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Which Sound Is More Important

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Vin DiBona
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone who does not want their sound to please the audience needs to find another instrument. Perhaps the ocarina.
Don't think for a minute that many audience members don't know a good sound from a lousy one. They won't tell you you stink, they'll just hope they don't have to hear you again.
I have a dear friend who spent quite a bit of time in Chicago Symphony trumpet section as an extra in concerts and recordings.
He said that there were times Bud had a odd sound from the side, but once it got out of the bell for a few feet, there was that incredible sound he had.
If you cannot tell the difference from the sound you hear and the sound reaching the audience, learn it. There are times for beauty and crudeness and you better learn when either one is required. Don't sound crude all the time.
I have had the privilege of sitting in sections with world class players. They know exactly what it sounded like in the hall.
It is not string theory physics.
R. Tomasek
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's all about why you play.

No one is going to get rich playing trumpet, the best one can hope for is to work really hard, and make very good money. Perhaps even be recognized by one's peers.

So, at the end of the day for the 99.9% of the rest of us, it's all about why you do it.

If you simply enjoy playing, if the horn is an emotional and expressive outlet that gives meaning to your moment, and the audience, if any, is simply people who tolerate you, then the leak-back to your ears is what matters.

If your purpose in playing is more to add to the experience of a moment in the lives of those in your audience, to add to and expand upon those events you are a part of as the audience experiences them, then what matters is how it sounds to them.

Is your reason to play intrinsic or extrinsic? that determines which perspective dominates.
Ron Berndt

2017 Austin Winds Stage 466
1962 Mt. Vernon Bach 43
1954 Holton 49 Stratodyne
1927 Conn 22B
1957 Holton 27 cornet
1985 Yamaha YEP-621
1975 Yamaha YEP-321 Custom
1965 Besson Baritone
1975 Olds Recording R-20
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2021 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thrust of my original question is "Do we choose our equipment more for the way it sounds to us on our end of the horn or do we choose our equipment more for the way it sounds to the audience?"
Excellent question! I've thought quite a lot about this recently as I have had the opportunity to try a few different horns.
When I upgraded to a Schilke from my student model I really couldn't hear a difference, but my teacher did.
However, I did FEEL much easier to play so I had to trust what he said.
Fast forward years later and I now
can hear a slight difference between the Bach and Yamaha models I've tried both on my end and
to the 'audience' which I recorded in the room on my cell phone.
That being said, I think I still sounded like "me" with not too much variation.
Perhaps as my skill improves this will change?
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is maybe slightly off target but another thing I find when I’m comparing horns is how they feel. I don’t mean mechanically but sonically. My two favorite trumpets are a 1953 Olds Recording and a much newer Kanstul 1001. One major difference is the lighter Kanstul sort of vibrates in my hands while the Olds doesn’t. So my question is, does the tactile feeling of the Kanstul help in shaping the tone?
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hermokiwi I really like your approach and description of it.

I think we are speaking of a similar thing but from a different direction.

My early playing settled into a relaxed embouchure born out of lightness and lack of pressure and breathing into the mouthpiece to generate tone.

This was necessary because when I started playing, it was out of need to make money busking from day one, to eat, and I found myself playing for between 6 and 10 hours each day. Relaxed playing was the only way to make it through.

I quickly ended up with rich and full tone and this rich tone is my style of play and I am known for it. I choose instruments and mouthpieces that make playing in this style easier for me but I can do it on most instruments sometimes with a bit of effort.

I found that when I changed instrument my tones would over time naturally migrate to this rich style much as you describe.

I also found that as I play I hear myself and subconsciously that helps migrate my tones to my natural rich tones.

I also found that when my endurance starts to fail my tones lack richness and effort is required to keep playing rich. I think this supports your view that it is sometimes unwise to fight the natural acoustics of the instrument. But I have been doing this successfully for many years and I got used to it.

When I said we have the skills to make it sound right that also includes having the skills to play our own native style on any instrument as well as being able to mould our tones if we choose to. But I believe that we have to hear ourselves play to do this well.

I now find myself in a difficult position my go-to horn a conn 80a was flattened recently in a car accident so I am having to play on trumpets not through choice. My cornet helped me achieve a smooth rich and full cornet tone. That instrument is gone and dead now so I have to be enterprising and create those cornet tones on trumpets or as close as I can get to it.

