Sound Concept and Tone?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by jimt123, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. jimt123

    jimt123 New Friend

    Jun 16, 2009
    So Lately I've been thinking (oh dear lord no!) That as a novice trumpet player my sound concept seems to change frequently.
    There are days I want to Sound like Maurice Murphy or maybe Maynard, or Doc, Or Vizzutti, or Johnny Cowell ( on his gabriel's oboe recording.. so beautiful), or maybe just like my teacher.

    SO how did you guys develop your concept? And how do you recommend keeping it or making it your own?

    Also, I've noticed That at about G on top of the staff, I tend to want to make the trumpet sound more light and in the style of a singer regardless of my concept, how do I fix that?

    Have at it,
  2. DaTrump

    DaTrump Forte User

    Oct 21, 2011
    Huntsville, Texas
    This is something from the trumpet professor to the college I am going to.

    Hope this helps
  3. patkins

    patkins Forte User

    Nov 22, 2010
    Tuscaloosa, AL.
    from my limited personal experience, we must learn to play with feeling. by playing with your feeling your sound develops. if you want to imitate someone, then, you are merely imitating someone. each player has their unique sound when it comes to the great trumpet players. great trumpet players don't try to sound like someone else. they may appreciate and bounce off each other and learn from each other, but they don't copy each pther. one example is Al Hirt, who took lessons from Conrad Gozzo, but he never sounded like Goz The Great. Al Hirt had his on sound but learned to listen, take instruction, but use it in improving the expression of his feelings, thru his trumpet. We must learn to do the same. btw, this is a very good question you pose, which shows wisdom on your part. Blessings!
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Actually, the concept finds YOU.

    You can have a plan to develop a concept, but it is essentially worthless. Why? Because our soul is not open like a book that we can read.

    Sound concept is having enough technique to actually be able to transport the soul back out through the horn. Most players develop a concept the same way that they develop intonation - by playing with those better the we are.

    Can we speed up the process? Surely by practicing stuff that is good for us, learning to listen instead of broadcast, finding ensembles that "stretch our envelopes" we can increase our sensitivity. We also develop a sound concept by investing in things emotional. Appreciation of a good wine, a great tasting meal attractively presented, sorrow, passion, excitement all give us models to DESCRIBE something special that happened. That something special can also acquire a musical image. Another key ticket to success is to study with someone actually DOING what you would LIKE to. Someone who has devoted their life to the cause, has real input that is NOT cut and paste.

    That all being said, not all are created equal. Not everyone has the ability to be a first chair symphonic player or lead trumpeter. This can be due to physical, mental handicaps, or simply lack of opportunity during the formative years. The SMART players find a way to integrate what they CAN with what they FEEL. I am convinced that many of the soloists around as well as those in a jazz band on the chorus book are those "SMART" players. Their focus was never louder - higher - faster, rather refining the soul and painting ever more beautiful pictures with an airbrush called the trumpet.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2012
  5. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    Wow, great post. That's a lot of food for thought .... My focus for now is on learning to listen more carefully, and really hear more of the music I'm playing with. A worthy goal, for sure, but not a lot of roadmaps. :dontknow:

  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    How did you develop your own speaking voice? What area of the country did you grow up in? What was the ethnic background of your family? What did your career mentors sound like to you when you listened to them? Where did you HEAR the inflections in dialect that drove the point home for you? Difficult questions to answer, but you in the depth of your mind have HEARD this dialect input, and it has become your voice. I bet you colleagues when they hear you speak from behind know exactly who is speaking to them. This IS how you developed your speaking voice. This IS how you develop your trumpet voice. The beginning of your questioning says you are well on your way to achieving your goal. You want to sound like a, b, c, d. Your practicing, playing, hearing what you are playing, getting feedback from your teachers, ensemble members WILL make you eventually sound the x. This WILL be your sound and it will be recognized WITH TIME. So keep listening to sounds, phrasings and rhythms on which they float that are influencial to you, and your sound will be a unique hybrid of this.

    By practicing and practicing, and playing with others and many venues, your sound will be molded like clay pottery, and when you get it into the sound you want, it will become solid. You can always add (paint to the clay pot) even after the form has been kilned to create color and texture to the sound.

    Sounds like that might be YOUR voice developing. Keep this as your standard, but on occasion add some texture to it, by grawling the note, puffing an extra bolus of air from your cheeks at that special moment through your horn. Not sure this is something you want to fix, as this quality does not sound broken. What I suggest is to develope it... build on it... sounds to me like you ARE getting your voice.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2012
  7. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    When I was younger I would try to sound like my favorite players. As I got older and more experienced I developed my own sound ,which is a combination of all them put into blender .
  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Hey--Rowuk stole my post--what he said!
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    O.K. It's yours now. I was expecting some vulgano zen when it came to beauty however..................
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Assuming that everyone has at least a little sense of beauty and power (two prerequisites for successful a trumpet players sound concept) - what holds us back?

    In one word: CONSTIPATION

    There is so much crap backed up in much of our playing because we have not integrated breathing and thinking and body use and chops and listening. Once we start leveraging the "whole" of our being, we can relieve ourselves.

    Like with eating, we need to properly chew before swallowing (which means taking care of our teeth), then we need a decent balance of nutrients to supply our body with the fiber, energy and vitamins needed for staying in the comfort zone. We also have to eat "on time" to manipulate the digestive process to times where they do not hinder creative work. This is also a form of "integration" that results in habits to improve our life. If the food tastes good too, then the tongue and nose are integrated too. We can't ever forget the end of the digestive process. Seldom is all that is left from a fine meal a fart.

    I stress integration so much, because the essence of forum blogging results in the opposite - a break down of the complex art of playing trumpet into chops and breathing. If your breathing/playing/body use/hearing are not tied together, you are full of sh&t and have a great need for Brass-Lax. We do not want farts to be the end of the musical proces..........

    You really only help someones sound concept when you get them to sit up/stand up properly first. Then comes the (big) breath with the tongue at the apex between inhale and exhale, then comes the body again that is still upright to allow the air to escape in a predictable way. After that comes the rusty bullet chops, support, technique that all have to be available for immediate recall - just in case we do have that brilliant idea waiting to be airbrushed on to the back of the heads of the cello or clarinet players sitting in front of us.

    Integration is the silver bullet - actually gold!

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