Why do people try to sound dark?

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

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Teutonic sound is a figment of an american trumpet players imagination. It is not possible to emulate with a piston trumpet - or most modern german rotary Bb instruments either. It is not dark or bright or anything in between.

    Older rotary trumpets were built to have a very thick sonorous low register, a very clear midrange and a brilliant high register. The construction of the trumpet with the special short leadpipe, bell with a big crown and heavy bracing made the instruments respond differently. Crescendos were playable with great control. The sound was much more articulate (which had a lot to do with the player - not just the horn). The sound did not mask other instruments sound as greatly. There was more life in the overtones. The F trumpet had much more color than the Bb trumpet, security became the only consideration and many started playing C trumpets.

    Modern piston trumpets pitched in C used in orchestra have a creamy sound from low to high with far less "character" than the older instruments. Crescendos were not as controlled in there delivery of energy. The tone being "thicker" masks other sounds in the same register (violin and viola for instance), those players cannot hear themselves as well. That is pure CRAP for ensemble playing. We can hear the problems at almost any concert: the brass is either a bit too present or not present enough. There is the power to overpower but the unique voice that does not bury others but still is "present" is simply not available.

    The closest thing to teutonic these days is how the Vienna Philharmonic plays followed by the Gewandhaus orchestra sometimes. If you want a good example of teutonic, listen to this frenchman who is actually a horn player, play this rotary Bb from around 1900:

    J. N. Hummel 1/2 Trumpet concerto in E-flat major (David Guerrier, Nantes, 2005) - YouTube
    J. N. Hummel 2/2 Trumpet concerto in E-flat major (David Guerrier, Nantes, 2005) - YouTube

    I wish that more orchestras would spend more time on balance and color. I wish that the terrible development that makes modern instruments so "loud" and inflexible would be challenged. I wish that more players would discover "abandon" and "passion" instead of security by using the smallest instrument that we can get away with. No more piccs in Bolero, Tchaikowsky 4 or Symphonic dances from West Side Story, rotary F trumpets for Mahler and Brückner, natural trumpets for Beethoven and Mozart. There is a lot to discover. Talk is cheap.
     
  2. Brass_of_all_Trades

    Brass_of_all_Trades New Friend

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    People actually do this? I knew about Bolero but I can't imagine how terrible Tchaikovsky 4 must sound on a piccolo trumpet.
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    There is even more to it. We can't just blame the trumpeters. It is tough when you have to play week in week out programs that don't fit together. If we expect advanced style and color, the programming has to fit together properly. A different trumpet every day is tough on our brain when playing professionally!

    The demands perceived by the modern trumpeter (and if we read the comments here, expected by the listeners), point towards accuracy and security above all. Cracked notes are the end of the world. For me it is a bit different. When I go to a concert, I try and get the best seats in the house. I EXPECT balance inside of the orchestral fabric. I expect that the "blend" of the worlds best ensembles is optimal. I sure pay enough for a ticket!what do I see? Plexiglass protectors for the musicians in front of the brass, earplugs being worn by some. I also see piccs and high Eb trumpets with tone that does NOT work. Sure all of the notes are in tune and ok for section loudness. Blend? No way! Many times other instruments are buried by the sound that does not belong. That almost never happens with Vienna, almost always with Boston when playing german romantic music. Even the Chicago brass as brilliant as it is, is not subservient to the music. At a concert here in Germany, when the brass let loose, the strings were simply not audible from my favorite seat in row 15. Later in the piece, the softer parts for trumpet were not even audible. This happens at most concerts that I attend these days. Why? hard to say. Part of the problem is the sound, part is the jetset conductors that have the score in their heads and not ears. Maybe there is not enough rehearsal time?

    Take in contrast performances by the Acadamy of Ancient Music. I heard many concerts under Christopher Hogwoods (RIP) baton. This was perfection in balance and sound, regardless of the hall. The finest Beethoven readings that I know came from live concerts by them.

    Take Mahler 8 by Concertgebouw/Chailly. Even on CD there are few redeaming qualities. At the Concertgebouw In 2001 I was VERY disappointed at the ensemble sound. Individual playing was brilliant. Little fit together however.

    Check out Schostakovich symphonies on YouTube under Mavrinskys baton. Very old recordings with St. Petersburg that give me the warm fuzzies.
     
  4. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    If I close my eyes and listen to this, it sounds as much unstopped high horn as trumpet. How much is intrinsic to the instrument and how much the player, I don't know. I've often wondered whether we tend to play too close to the trombone sound and fail to link properly with the horn section.

    I must say I'm drawn to trying the low F trumpet sometime. I've seen Egger's reworking of Červený designs on Rotary Valve Trumpet in Low F/E/Eb/D - blechblas-instrumentenbau egger. I can't see much by way of a bell crown, but have you any opinion on them?
     
  5. Churchman

    Churchman Mezzo Piano User

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    "Check out Schostakovich symphonies on YouTube under Mavrinskys baton. Very old recordings with St. Petersburg that give me the warm fuzzies."

    :-)
    And Mravinsky is legendary for his tchaikovsky cycle
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I have never played the Egger, but I know that Rainer does wonderful work. Still, historical german needs the crown. It does change the response of the instrument greatly. Rainer would do this for anyone wanting the instrument. Meister Dotzauer also builds low F trumpets and has the crown/garland as an option. F-Alt-Trompete | musik dotzauer

    The low F trumpet often sounds like a natural trumpet with that wonderful auburn sheen to the sound. Here is a link to some historical information:

    Heckel F Trumpet


    My point with David and the Heckel is that we listen to the low, mid and upper register and hear what the instrument respectively does differently.

    Here is a paper from Thein that describes the differences in detail. I haven't found an english translation yet:
    http://www.thein-brass.de/content/du/Amerikanische Trompete-Deutsche Trompete.doc.pdf

    If you would like a real treat, check out his Arban carnival of venice on a historical cornet and mouthpiece.......

     
  7. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

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    I have been playing with an amateur orchestra recently where one trumpeter has various trumpets, and he picks the one most appropriate for the piece we're playing; C trumpet, D trumpet, Bb trumpet (he doesn't have an F trumpet so far as I know). The rest of us are playing Bb trumpets for the same parts. I think we have blending issues, though some of that might be the varying levels of expertise within the section.

    --bumblebee
     
  8. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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    He's just showing off. Does he wear a tux for performances?? :roll:
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Get some trumpet trios and quartets and go for a section rehearsal. Blend is most of the time a function of style and ears, not hardware! It is common for the first to play C and the rest Bb - NEVER the other way around! D-Trumpet is another issue. It gets used in my area of activity for Bolero, Stravinsky and Symphonic Dances from West Side Story - or as the third trumpet when we play Baroque music with modern instruments.
     
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  10. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    I've translated most of this but ran into a problem with "zylindrische Mensuranteile" which is not familiar to me. In desperation, I plugged it into Google translate and got the response "Mens uranium cylindrical parts". Shurely shome mishtake?
     

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