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Dark Tone on Trumpet


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sethmitchell1
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 5:24 pm    Post subject: Dark Tone on Trumpet Reply with quote

I have been playing trumpet for about seven years now. I have got a private teacher, and one of the things he always tells is that my tone is too bright. I have tried to hard to make a darker more classical tone, but whatever I do seems to get me there only for a short period of time and only in the middle register, not high nor low.
Are there any suggestions to get a dark classical tone, compared to my bright jazz tone?
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It could be that your mental concept is not towards a dark sound. I believe that your body follows your mind. Meaning you have to have a clear concept of what you want to sound like.

If that doesn't work, and give it some time first, but you also might try a slightly deeper mouthpiece. What are you using, did you say? I was dissatisfied with my sound and got a hybrid bowl/V- shaped mouthpiece and it was what I needed, sound-wise, to darken my sound.
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nzhangtrpt
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dark tone refers to having more low overtones, which is resulted from your oral cavity, mouthpiece depth, leadpipe and bell combination, etc. When I am seeking a darker tone I go for a deeper mouthpiece (if not changing the way I play), since other aspects that affects your tone might be harder to change.
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improver
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is your answer. Open or Relax yoour aperture or relax your corners a little. Think open and relaxed oral cavity. Relax your throat open. Think open ah. If you use a c cup or shallower for commercial get a b cup. All that will darken your sound. Practice that . I can darken my sound considerably.
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kalijah
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Soft tones are dark. Loud tones are bright. Oral space is not significant. Air pressure is.
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nzhangtrpt
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is what Jason Harrelson said in the comment of his video:

"So what makes a trumpet sound darker?"

"The air volume of each component including your mouth, mouthpiece cup, throat, backbore, leadpipe, bore size and bell. The answer has been addressed extensively in my blog at www.whyharrelson.com"

Here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTcVfVJ4CHA&t=56s
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nzhangtrpt
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why does your teach think your sound is too bright? What is your sound too bright for?

I'd consider a beautifully played Haydn Trumpet Concerto on a 7E mouthpiece to be much more musical than the same but poorly executed concerto on a 1X.
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HERMOKIWI
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where does "dark" start compared to "bright?" It's a relative thing and a subjective determination. So, your private teacher's definition of "dark" may or may not match the definition of others.

Dark vs. Bright is an area where equipment can help. The two equipment things that help darken the sound are a deeper cup mouthpiece and a bell taper designed to produce a darker sound.

So, for example, a Bach Strad with a 25 or 43 bell is designed to produce a brighter sound than if the horn has a 37 or 72 bell. As for mouthpieces, I play a Reeves Dynamic Mass 43D as my all around mouthpiece, which has a 43/64" diameter deep cup. I also have a Reeves Dynamic Mass 43M which has a 43/64" diameter medium deep cup. The 43D produces a darker sound than the 43M. I switched from the 43M to the 43D because the 43D produced a darker sound than the 43M. I used to play a Reeves 43S which is a 43/64" diameter shallow cup. That mouthpiece produces a very bright sound. I used it back in the days when I played in a big band. Now I'm a small group jazz improvisation player and for that I like the darker sound of the 43D the best of any of the mouthpieces I've played.

So, the simplest change is to switch to a mouthpiece with the same diameter cup you currently play but which has a deeper cup than the mouthpiece you currently play.

In my opinion the last thing you do to get a darker sound is to start messing with the way you play the horn. If the way you're playing is working for you and you're getting a good clear sound I think it's a bad idea to start trying to play in some unnatural way to try to get a different sound. I feel that way especially because, as discussed above, there are equipment changes you can make that can make a big difference in dark vs. bright sound without changing anything about the way you play.
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kalijah
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes cup volume can influence tone. Oral volume does not.
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improver
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

" oral space is not significant" what the hell would you know about it " heavyweight" I can sound like a flugelhorn as I relax my throat and open my aperture and oral cavity. You should try it heavyweight.
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HERMOKIWI
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

improver wrote:
" oral space is not significant" what the hell would you know about it " heavyweight" I can sound like a flugelhorn as I relax my throat and open my aperture and oral cavity. You should try it heavyweight.


