What is it we are after as a trumpet player

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by chenzo, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. chenzo

    chenzo Piano User

    Jul 18, 2008
    I have been reading most of the threads that are posted here, and it has occurred to me that the seems to be an over emphasis on high notes and range.
    I have not read here much about lyrical and sweet musical phrasing etc. Can anyone suggest why this so?
    The trumpet is a versatile instrument can used from fanfares to ballads.
    It has been mentioned to me by an unmusical relative that he couldn't believe how wounder full the trumpet can sound after watching to a tv concert of Chris Bottie
    ( Excuse the spelling if I got it wrong)
    Any rate It would be nice to here from fellow TMs there thoughts on this.

    Maybe it has to do the the way modern music is today, High notes and fast riffs up and down the scales have yet made the hairs on back of the next tingle with emotion. Not to say that High Notes and screaming improviser has no place in music, A Melody in the mid range can speak to me more than in the upper register.

    Had my say .................Happy New Year to all
  2. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US
    I see that too, but I think it is because a lot of people like the range on a trumpet. High schoolers, kinda like me, just want to see how high they can go. But I think the tone and musical talent is more important than the DHC. Very rarely will you see a note close to the DHC in a piece, unless you take it up.

    That is my 2 cents, but im sure someone else will come up with something different or the like.
  3. the newbie

    the newbie Pianissimo User

    Jan 27, 2011
    San Francisco
  4. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011
    High notes can be a good part of the game. Half the battle of putting together a good big band involves finding a solid lead player with good volume, intonation and endurance. In fact if you don't have a decent lead trumpet player?

    You don't have a real band.

    So we shouldn't underestimate the value of being able to slam down the notes of lead chair book. Also masters like Ferguson generated a huge listening audience. Without which many trumpet players would neither have started or continued playing the horn.

    Ferguson's own proteges read like a Who's Who of jazz trumpet: Stan Mark, Lin Biviano, Don Ellis*, Alan Wise, Bob Summers*, Bill Chase, Lyn Nicholson to name only a few. The "*" indicates trumpet players who were/are primarily jazzers as opposed to screamers. So on balance Ferguson's high notes are ESSENTIAL to jazz big band as we know it. We owe a big debt to Maynard. Payable only by our continued perseverance as solid musicians playing lead and other aspects of the game.

    Botti plays music largely for jazz listeners. Ferguson did that too but he appealed more to trumpet players. So without Ferguson's mastery of high notes and marathon seven decade run in the business?

    The trumpet may have become a lost art.

    Lead playing is challenging and at times painful. It takes a lot of balls to not only learn your lead chops but to KEEP ON AT IT on bad days. Forcing yourself to practice when you don't feel like it. In my own life I have played many many gigs with kanker sores tearing at my lip. There have been times when I wished for the gig to end my chops sore, swollen. Then think about the dues paying: dealing with the many clams we hit in our early days. Psychological torture but we accept, channel it and chalk it up as a helpful learning experience. In 1997 my throat cartilage stretched (serious neck puff) and I couldn't talk for a week. Swallowing was painful. I had to re-learn my whole high note approach.

    Most importantly: there is no way the good lead trumpet player will ever be paid enough for the VALUE he brings to his band and music as a whole. By the time you can blow down two sets of a Stan Kenton type big band lead trumpet charts with few errors and solid volume? You probably could have become not only a doctor but also lawyer and an astronaut at the same time too. What with all the effort and perseverance involved.

    So I suggest you show a little respect for the lead player. Without him you may never have taken up the instrument. Or most your peers wouldn't have.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
  5. Rapier

    Rapier Forte User

    Jul 18, 2011
    Whatever floats your boat. I got bored with that after 4 minutes. Yes very clever and all that, but for me, I'd rather a classical piece played by Wynton and the like. A piece that I recognise, has a start, middle and finish and maybe, with a lot of work, I might be able to play one day.
  6. the newbie

    the newbie Pianissimo User

    Jan 27, 2011
    San Francisco
    Yeah each to their own etc. Thats funny because personally I Can't stand Wynton M, way overrated!!! I respect him and all for what he has done, swanning around the world as the self appointed ambassador of Jazz, but its that old saying.... he's got great technique but no soul!

    I listened to a live stream from Dizzy's coca cola club (what a terrible name!) night before last and i thought his performance was "stiff" to say the least.

    Gotta have some soul for me.

    Sounds like you suffer from the problem jazz has suffered over the last 40 years where people don't know how to listen to jazz?
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
  7. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    The reason there are so many threads about high range is because it is the most understood aspect of trumpet playing.Many teachers were never taught how to do it so they really can't teach others how to,so it remains a mystery for many. It doesn't require a "freak" lip, or years and years of practice,hey you might be practicing the wrong way. It does take technique and coordination of air,tongue,lips and jaw,not brute strength. This can be taught.There are many different methods available,the hard part is finding the right one for you.They all work for some but they all won't work for everyone.

    So yes there are many different facets to trumpet playing ,tone,technial facility etc. and these can be attained through correct practice, it can work for range too,but unfortunately it doesn't always.
  8. Chuck Cox

    Chuck Cox Forte User

    Oct 3, 2008
    Cary NC
    Chenzo, I think trumpet players and trumpet section buddies and so forth are the people that like the high stuff. We really need the view of the listener as to what is " liked " about trumpet playing. We trumpet players in here are " too close " to the making of the music to offer unbiased opinions on what is " liked ". Botti = ballad=classical expressionist=superb trumpet tone=envy of trumpeters ( i'm afraid ).
  9. patkins

    patkins Forte User

    Nov 22, 2010
    Tuscaloosa, AL.
    Personally, It has always been a challenge to be the best player that I can be. Therefore, It means to attain skills not yet achieved. Although melody and phrasing; as well as, tone and timbre are probably the most important part of music, to do the same in high registry is significantly more difficult.
    I am not ok with being half-good at anything that I do, so I will strive with every breath to be better at all aspects. To do less for me would be accepting mediocrity as a reasonable accomplishment instead of failure. Mediocrity is not acceptable in trumpet playing; however, there are some who don't mind where they are at and don't pursue more and that is ok for them.
    In my guitar playing I'm known for my rhythm and flamenco style playing; as well as, finger-picking style. I am not a lead player, and have no interest in becoming one. That is why I jam with others, We complement each other and work together to create music. The same applies to brass. I prefer 2nd or 3rd part and let the lead player do his thing. I'm happy I can be a part. Also, it is not uncommon sometimes that I have to fill in for the lead player because of schedule interruptions or illness; thus, I better be ready. Just like a 2nd string quarterback better be ready.
    It is a good question, and I hope my reasoming makes sense.
    Best Regards
  10. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Whether playing screaming lead or hiding in the texture of an orchestra, our job is to convey emotion to the folk listening. That involves range--high to low, loud to soft, sweet to nasty. Everyone notices high notes, but not all audience members note the the rest of what we do--they might sense it perhaps. We are unappreciated, underpaid and unafraid. I think it is the unafraid part that makes us trumpeters.

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