have a way of working themselves out if given time..
    hope this helps
     
  3. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

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    Just play the ink. Watch the conductor. Listen to the lead players.
     
  4. jmberinger

    jmberinger Pianissimo User

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    Gentleman, looking for something more specific, if you would. I played lead and first in various orchestra's for quite a while, then laid off for 25 years. I'm now playing second in two orchestras and a brass quintet. Looking for something more nuanced.

    For example, how do you tell what the balance is on second from the standpoint of the audience? We all talk about how some players project more than others, how does that apply to the second player? My listening to various recordings leads me to believe that there is too much of the lead line and not enough of the interior musical lines.

    For example, I went to the Pacific Symphony the other day. Great work by the principal, but there as little from the interior parts. Now do not get me wrong, it may have been a conductor balance issue and certainly the musician's themselves were excellent. But, the composer write those interior musical lines for a reason and I'm sure that it was not to increase the number of musicans employed.
     
  5. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

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    In my limited experience playing in concert bands, I have found that the second trumpet part is the most difficult to read and play,but equally as important with the first trumpet charts. To have a harmonic and balanced trumpet section the second and third trumpets 'should be' played with the same dynamics as the first trumpet.


    OLDLOU>>
     
  6. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    How do you tell what the balance is on second from the standpoint of the audience?
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    How do you tell? Generally the 2nd & 3rd trumpets should be blended with the
    1st trumpets being a little louder. You don't want to be louder than the lead.

    Balance from the standpoint of the audience?
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    You know that what you hear and what the audience hears are two different things,right?
    This is why you have a director. The director will let you know if it needs to be louder or softer to get the right balance.
     
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Does it have to be nuanced and complicated? I think gdbeamer said it best when he said, "Just play the ink. Watch the conductor. Listen to the lead players."

    If you listen to match phrasing, dynamics, sound and intonation of the lead player and do your best to find the right balance of sound, you are probably 97% there. At that point if the balance is not as it should be, it's up to the conductor to correct it in rehearsals - believe it or not, they do have a job other than to stand in front of the ensemble and wave their arms around.

    Maybe I look at it differently because I've always thought that one of my strengths as a player was that of a support player, and not as a lead player, and that's how I've functioned for most of my time as a musician. I never thought about it too hard - I simply locked into the lead, listened in to match phrasing, dynamics, intonation (even if they were off) articulation and sound. I just never really thought of it as being anything too complicated.
     
  8. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

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    I hear you jm, but what I gave you is the nuts and bolts of it from my perspective. The lead part is the one that NEEDS to be heard. The other parts are important too (particularly when the 1st part is resting and 2nd and/or 3rd parts carry the trumpet line) but generally speaking 2nd and 3rd parts are most successful when you can't particularly pick them out. They generally blend with other voices as a backdrop for other lead parts.

    If you really think about the audience perspective, I suspect that very few of them are 2nd/3rd trumpet players, so they're not aware of or concerned with hearing those particular parts. Many times thoise 2nd and 3rd trumpet parts are played by other voices as well, so the listener doesn't really care who plays them.

    Generally speaking if the average listener can distinctly hear the 2nd and 3rd trumpets then those parts are probably being played too loud...unless of course those parts were written to be played that way.


    It's up to the director/conductor to determine the proper balance and blend. As a trumpet player you may prefer to hear it one way, but most conductors listen from an overall perspective.

    Just my opinion...
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I think JM is looking for something else.

    You got it dead on with SUPPORT players. The second trumpet is a VERY special seat. They DON'T play the ink. They create the cloud that the first player rides on. That only stays in perspective when they KNOW the first players playing. The second creates the resonant chords by matching the style, intensity and intonation of the first trumpet. They are the ones that should be counting the bars of rests. They are the ones that make the first player feel like a million bucks. The SECOND players are the ones that don't need massive egos to rock the orchestra. They are the ones that are fulfilled by the warm fuzzies of a happy lead player.

    I often hear recordings with primarily lead - what a shame. That never happened at Chicago, New York, Berlin or Philadelphia. There for sure would be a lot missing. World class conductors do NOT macro manage balance. That is the job of the first trumpet player for the brass section. That is why the first trumpet and first trombone sit next to each other. They rehearse section sound.

    The trumpet is a very directional instrument and that means if you are not pointed directly at the conductor, they hear things differently anyway.
     
  10. BandDirectorChops

    BandDirectorChops New Friend

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    For a long time, it was tough on my ego when I found myself assigned to "2nd" parts in groups. Then, I got good at playing. Then, I got good at playing 2nd. I'd rather play 2nd, and perhaps for this reason only: Not many of trumpet players really WANT to play 2nd. If I WANT to, it's guaranteed to be well covered and properly heard.
     

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