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Author Topic: High register quality tone?  (Read 1597 times)
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bonenick

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« on: Dec 10, 2016, 03:58PM »

I know that I just started, but I wonder if I am doing something wrong in the high register...After a certain point it starts to sound thing and airy. I try to maintain the same setup all over the entire range, but so far after what you probably call high Bflat (I guess that it is Bb1) I am not so happy with the tone and reliability of the notes that follow.
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pedro.bassclef
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 10, 2016, 04:06PM »

If you never watched this, the following video is about bass trombone upper register, but I think is also valid to high tenor playing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ds4F7tmt48A
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 10, 2016, 04:17PM »

I know that I just started, but I wonder if I am doing something wrong in the high register...After a certain point it starts to sound thing and airy. I try to maintain the same setup all over the entire range, but so far after what you probably call high Bflat (I guess that it is Bb1) I am not so happy with the tone and reliability of the notes that follow.

Bb 1 would be pedal Bb. Do you mean this one?   b? When I practice sounding better both high and low is attack the tipping point every time I practice. If, say, I can reliably play   15va all day if I want it to be my first note of the day or the last it's always the same, but Db above that gets airy or is too quiet or out of tune then I will do scales and flexibilities that go up to and beyond and focus on making Db just as good as C all day every day.

They key is usually practice makes perfect, but if there's a chance you're doing something wrong then practice would make a bad habit instead. Your teacher or instructor may want to take a look.  
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bonenick

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« Reply #3 on: Dec 10, 2016, 04:27PM »

Bb 1 would be pedal Bb. Do you mean this one?   b?

No, I mean the Bflat4 (Bflat above middle C; for example with which starts the trombone solo in Bolero. And yes, the D flat above that is kind of dodgy :-) I can play quite confidently this B flat, but anything above that for the moment is rather fragile.
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Doug Elliott
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« Reply #4 on: Dec 10, 2016, 05:01PM »

The top of your high range needs to be thin before you can think about developing sound on it (and adding more "thin" range above it).  That's the only way to keep improving it, otherwise you reach a plateau and never get beyond where it stops.
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« Reply #5 on: Jan 09, 2017, 08:21AM »

Just to make an update for those interested, my sound up there has improved greatly so has my range, especially after switching to Wedge 7C. Besides, I guess I was trying to get from a mouthpieces that was slightly big for me and a medium bore trombone a smalm bore trombone sound ) The joys of the ignorant debuting on trombone. Now the effort I put is more into augmenting endurance, consistency and slide technique.
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« Reply #6 on: Jan 09, 2017, 09:19AM »

The top of your high range needs to be thin before you can think about developing sound on it (and adding more "thin" range above it).  That's the only way to keep improving it, otherwise you reach a plateau and never get beyond where it stops.

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« Reply #7 on: Jan 13, 2017, 04:29PM »

Here in the States, many of us have adopted the Donald Reinhardt mouthpiece placement technique that he named the "pivot system." The Reinhardt method books are easily found on the Internet. Doug Elliott and others on this forum are way more qualified than this amateur to discuss the system, but here's how it works for me:

In your normal comfortable mouthpiece position, play .
Without changing your embouchure or your body position, tilt (pivot) the trombone slightly upward. The sounded note will naturally fall to the next lower partial.
Start again at and gradually tilt the trombone downward. The sounded notes will jump up, one partial at a time. This downward tilt gives me a much clearer and more effortless high range than when I used to hold the trombone stationary and muscle the notes out with embouchure strength alone. Just as the right hand can find slide positions using muscle memory, the left hand can learn muscle memory to tilt the horn to the optimum angles.
« Last Edit: Jan 13, 2017, 04:31PM by BGuttman » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: Jan 13, 2017, 04:33PM »

I've seen many more trumpet players than trombone players doing what Charlie B describes.  I know I don't have to.  I may be doing shifts but I don't do mirror practice to watch myself.  I just use my ears.
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« Reply #9 on: Jan 13, 2017, 04:57PM »

I've seen many more trumpet players than trombone players doing what Charlie B describes.  I know I don't have to.  I may be doing shifts but I don't do mirror practice to watch myself.  I just use my ears.

No mirrors involved here......only the ears to hear the new partials.
Everybody's physiology is different, and some people may see no benefit from this system. When I tried it I got an extended and clearer high range, so I'm passing my experience along. As Sam says, "Try everything; use what works."
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« Reply #10 on: Jan 14, 2017, 06:01AM »

Here in the States, many of us have adopted the Donald Reinhardt mouthpiece placement technique that he named the "pivot system." The Reinhardt method books are easily found on the Internet. Doug Elliott and others on this forum are way more qualified than this amateur to discuss the system, but here's how it works for me:

In your normal comfortable mouthpiece position, play .
Without changing your embouchure or your body position, tilt (pivot) the trombone slightly upward. The sounded note will naturally fall to the next lower partial.
Start again at and gradually tilt the trombone downward. The sounded notes will jump up, one partial at a time. This downward tilt gives me a much clearer and more effortless high range than when I used to hold the trombone stationary and muscle the notes out with embouchure strength alone. Just as the right hand can find slide positions using muscle memory, the left hand can learn muscle memory to tilt the horn to the optimum angles.

This may work for you, but I don't think any Reinhardt disciple would say what you're describing is what Reinhardt taught.  My understanding is that it's about the player understanding the motion that their embouchure naturally makes as the muscles groups move through various registers, and then adjusting the horn by movement that may appear to casual observer as a "pivot".  Any perceived tilt is merely a byproduct.  The tilt does not cause the change in partial.

