Short trip

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Manny Laureano, Nov 12, 2006.

  1. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    What a good discussion.

    I think it's very difficult to know how the world percieves your sound. We can only get a rough idea of our sound from behind the bell. We can tell that we play in tune. We can tell whether our articulations are clean. We can tell if it's a stuffy blow or an open one. Past those qualities it's a rough guess as to how the listener percieves us.

    Now, when you play a few instruments side by side you have a better frame of reference and that's the bottom line: context.

    If I take a Bundy into work and play a pops program, will the conductor know? Only if I start to miss a lot of notes because I'm playing an unstable, lightweight horn instead of heavier horn like I'm used to playing. If I play the Bundy, don't miss any notes, and then pick up a Prana 3 and play without missing notes he'd have to have a tin ear not to hear the difference.

    DM had a an intersting experience that he shared with me during a phone call after having reviewed some of the video footage from the trip. We experimented a little with mic placement and what do you suppose he found? What he's said for years and years: that lighter instruments sound better closer up than heavier, more stable horns. We tried to think of a way to incorporate that into a possible demo at ITG if he decides to come this next May but it may prove too difficult to do if you have a large audience.

    There are so many factors. What is the level of sophistication of the person listening? What are the qualities of each person that plays similar equipment? Are they playing the same mouthpiece on the same horn? What propensities does each person playing the same equipment have in terms of their approach to playing the trumpet?

    Bob Dorer, my second player, has a very naturally darker sound when he plays, it's just his nature to have that sound no matter what he plays, relatively speaking. Would it make sense for him to play the same equipment as I do? Of course not. If he wanted to match my sound identically it would take a lot of listening or recording to find the right match in all registers. The same goes for the other guys in the section. Each is different.

    There are basic precepts that you can be guided by, all things being equal. Smaller mouthpieces played by people of average lip size will give you a smaller sound. If you have very thin lips like my old 4th and utility player, Mike Hipps, you'll be able to put out more sound because it just fits better. Conversely, he would have sounded terrible playing Charlie Schlueter's huge bowl mouthpiece, like ballet dancer wearing a sumo wrestler's slippers.

    Mnay, many variations but the bottom line is that the people that know your sound best are the ones sitting in the seats. That's why we trumpeters are such suckers for the "how it feels" syndrome. It's the closest thing we have and a terrible trap without that sense of trust in the sound.

    So, you might as well try to please the music director if he's a good one. He hears the brass section in its entirety and is best able to judge. I'm always happy when I hear that Osmo is in the house during the weeks he's not conducting. It tells me he's interested and I can also talk to him about what he hears.

    Thanks for the discussion, guys, I truly appreciate it.

    ML
     
  2. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Manny, this begs further questioning. Does Osmo hear a different blend on the podium than he does from the back row in the house? If so, how much of a difference is there?

    I ask because I've been told that my sound kind of dominates the section I play in...but I don't really hear that in recordings. I find myself wondering if the conductor is only hearing the mix up close, and it sounds different out in the audience.
     
  3. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

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    Manny,

    Thanks for sharing these stories. I always enjoy reading about your expriences!

    I’m not sure if you ever read a post that I submitted towards the beginning of the year called: Sound Experiment. I think this would be great way to try and quantify Dave’s impression “that lighter instruments sound better closer up than heavier, more stable hornsâ€. This would certainly fall into the “science experiment†category and would require multiple microphones and MD recorders set up at varying distances from the bell. You would also need some enthusiastic college students who could crunch through the data and analyze the sound of the different instruments using the Audacity tool and MS Excel.

    I’m also guessing that if Dave was going to go to the trouble to do this experiment right, he should use some of the suggestions that were posted in the similar topic on TH (i.e. swapping mics between MD recorders to assure they are picking up the sound in the same way, some sort of white noise generator to calibrate the recording (I’m not sure why this is needed, but several people thought it to be important for being able to duplicate the experiment later), and several others I can’t remember right now). Maybe even hire an acoustics specialist to oversee the details of the experiment.

    I know that are many different things that you could learn about with this experiment (I learned a lot in my mini version of it). Quantifying “stability†of the overtones of a particular instrument at varying distances in comparison with other horns seems like a great way put some numbers on these things.

    If you’d like to share these posts with Dave, I’d love to see the outcome!


    Glad you had a good time on your trip!
     
  4. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    I have always thought of the trumpet section or the band for that matter as an organ. You get different sounds by adding different pipes or pulling stops.

    If you have a section of all Bach trumpets it is like adding more notes with the same pipe. If you throw a Monette in the mix you just changed the tone a little. The section will have a little different texture. Still a blend.

    For me the problem has been hearing myself the way I want to be heard.
    The microphone idea is a perfect example. I think my sound is bigger than I hear because I hear the guy on the Bach sitting next to me and I compensate.
    I play principal trumpet in a symphonic band, about 70 people. The assistant principle trumpet has missed several rehearsals because his wife is expecting soon. I have played the same music with him there and not. When he is there I hear him clearly and sometimes think he is overpowering me. When he is not there I hear myself fine and can lay back a little. Just the opposite of what we are trying to accomplish with two on a part. If I had a lighter trumpet I could hear myself better and hold back a little when we are both playing. The problem is that I don't like the tone quality of the lighter trumpet.

    Manny,
    You said that you went to a lighter trumpet for the conductor if I read it correctly. I am curious, is it because of the volume or the tone?
     
  5. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Joe,

    His exact words to me were "Your sound doesn't have a breaking point. That breaking point needs to serve as a warning that it's getting too loud. Your sound gets fuller and bigger and never gets raw. Is there a different instrument you can play to match everyone else?"

    True story.

    ML
     
  6. BflatAnklan

    BflatAnklan Pianissimo User

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    Awesome!
     
  7. W Scott

    W Scott Piano User

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    Gee Manny, sounds like Osmo was trying to politely tell you that YOU PLAY TOO LOUD!

    I'm glad I'm not the only one that's been told that!

    My teacher has a great comeback for that:'I'm a trumpet player, of course I play loud. That's what you hired me for! If you want soft, go find a flute player.' ROFL


    Bill
     
  8. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Hmmm...I would take that as a compliment or a challenge... Sort of like when the player in front of you raises the sound sheild a bit more... ;-)
     
  9. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    This is exactly the problem for players like me. Two great musicians with different view points. How do we know what way to go?

    Now that you have changed trumpets and that edgy sound comes a little easier, what will happen next year when you are playing outside and he wants more volume with no edge. I don't want to contradict your boss but, isn't it his job to say to hold back a little.:dontknow:

    I was always taught when I play classical type music to stay away from the sizzle type sound.
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    It is a common effect in Germany when you have a mixed section of rotary and piston trumpets. The increase in "brilliance" in a crescendo and the point where the edge(raw) starts are completely different. Many romantic composers wrote FFFF when they just wanted massive amounts of edge which doesn't have to mean so loud that everybody in the string section needs a hearing aid afterwards.
    I can't always use my Monette Ajna II in a setting like that either. Holding back will limit the volume but not give the section that consistent "point of edginess" that a conductor may want sometimes. I have to say - Osmo has amazing ears being able to so accurately define this phenomena in context.
    A professional trumpet player needs several instruments to get the job done - one size fits all is maybe not the right recipe for success!
     

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