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The Trombone ForumCreation and PerformanceMusical Miscellany(Moderators: JP, BGuttman) a discussion of music and the trombone
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Bonefide
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« Reply #20 on: May 12, 2010, 09:30AM »

I think it's very sophisticated...and, in a word...elegant.
Definitely one of the most musical approaches to jazz improvisation I have ever heard.  Very accessible, for those of us who don't speak the language so well...  :/

Yes, very elegant.
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« Reply #21 on: May 12, 2010, 09:32AM »

Also check out Tim Riley on YouTube.  Great, focused sound in the bass trombone register, and not forced at all, except maybe in his lowest notes (pedal Ab, G...around there Amazed). In fact, check out the sound of some of these gospel quartets (religious message aside). Kind of like a barbershop quartet, but usually with lower bass singing. Imagine a trombone quartet sounding like that...a small bore on the top voice, etc.
Exactly.  It's a great sound.  And Richard Sterban does the Gospel thing, too. 
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D Gibson
« Reply #22 on: May 12, 2010, 10:38AM »

We know that to play trombone successfully is a very challenging endeavor physically as well as musically.

There are so many things physically that one must master first on the trombone before one can then start exploring their musicality.

I started out on trombone in the 6th grade band, but also that same year, I took piano lessons. I later played the hammond b3 organ in rock bands after high school. On the b3 organ, all I had to do was master the correct fingerings of the different scales, and I could rip off 3 or 4 octave runs with no effort. I didn't have to think about how to create a musical 'tone', or play in tune. The b3 was such a magnificent instrument in it's day, with the leslie speakers, that it was easy to transcribe licks and runs from records, and sound like santanna all day long, with little or no effort, as compared to doing the same thing on a trombone.

I still can't rip off 4 octave runs because of the physical requirements that the trombone demands. Therefore, I find myself trying to build up my physical attributes on the trombone, knowing, that when I can put my face on the mouthpiece, and not worry about how to make the trombone sound the way I want it to, the music will already be there.

one of the things i try to be aware of in performance is my own physical limit at any given time.  sometimes i can, by simply being aware, make a physical change that will extend that limit.  but, many times, that limit is fixed in that moment and i have to find a workaround solution.  that solution is intended to further the music. 

when we are in conversation, we may struggle to find the perfect word, or stutter and stammer...but as long as we are secure in the message we wish to communicate, then we can still be successful.  in fact, i have enjoyed being more particular about communicating my musical message.  the physical boundaries that the horn provides can be quite beneficial in helping me edit my message to its essence and thereby communicating more effectively. 

i love all of the thoughts about using vocalists as models.  we're all talking/singing through our horns, so it's natural to me.  unfortunately, i think there is a conceptual vacuum between playing a line on the horn and speaking a line with our voice.  many folks that i encounter have not considered the relationship between the two, but i love that everyone is discussing it here. 

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john sandhagen
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« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2010, 10:46AM »

What's funny (for me) is that I hate my voice and I have a hard time singing anything in a reasonable musical manner.  The trombone makes it easier for me to express those things than the voice ever could.  The (bass) trombone matches what's in my head...
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« Reply #24 on: May 12, 2010, 10:48AM »

i understand that it can be difficult to remain committed to musical goals as a solitary performer.  but, it's a worthy endeavor to do so. 

I agree completely. The journey is as much a part of the experience as the goal.
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« Reply #25 on: May 12, 2010, 01:27PM »

What's funny (for me) is that I hate my voice and I have a hard time singing anything in a reasonable musical manner.  The trombone makes it easier for me to express those things than the voice ever could.  The (bass) trombone matches what's in my head...
yes!

Whenever I sing a phrase (how I often decide upon my musical interpretation), I am rather disgusted by my own voice.  After practicing the singing up to a point where I no longer find my singing offensive, the phrase on the horn sings.

