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The Trombone ForumCreation and PerformancePerformance(Moderator: BGuttman) Loud playing - Where you are Vs. Where the audience is.
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Johnston93

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« on: Dec 08, 2015, 10:45AM »

Over the years, I have been discovering what I believe is loud, doesn't always end up being what I thought it was on the recording, and in other peoples opinions who are in the audience. I'm sure I just have to play out until recordings sound right, or friends give me a thumbs up, and I'm sure it has a lot to do with the room. My question is, How do you gage how loud you need to play from the stage, to get the perfect dynamic into the audience?

(I'm sure the same can be said about quiet dynamics as well)
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 08, 2015, 11:00AM »

I find that most people don't play loud enough- the sound coming off the horn and hitting their jaw sounds louder than it really is.

I've also had the opposite happen, where a horn didn't radiate as much as a previous one and I played WAY too loud trying to replicate the feeling.

Color can also be interpreted as loud or soft, regardless of the decibel level.

It all comes down to experience- knowing how your horn responds and sounds in the hall or space.
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 08, 2015, 12:38PM »

It's not always about volume. Timing and intonation, overtones. Sometimes loud could be less. I concentrate most on fit in musically. Sometimes blend, sometimes stick a little out or lead if the music demands so. Or the right word is that's what i try.

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« Reply #3 on: Dec 08, 2015, 01:44PM »

I would argue that it's not about volume, but about projection - at all dynamic levels. Efficiency of breath production, breath control, and energy flow all factor in as well.
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« Reply #4 on: Dec 09, 2015, 02:13AM »

I would argue that it's not about volume, but about projection - at all dynamic levels. Efficiency of breath production, breath control, and energy flow all factor in as well.

What is projection and can one project at will?......
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« Reply #5 on: Dec 09, 2015, 02:15AM »

Play bigger, not louder. You can have a huge sound at ppp.
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« Reply #6 on: Dec 09, 2015, 07:01AM »

Another thing to consider is how much feedback your horn gives you.  I tend to feel that the lighter horns feedback more,so you hear yourself better. But that is sound going backward to you and now out to the audience.  Counterintuitive, but sometimes the horn you can't hear yourself on as well may be louder out front.  If you're in a section, just try to blend in.
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« Reply #7 on: Dec 09, 2015, 07:16AM »

You're ignoring the solution of paying the sound man to turn your mic up.
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« Reply #8 on: Dec 09, 2015, 07:33AM »

What is projection and can one project at will?......

Projection has to do with the balance of overtones on top of the fundamental pitch. If one has some control over that, then yes, one can project at will. This includes the highest overtones, which often sound like a hiss or fuzz in the sound when isolated and heard in close proximity. That hiss or fuzz does not project in a complex acoustic environment, but it helps the rest of the sound - the fundamental pitch and lower overtones - to travel and be heard clearly even when there is a lot of other ambient sound.

Doc Severinsen calls that hiss or fuzz "the rub." Think of Doc and his sound, which has always been dense with that kind of complexity, and you will understand.

This concept was introduced and articulated clearly to me by Chester Schmitz, the former tubist of the Boston Symphony, who could manipulate projection like nobody I've ever heard on any instrument. He could switch on a dime from being a subwoofer sound that was not heard on its own but served to make the entire bottom end of the orchestra more present, to being a clear, ringing solo voice. It was astounding, and he could demonstrate exactly how he did it.



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« Reply #9 on: Dec 09, 2015, 07:40AM »

You should charge for this stuff, Gabe. Few people say it as clearly and accurately as you do.

How does the concept of edge fit into your idea? Brightness and edge are quite different concepts (high harmonic content vs nonlinear wave stuff), and can be readily aurally separated, but they both arise in a similar way and serve similar sonic purposes, so they are easily and often bundled together. When I aim to increase projection without changing volume level, I feel that it's primarily edge that I'm turning up, but brightness does come up too. Conversely, when I aim to decrease projection similarly, I feel that once I've reduced edge to near zero, there's still a certain amount of brightness relaxation that can be made. Does that chime with your views?
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« Reply #10 on: Dec 09, 2015, 08:33AM »

You should charge for this stuff, Gabe. Few people say it as clearly and accurately as you do.

Haha...it's how I make a significant portion of my living these days, fortunately.


Quote
How does the concept of edge fit into your idea? Brightness and edge are quite different concepts (high harmonic content vs nonlinear wave stuff), and can be readily aurally separated, but they both arise in a similar way and serve similar sonic purposes, so they are easily and often bundled together. When I aim to increase projection without changing volume level, I feel that it's primarily edge that I'm turning up, but brightness does come up too. Conversely, when I aim to decrease projection similarly, I feel that once I've reduced edge to near zero, there's still a certain amount of brightness relaxation that can be made. Does that chime with your views?

I think they're very much related and both important.
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« Reply #11 on: Dec 09, 2015, 01:37PM »

Projection has to do with the balance of overtones on top of the fundamental pitch. If one has some control over that, then yes, one can project at will. This includes the highest overtones, which often sound like a hiss or fuzz in the sound when isolated and heard in close proximity. That hiss or fuzz does not project in a complex acoustic environment, but it helps the rest of the sound - the fundamental pitch and lower overtones - to travel and be heard clearly even when there is a lot of other ambient sound.

