Why does bright=bad and dark=good?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Towo, Jul 5, 2011.



    Apr 1, 2011
    In my experience, a 'dark' sound is one that is rich with overtones, low and high, and the 'bright' tone, has more high overtones, which is more (in my opinion) of a hollow, or tinny sound.
  2. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 14, 2010
    IMO Orchestral trumpets seem being somewhat brighter than jazz trumpets, but less so than mariachi trumpets and, especially in patriotic type pieces.
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    You Mr. Towo get an award for way above average hearing!

    To answer your question: the good teachers do not preach light or dark. They preach natural you. Those that talk about dark have no idea what they are talking about. Why? simple, dark only works when you are a combo player and have a microphone - or a very small club.

    Bright could be the wrong word though. I think BRILLIANT is a better word.

    Where many get confused is that immature players have a bright sound and no elegance. That combination means obnoxious. Dulling that sound results in a bigger problem however. The sound gets thick and covers up everything. The only solution is to learn to play elegantly - regardless of register and dynamics. No one minds a loud high note in tune, in style and in context.

    Testosterone driven players just demonstrate why it is useful to learn trumpet: then you don't have to sit in FRONT of these idiots.
  4. PakWaan

    PakWaan Piano User

    Apr 4, 2010
    Orlando, FL
    That was worth a smile......
  5. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    +1 ....!!!!
  6. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    I don't have any problems with these terms in and of themselves. I think they are the most helpful when used contrasting different individuals, horns, groups etc, i.e. in comparison. Absent any descriptive terms doesn't leave much to help describe a sound. Of course it's a bit arbitrary and inexact but IMO better than nothing.

    If I say Arturo Sandoval's sound is brighter than Ryan Kisor's, that gives us immediately a reference point for comparing the two. Or in the past, you could generally say that German orchestras are darker than French orchestras. Granted it doesn't say what Arturo or a German orchestra sound like in and of itself, but it certainly does give a reference that I find helpful.

    Regarding the OP's question itself, speaking from a teaching standpoint, getting students to "darken" up their sound also usually implies giving it more fullness and body. Many times novice players play "bright" because they don't give their tone the attributes I just mentioned and in this case "bright" really can also be synonymous with "shrill", which you want to avoid. Therefore, psychologically, I have found it more effective to tell someone that we are going to try to "darken" their sound up a bit, vs making it "unshrill".

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