Sound Concepts, where we come from/where we're going

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by JLSmith526, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. JLSmith526

    JLSmith526 Pianissimo User

    Feb 16, 2010
    As I get into the beginning of my winter break from school, I am starting to listen, and contemplate on the idea of the trumpet players sound concept.

    Kind of an interesting thing to think about. If you listen to some older recordings, Rafael Mendez is a great example, the overall sound is slightly thinner/tinnier than what most professional trumpet players sound like now (although I think some of the sound quality issues can stem from the recording equipment used back in the day).

    Along with all of this is the progression of what we see within trumpet manufacturing. We have gone from cornets in the early 1900's, then there was the transition to primarily trumpets, and as time has gone on the bore sizes that seem popular start to get larger and larger.

    We also in the past 20 years have seen the popularity of the Monette trumpet rise, which has changed what people seek for a trumpet sound. But it seems that the popularity isn't quite on the increase that it used to be, in the late 90's and early 2000's it seemed like you saw Monette trumpets being played in a lot of the major symphony trumpet sections. And yet today, at least in my perception it seems like that number has dropped, and people have switched back, or switched to something else.

    The Monette sound is described as diffuse and broad, bringing back some of that mellow sound that the cornet was known for. But is it too mellow and diffuse? Is the trumpet getting lost within the overall ensemble when using these horns?

    Obviously the Monette has created such a following because there are other horns being created that are very similar to the Monette in design (Harrelson).

    Then we have bach, the benchmark for all horns. Apparently Vincent Bach was doing something right, because it seems almost every manufacturer compares their product to bach (whether mouthpieces or actual horns). And the sought after bach's are the vintage Mt. Vernon's and the Elkharts from the late 60's. The quality of horn manufacturing obviously has been effected for those mass producing horns since then, but what is it about these horns that make them so sought after, what sound are they producing? Are they merely sought after because so many of the great symphony recordings we grew up on were recordings of bach trumpets.

    What do you hear as your personal sound concept? Diffuse and super dark/hazy, or is it brighter and more focused? How does this effect what equipment you play on.

    Where do you feel the overall sound concept of the trumpet is heading in the next 50-100 years?
  2. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    Good question. I don't really know where we're going, but thought I might make a comment on Rafael Mendez. I notice that thinner/tinnier sound also, but I've always thought that's because he's from Mexico. The Mexican trumpet sound is a really bright one and, when you're in Mexico or listening to Mexican recordings, it's very distinctive. I think Doc also has a bit of that sound.

    I try to reproduce that sound ..... and I have a bright Severinsen trumpet ..... without much luck. I'm thinking that it must be beyond gear, and is really a "sound concept". To get that Mexican sound, I need to spend more time in Mexico or just listening to more recordings. Once the sound is firmly in my head, I guess, I'll be able to begin reproducing it.

    Rafael grew up with that sound.


    Oh, I should probably comment on the Mt. Vernon Bach because I hear its sound every week in lessons. My instructor is a symphony player and the sound from his Bb is not like anything I've heard before. None of my trumpets produces that sound when he plays them (he's tried them all and liked my old Martin Handcraft the best). It's a HUGE, complicated sound. I can't believe the complexity of it's like each note has a bass, middle, and treble component. He also liked my Eastman 420g, calling it a "very pretty trumpet." But, in a symphony with those Mt. Vernons around, I think the Eastman's sound wouldn't just BLEND, it would DISAPPEAR.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2010

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