I know you weren't referring to me but I tried what you suggested anyway to try to reproduce the results you report.

I'm not certain how you would open your oral cavity other than to puff your cheeks or lower your jaw. If there is another way please describe it.

When I puffed my cheeks, which would certainly increase the size of my oral cavity, the tone remained the same.

When I tried to play with a lowered jaw things did not work at all because it distorted my embouchure.

When I opened my aperture the tone became thinner/foggier and the pitch went flat.

I'm not certain what you mean by "relax my throat." I never get the impression that my throat is involved at all. How do you constrict or relax the throat?
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kalijah
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The aperture can influence tone. All things being equal the oral size has no direct significance in regard to tone color. Air pressure is the dominant influence the embouchure is secondary but can have modest influence.

The resonance is in the instrument. Not the body.
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nzhangtrpt
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know one way to "increase oral cavity" is to lower your tongue position. I am not sure if thats gonna darken your sound.
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HERMOKIWI
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nzhangtrpt wrote:
I know one way to "increase oral cavity" is to lower your tongue position. I am not sure if thats gonna darken your sound.


Your tongue takes up its space no matter where you locate it in your oral cavity. So it wouldn't seem that moving the tongue within your oral cavity would have any effect on the size of your oral cavity.

I also don't know that players who have naturally larger oral cavities than other players necessarily produce a naturally darker sound than those other players. I don't know that there is any correlation between the size of the oral cavity and the sound produced.

Why would the size of the oral cavity have any effect on the sound? It's not an echo chamber projecting sound into the horn. The sound starts at the buzz point and projects into the horn from that point.

Are there any authoritative studies on this?
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kalijah
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lowering the tongue is indeed associated with increasing cavity size because the mouth floor moves up or down. Not because the size of the tongue changes.

It is EASY to demonstrate that air pressure increase on a constant pitch has a pronounced effect on tone color.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 6:25 am    Post subject: Re: Dark Tone on Trumpet Reply with quote

sethmitchell1 wrote:
... Are there any suggestions to get a dark classical tone, compared to my bright jazz tone?

----------------------------------------------------
Strive to have your tone 'blend smoothly' into the overall ensemble. Play loud enough so your part is not lost (the conductor will let you know if more is wanted!), but don't feel obliged to have your part dominate. Even in a solo passage, your sound should not overwhelm, but should 'ride on top'.

I find that trying to 'relax' or 'increase' my throat does help. My guess is doing that slightly changes the size and shape of vibrating lip tissue which results in a tone change.

Jay
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Brad361
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nzhangtrpt wrote:
Why does your teach think your sound is too bright? What is your sound too bright for?....


I would ask the same question. Sometimes students are told so often that they should produce a “dark sound” that they equate “dark” with “good” and “bright” with “bad.” “Dark” CAN also be “dull.”

Brad
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AJCarter
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brad361 wrote:
“Dark” CAN also be “dull.”
Brad


Bingo. Language used in teaching trumpet and brass is so spotty because it is made to be "one size fits all" pedagogy that then gets passed down and regurgitated. They say Dark when they really mean they want colorful. But they're getting these dull sounds and then say there isn't enough projection so students play louder, get a crappy, ratty sound and then get yelled because it's offensive.


OP. You ever hear some of our great orchestral players up close? There is nothing "dark" about their sounds. They are ringing, vibrant, colorful, and brilliant so they can project over an orchestra to the back of a hall.
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wayben
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Getting back to the Ops original question. I agree with the advice that others have given, increase MP cup size. I picked up a Bach 184 Cornet several years ago and wasn't getting the tone I was looking for, too bright. I tried a couple other MPs with same rim size and contour, but deeper cup, and was able to get the darker tone I was looking for. I've done the same with various trumpets to get the tone I was looking for with that specific trumpet, and the ability to change it by just changing MP. Sticking with the same rim and contour makes it easy to swap between horns and MPs. YMMV
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think the use of the term "dark" equates to "dull". When I say "dark", I know exactly what I mean. It's semantics and there needs to be a clear identification between sender and receiver to make sure you're both either using the term to mean the same thing or if there's a disconnect.
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Last edited by kehaulani on Fri May 08, 2020 7:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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