What exercises to work on raising flat notes?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Trumpet guy, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. Trumpet guy

    Trumpet guy Forte User

    Feb 9, 2008

    I play a standard Bach Strad and I've been noticing more and more the flatness of the d and e above the staff. I just thought, since many players play fine despite this that I needed to practice more. However, I have no idea how to practice to raise the felt notes in tune. When I play forte they get in tune but the higher notes then get sharper. When I play more softly, I have more difficulty pitching the flat notes up. What kind of exercises are good for working on this?
  2. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Use the excercises you typically use. Stop pinching notes. Relax.
  3. Byfbo96

    Byfbo96 New Friend

    May 15, 2011
    Jacksonville, FL
    play softer (P - PPP) and use pedal tones..Don't change your emboucher and push from your center/core as your go higher...Be patient..this is something that can't be fixed overnight...good luck
  4. graysono

    graysono Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 22, 2007
    Hyde Park, Utah
    See all of the above. But also, if you have the bread, check out Laurie Frink and John McNeil's book called Flexus (Amazon $34). They have some cool exercises for chop strengthening, particularly one where you bend the note a half step before coming back to the note center. This helps you to relax on any note and to use just enough muscle to recenter the note. Improvement is slow (see above again), so be patient. If you start to crack, stop. Go no higher than what you can do comfortably.
  5. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
    I was about to recommend the Frink book too. I once saw clinic by Laurie and she demonstrated some exercises that she advocates. She would start playing a note, then as time
    went by, she's slighty go sharp for a while, then back to the original pitch, then slightly flat, then back to the original pitch. The important thing was that she was totally in control
    of her pitch the whole time. I'm guessing that she might mention this in one of her books....

  6. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Most times when someone has problems with intonation only on high notes it's because they really don't own those notes.When I say own a note I mean being able to play a note ppp or fff, single,double and triple tongued,slurred,leggato,staccato,in a line or by itself. Hitting a note and playing a note are two different things.
  7. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    one thing that I use -- to help stop pinching notes -- is octave leaps.
    go up the scale, and use your air support, and TRY to not change your embouchure significantly ---- G to G, B to B, and so forth up the scale. Try to play softer, and NOT force the notes ---- in time, I believe that will help you -- to NOT pinch them notes -------------as you will see, or feel, that it isn't necessary to pinch notes ---
  8. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011

    On sustained tones I always play the top space E natural 1/2 valves. The D I lip up as the alternate fingering of 1/3 is just too much tubing. Alters the tone excessively. Starts to get that strange, unprofessional french horn tone...

    In your case the tuner is always a good practice tool. Sit on long tones for every note from Low C (don't waste time with notes lower than that if only for tuning purposes) on up to High C or so. Devote more time doing this to the really tricky to bend in tune notes. Staying within whatever your comfortable range is. Keep the tuner in front of you. Try to keep all tones within 3 cents of center. Or not more than 3 cents sharp nor 3 cents lower. Keep practicing this until you get a feel for what the proper chop setting/air support is needed to automatically play the thing fairly close to in tune.

    Over my nearly 48 years behind the horn I've never found it necessary to blow closer than 3 cents left or right (flat or sharp that is) of dead on intonation. Not in any field be it classical, jazz or rock.

    3 cents is generally perfect unless the guy next to you blows 3 cents the other. Like if you're bloowing C Natural 3 cents sharp and he's 3 cents flat.

    Another trick is to use the ancient and discontinued Al Cass 1-28 or 1-26 mouthpiece. Although a trifle shallow for classical trumpet it seems to make everything sound good. Even when 5 cents or more off. With the Al Cass 1-28 you'll sound better playing slightly off pitch than the cat sitting next to you blowing dead on perfect. Seen it happen enough times.

    Blue Mitchell used this m/piece exclusively and his tone was masterful. Close to God actually! here:

    I'll Close My Eyes / Blue Mitchell - YouTube
  9. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Practice very soft with a clean centered tone.Use as little pressure as possible on long tones, slurs,arpeggios,scales and melodies,up to and beyond your problem range.As you get more comfortable playing up there, the notes will get easier to play as you begin to own them, your intonation up there should improve. Your problems won't go away by switching mouthpieces,but it could make them worse. Intelligent practice can and will fix it. Work on breath support,notes will go out of tune with out enough support and also trying too use too much,such as over blowing or blasting.
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    To be honest, I have never had a Bach Bb THAT far out of tune. I have had a couple where the E, Eb and D sound a bit dull though.

    That being said, I have had students with problems with those notes. The real problem was the amount of body tension they were using on just about every note. That made the rest too sharp................

    Please try something: take a 15-20 minute shower then play some long tones - including the D, Eb and E. Do NOT use an electronic tuner!! Just long breath and then long tones. I think that you will discover something.

    Post back and we can discuss what you discovered.

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