I'm by no means an expert -- I'm just a curious guy who's fascinated by this stuff. :)

Perhaps others will true expertise (especially Doug Elliott) will correct what you and I have described.

--Andy in OKC
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« Reply #11 on: Jan 14, 2017, 06:31AM »

Maybe try a year of long tones, about 30 solid minutes a day.  Chances are pretty good so much new knowledge will show up that a year from now your question may be quite different. 

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« Reply #12 on: Jan 14, 2017, 06:36AM »

My original intention was not to start tilt or not tilt argument. This was one month I started to learn the trombone. At present I have quite a decent high register on the tbone, but will continue to look into this thread just out of curiousity.
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« Reply #13 on: Jan 14, 2017, 11:36AM »

bonenick,
My apologies to you that my attempt to offer you a small suggestion in answer to your question about high range playing has derailed your thread. I will close with one final comment:

afugate.
I think we are both partially right. See link below.
http://0316901.netsolhost.com/aiur/pivot.html
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« Reply #14 on: Jan 14, 2017, 11:55AM »

CharlieB,

No hard feelings whatsoever, I just wanted to prevent further arguing that may end up in endless comments about the pivot or no pivot system.

Both in my trumpet and (less, bucause of less experience) tbone playing I have seen players that do make a pivot switch more or less visibly and sometimes probably not at all...


https://youtu.be/qChtz-3LhT0?t=3m57s

like sabutin likes to say, whatever works and sounds good.
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« Reply #15 on: Jan 24, 2017, 05:28AM »



In your normal comfortable mouthpiece position, play .
Without changing your embouchure or your body position, tilt (pivot) the trombone slightly upward. The sounded note will naturally fall to the next lower partial.
Start again at and gradually tilt the trombone downward. The sounded notes will jump up, one partial at a time.

That works for you.  The opposite direction works for some people.  For some people, like me, there wasn't an obvious difference that I could determine on my own.  It took Doug looking at it to decide what the motion had to be.  If I had picked a direction and it was wrong it would have held my progress back.  I'm not sure we can recommend self diagnosis on this one. 
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« Reply #16 on: Jan 24, 2017, 05:37AM »

Just so there is heresy on this thread (every thread should have some): Perhaps no readily discernible movement is best for a given player. There still might be a wee bit at the extremes of range, but it may be instinctual rather than consciously gyrating the horn all about between notes (uh-oh!).

When I sit around and think about it a little bit, I tend to follow Sam's reasoning - if I have it correctly: use the technique of blowing good-sounding notes to find the embouchure needed, rather than selecting an embouchure and having the notes follow. Then learn to connect the notes with minimalist movement and in a smooth way.

Perhaps both sides of the same coin, with heads being one way and since I'm a tails-kinda-guy: tails never fails.

...Geezer
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bonenick

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« Reply #17 on: Jan 24, 2017, 05:40AM »

My take on it...I do gently soft legato and lip trills and listen and do as little movement as I can. Most of the time works. And as Doug said, the squeak gradually become an audible, musical tone.
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« Reply #18 on: Jan 24, 2017, 06:49AM »

What Reinhardt defined as a "pivot" and how most brass players/teachers think of it are usually two different things. I avoid using the term so as to not confuse the issue further.

Reinhardt observed that brass players make certain changes to their embouchure when changing registers. One phenomenon he noted was that all brass players will push and pull the lips and mouthpiece as a single unit along the teeth and gums. This motion can be upward to ascend for some players, or downward to ascend for other players. Each note will have an optimal position somewhere along this imaginary "track," but observing it in action usually requires having the player make some large interval changes (octaves or more are easier to see). Pretty much every brass player makes this embouchure motion, whether or not they are aware of it. Reinhardt felt that it was better for a player to understand how their embouchure motion functioned best and, if necessary, correct any inconsistencies that a player might unconsciously develop with it.

In certain circumstances a player can help open up their sound in the upper register by becoming more familiar with their embouchure motion and practicing in such a way as to make it work more efficiently. In a lot of cases the player just needs to practice more to develop better embouchure strength and control.

This is difficult to self diagnose, which is why it's better to get together with someone (like Doug Elliott) who has the experience diagnosing a player's embouchure and how to make it work most efficiently for the individual player. This is one of those cases where trying "everything" can lead to unintentional problems.

"Rules and guidelines are broken by innovators every day. However, they do so only after having exhausted conventional approaches, and with understanding and logic underpinning their digressions." - John Carney

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« Reply #19 on: Jan 24, 2017, 11:46AM »

Just so there is heresy on this thread (every thread should have some): Perhaps no readily discernible movement is best for a given player. There still might be a wee bit at the extremes of range, but it may be instinctual rather than consciously gyrating the horn all about between notes (uh-oh!).

When I sit around and think about it a little bit, I tend to follow Sam's reasoning - if I have it correctly: use the technique of blowing good-sounding notes to find the embouchure needed, rather than selecting an embouchure and having the notes follow. Then learn to connect the notes with minimalist movement and in a smooth way.

Perhaps both sides of the same coin, with heads being one way and since I'm a tails-kinda-guy: tails never fails.

...Geezer

You have it right, Geezer.

P.S. My significant other threw a nickel on the table several days ago and it landed on its edge. We took that as a message not to decide anything without further notice.
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