Doc Severinsen calls that hiss or fuzz "the rub." Think of Doc and his sound, which has always been dense with that kind of complexity, and you will understand.

This concept was introduced and articulated clearly to me by Chester Schmitz, the former tubist of the Boston Symphony, who could manipulate projection like nobody I've ever heard on any instrument. He could switch on a dime from being a subwoofer sound that was not heard on its own but served to make the entire bottom end of the orchestra more present, to being a clear, ringing solo voice. It was astounding, and he could demonstrate exactly how he did it.





How does one balance those overtones? Is it a chops thing, an articulation thing or an air thing?

You should charge for this stuff, Gabe. Few people say it as clearly and accurately as you do.

How does the concept of edge fit into your idea? Brightness and edge are quite different concepts (high harmonic content vs nonlinear wave stuff), and can be readily aurally separated, but they both arise in a similar way and serve similar sonic purposes, so they are easily and often bundled together. When I aim to increase projection without changing volume level, I feel that it's primarily edge that I'm turning up, but brightness does come up too. Conversely, when I aim to decrease projection similarly, I feel that once I've reduced edge to near zero, there's still a certain amount of brightness relaxation that can be made. Does that chime with your views?

Edge for me tends to come from volume. How do you increase edge without increasing volume?......
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« Reply #12 on: Dec 09, 2015, 02:20PM »

In terms of gauging your volume in an ensemble, I first listen to the blend within the section, and then the balance with nearby sections, in my case, on bass bone, in a big band, and if neither of those two measures give me a reasonable benchmark - which can happen in a bad acoustic environment - then I try to gauge overall ensemble dynamics, and rely on muscle memory as regards the amount of air I need to move to play the ensemble dynamic I hear.
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« Reply #13 on: Dec 09, 2015, 02:38PM »

1.  Record yourself in ensembles, often.

2.  Every note is not equally important.  Listen and constantly analyze to decide what's important to be heard and what's not.  It's a lot easier and more effective to bring out certain notes or phrases than to try to play louder all the time, which probably isn't a good idea anyway.
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« Reply #14 on: Dec 09, 2015, 03:41PM »

Edge for me tends to come from volume. How do you increase edge without increasing volume?......

For me, tightening the top lip musculature does this, particularly in the lower register.
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« Reply #15 on: Dec 09, 2015, 08:28PM »

I would argue that it's not about volume, but about projection - at all dynamic levels. Efficiency of breath production, breath control, and energy flow all factor in as well.

YES!!!

Projection!!! Not necessarily "volume." Projection is a combination of volume and timbre. (W/the addition of attack characteristics, of course.)

How do you know when you are projecting your sound?

Here's how I know...not easily applicable to many players because of where they are...or are not...playing.

I have been lucky enough to play literally hundreds of repeated gigs and rehearsals in several fairly resonant NYC rooms...the large rehearsal hall at Local 802, Birdland w/the Chico O'Farrill Band every Sunday for about 12 years, the Village Vanguard w/various bands, several other venues, a number of concert halls in Washington DC w/the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the large rehearsal room at Michiko's rehearsal studios and various other rehearsal places/performance spaces throughout NYC, etc...and after several repetitions in a given space w/a given band I can gauge how well I am "projecting" by the feedback off of the back wall of those rooms.

If I do not hear my sound coming off the back wall at mf or louder with fairly strong attacks, the equipment is not projecting.

Duh!!!

At which point I start to try to figure out why.

M'pce?

Horn?

Me?

Whatever.

And then I begin to hone in on what's lacking.

40 years later?

Not so much "Duh!!!"

More "OH!!!"

Later...

S.

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« Reply #16 on: Dec 10, 2015, 07:04AM »

How does one balance those overtones? Is it a chops thing, an articulation thing or an air thing?

Yes.

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Edge for me tends to come from volume. How do you increase edge without increasing volume?......

You manipulate the timbre. How? I can't tell you about the physical details because I honestly don't know - it's about hearing a different sound in your imagination and making that sound.
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« Reply #17 on: Dec 10, 2015, 07:23AM »

It's all about tongue and oral cavity shape.  Practice it on the horn, and off as in Sam's vocal overtone thing.  Watch the French Horn MRI video on YouTube and notice how the sound changes as the tongue position moves.  You can manipulate your sound quite a bit (more on some horns/mouthpieces than others), but most people only work on getting the "best" or "most open" sound without learning how to change it.
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« Reply #18 on: Dec 10, 2015, 09:28AM »

It's all about tongue and oral cavity shape.  Practice it on the horn, and off as in Sam's vocal overtone thing.  Watch the French Horn MRI video on YouTube and notice how the sound changes as the tongue position moves.  You can manipulate your sound quite a bit (more on some horns/mouthpieces than others), but most people only work on getting the "best" or "most open" sound without learning how to change it.


For me, a lot about what made big bands great was how much the horns colored their sound, no "one great sound fits all" approach.

Duke Ellington's musicians were in particular masters of this, I'm not sure if this is now passť in such ensembles, or whether you really need to play next to each other for months and maybe even years to be able to do this.
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