sound and air

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpetpr, Oct 10, 2008.

  1. trumpetpr

    trumpetpr New Friend

    Oct 22, 2007
    I would like to ask what could be the possible cause for me to hear air mixed in the sound coming out of my trumpet bell.

    thank you
  2. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    The odds are that you have a leak in your horn. I test for leaks by stuffing a soft, smooth coated ball,( a hand ball ) into the bell and blow into the lead pipe. To test for a leaky valve, pull the slide from the first valve and with that valve depressed cover the open leg that air flows from when blowing and listen for even the slightest leakage when you plug that leg with your thumb pad. Do this with the other two valves in turn. My bet is that the cork on your main spit valve is leaking. It is an easy and inexpensive replacement.

  3. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

    Jul 26, 2008
    Since it comes from the bell, besides a leak in your horn it could also be a leak in you embouchure.
    If you recently have begun to play the trp, your lips may be "leaky".
    By this I mean that part of the air is passing through/between your lips without contributing to their vibrating. Instead, this part of the air is sort of "sneaking out".

    Some of the jazz trumpeters like to sound that way, so it CAN be a choice of sound, too.

    If you´re new to playing, don´t worry. It will be better and better with time.
    If it doesn´t, take help from a teacher (do that anyway if you havn´t already!).
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    If the source of the "air" IN your sound is not a leak in the trumpet, there is only one place that it can come from - your chops. It is not a "sign" of a "leak" rather a sign that your chops are not working efficiently. This normally means that your daily routine beats up your face and the lips are not "soft" and thus able to easily vibrate. The cure is simple and over a hundred years old: practice extremely softly. If you warm up, do it softly.
    I play with many different types of groups and there are ALWAYS obnoxious brass players with a LOUD warmup. Funny enough, those "warmed up" players have trouble in the ensemble afterwards because they have no real "control" over their playing.
    Playing softly does not "sound" good if you have little control. That makes the undisciplined player resort to other techniques to show off! I am not sure why teachers do not train their players to become masters at the volumes of playing most needed. We are trying to produce musicians, not weight lifters!

  5. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

    Jul 26, 2008
    Exactly! I should have been more clear on that matter.

    Absolutely the right medicine!
  6. oceanspringsmusicteacher

    oceanspringsmusicteacher New Friend

    Oct 15, 2008
    Ocean Springs, MS
    I'm not trying to bash anyone's ideas here, and will agree that a soft practice/warmup is a smart choice, but . . . Maybe a better choice of wording is a relaxed method of practice and warmup.
    Finding the right balance between air volume, air velocity, and lip vibration potential is not always as simple as saying "practice softer."
    Again, this is just my opinion, and I FULLY agree that practicing softly is the right approach. If one is already utilizing a "soft" warmup and practice method. I don't believe that playing softer will increase the efficiency of the vibration. Lips need air moving through them to vibrate.
  7. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

    Jul 26, 2008
    Let me clarify myself!

    Airy sound can be a result of

    *) week chop tonus due to the fact that you´re new to playing or have very tired chops
    This demands for either more years of playing or some resting

    *) unfavourable embouchure setup
    This demands for a teacher

    *) unfavourable mouthpice
    Someone may disagree, but when I found one suiting me, my airy sound disappeared

    Practising at low volume gives you an indication of how efficient your embouchure is.
    This does not mean that you always should practise at low volume.
    Practise should be done at various volumes, however, if you can´t play at low volume something is wrong, according to one or more of the three marks above.

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