What is "Dark"

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

  1. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Give it a try when you can... I bet I make a believer out of you.
     
  2. tjcombo

    tjcombo Forte User

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    I don't have a problem believing different horns sound different, but from initial measurements of spectral content, the differences between light and dark - one horn and another don't immediately stand out - at least with the simple spectragraphs I can generate.

    I took my darkest - Fullerton Recording and brightest - LA Super and whilst I'm sure they sounded different, the graphs look the same. If you can provide or point me towards a sample of an MC playing a single tone, without any backing, I can graph it and you'll see all the harmonics that make its sound.
     
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Play them against a piano playing a chord with the tuning trumpet note included in the chord. Let me know if you hear a difference. Also what kind of graphs are you using? If you are using soundcloud display, you will not see a difference. You will need to record on an instrument that can display harmonics.
     
  4. robrtx

    robrtx Mezzo Forte User

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    This sounds like a very interesting experiment (to trumpet players :cool: ). It reminds me of a television program I saw that sonically "mapped" the sound of a Stradivarius violin for the purpose of authenticating unknown possible Stradivari.

    In my opinion this is neat stuff that can possibly scientifically explain what people find accoustically "pleasing" and why........very cool
     
  5. CornetComeback

    CornetComeback New Friend

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    Linguistically I prefer "warm" to "dark." I prefer "warmer" tones and is why I play Cornet. The variables mentioned above apply to Cornets also.
     
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Good point... one person's dark is another person's warm... either way, the perception is most likely stemming from a pure tone... I prefer... pure tone... that is as a purist.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  7. tjcombo

    tjcombo Forte User

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    Warmth, darkness, richness... we probably all have our own sense of the quality under discussion - even if communicating what is felt is not easy and precisely nailing down the differing harmonic content of dark and bright sounds is even harder. Purity however implies some sort of singularity of content, so whilst I'm cool with individual word choices, in this case it would be applied to a whole bucket of up to 20th order harmonics.

    This discussion reminds me of various aspects of the "valve vs solid-state" discussion. Some people liked "the warmth" of old gear which was simply a case of lousy high frequency response. There were also very real limitations with early transistor amps with cross-over distortion, as the solid-state technology got better however, the arguments seemed to become fewer. On second thoughts, let's not go there.:-)

    I'll try to assemble some sounds and spectragrams into something coherent to share. It'd be nice to have something like the Toyota trumpet playing robot to generate consistent input across a range of horns but I don't really want to make a major project of this. Time is better spent playing, practising or writing dots onto a stave.
     
  8. trumpflugel

    trumpflugel New Friend

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    I have a Austin Custom Brass Lead 1 and a Bach 1 1/4 megatone. The Austin is much brighter than the Bach. But for the super high notes, Austin makes the job easier.
     
  9. J. Jericho

    J. Jericho Fortissimo User

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    I tried the experiment of playing against a tuning note and a piano chord using various types of chords and different instruments. I found it more difficult to hear the overtones of the instruments, but I did notice they sometimes diminished the sound of the piano chord itself. It also made the differences in the timbres of the various horns less distinct. I was able to notice, however the quantity of the overtones, and these did not correlate to a dark sound. A horn can have a predominance of upper partials and sound bright, whereas a horn that displays more lower partials will sound dark. I would also say that a balance of overtones would be considered warm, and one with few overtones would be considered pure. The easiest way I have found to distinguish the character of a horn is to play it by itself in a "hard" room with good sound reflection, so more of what comes out of the bell can be heard, rather than just what would be heard from behind it. To my ear this creates the most contrast for the purpose of evaluating and comparing the timbre of various instruments.

    One thing that has been mentioned in this thread is context, and I believe gmonady's experiment validates the concept that an instrument can also sound comparatively bright, dark, or whatever when heard in and as a part of an ensemble, because it is being simultaneously compared to the other instruments being played, and to a lesser degree the chord structure.
     
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Thanks so much for taking the time to do this validation. It is an amazing experiment to hear these overtones when done in this way. But I cannot take credit for designing this test. This experimental design belongs to Eddie Brookshire, the Jazz Professor at the University of Dayton who is my Quintet leader. He is wise well beyond his 71 years on this earth. To others, give this a try. I believe the pure tone is the concept of dark.

    Also when I tried this with my Flugelhorn, I heard "undertones" or lower harmonics that come out from the chord. That too is mind boggling.
     

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