Strange though, because I always have the same mental singer in my head.  When playing before singing the phrase, when singing the phrase, and when playing it again- I have the same mental concept.  Something in practicing the singing till it sounds acceptable helps me link the inner singer with the bass trombonist.
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john sandhagen
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« Reply #26 on: May 12, 2010, 01:46PM »

Singing for me is insulting to crows...

I just hear it...just like sight singing.  When I hear it I can play it.  I've already heard it before I try and sing it, singing just depresses me...  So whatever the lick, I can think of it in swing, modern jazz, orchestral, 12 tone, broadway...same notes, huge affect on the music. 

I hear the singers sound...right now.  The sound I sing isn't that so why bother?  The sound I play...is closer.

One thing I amuse myself with is playing the Omnibook in different styles.  Take any Parker solo and slow it down, add pedantic accents, square the time...and it sounds like a 20th century orchestral composition.

I'm gonna swing the Bordogni' next...
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« Reply #27 on: May 12, 2010, 01:53PM »

I just hear it...just like sight singing.  When I hear it I can play it.  I've already heard it before I try and sing it, singing just depresses me...  So whatever the lick, I can think of it in swing, modern jazz, orchestral, 12 tone, broadway...same notes, huge affect on the music. 

I hear the singers sound...right now.  The sound I sing isn't that so why bother?  The sound I play...is closer.
Maybe practicing the singing is sort of like practicing on the horn for me?  I guess the more I practice, on the horn or off, the better I will be.  Approximation time: 90% of my practicing is on the trombone, 5% buzzing, 5% singing.  That singing, however offensive, is a useful tool for me to develop my musical playing.  To each his own.
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« Reply #28 on: May 12, 2010, 03:15PM »

I will post more here later because I like this tread. But the music/trombone question have many aspects. One is that music is difficult to discuss and instrument(technique is easy to put words on. Very short it all have and connection and balance. But I think all agree music is the final goal. Its just not so easy to talk about. And music can be so much from a mother singing a lullaby to a large symphony orchestra performing an opera that is 3 hours long. Both can be worth listening to.

Leif
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« Reply #29 on: May 12, 2010, 09:56PM »


Its just not so easy to talk about. And music can be so much from a mother singing a lullaby to a large symphony orchestra performing an opera that is 3 hours long. Both can be worth listening to.

Leif

Who could've said such a beautiful thing better?  You are absolutely right, Leif.  You just made my day.
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« Reply #30 on: May 13, 2010, 03:24AM »

I went to a very interesting talk today by Howard penny, an Australian cellist who teaches in salzburg. The topic was rhetoric in music and related the idea of speech and rhetoric, that is convincing an audience of something in music. One great idea is that he related every note to a syllable with groups of differnt syllables making words, words making sentences, paragraphs and so on with the idea of punctuation within this. He showed on the cello a variety of syllables related to diffent vocal sounds and articulation relating to them. Anyway in all, extremely interesting
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« Reply #31 on: May 13, 2010, 04:16AM »

I've always thought of trombone and music and the relationship between the two as having a fractal nature. Dig this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal

I try not to make a distinction between Randy the Musician, Randy the trombonist, and Randy the composer because they are all part of one conceptual stew 'n' brew that is Randy the Artist. Every slow lip slur, along with every note I write, every equipment choice I make, every design choice I make for my website, every networking interaction on the trombone forum, and everything else reflects my general aesthetic. 

In other words, when you zoom out of each piece of minutiae, ideally it would be consistent with the big, broad concepts (and the other way around). You can't know the whole without knowing each part, and you can't know each part without knowing the whole. Needless to say: it's a work in progress for me.

I feel like many of my trombone heroes, like Lawrence Brown, J.J., or Roswell Rudd (just to name three) had this going on.  Same with Duke Ellington, Morton Feldman, Samuel Beckett, Jean Luc Godard, Jackson Pollock (whose paintings were fractal in nature, I think...), and others.

