Slotting - What exactly is it?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by turtlejimmy, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

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    I think we all have a general sense of what "slotting" is, but I'm wondering what it is, exactly, in a technical sense. Can someone explain this?

    Turtle
     
  2. NanoBear

    NanoBear New Friend

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    If it means what I think it does, then from a physics point of view it refers to the tendency of the vibrating air to 'slot' into natural harmonics (for example, 1st, 2nd, 3rd harmonics with open valves would be C, G, C) for a given length of tube. More physics info with diagrams on wiki: Acoustic resonance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    In terms of playing the trumpet, I believe it refers to the ease and accuracy with which the vibrating air can be made to conform to these natural harmonics, ie. the ease of hitting the right note and the accuracy of the tuning of that note.

    Someone else may be able to explain that a little more clearly. My background is physics is a lot stronger than my background in trumpet theory.
     
  3. Asher S

    Asher S Pianissimo User

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    I may be incorrect, but I've always thought of slotting as being similar to the effect of frets on a guitar vs. a fretless instrument (e.g. cello).
     
  4. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

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    I'm trying to relate it to singing. Vocal chords don't seem to have any slots, nor does buzzing with the mouthpiece. Add the trumpet and .......... "Slotting" occurs. What the heck is it???:dontknow:

    Turtle
     
  5. SPFTrumpet

    SPFTrumpet New Friend

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    I've always thought that slotting had to do with the intonation of fundamentals. From what I've understood, slotting would be when you're playing a particular fundamental (C, G, C etc) and whatever note you're playing is "slotted" perfectly in tune so that it resonates, sort of like a key fitting perfectly into a lock.
     
  6. NanoBear

    NanoBear New Friend

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    the mouthpiece is actually a very good example of good vs bad slotting. A mouthpiece by itself does do it, but it's a lot harder to find the right note (or harmonic). All the rest is the equivalent of playing a C major scale on the stave with open valves for every note. If you grab a length of pvc pipe and buzz into it, you find a particular note that resonates. A mouthpiece does the same thing.

    I know extreme short lengths of tubing (such as a mouthpiece by itself) reduce slotting but I don't know what other factors effect it. The extra length of a trumpet makes it a lot easier to find the resonant frequency.

    As for vocal chords and violin strings, I'm not sure that an un-slotted note is even possible. It's slotted rock solid every time, except perhaps when your voice 'breaks.' What you see as the absence of slotting is the string having an infinite number of possible lengths, similar to a trombone slide, where a trumpet has 7 possible lengths. You can hit 100 different notes between C and D on a string, but each one is actually slotted. Frets allow the player to quickly and easily select the same lengths of string every time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2010
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    slotting is actually the quality or strength (Q) of the horns resonance peaks. Those peaks can be very narrow - locking in the natural intonation of the horn or wider. It depends on the design of the entire horn. When we measure those peaks, they correspond to the highest impedances too.

    The comparison to string instruments is actually not so good. The wooden bodies are designed to resonate over a wide range of frequencies. A trumpet is only designed to resonate only based on the length of the tubing (which canges when we add pipe by pressing a valve down) - when we lip up and down, we are not playing on the resonant center and the horn fights back by not setting up a solid standing wave.

    Slotting also has a subjective part not directly related to the resonance. This involves the bracing, type of metal, thickness of the metal and temper. The more energy that the bell lets "leak" through and gets to the players ears, the slottier the player thinks the horn is.
     
  8. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight Pianissimo User

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    I am not an expert by any means. All I can give my subjective feeling. When performing the slurring exercise advocated by Markie, I find it much more difficult to "slot" into the notes C# - E - F# near the top if the stave using the valve combination 1,2,3. Although the next valve combination is 1 and 3 going from low to high G (on top of stave), is higher than the previous exercise, I find much easier to "slot" into the notes all along the way up and down.

    That is how I get the sense of slotting. Maybe is the wrong use of the word.

    DK
     
  9. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    We used to call it centering. If a horn played with a centered tone on all notes we said the horn played centered ,now we say it slots.
     

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