Trumpet characteristics/features and efficiency

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Bwanabass, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. Bwanabass

    Bwanabass Mezzo Piano User

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    I have a question about efficiency.

    It seems some horns are easier to make speak, or perhaps require more or less effort on the part of the player. I have read lots of posts and articles and seen many videos and reviews where players write or talk about the efficiency of a trumpet. I understand that the greatest variable in the equation is the individual playing the horn, but I wondered what other factors impact the efficiency of a horn.

    I'm guessing that my question will probably have a very multi-faceted answer, but I am hoping to gain a better understanding of how the materials and design of a particular trumpet might affect the physics of the horn in a way that influences the efficiency that the player experiences when the horn is played.
     
  2. BigSwingFace

    BigSwingFace Pianissimo User

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    What do you mean by efficiency? A player's technique and style have a lot to do with which horn they choose as being most efficient for them.

    If you want to know how to make your horn speak you have to know what you want it to say. By that I mean that we're all after a certain sound and our equipment reflects that quest. With the horn itself, many things can affect the ultimate sound you produce without becoming more or less "efficient." Lead pipe thickness, tuning slide shape, bell material and thickness, etc. The heavier the materials and the more bracing used, the darker the sound will be. That is, considering all other factors being equal.

    As to what makes some horns feel open and free, and others feel stuffy and tight, I think a lot of it has to do with manufacturing quality personal preference.
     
  3. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    Warning: Reader's Digest version:

    The more rigid a trumpet is the more efficient it is, in general.

    As the horn becomes more rigid, the horn itself vibrates less, meaning that the sound that is heard is coming
    only out the front of the bell is due primarily to the air column in the horn vibrating, not due to parts of the horn
    vibrating.

    As you get closer to this ideal, the horn is more and more efficient to the amplitude of the sound in front of the bell
    increases. Also, since the horn itself is vibrating less, notes are more in tune. The down side is that as the horn
    gets more rigid, the overtone sequence approaches a single tone and the horn will begin to sound like a tone generator
    rather than a trumpet because all the "junk" frequencies will be so small. Those are what makes a horn sound like a trumpet
    as opposed to a pitch pipe.
     
  4. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

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    Oh boy! You've got me thinking.

    To me, this is too big and important a subject to throw around in a forum. I will blog it and post back here.

    Until then:
    Scientific sounding terms have been and still are used, in my opinion unfairly, as emotive terms when dealing with such intangibles as trumpet playing.

    Consider the word "efficient"
    adjective
    (esp. of a system or machine) achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.


    Any particular trumpet may be more efficient at what????
    Projecting sound to the audience (at the expense of the player)?
    Feeding back sound to the player (at the expense of the audience)?

    And who is to say that either of these extremes is "better".

    I hear the worms getting ready for their release:roll::roll::roll:
     
    Vulgano Brother likes this.
  5. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

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    And the whole adjective/antonym thing. The use of any adjective conjures up the possible use of its antonym.

    "This trumpet is efficient"
    Who can possibly respect any trumpet that, by that statement, must be Inefficient!

    Even the auto makers don't get away with that one. A car may be FUEL efficient, but not necessarily COST efficient.
     
  6. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

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    I think Ivan should retreat back into his little hole.....
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Take an efficient trumpet to a lake and play = feels stuffy and inefficient.

    There is mostly very little relationship between what we THINK feels efficient and what actually creates more power for a given input. Many aspects of this are answered in the thread "how a trumpet works" sticky at the top of this section of the forum.

    Take a really stuffy instrument into a tiled toilet = feels really efficient.
     
  8. Bwanabass

    Bwanabass Mezzo Piano User

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    Thanks for the replies. By "efficient," I am referring to the ease with which palatable sound is produced. I often see and hear folks comment that XYZ horn is incredibly efficient, speaking/sounding with very little effort on the part of the player. I know this is incredibly subjective and situational, as Rowuk pointed out.

    I will definitely check out that sticky.
     
  9. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    I propose that a more rigid horn is easier to create different timbres with since higher rigidity means
    there is less sympathetic vibration in the structure of the horn. Hence, the sound you here is closer to
    the actual sound of the vibrating lips.

    That's been my experience as well, not just a theory.
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    i find the whole efficiency issue to be major BS because the words are mostly used out of context. The efficiency of a resonant object is rated as a "Q" value. High levels of Q on a brass instrument really sucks because the horn is very out of tune.

    The efficiency is generally reduced in a trumpet so that we can breathe at Human intervals.
     

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