Anyhoo, that's my two cents.  Time to hit the practice room!
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D Gibson
« Reply #32 on: May 13, 2010, 06:54AM »

I went to a very interesting talk today by Howard penny, an Australian cellist who teaches in salzburg. The topic was rhetoric in music and related the idea of speech and rhetoric, that is convincing an audience of something in music. One great idea is that he related every note to a syllable with groups of differnt syllables making words, words making sentences, paragraphs and so on with the idea of punctuation within this. He showed on the cello a variety of syllables related to diffent vocal sounds and articulation relating to them. Anyway in all, extremely interesting

exactly.  yes.
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D Gibson
« Reply #33 on: May 13, 2010, 07:00AM »

I've always thought of trombone and music and the relationship between the two as having a fractal nature. Dig this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal

I try not to make a distinction between Randy the Musician, Randy the trombonist, and Randy the composer because they are all part of one conceptual stew 'n' brew that is Randy the Artist. Every slow lip slur, along with every note I write, every equipment choice I make, every design choice I make for my website, every networking interaction on the trombone forum, and everything else reflects my general aesthetic. 

In other words, when you zoom out of each piece of minutiae, ideally it would be consistent with the big, broad concepts (and the other way around). You can't know the whole without knowing each part, and you can't know each part without knowing the whole. Needless to say: it's a work in progress for me.

I feel like many of my trombone heroes, like Lawrence Brown, J.J., or Roswell Rudd (just to name three) had this going on.  Same with Duke Ellington, Morton Feldman, Samuel Beckett, Jean Luc Godard, Jackson Pollock (whose paintings were fractal in nature, I think...), and others.

Anyhoo, that's my two cents.  Time to hit the practice room!

it's possible to become so closely entwined with the instrument that it IS your voice.  playing the instrument utilizes the same cognitive stream as singing. 

i agree with you about the parts functioning in a sense of universal balance.  it takes a long time and a lot of effort to achieve that balance.  in my own practice and performance, i have been most satisfied when i have searched for that balance.  i had it for the first set last night, but not for the second.  so, second set, i tried to find it again...but at least i knew what i was looking for.  it's daunting to search for something and not have a good idea of what it is.  it's the truth.  it's when our technical agendas no longer trump our musical agendas. 

dg

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« Reply #34 on: May 13, 2010, 08:43AM »


The word that sums the character of trombone to me is "Noble".


Noble, yes, agreed. Although Tommy & Spike may have a different perspective:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x24mz_tommy-pederson_life

I dig the whole spectrum. This instrument takes all comers, musically speaking, and says, "what else you got?"
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« Reply #35 on: May 13, 2010, 09:08AM »

One of my teachers many years ago said several things in this area, and the ideas have stayed with me ever since: 

  • Don't just play the trombone.  Lots of people can do that.  Play the sound of the instrument.
  • What is it about the sound of the instrument--whether it's the trombone, the marimba, the cello, whatever--that you like?  What attracts you to the sound of the trombone?  Figure it out and make it yours. 
  • Use your imagination to discover what the composer wanted when he wrote for the trombone.  What sound or feeling did the composer intend right now, right here, at this point in the music?  Listen, imagine, discover, and then be a musician, not just a trombone player. 
 

I find that when I'm thinking about the music or my place or part in the music, it is easier to play.  That is, my brain is mostly focused on being in the moment as a part of the music than I am about how I have to play the music.  I am more focused on the sound and message and less concerned about the technical aspects of playing.   
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« Reply #36 on: May 13, 2010, 02:18PM »

Speaking about words on music. Didn't Bernstein do that a lot in a special way? Like making pictures out of phrases and music?

Leif
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« Reply #37 on: May 13, 2010, 02:45PM »

I have always thought of music as pretty much everything that people are.  You can take the nuts and bolts of people talking, for example - words, facial expressions, spoken tone and emphasis, body language - out of all that, you have communication.  You have a picture of another human.  You aren't just understanding the words when you talk with someone, you are understanding the expressions...the experience.  The very human, who, if you both understand each other, you can then see in yourself.

