Tone vs Volume.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by turtlejimmy, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    I'm getting lessons everywhere these days .... private teacher, TM forumns, and my friend Don at our music store. He's the brass expert and back in the day, used to work for Don Getzen, building horns. He told me today that TONE CARRIES AND PROJECTS FURTHER THAN VOLUME.:-?

    I said, "Say, what?" He explained that, if you want real carrying power, it comes from tone, not from volume. "Don't worry about volume, always go for tone." And I noticed that, when I mentioned volume once in lessons, my teacher told me to think of projecting the sound forward, not being louder.

    What do you guys think?

  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I think that this guy is right. When our sound is properly supported (breathing/chops in equilibrium with the standing wave in the instrument) magic happens. The horn starts doing the work and we stop conquering the situation, rather have the freedom to produce clouds to flame throwers.

    Music is not about projection, volume, range or color. It is about a coherent statement from players that care enough to give their TOTAL best. Even relative beginners can accomplish this as many a happy birthday for the grandmother has proved. The additional TLC made it possible!
  3. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    A good story came along with that too. A friend of his took some time off from his career as a trombone player to work on his tone. He was frustrated and felt like it was thin and not rich and full, like he wanted.

    He went to Montana and stayed with a friend who lived in a large valley. Every day he would hike up one of the hills with his trombone and play across the valley, trying to fill it with sound. He played mostly long tones at a relatively low volume (mezzo forte?) and just worked on his tone.

    By building up and enriching the tone, after 6 weeks (that's how long he did this) he was filling the valley at this lower volume, with his new bigger tone.

  4. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    TJ teacher sez:
    "Don't worry about volume, always go for tone."
    I don't even know your teacher and I like him already..
    Tone(our particular sound) says who we are as individuals.
    Miles can play three notes and everyone knows it's Miles. The same with Doc, or Mendez and the list goes on.
    Intrestingly, I just mentioned this on another thread:
    You have to have ownership of "YOUR" sound. When you play, (unless you are in the imitation phase of development) it should sound like "YOU" and nobody else.
    If you go to a jam session and end up sounding like the other guy then "YOU" need work.
  5. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    +1 :thumbsup:
  6. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 14, 2010
    The notion of volume is tricky really. If you look at the perception of volume peoples ears are more sensitive to certain frequency range than others. So often times lower tones while not sounding as loud actually have a much larger wave form with the same amount of energy as a higher tone, paired with the fact that physically low tones tend to travel further, explains why the tuba can be heard for miles, and a dark or dull sounding horn will cut through an ensemble more than a bright horn.
  7. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    Go for tone is such a tidy idea. If I can then forget about volume and projection, I'm ahead by LESS STUFF TO THINK ABOUT. :lol: That's worth the price of the lesson right there!

    The other good story was how Rafael Mendez, when he was a kid growing up in Mexico, would hike with his trumpet to the top of a nearby mountain every day. It would take him about two hours to get up there and then he would practice, on top of the mountain, for two or three hours. Then he'd hike back down and interrogate his brother. "Could you hear it? How loud was it?" He was building up his tone that way. Forget about projecting to the back of the hall ... how about all the way down the mountain?

    Last edited: Jan 14, 2011
  8. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    I like the stories of projection in mountains and valleys -- I have been playing in my basement against a stone wall (about 3-4 feet away) I can definitely hear the sound, and it gives me instant feedback, and I am sure that the sound is "reflecting" back so I don't have to play so loud. So richness and fulness of sound is what I have been working on.
    in any case - when I have played in a small church which may be like 4000 or 5,000 square feet --- the sound (as far as I can tell and by the audience response) is quite pleasant -- whether it is loud or not.
  9. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 14, 2010
    Hiking hills is great aerobic exercise, I bet he did breathing exercises all the way up and down.
  10. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Smooth Operator you're right on with the aerobics. When the body is in top condition the right tone sound is easier to access IMO. It wasn't a tall mountain in WV, nor one I had to rock climb, but it was steep enough that it was much less effort to walk the cow paths up to the top as took 30 to 45 minutes when I began playing trumpet. As my Grandmother worked in her garden about a quarter mile below me, she said she could hear me ... and often suggested correction to my tone. Musically, she made a parlor pump organ fill the house ... she could tell when I was sharp or flat in my tone. While my Grandfather would resin his bow, often she would tune his violin for him. She could identify tone by ear.

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