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Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Bear, Sep 19, 2005.
Velvet. When playing with a former teacher this past summer, that struck me. Like seeing the face of an old freind that you haven't seen in a long time; you see things you've never noticed before. He has this velvety smoothness in his sound and style. It wraps around you like a fur coat.
Yes, that's kind of a change from my last post; but not really. There is an intense ring in his sound; a fullness and warmth I haven't heard anywhere else.
Mr. William Vacchiano
Ok, Part 2.
How do YOU work on YOUR sound? What about that sound makes it special to you? It is still a "characterisitc" trumpet sound even though colored? and... go!
I like to listen to music before I practice so that Iâ€™m hearing wonderful sounds before I even sit down to play. It helps me to think musically from the beginning.
When I work on my sound (every time I sit down to play), I begin by putting my mouthpiece in the leadpipe and taking out the tuning slide. Iâ€™ll play the fundamental on the pipe (between a concert Eb and D on my trumpet) using only my air to start the note. The focus of this is to assure that my response is immediate and that I get a really â€œbuzzyâ€ quality going through the pipe. I choose to play these at a comfortable dynamic (not too loud, not too soft). Iâ€™ll do this for about a minute and then put the tuning slide back in.
Starting the sound with the air only really helps me to align with the instrument. I begin with the second line G and play the Caruso 6 Note exercise. I choose to use the following rhythm for each pitch (whole, half, half, whole, rest). Every articulation is with the air only (no tongue). I play these with a comfortable dynamic. After a short rest I move up a half step and repeat the pattern until I reach the 3rd space C.
This routine helps me to establish a very resonant, centered sound that I can carry into my practice day.
At least once a week I will also do the James Thompson Buzzing Basics routine. Iâ€™ve done this for years and it really helps me to get the vibrancy in my chops together. I do the complete 45 minute routine on disk one. If I find myself â€œpushingâ€ I will very quickly move away from a centered sound. Itâ€™s very important for me to â€œletâ€ the sound happen, guided by a clear internal sound concept. If I try to hurry things along and take control, I miss the mark, and my sound never takes on the vibrant quality.
I have several ways that I work on my sound: doing the leadpipe buzz, like Derek mentions above, and I listen for a 3rd and octave above the buzz. Before that, I make use of my BERP and play some scale excercises or expanding intervals, in half notes, with an external device sounding a fundamental pitch for me as a reference. This helps me work on centering. I will, at times, use whisper tones to help build focus. After the leadpipe, I move to some flow studies, thinking these words: "Look at the beautiful day" (5671531 in scale degrees, descending chromatically, quarter notes beginning on count 2) to guide my direction, and to think on making a beautiful sound. I am listening for a singing quality with overtones and ring here. The words might seem hokey, but they also create a clear image in my mind of being on a hillside at sunrise. I try to reflect that; crescendo, build intensity, come out of stillness...I guess building musicianship is key here; a good sound is a musical one, after all.
â€œâ€¦and I listen for a 3rd and octave above the buzz.â€
The only other person that I have heard mention this concept of concentrating on specific harmonics in the sound is Pat Harbison (and likely many Bill Adam students). Iâ€™ve heard about the 3rd harmonic (an octave and a fifth above the note being sounded), but not exactly what you are describing. The third of the chord would be the 5th harmonic (a 3rd and two octaves above the buzz).
I guess it doesnâ€™t really matter, the real point is that your mind is really focusing on sound while you are doing this work with the pipe.
I discussed this concept in a topic called PH â€“ Focusing on the 3rd Harmonic. The real merit for me in this idea is to quiet my mind by putting it to work on something tangible to keep it from wandering.
Interesting. Have you worked with a student of Bill Adam in the past, or did you pick this up from somewhere else. Just curious.
P.S. I like the sound of your "Look at the Beautiful Day" exercise. Nice imagery there!
The words that keep coming to mind to describe the sound of my *ahem* trumpet is that the sound has the dense "sparkly brilliance" I was looking for that I could never seem to find on my *ahem* "other" trumpet.
Darn you trickg,
I said not to bring brands into this... but I guess it's about time, lol.
So far, it seems that most of us are in agreement with the "sound" being made with mind and buzz. So, now for the steel cage type stuff. Where does ones equipment fit into producing your own sound? And is it justified to play a bigger role than our mind/buzz?
Sorry Bear - I guess I just whizzed through the thread too fast and missed it. I edited my post and pulled out the brand names. It's a good thing that I'm the mod here - I just edited YOUR post too!
(Bear, I'll change it back if you want me to.)