I have said before that we can create cornet tones on trumpet if we chose to, so I am putting my money where my mouth is now and moulding my tones on trumpet to my natural cornet tones and with some success.

It is my natural tone style and I will not be letting an instrument loss rob my audience of the tones they have come to love.

So this is what we are discussing, players natural tones effortlessly delivered with an instrument. But then if catastrophe happens and we lose that instrument being able to still play the same tones on a quite different instrument that should sound quite different.

You are quite right of course it is far harder to mould and control the tones almost fighting the instrument to do it, but it can be done if it must be. I have people depending on me to deliver my tones as before and I have no intention of letting them down.

We are in control of the instrument not the other way round. And if we have to, we can make it sound in a style that we choose. (within reason).

I take your point that the player does not hear what the audience hears so what sounds right to me may not sound right to the audience.

However I counter this with anecdotal evidence. Audiences are telling me what I sound like and their description matches my concept of the tones that I believe I am creating. The more I believe I sound good or "right" the more the audience tells me that I sound right to them.

Does my tone concept match what they hear. I dont think that matters if the audience uses words like gorgeous and beautiful when you are going for gorgeous and beautiful.

To a great extent it does not really matter which field you knock it into, just as long as you knock it out of the park.

I found your post to be illuminating and instructive.
Conn 80a Cornet
Boosey & Hawkes Emperor Trumpet
Olds Fullerton Special Trumpet
Selmer Invicta Trumpet
Yamaha YCR 2330II Cornet
Selmer Student Trumpet
Bohland and Fuchs peashooter Trumpet
Boosey and Hawkes Regent Cornet
Lark M4045 Cornet
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 9:56 pm    Post subject: which sound is more important Reply with quote

It is a very interesting topic and the musician that is probably most often forced to perceive and "alter" their sound is the jazz musician that is playing in many different venues. The battle for the musician is to find that balance that they are happy with. I wouldn't ever say I have had the depth of experience that most of you in here, but on a few occasions I played the same solo in two different churches down the street from each other during the same service with my piano accompanist friend. Both buildings have you stand different places, the sound feedback is entirely different and you have to translate that for yourself and be comfortable with what you play. The symphony where I live had a short time a few years ago when they had to use a large room at the convention center for a couple performances. I was in the music shop and heard the former principle trumpet talking about the difference in rooms. Yep, it is a very interesting topic.
"There are two sides to a trumpeter's personality,
there is one that lives to lay waste to woodwinds and strings, leaving them lie blue and lifeless along a swath of destruction that is a
trumpeter's fury-then there is the dark side!" Irving Bush
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rwwilson wrote:
This is maybe slightly off target but another thing I find when I’m comparing horns is how they feel. I don’t mean mechanically but sonically. My two favorite trumpets are a 1953 Olds Recording and a much newer Kanstul 1001. One major difference is the lighter Kanstul sort of vibrates in my hands while the Olds doesn’t. So my question is, does the tactile feeling of the Kanstul help in shaping the tone?

Interesting question. Does it for you?

I too play an Olds Recording (1970+) and I've noticed the bell also resonates (slightly) if played a certain way, and usually that's when it sounds best too.
Enthusiastic amateur with good intentions. My personal experiences may not match yours. Value my posts as you see fit.

Plays an Olds Recording with AR Resonance mouthpiece(s)
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2021 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As an improvising musician of course the sound you hear yourself is by far the most important. But if you play in public, a necessary condition is that the public can hear you with a good sound. So that is a second but important condition.
Here I copied the story of a Dutch player, Erik Vloeimans, a signature Oiram V-flow Van Laar player, about his experience in this field:

Eric Vloeimans talks about his new OIRAM light trumpet:

One evening, I played with the famous reed quintet Calefax in a church in Limburg, not far from Margraten where the Van Laar company is located.
Hub himself attended the concert and after the performance we met up in a bar opposite the concert venue. Hub shared a critical comment about the V-Flow trumpet. The problem was that he couldn’t hear me from the back of the church. I seemed to disappear in the quintet, he said. From the furrows on his brow I could see that he was thinking of how to solve this problem.
Just for the record: It is absolutely necessary that a good musician blends in well and practically disappears within the collective sound of the ensemble. However, if one has a melody to play, or an improvisation, then things are a bit different and one must rise distinctively above the other musicians.

