Why is third part so important?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by JZSYami, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. JZSYami

    JZSYami New Friend

    Sep 18, 2012
    Northern California

    I'm just wondering why every single band member I talk to seems to think that 3rd part is So Important.

    It seems like a black hole. Once your section leader hands it to you, you're stuck with it. In a concert, no one can hear you, even if you play your loudest.
    When one hears trumpets, do they hear the people playing 3rd, NO! It's usually the 1st & 2nd that get heard.

    so why is it so important??
  2. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    If it weren't, the composer wouldn't have bothered with it.

    Being one of the newest members of the trumpet section in my community band, I frequently get third parts. In fact, at the last concert, by a quirk I was covering them by myself. I most certainly had parts that had unique things in them that no one else was playing.

    Think of this: If no one can hear the third, your firsts and seconds are probably playing too damn loud!

  3. edfitzvb

    edfitzvb Forte User

    Jun 10, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    Do YOU hear it when you play it? And, yes, the first trumpet should be louder then the others. When I play second trumpet I am careful to lay my part under the first. I enjoy hearing the way the two parts mesh. It is enough for me to attempt to play every note at my closest approximation of perfection. Enjoy what you do, and let the audience find their enjoyment where they may. Most of my listeners say things to me that don't necessarily mesh with what I just heard. Music for music's sake.
  4. edfitzvb

    edfitzvb Forte User

    Jun 10, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    Actually, the OP underscored my last point. Any musician can hear the underlying parts and appreciate them. It is only the untrained ear that notices the top part exclusively.
  5. DaTrump

    DaTrump Forte User

    Oct 21, 2011
    Huntsville, Texas
    With that kind of thought process, why play anything but the melody? Edfitzvb makes a very good point, you obviously lack the ear of a musician. Music IS music because there is more to it than the melody. Third part is one of the most important sections, just like low brass. Without lower parts, the higher ones sound thin, and sometimes shrill. They fill out the sound, and make it all sound good. Yes, melody is important but harmony, especially the lower harmonies MAKE the band.
  6. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 11, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    Off of what DaTrump said --

    Music is driven by the harmony. Melody is beautiful, but harmonies are hidden in the melodies as well, because melodies come from harmonies. The non-first parts can be important to bring harmony to the melodic line, and give it more depth. Also, sometimes the second and third parts have counter melodies, or accents (like fanfares) that intertwine with the melody

    In specific regards to trumpet, and orchestra and bands, the lower parts support the 1st part. When you have strong 2nd and 3rd part players, the first part can almost just "sit" on top of them... the harmony makes it easier to hear where the line is leading, and the support helps the first player to sail over the orchestra.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2012
  7. mctrumpet98

    mctrumpet98 Pianissimo User

    Sep 29, 2011
    Down Under
    I once heard a nice analogy to explain this sort of thing.

    Think of the band as a bowl of porridge, and just say there only four voices in the band (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass).
    - The melody is your spoon with which you can eat and enjoy the porridge
    - The bass is the bowl of the porridge, which supports the porridge and is essential for ease of eating. Try eating porridge off a flat surface! It's so hard!
    - The inner harmonies are the 'mush' - they are the actual porridge. Without the inner harmonies, the bowl would have nothing to support and there would be no use for the spoon.

    Every part of the porridge is absolutely essential. The inner parts just as, if not more important than the soprano and bass.
  8. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    3rd is also important because Ted plays 3rd.

    (See, even 3rd chair players can have trumpeters attitude).
  9. bachfella

    bachfella Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 11, 2011
    Claymont, DE
  10. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    I agree with Mark, and I think 3rd and 4th parts are the hardest to play, as they do not necessarily follow the melody line, but are playing more a harmony line. Quite often the 3rd can be supporting harmony, then be playing with the troms or horns.

    It does vary in different settings (orchestra, Brass Band, Concert Band etc), but my take is 1st is Lead and heads the section and plays the melody line, the others (2nd 3rd & 4th) play a support role. 2nd usually picks up the solos to take some pressure off the lead 1st. So 1st & 2nd mainly play melody, 3rd carries the harmony line and ties the section to the overall band. 4th sits with 3rd but 4th picks up the screamer solos, as these are taxing. 4th for lower grade bands are usually written to support chord arrangements and the chords work best with the full sections. But (in some settings like Big Bands) often a 4th has monster hi chops to support solos. Personally I like 3rd and 4th, although my goal is to get to be a good 2nd with a good solo repetoire.

    Good thread.

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