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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Why does bright=bad and dark=good? in the General forums; In my experience, a 'dark' sound is one that is rich with overtones, low and high, and the 'bright' tone, ...
  1. #11
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    Re: Why does bright=bad and dark=good?

    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.
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  2. #12
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    Re: Why does bright=bad and dark=good?

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

  3. #13
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Re: Why does bright=bad and dark=good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Towo View Post
    It seems that as far as classical music goes everyone always says that a bright sound is terrible and that one should strive for the darkest sound they can, but I've noticed that the best classical players actually have quite bright sounds.

    For example Marice Murphy, Harry Glantz, Phil Smith, Tine Thing Helseth all have (or had) bright sounds. I wouldn't consider any of these players sound or any trumpet players in any major symphony orchestra to have a dark sounds all, rather the words brilliant, clear, ringing, sparkling, resonant, bright come to mind but never dark or mellow.

    So with the majority of great players having such bright sounds (once again I'm referring solely to classical musicians not jazz) why is it that so many players and teachers constantly encourage dark, mellow tones as being ideal?

    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.

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  4. #14
    Piano User PakWaan's Avatar
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    Re: Why does bright=bad and dark=good?

    Quote Originally Posted by rowuk View Post
    testosterone driven players just demonstrate why it is useful to learn trumpet: Then you don't have to sit in front of these idiots.
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  5. #15
    Fortissimo User coolerdave's Avatar
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    Re: Why does bright=bad and dark=good?

    Quote Originally Posted by trickg View Post
    I think that the whole "dark" sound thing is kind of going away because as I see it, it's not so much dark as it is very full, round and focused, and that's not actually dark all of the time. When I listen to orchestral recordings I don't hear the trumpets and think "dark" - to me it's more along the lines of "brilliant."

    Full and focused - that's what I strive for, although depending on the equipment I use, I can either enhance or tone down the amount of edge on my sound.
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  6. #16
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    Re: Why does bright=bad and dark=good?

    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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