What is the secret

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

  1. gunshowtickets

    gunshowtickets Forte User

    Mar 11, 2015
    Tidewater, VA
    I can confirm, i am meathead.

    But a boy can dream, can't he?

    My lil sis got to go see her university's BBB, it's their second year since they started back up. She sent me a short, low- quality video and it was veeery not British.

    So the moral of the story is build a time machine, go back to a coupla months before I'm born, and somehow convinced my father to move to England and get me into a band soon's I can walk.
  2. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008

    But if you can't afford the time machine (I hear they're pretty expensive), try getting a cornet with a shiny shepherd's crook and a deep v-shaped mouthpiece.

    And only as a last resort, try the suggestion by Rowuk, Sethoflagos, and others about sound, style, and elegance.

    (Tongue-in-cheek warning here. Of course, there's nothing wrong with time travel or shepherd crook cornets. I'm just trying to use a little humor to echo some of the good advice in this thread. It reminded me of Clark Terry's steps to improvisation ... "Imitation, Assimilation, Innovation".)

  3. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I've heard a real British brass band live before, and it knocked my socks off. After many years of playing in the local brass band, I recently resigned as a full-time member, mainly because the band rarely matched my concept of what it should be. It was more of a concert band without woodwinds...:-(

    Hey, I gave it almost 15 years, but things just didn't work out the way I hoped. I've played cornet for a large portion of the last 50 years, and think I have the concept down pretty well. For playing cornet in many of the U.S. brass bands, just buy a mellow cornet, use a big deep mouthpiece, and you'll be ahead of many who are just trumpet players blowing a horn with a few more curves.
  4. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    I think a lot of American bands would do themselves a favour and not call themselves "British" BB unless that band is passionately dedicated to authenticity in BBB sound, articulations, etc. I believe you can certainly play the music, as a band, with a more universal approach. Dropping "British" from the name relaxes some of the obligation to play authentically.

    A band I heard years ago that was really nice was the Jack Daniels Silver Cornet Band; typically American but in a contemporary concept surely capable of playing Holst. I personally would not want to play in a BBB because of its rigidity, stylistically. When they do that, sometimes they are square-pegging a round hole, musically. Who wants to hear "West Side Story" in a British style? It's as American as it can be.

    But neither can you quibble about a style just because you want to play something the way you want to play it and not the way convention,(style, history, tradition, etc.) calls for it to be played.
  5. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    I'd almost swear that quite a few BB bands play instruments that are not pitched to A=440. Their articulation seems to have a martial influence. Otherwise, they seem to mostly play low and loud outdoors. Still, the best British Band I've heard live are the Royal Marines. I'd still like to get the sheet music to the Trumpet Carillion as played by the Royal Scots on their album Amazing Grace. Militarily I've heard that the Royal Scots have now been amalgamated with the Welsh Carabineers.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    There is no secret - playing with a full, lush, dark, centered sound takes a lot of time and practice.

    There's kind of an interesting thing that my son experiences now and again - he's worked hard at playing guitar and has gotten to be pretty good at what he does. People will hear him play and they'll make a comment to the effect of, "I wish I had talent like that." While he never says anything, he gets borderline offended because while he does have talent, his ability on the instrument comes more from countless hours of working hard on it, each and every day. It's not like a guitar fell into his hands and all of a sudden he was able to play like that because "he has talent."

    Granted, certain things come easier to some people than they do others. I don't know if you have put in countless hours in the practice room, working on long tones, or tirelessly working on articulations and attacks in conjunction with fingerings. If you have, then ramp it up to the next level and work those things even harder.

    To paraphrase a valuable lesson that actually came from a percussion clinic I attended, if you want to improve your sound on cornet, then work on your sound, every day. That's the secret.
  7. True Tone

    True Tone Piano User

    Aug 16, 2015
    As one of the other few people on here who have heard the BBoH live, I'll contribute a bit to this a bit.
    I do think that they can at least try to be better with that concept, as I've heard them play Trittico and a few other pieces well.
    And I'll also add that in my opinion, part of that problem also stems from the problem I complain to my band director about at times, that most people these days don't really know what a real Cornet sounds like. (as an example in my school band, Cornet and Trumpet parts alike are all played on Trumpets, even in Holst. [Speaking of Holst, I got a certain someone to agree to let us possibly play Hammersmith in a certain concert in May.])
  8. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    The instruments themselves have changed over the years, I grew up during WW2 listening to recordings of Foden Motor Works and Black Dyke Mills bands, Harry Mortimer Cornet etc.

    When the country town bands were reformed after the war new instruments were difficult to get and expensive in Australia and most instruments were well prewar and a lot pre WW1, the Australian bands were in high pitch, some into the 60s. My first cornet was a 1904 Besson high pitch that my father paid 32 Aus pounds, I realize now about 2+ weeks wages.

    Of my 6 cornets, only one has the sound I associate with the traditional BBB, that is my 100 year old Boosey Solbron with its original style mouthpiece 1930s old style B+H. The American style long cornets, French Selmer, Olds Super, Conn 80A and Ohio Band Inst Co Regent all are too trumpetary, sure settled with a deep V mouthpiece but still not the sound of the Boosey.

    The Boosey has a bore of 0.450", compared with the Besson Sovereign at 0.470" that I would play if ever I was to join a Brass Band, a different sound again.

    Regards, Stuart.
  9. LaTrompeta

    LaTrompeta Forte User

    May 3, 2015
    Colorado Springs
    I played in a "British-style" band. You need a role model, for sure. Additionally, you need a proper large-bore, shepherd's crook cornet with a huge mouthpiece!
  10. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    Here's a video I recorded a couple years ago when I was home sick one day - a leaky 100+ year old Besson "Chicago Bore" cornet, played with a Curry 3BBC mouthpiece. Played with bravura, for sure ;-) . Ignore the low production values and reversed image...ha ha


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