Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by brem, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. brem

    brem Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 13, 2007
    Quebec City, QC, Canada
    Call me too square or academic, but what does a brighter or darker tone sounds like?

    Musicians use this terminology, but someone, to me, it means nothing :dontknow:

    Is there a lexicon with sound samples anywhere? Could be a nice project for anyone who is daring! ;-)
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Hi Brem,
    you open a real can of worms with that question!
    In theory, we should be able to identify dark and bright by the proportion of higher to lower overtones - more higher means brighter. UNFORTUNATELY it is not that easy! A player with a "smooth" playing style can have a technically brighter sound that is interpreted as "dark" or "full". A player with an aggressive playing style can laser cut glass, even although the overtones are proportioned "darkly".

    So we have a technical and artistic discrepancy. There are many that say the harware makes no difference, after getting used to the horn it will sound the same anyway. This is simply not true. The "artistic" style of a player is in fact a constant, but the hardware can drastically change the palette of colors available.

    A very good comparison of instruments was done by Manny Laureano of the Minneapolis Symphony. click on this link:

    David G. Monette Corporation

    another good comparison is by Adam Rapa. click here:

    At the Monette factory 2. Testing three new custom mouthpiec

    Maybe other TMers have other links?
  3. godchaser

    godchaser Banned

    Jun 17, 2007
    Thanks for the info Robin; and the question brem.
  4. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    brem - on your stereo you may have a graphic equalizer. They were very popular for a while. Essentially they were an expansion of the old tone control which dialed from bass to treble in the same fashion a volume control dials from soft to loud. The graphic equalizer made it possible to accentuate (or diminish) the amount of volume within a specific range of frequencies, dividing the audible spectrum of frequencies into several, or many, separate ranges.

    I think what we commonly think of as bright is the accentuating of the upper frequencies; dark is the accentuating of the lower ones. This is an oversimplification, no question about it, but may help you to get the gist of the issue. When Robin talks about overtones, he is delving more deeply into the physics of music, but the essence is the same.
  5. brem

    brem Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 13, 2007
    Quebec City, QC, Canada
    veery: thanks, it helps visualizing.
  6. Billy B

    Billy B Pianissimo User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Des Moines, IA
    This is like describing the taste of chocolate to someone who has never tasted chocolate. Have you ever heard or read a wine taster's description of a particular wine? If you had never had wine do you suppose any of that would make any sense to you? Many also have a habit of noting the differences in two sounds instead of listening for the similarities. To me this is the only way to build a concept of sound.
  7. brem

    brem Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 13, 2007
    Quebec City, QC, Canada
    Billy: Agreed. However, we need a common ground. It's hard over the internet to discuss sounds without actual sounds excerpts :)
  8. rdt1959

    rdt1959 Pianissimo User

    Oct 31, 2003

    Yes, this is a hard subject to discuss over the internet. One suggestion;

    If you have a teacher or know a local pro, maybe you could talk to them and have them produce light and dark tones.

    It's hard to talk about, and hard to describe, but when you hear the difference the concepts start to click.
  9. c.nelson

    c.nelson Pianissimo User

    Apr 13, 2007
    Alberton, Montana USA
    The first impulse of a sound,or"attack",can greatly influence our impression of tone.
    A fast or sharp attack can give the impression of a "brighter"tone,were as a slower,breathy attack may be described as" darker".imho
  10. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Just to add to the confusion--one person's dark is another person's dull.:-)

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