Tone Quality

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Arcanemage, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    I don't understand dark and cold or bright and warm.

    I've heard people talk about having a resonant sound and the bell will ring. I never got that top happen. I did get the sound in my head to come out the end of the trumpet.
    If I'm reading this correctly, I think I might be able to help on this one.
    First, listen to trumpet players that most people would agree that are dark sounding. The two that come quickly to mind is Miles Davis and Ingrid Jensen. Notice that sometimes(especially jensen) have almost a flugelhorn sound to their sound. Not whimpy or weak, but as if someone took the treble out of their sound.
    Some examples of bright sounding people would be Doc, MF, Bergeron,.
    their sound will peel the paint off the room next door.
    Both are very beautiful. I can't think of anything better than Flemenco Sketches by Miles or Teonova by Maynard.
    As for the literary description of sound, I think words often fall short when describing music or sound in general. However, poetic descriptions are far better than describing a sound in math, trust me.
    Now for resonance:
    You might want to read Mark Van Cleave's article on Efficency Through Resonant Intonation. You'll learn the difference between tuning your trumpet and adjusting yourself. Good Luck
  2. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    thanks dizforprez,
    The Yamaha site is really neat.
    dizforprez likes this.
  3. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    I was just trying to pull an example with Maynard -may have not have been the best. He was my hero and I grew up wanting to emulate him and still think he was one of the greatest players out. Over his career he was something else. As a kid and young adult he was unbelieveable. He also spent time as a studio musician with Paramount which showed he could handle about anything. He continued to play well until the last few years of his life (saw him many times live over a period of 40+ years) -even then he could easily blow me away -just not his former self. His tone was so thick I think many mics had a problem capturing it. Never heard him play much formal classical or Baroque.

    One day, I want to put up a post about words used to describe tone. Maybe we could work a deal whre there is a clip and the words that do and do not fit the tone. Might be good for some of the kids coming up (even old timers like me).
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Diz makes a real good point here and many of you jumped YEARS ahead.

    If we look at how things happen in real life:
    We get an instrument from somewhere and start to play, depending on how talented we are, what we are exposed to and how good our start is, we get better.

    Once we start to get around on the horn, questions come up about range, speed, endurance, tone. While all of the suggestions about hardware and software are true, they do not really apply at this stage where EVERYTHING is unsorted.

    At this early point in the trumpeters development, more structure comes (or should come) into the approach. We can start talking about real routines and priorities. Breathing becomes an issue and the student starts to develop preferences (doesn't like lipslurs for instance). At this stage, if they actually start listening, wonderful things can happen.

    I will maintain that until the player has reached a certain amount of proficiency, that discussions like this thread are WORTHLESS. If there is no consistency in ones playing, the basic habits are missing and that means the brain is not in the cycle. There is no possibility to turn the truths mentioned here into reality.

    When answering threads like this, I have a picture (sometimes a very weak picture) based on the content and style of the post, as well as perhaps other posts that I have read from the particular TMer. I am VERY adamant about first things first and to be honest a little consistency is the number one prerequisite for anything trumpet. I would venture to say that over 90% of the posts here get answered but not turned into concrete improvement because of the urge to short circuit the process.

    Look at what has been posted in the last month or so. Primarily stuff that doesn't even need to be asked if there is any type of decent routine. We have beginners with Bach 1C to Schilke 6A4As, we have more triple Gs in highschool than on all of the professionally recorded albums in existance, we have embouchure changes galore with no brain behind the decision.

    What gets posted? Answers for a different player. One who practices, pays attention and has enough proficiency and humility to understand and accept that the process is the big picture, that positive change is the result of a well developed concept and dedication.

    Please remember who we all are. Coming up to the high school Christmas Concerts we will have a lot of questions on how to compensate fast for bad practice habits. In January comes the same for auditions and in the spring for summer camps. It is a cycle and we can help by not getting ahead of the gun.

    I find it interesting that most of my students NEVER look for another sound other than their own. They get taught to play from flame thrower to smoky bar, all with the same embouchure, mouthpiece and instrument. We just do it. They have the basics from the first lesson. After a year, the beginners use my complete personal daily routine. They have all of the major scales from 4 sharps to 4 flats and enough range for all of the music that they can musically understand. No magic, just first things first!

    If this sounds like I am bragging, sorry. I am not. I have learned in over 40 years of playing and over 30 years of teaching that the only path to true success is step by step. The chance of breaking a leg when you skip steps is VERY great as many posts here prove. FIRST THINGS FIRST!
    dizforprez likes this.
  5. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009

    Excellent observations and advice. A wide range of players contribute here. Obviously, many of them are jr and high school players (i.e. probably playing 1-5 years). For the majority of them, life ought to be about daily practice, improving all aspects of their playing, and focusing on (or finding) their own sound.

    Instead, many are looking for a fast hardware fix that will make a major improvement in their playing. I did when I was at that stage. Having difficulty with range, I forgo my Bach 3 C in search of the magical range mouthpiece, moving through double cups, Al Cass, and finally spending a day with Denicola who worked with me for almost a day and cut me a mouthpiece that did bump up my range 3 or so notes at the expense of rone, depth, and accuracy. I played it for 20 years (and still guard it as one of my most prized possessions) before going back and realizing I'd probably have been better off continuing on a 3C-which I play now. Point -it would have been better to develop the trumpet player rather than look for a "cheat" fix that ended up imposing some limits on other areas. Or probably a better analogy -I spend my money on new tennis rackets for power rather than working on perfecting my swing that is going to help me with any racket.

    Of course, it is only natural for students to look to the pros and see what decisions they are making and why. Still, it is very important for the student to realize they are just beginning to shape the clay. The pro has aleady created an entire sculpture and is just putting on the fine lines in it with equipment.

    Sometimes I want to ask posters how many years they have been playing and at what level based on their questions (but don't because I realize I was young once too) -because it appears the way they are headed by their question isn't really going to help them. They are looking for short cuts -which don't exist or will carry you to a destination you really didn't want to move to. Still, it is good to see them working to improve.
  6. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    Robin and Steve, that's what I was trying to say. Thanks for saying it a lot better!


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