I see music like that - there are a lot of elements that can be related to how we talk to someone and the feelings we get when we interact with another person.  All the "parts" of music - the pop of the snare, how the ride pattern swings, what sort of vibrato the flute player is using, the orchestration on the shout - add up to the summation of a person's experience of life.  And that's what I believe music is, an expression of life and human's experience being on this planet (you can call that God, if you want).  I feel that looking at person's face and listening to a piece of music provide the same haunting insight into our experience as a whole. But music is just one expression of this.  Art is all an expression.  Buildings and structures are this.  Graffiti is this, ****...even peeling paint off an apartment complex in a bad part of town is this.  Everywhere exudes human-ness.  Music is just one view of this, my chosen view. 


 
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« Reply #38 on: May 13, 2010, 05:18PM »

Music is something you can listen or perform.  In our case with a trombone. When listen that's a personal thing. Also so when performing but there are a problem with performing. First of all you have to know the language. If you don't there will be problem to speak. And there will be problem for the listener to understand. what you say. And for us the trombone/technique/equipment is the language. So to give a message on our trombone we have to learn this. The better we learn it the more easy we can express our self.

When it comes to music and what message we want to tell its very personal.  I give some example of what I mean. If you master the trombone very well you can play Carnival in Venedig. But some just give a technical lesson for us and play the notes very well without saying anything. Its like bla, bla, bla. Impressing but still bla bla bla.
Another one can also say something that moves us. Even with this circus music.  Its about mastering the language but also to say something that is interesting.

For most of us there is a balance of everything and most of us is still on the way to both learn the trombone and listen/give a message that have something that catch our attention.

Another aspect is there is different use of music. Believe it or not but there is music made to make cows produce more milk.  There is music in shopping centers to make us use more money.   There are really some clever people out there. And money is their goal.

Leif
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« Reply #39 on: May 13, 2010, 05:55PM »

I am jumping into this conversation a bit late... I like many others, probably, are quite in line with Mr. Gibson in our exhaustion with the physical aspect of this forum.  So I am excited that a more esoteric (perhaps) conversation is arising here.

The Trombone to music is the same as the Saxophone to music, or the voice, or violin for that matter. A device like a vocal box or wood block that allows a new sound. The greatest of all trombone players are musicians before instrumentalists, musicians who just so happened to play trombone, musicians who could have just as easily been a wind chime player or tablist, maybe a spoken word poet even. I always use Julian Priester as an example, since he has taught me so much. So many trombonists can play what he plays, but no one can. Why is that? We have a million people trying to play like Fontana and Watrous and failing because their technique will never be that amazing. Still no one can touch the simplicity and melodic nature of Julians playing, simply because no one is Julian,like no one can touch Miles even though half the world COULD play what he played, if they were him.

   As Trombonists we fall in to a dangerous cycle-- mostly being musical outcasts from every situation we are in, (except some non-western musics, YES, Puerto Ricans love us, Salsa mi Gente!) gives us very often a serious case of short-man syndrome. We feel it is necessary to prove that we too can be a show stopping, unbelievable solo performer. (Yes you too Mr. Lindbergh, If I wasn't a trombone player I probably wouldn't care.) This only exacerbates our cause. We are slower, more cumbersome and less cohesive in many usual musical settings and peoples constant disappointment when we try to "burn" our way through bebop, start an 2,3 trombone band, or trick people into thinking trombone choirs are interesting for non-trombonists only pushes us farther from the main stream. I think Josh Roseman fights this idea well, others too. Forget the desire to be in front of the sound and use other techniques to relate your music outwardly. The general public will be more receptive.

More will come,

Sorry these Ideas are not more cohesive, they are more like questions in the form of fact.

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