Tone Quality

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Trumpet Dreamer, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. wolfmann

    wolfmann Pianissimo User

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    Aug 19, 2010
    I sometimes think we all get caught up in being able to pin a name on something and we get lost on what is trying to be said.
    Putting a name on something means different things to many people.

    From what I gather the OP would like a fuller fatter tone as he goes above the staff.
    But there again Im putting a NAME on something.
    For me there is a:
    Thin sound up top
    Brittle sound up top
    Fat sound up top
    Then you get into PROJECTION which becomes a whole new subject.
     
  2. keehun

    keehun Piano User

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    Feb 4, 2010
    Minnesota
    HAHA... Wow, that one slipped by me... :-?
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Moshe,
    the harmonics thing as you describe it is plain BS, as it does not apply here neither does the filtering issue.

    A trumpet is a resonant instrument. When blowing into it, we excite a resonance that some call "slotting". The correct term is "partials" and simply refers to the amount of wavelengths in the horn. We change the partials by "overblowing". This means that we do not have a fixed oscillator, it is variable based on lip tension and air pressure (not speed). No filtration is needed to change notes.

    The harmonics of the sound have very little to do with the partials other than that the series is mathematically related. When I move up from a low C to a C in the staff, I go from 2 to 4 wavelengths in the horn. That 4 wavelength C has the same harmonic series as the low c does. As the size of the bell remains fixed, there is in fact a slight change in the proportion of fundemental to harmonics - not towards bright however. When we get into the extreme register, other factors become important, especially the polar response of the bell which causes the sound to beam (become very directional). This applies especially to the harmonics as they are very short in wavelength compared to the bell size. If we listen to the horn directly on axis, it sounds much different than from the side. This makes selection of microphone and positioning fairly critical.

    We do not lose the "fundemental" or any of the harmonics as we play higher. I have taken spectral plots over the whole range of the instrument. This point is provable with very little effort.

    As far as "filtering" goes, that is a big issue that has nothing to do with this thread. Let's just say that the volume in the cup of the mouthpiece, gap and design of an instrument can introduce filtering to a certain degree. My measurements show that a large cup volume introduces a reactance that can make higher frequencies less efficient. How much that affects the tone has a lot to do with lip mass, tension while playing and breath support. I work with players using shallow mouthpieces that do not have "screeching" tone. This is due to their BRAINS and EARS working towards a proper musical result.

    I can offer more technical explanations, I think that this is suitable for this context however.
     
  4. Moshe Mizrachi

    Moshe Mizrachi Pianissimo User

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    Feb 17, 2010
    When going from Low C to Tuning C, it has the same effect as putting in a high-pass filter which blocks the Low C but lets the Tuning C and higher notes through.
    As the source I quoted said, that results in a tone which sounds brighter.
    "Sounds brighter" is an interpretation made by the listener.

    And as I responded earlier, I will certainly keep an eye out for those Salvation Army brass who use a Schilke 6A4A mouthpiece, since you claim that tone is based on the skill of the player rather than on inherent qualities of the mouthpiece.

    You and I have both said our piece on the subject,
    so on to some other subject.
     
  5. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

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    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    The answer for you is simple. Take your mouthpieces, borrow some trumpets from friends or go to a music store and try some demo units - anything to test the hypothesis that the hardware - trumpet/mouthpiece combo - affects the tone. You could even try the blindfold test where someone hands you the trumpets without identifying them so you have only the sound as a basis of comparison.
     
  6. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Moshe,
    Tone and timbre definitions sort of muddy but we'll save that for another day:
    --------
    Notice the author from your site about various tuba bell sizes sez to "hold back" a little in the upper register.
    Author quote:
    "You will probably notice that your tone brightens a bit in the upper register, and you may have to hold back when playing with smaller ensembles to avoid overpowering the rest of the instrumentalists".
    ---
    This seems to give support to the claim that yes, different size bells on a tuba when played in the upper register create different colors. This is akin to my Bach not sounding like my Martin Committee or my MF Horn.
    However, it is the musician that must "contain the instrument" in its various registers and not the other way around.
    The author goes on to say:
    "Tone production begins at the point your lips connect the mouthpiece".
    --
    Your site from Zachary music is a testimonial page designed to promote a product. Not exactly a good place to find support for a claim.
    --------
    Tone is a product of you young man! From tuba to flute, to green eggs and ham. The tone is all yours, says Sam I am.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2010
  7. wolfmann

    wolfmann Pianissimo User

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    Aug 19, 2010

    I think this should be a sticky
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Moshe, there is no filter. I don't know where you got this but it is wrong. If you know anything about filters, you can figure out what is required for a filter that is that steep (in the middle register less than a third, up higher whole and half tones) is not possible in the trumpet. We only get 3dB/8va with a one pole filter, 6dB with 2 and so forth, what you claim is acoustically impossible. Think about what it takes to make a filter that can act fast enough to allow slurs. Experiment with a keyboard and removing octaves. If you THINK, you realize that this cannot be.

    If we were to remove the fundemental from any tone, it would sound extremely thin, if we remove any odd harmonic, the trumpet would completely lose its characteristic color.


    The partials are the quantity of wavelengths in the horn. Most acoustic wind instruments work this way. The sound we hear is actually a standing wave in the horn. Its frequency is determined by the lip tension and air pressure. Check these out:
    Harmonic series (music) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    http://phys.unsw.edu.au/music/people/publications/Fletcheretal1999.pdf
    harmonic: Definition, Synonyms from Answers.com
    Simulation of Brass Instruments
    Welcome at the pages of the IWK (Institute of Musical Acoustics)
    Brass instrument (lip reed) acoustics: an introduction

    I hope some of this will enlighten you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2010
  9. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    Clarksburg, WV
    rowuk sez:
    If we were to remove the fundemental from any tone.
    ------------
    Can that be done and the tone still be the same note?
     
  10. Moshe Mizrachi

    Moshe Mizrachi Pianissimo User

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    Feb 17, 2010
    I never said that there is a filter.

    I said that playing a Tuning C has a similar effect in that Low C is eliminated and higher harmonic remains.
    That results in a brighter tone being interpreted in the hearing of the listener.

    You already "enlightened" me when you claimed that choice of mouthpiece has no effect on tone, that tone is caused solely by the player's skill.

    So I will keep an eye out for all those British Brass Band players and Salvation Army Band players who use a Schilke 6A4A, the mouthpiece that you chose as an example.

    We're just going in circles, so we'll agree to disagree and drop the subject.
     

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