What is the secret

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by gunshowtickets, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. gunshowtickets

    gunshowtickets Forte User

    Mar 11, 2015
    Tidewater, VA
    Of British Brass Band cornet sound?
    Tonguing style significantly different from Arban's?
    The vibrato?
    Do I need to spend the next six months listening exclusively to Phil McCann, James Shepherd, [insert cornet soloist of your choice here] to get the sound right in my head?

    I mean I listen to this stuff:

    And, with that sound in my head, play like this:

    Your help, as always, is greatly appreciated.
    Peter McNeill likes this.
  2. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    What kind of cornet were you using? I guess, a long cornet with a Bach mouthpiece?

    The most important thing for cornet, as Maurice André used to say and as Adam Rapa only yesterday emphasized:

    "Forget about the instrument. It's just like singing."
    Don't forget: The Brass Band movement started in regions that were already very strong on male voice choirs and the like...
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  3. gunshowtickets

    gunshowtickets Forte User

    Mar 11, 2015
    Tidewater, VA
    Elmar, I should have specified, thank you for pointing that out.
    A 90 y.o. Conn 80A with a Conn Wonder mp. Bore's 0.484 and the mp is very deep and conical.
    By rights, I'm still acclimatising to the horn, as I received it only three weeks ago.

    I do especially try to "sing" it, the same as when I play trumpet, which is why I've always had what I've considered a dark and mellow sound, even when playing on lightweight horns with very shallow cup/tight backbore mouthpieces.
  4. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    I wouldn't say the the tonguing style is particularly different. Same spectrum as the trumpet but the nature of the repertoire tends to call for a light legato tongue most of the time. And of course, for serious band work, you need to double and triple tongue like crazy.

    When switching between the two, the only change in set that I was conscious of was slightly relaxing mouth corners and cheeks which helped give that really warm characteristic sound. So this is going to colour the syllables you're singing with to some extent. And the solo line in particular needs a tasteful vibrato (I was taught not to use vibrato on trumpet - the good old days when there really was a big difference in approach!)

    Hardware wise - if you tend towards a mellow voice anyway, it might not be too critical. All I can say is that I found playing cornet parts on a standard British-type cornet considerably easier than trying to emulate the sound on trumpet. There's something about the way they're put together that takes any and all rough edges off the sound. And try a proper Wick mouthpiece - at least a 4B. They're designed specifically for the job, so anything else is knife to a gunfight territory.

    And yes. Listen to all the great BBB soloists of yesteryear and immerse yourself in the sound until you can live it. Easy really ;-)
  5. larry newman

    larry newman Piano User

    Dec 22, 2005
    North Tonawanda, NY, USA
    The secret is a three tiered system in the UK that gives every corner pub its own band....as many as bar-sponsored baseball teams in the USA...and the top tier bands get it all...corporate sponsorship, air-conditioned rehearsal spaces, instruments...

    Most recordings are from top tier bands...When the Young Ambassadors group visited the US and Canada, they were a willy-nilly group thrown together from those kids who could afford the trip, from various bands, and so damned good they didn't even need to rehearse as a group...a level of play unheard of here in Buffalo, where we would host them, before they toured a bit, then went to Canada...drinking huge quantities of beer, and playing like angels.

    The band is all treble cleff, meaning anyone with the chops could theoretically come in and pick up any instrument...fingering being the same. Designed to be a working class band, from the colliery (sp) districts.

    Serious dedication, and growing up in the system...
    gunshowtickets likes this.
  6. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    Air-conditioning? In Yorkshire?

    We just called them windows :D
  7. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I would avoid the heavy vibrato. - I think that's a thing of the past. As said, sing through the cornet, very lyrical if it's that type of piece. Play without as much edge to your tone, articulate very cleanly in the fast passages, but without a staccato feel. Play powerfully when called for, but with a certain reserve. That's all I got...;-)
  8. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    I listened to what you are listening to, and what you would like to sound like.

    You're doing OK, the tonguing is a little over the place, and maybe the hardware is letting you down a tad - I can hear the springs bouncing in the valves, and some not quite co-ordinated, but Hey - you are doing OK.

    And that F'n Tuning slide (your description of the Bb Tuning slide, not mine ;-)), well it is there for a reason, but not so important by yourself, unless you have a tuner to keep your ear in check.

    Keep with it, I think you are doing OK - keep with it. If you can play with a band that has the same goals, and sit next to a better player that is aligned with your ideas, you'll do better. But listen to your recordings, and maybe get a teacher to run through the recording with the sheet music in front of you both - that can help identify some inherent technical issues. But don't slam yourself too much - I was able to listen to the whole lot and not get turned off.
    gunshowtickets likes this.
  9. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    I played trumpet for many years in Ireland before spending a couple of years in England, where I joined a traditional British brass band. They loaned me a cornet until I got my own, but even on that they told me I sounded too much like a trumpet to blend with the regular section so I played repiano (rep cornet) instead. Afterwards my tone developed/changed to resemble the sound of the rest of the band and I was able to back up the other sections when numbers were down.

    So I think practising and listening intently will go a long way towards your goal.

    gunshowtickets likes this.
  10. MusicianOfTheNight

    MusicianOfTheNight Pianissimo User

    Jan 24, 2016
    New York/Austria
    Don't over blow the cornet. You need to have a role model tone in your head for trumpet and cornet. Try to sound like it every time you play.
    gunshowtickets likes this.

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