What is "Dark"

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpetsplus, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. J. Jericho

    J. Jericho Fortissimo User

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    It is my understanding that all notes above the fundamental are overtones, and that the timbre of an instrument is created by a combination of multiple overtones in any particular note. That having been said, I would think that a darker horn still resonates harmonics, but these harmonics have a greater predominance of lower overtones than higher ones, as opposed to a brighter horn. If this is true, then perhaps the only truly pure tone would come from a tuner. I might add that I have heard player/mouthpiece/trumpet combinations that seemed to have had few overtones and consequently sounded clear and pure, but I would not describe the sound as dark.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013
  2. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

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    A note without any harmonics is called a sine wave - like the old calibration tone on, for instance, a tape recorder. Or the tuning note of electronic tuners. The instrument that produces the closest to this is a flute.
     
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    I've tried this... it is amazing. If you have a Martin Committee and other horns, play them against a tunig note and a piano chord containing that note. You will not hear the overtones in the Committee... to the ear, the tone is pure. The other horns I tried this way you can really hear the overtones. Unfortunately, Jericho, you may not be able to run this experiment, but do give it a try with the horns you have and rate the overtone production from horn to horn, then see which horn you would describe as the darkest. I bet it correlates.
     
  4. J. Jericho

    J. Jericho Fortissimo User

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    Interesting. I'll give it a try.
     
  5. Sharvey

    Sharvey Pianissimo User

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    I wonder if the concept of a "Dark tone" has anything to do with the music and the frame of mind of the listener when making a choice to listen to that piece of music. There is difference between the Moonlight Sonata and Happy Together.
     
  6. tjcombo

    tjcombo Forte User

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    I think there may be differing understandings of "purity" of tone here. As per Ivan's post a pure tone, consisting only of the fundamental frequency is a sine wave - certainly most un-trumpetlike.
    Jesse’s Spectral Analysis | Sounds of Stanford
    This link shows a spectral analysis diagram of a steady tone. The author points out that there is significant content of the first 10 or so harmonics and some presence (contribution to the sound) of further harmonics.
    I'd love to see charts for darker and brighter horns. I'm betting that there'd be more roll-off at the high end with the darker sounding trumpets.
    My audio signal generator will give me a nice pure sine wave, but I'd rather listen to the "dirty", complex, harmonic rich wave-form from a trumpet.
     
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    For those still confused or wondering about what makes dark dark... try the experiment I suggested, like Jericho is doing, and see if you agree. I believe this is about as subjective of a measure that there could possibly be.
     
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    The perception of dark may be a mind game. Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie played the same horn, yet I don't hear many describing Dizzy as dark. In fact he can really brighten up that Martin. But if Diz took the Onady Darkness test, I bet he would agree to that his Martin really is dark.
     
  9. tjcombo

    tjcombo Forte User

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    I thought objectivity rather than subjectivity would be the name of the game.:-)
    Audacity has a spectral analyser (analyzer if you must). Try recording a steady tone and then getting a graphical representation of the composition. You will see a whole heap of harmonics. It's the presence or absence of the harmonics and their relative level that make the noise sound like a trumpet (or whatever). There're also apps for phones and tablets to do this - Spectral View for Android works well.

    Don't expect to see a lot of obvious difference between trumpets. Changes in volume seem to effect spectral content as well as a change of horn/mouthpiece.

    I didn't have an MC on hand to see if the analyser displayed a halo or something to indicate the transcendent nature of that horn ROFL
     
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Place a tone monitor in the room and true objectivity will be obtained. I do believe there will be a strong correlation however.
     

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