Why do people try to sound dark?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Brass_of_all_Trades, Sep 20, 2014.

  1. Brass_of_all_Trades

    Brass_of_all_Trades New Friend

    Sep 8, 2014
    I never understood this. Isn't the whole point of a trumpet that it sounds brilliant and projects with clarity? If composers wanted to hear a dark sound wouldn't they write for horns instead?

    People consider Bud Herseth to be one of the greatest trumpet players of all time. When I listen to him I don't hear a dark sound, I hear a big, bright sound with amazing clarity. Maurice Murphy sounded even brighter. Where are people getting this idea that trumpets should be dark from?
  2. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    How do you describe dark?

    It is pretty difficult to accurately quantify these descriptions of sound.
  3. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    The way I see it is that it's the sound you'd be looking for on the 2nd movement of Haydn's trumpet concert versus what you would want on the 3rd. Seems rather pointless to limit yourself to one end of the spectrum (unless you just can't manage the other)
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    They only talk about it. Those that talk are generally NOT capable of achieving the goal. They generally do not even know how to achieve the goal.

    There is a misunderstanding that equipment makes sound dark. The problem is if that "smokey" is not in our heads, deep mouthpieces and horns with a more conical bore just destroy endurance and range. I have just decided to let them talk. They learn when their world falls apart.

    I see a dark trumpet sound as only useful as a soloist in combo jazz. The "try to play dark players" generally screw up concert band section sound, are useless in marching band and symphony orchestra. That is their problem.

    Dark can also be a state of mind that we can communicate with a non-aggressive style of musicality instead of deficient frequency response.
  5. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    I lost my post before submitting it, but I think you cover what I was going to say. Not sure why the word "should" should be used in the original post.
    I like many different players' styles, and so "should" doesn't seem it applies really.

    As far as horn goes, doesn't that play an octave or so below trumpet?

  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Not sure if a trumpet player can "try" to sound dark. To me, darkness is a feature of the horn. A horn that plays with "darkness" is one that has less overtones, plays more toward pure tones. When I hit the tonic note of a chord on my Recording, I hear the overtones within the chord along with that tonic note. When I play my Committee, I hear only the tonic note, not chordal overtones. That is how I preceive dark.
  7. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Hmm, I played my Conn 12A in band a couple of weeks ago and was the loudest and brightest in the section. Not bad for a cornet! To answer the OP, marketing is a consideration to be considered. :roll:
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Also, the Harrelson Midnight is painted black - That's dark...

    Ahhh... more evidence that it is a charactoristic of the horn.
  9. DaveH

    DaveH Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    I also have never understood the validity of this so-called concept of a "dark" sound.

    I think of "trumpet" sound. Yes, tone be manipulated, especially by the changing of mouthpieces, but the trumpet produces a characteristic, essential sound, just like a clarinet or trombone does.

    I have always thought that if one wants a sound other than characteristic "trumpet" sound", they should consider playing some other instrument, such as flugelhorn, or French Horn, or maybe some other instrument entirely.
  10. Dviglis

    Dviglis Mezzo Piano User

    Mar 29, 2014
    I would have to agree with rowuk. I can go as dark and smokey as I want on my shallow schilke 13a4a and can still easily get a very bright and warm sound if needed. It truly is all in the mind.

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