words to desribe tone-sound

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by SteveRicks, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

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    Sometimes I have difficulty characterizing a person's tone in words. Yes, I know words are very imperfect, but I would like to know how some of you would describe the sound/tone of the following individuals.

    Harry James

    Miles Davis

    Maynard Ferguson

    Al Hirt

    Herb Alpert

    Scooter (Scott E.)
     
  2. Haste2

    Haste2 Piano User

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    Wow, I have this exact same problem! I guess I'm not one to describe different "colors" of tone, either. I think it's a talent involving both the ears AND your verbal skills. Of course, you don't have to be able to describe the different sounds in words to be a good musician... you just need to be able to tell the difference with your ears.
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't really try and describe it. I invite whoever is interested for a glass of wine and some cheese and we listen to recordings and always walk away with the knowledge that the sound is only a small part of their playing.

    It is impossible to rate sound as playing style affects what we perceive. Even players with a bright sound can be perceived as "dark" if their playing style is laid back. Players with dark sounds can be labeled "bright" if they are "in your face" with their playing style.

    Their can simply be no meaningful discussion on individual parts as every player has many more facets. All of those players that you mentioned have tunes with sounds from flamethrowers to dark clouds in the sky
     
  4. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

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    I agree, it's hard to describe qualities of trumpet sounds and playing ...... but it can be done and it can be useful.

    I went through something like this with singing lessons. My instructor would break down the voice into "manageable" components, in order to work on specific things. Sometimes the names and descriptions made perfect sense ..... the "ring" of vocal chords that have edge to them (something that can be "dialed in" with the right exercises), singing forward or back in the throat (changes the sound dramatically), head voice, chest voice, passagio (that tiny spot between voices), etc. etc. ....

    It was very uesful to get the lessons done and helpful in discussing singers ..... "Don't be a nasal singer," he'd say, "like Michael MacDonald or Willie Nelson." Somehow those two singers make it work, or not, depending on your taste, but it certainly isn't something you'd want in your voice. Can be very helpful to dissect sounds, but it's clearly not easy and needs a common language.

    Turtle
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2010
  5. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    I feel there are two types of sound,pleasant and unpleasant. What makes a sound pleasant, be it dark,bright or anything in between is that it's a relaxed sound,not forced or pinched.Their sound seems to just flow out of their horns.This comes with proper breathing technique, the one thing in common all those players have.
     
  6. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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  7. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

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    Markie,

    That sounds right for Miles .... especially "intimate". That, to me, is really where he's different than everybody else. But that's not a physical characteristic of tone or sound. That's style more than anything.

    It's really hard, I think, to talk about trumpet sounds ....... At least with voice, it can be put into a category, like "tenor" or "baritone" or "soprano". Trumpet, at least where Maynard is concerned, covers all that and more.

    Turtle
     
  8. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    I don't really try and describe it. I invite whoever is interested for a glass of wine and some cheese and we listen to recordings and always walk away with the knowledge that the sound is only a small part of their playing.
    ----------
    Make it a bottle of wine and I'll be there.
     
  9. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

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    Singers are so much easier to describe. Take these for example:

    Ella Fitzgerald ... Soprano (I think:oops:), clear, pure, beautiful tone with a relaxed style that is clean, accurate and honest with the material.

    Anita O'Day ... Lively, fast singer with a gift for complex rhythms and changes and improvisation.

    Mel Torme ... Velvet fog.

    Louis Armstrong ... :shock: How WOULD you describe his voice??? It's one of my favorite singing voices ever but I'm at a loss ..... he's totally unique. He sings like Louis.

    Turtle
     

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