I have to tell you that Hub developed the V-Flow with me in mind and that I have been completely satisfied with it for many years now. In whatever combination, this instrument did exactly what I wanted, and it is really special that the V-Flow trumpet is so wonderfully expressive when I play in the mid-low register. But apparently this could be bettered. WOW!!!

One year later I received a telephone call from Van Laar. Something new had been built and I should come by. Without further ado, as is his manner, Hub laid a trumpet with the name OIRAM light in my hands. OIRAM light??? Well, I must admit that it was really much lighter, and normally trumpets with the word “light” in their name sound lighter and thinner too. Actually that was something I really didn’t care for. But that was merely my initial impression….

Fine, I took the OIRAM light from Hub, and I must say it is really much lighter than my V-Flow. I began to play and with the very first notes my wife almost fell off her seat in astonishment. There was an enormous difference between the V-Flow and the OIRAM light, and the difference was in favour of the OIRAM light. My wife was not the only person who noticed the difference. Anyone with professional, or even non-professional, ears experiences this.

Strangely enough, this phenomenon is based on something that is ‘no longer there’. It is as though certain elements of sound, those which are not necessary, have been eradicated on the OIRAM light. I can’t really describe it any differently, but the essence, the soul of the sound, remains and contributes to a ‘lightness of playing’. Thanks to this lightness I feel much freer, my virtuosity increases, and I can express myself much more creatively.


Eric Vloeimans

Read the whole story:

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Seymor B Fudd
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2021 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A very seminal thread - indeed! Reading it I find many a comment that resonates well with me. Some (like Bflatman) speak of the natural sound. That is something I fully agree with. I hold the opinion that once a player has reached some maturity he/she developes a personal sound - quite dinstinguishable from others´. As with your voice; there are dialects! Some of which are more appealing than others - to the one listening. We hear/perceive sounds in personal ways - in my opinion there is no such thing as a sound however there might be sounds that we prefer (the reasons for this probably just futile looking for - as elusive as coming to understand why we fall in love with someone - "the way you look tonight...").

This should mean that for some (obscure) reason there is a sound that you prefer (once yhou have mastered the horn)yourself. I.e. I´ve come to understand that I prefer a certain sound by listening to Jim Wilt. Why? One reason might be that musically I came to age in a brassband (British style) - that singing, delicate warm, smooth sound you can hear when listening to i.e Abide with me by the Black Dyke Mills band.
So personally I´ve chosen horns that resonate with me vis-à vis that sound. I immediately liked the sound I heard from the mpc end when I bought my King Super 20. I still like it - my new Yamaha 6335RC with me behind produces a very nice sound, is more easy to play but I like the sound of the King better - to my ears. Meaning it´s not necessarily so to someone else´s ears.

That said - I think that if your horn literally resonates well with you, then you are able to transmit more emotions - thus providing the audience with something perceivable - they get touched, probably not knowing why. My own anecdotal evidence dates from playing Fly as a Bird (on the King) at the funeral of a dear friend. I was very touched - the audience simply overwhelmed by emotions afterwards telling me that my playing went straight into their hearts, would stay as the memory of the funeral.

The acoustics of the concert hall in which you play plays a significant role.
In my hometown we have a new concert hall with formidable acoustics; once our band was one of 3 bands (=massed bands) playing, still I could hear myself distinctly, as well as the other players; was a sublime experience - a "Holy Grail" sort of experience. And it was so easy to play!
Some halls are terrible, the sounds fall flat ( ), become deadened - besides making it hard to play.
If the hall has good acoustics the audience will better be able to capture that which you project - then it is an open question (in my opinion) if they fancy your personal voice.
So when testing new horns I think that what you base your opinion on, is what you hear. A horn might accentuate the tonal qualities you like, or not. The mouthpiece adds to the palette; some mpc:s enhance your voice, others distort it or at least subdues some, enhances some
tonal qualities - including those of the horn.
That´s the way I see it.
Getzen Custom Series Schilke 143D3/ DW Ultra 1,5 C
Getzen 300 series
Yamaha YCRD2330II
Yamaha YCR6330II
Getzen Eterna Eb
Yamaha 6335 RC Schilke 14B
King Super 20 Symphony DB (1970)
Selmer Eb/D trumpet (1974)
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