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Author Topic: Richard Smith, still nutty  (Read 5504 times)
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boneagain
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« Reply #100 on: Mar 02, 2017, 07:03AM »

Could one play the trombone by blowing it out their....?

Funny.... I distinctly recall two phrases from almost every lesson with John Coffey.  One was "Tongue and blow kid, ya follow or not?"

The other was "Blow it out yer ..., kid"

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« Reply #101 on: Mar 02, 2017, 07:29AM »

And that was 99% of my point. Tim focuses on sound, and his belief that materials don't affect sound implies that materials "don't matter." My point is that regardless of whether they affect sound, they matter to the player.

??? I'm not sure what you mean about putting a car engine on a bike, but car propulsion is one of the best analogies for the point I'm making here. I drive a Chevy Volt. If you're looking at causal relationships, the generator is what makes my car go, by providing energy to a traction motor. An engineer might say that it doesn't matter whether the  generator is powered by the DC battery or by the car's internal combustion engine, since both are producing electricity which drives the wheels. However, I can think of six or seven reasons why I prefer to have the DC battery powering the traction motor, and a lot of that has to do with how the car "vibrates." Semantics and meta-language won't get to a greater truth here than "to me, it's more enjoyable to drive when it's powered by the DC battery."

Yup.  I sorta straddle a divide here with you and Tim.  I generally feel that the results are so minor that they are virtually unmeasurable in most objective manners.  However, I can also think of a dozen reasons why I prefer to play certain materials or constructions.  My theoretical construct here is the close coupling of the system and the change in input that results from the differences make things different for the player, if not the listener.  As I noted in another thread, when the feedback I get from the horn doesn't match what my learned practices expect, I am lost and uncomfortable playing. 

Continuing to steer back to the topic, if we could use this divorce of the air flow from the sound column to break down elements of that feedback loop, I think that could lead to some fascinating developments in instrument design.  For manufacturing systems, we strive to develop a product where the useful output of the system is less sensitive to input variation.  That is a dimension can a wide tolerance and not have any effect on fit form or function (before I lose everybody, imagine a slotted hole for a bolt.  It doesn't matter as much where that hole is in one dimension if there is a slot to accommodate the variation).  Could we understand the feedback process so that we can tailor the feedback to the operator more independently of the sound produced?  The problem for me theoretically is that we don't all want to sound the same, so how to still allow good variation in output without making the whole system sterile.

Anyway, this is a lot of dancing about architecture,
Andy
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Andrew Elms
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« Reply #102 on: Mar 02, 2017, 08:07AM »

What if the goal is for the science profit and not the musical profit?  Science is the vocation and playing the trombone is the avocation.

All this would be a diversion to you as it keeps you from what is important...to you.

And then there are others who would wonder why you spend so much time practicing.  Seems like a huge diversion from a more worthy pursuit.

Try everything and use what works, right?  Being a professional musician works for you.  It doesn't for everyone. 

I teach a great deal, Dan. I teach anybody and everybody who wants to learn how to play a brass instrument, and I have a sliding scale regarding my payment which boils down to "Pay what you can afford. Same effort from me no matter what you can afford or how far you have progressed." Why? Because I believe that what I am really teaching is a meditative discipline...a non-sectarian form of worship, a chance for us to stop talking to ourselves (The essence of "meditation," really.) and appreciate the infinite in a very focused and calm manner. Any and all digressions from that attempt...no matter how it is taught...have been proven useless to me. They are useless if the goal is to be a working musician; they are useless if the goal is just to "get better," and they are useless in a meditational sense. Anyone who wants to run one of many Rube Goldberg attempts to complicate these matters is free to do so as far as I am concerned, as I am free to criticize their work.

"Pure science?"

Go to a physics site.

As I have stated here on numerous occasions, I have yet to meet a physicist who has used his knowledge of physics to become a better brass musician. Although I am aware that there may be some, there are literally thousands and thousands of fine brass players who have never given the "physics" of the instrument a thought.

After Albert Einstein had played a string quartet rehearsal with Jascha Heifetz, Einstein asked Heifetz what he thought of his playing.

Heifetz's immortal answer?

"You play very well, Albert...for a physicist."

Like dat.

S.
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« Reply #103 on: Mar 02, 2017, 08:18AM »

Yet the conversation goes on.  Hi
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« Reply #104 on: Mar 02, 2017, 08:57AM »



Continuing to steer back to the topic, if we could use this divorce of the air flow from the sound column to break down elements of that feedback loop, I think that could lead to some fascinating developments in instrument design. 

Or - and this is where I'm coming from - in pedagogy rather than instrument design.  We put too little emphasis on what Sam calls the "soft machine." 
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« Reply #105 on: Mar 02, 2017, 09:09AM »

Discoveries lead to more discoveries.  We may go through dozens or hundreds that don't mean anything by themselves.  But the journey may lead to a discovery that makes a huge difference.  Decrying any gain in knowledge is a shame regardless of whether or not it really affects you or me.

Yes, but...spending time on useless knowledge is simply wasted time.

Some people here are saying that knowing this "the air doesn't go though the horn" thing makes them concentrate more on the air buzzing through the lips rather than flowing through the horn.

DUH!!!

That's what the various buzzing techniques do.

And...done well...they lead directly to better playing.

Duh twice!!!

There is a resistance balance in any brass instrument that must be achieved to play well...a balance between and among:

1-The amount of air that produces a resonant sound and buzz at the embouchure

2-The resistance produced in the soft machine (mostly controlled by the various arches of the tongue)

and

3-The resistance of the entire acoustic hard machine.

Too much air produces...well, you've heard bad drum and bugle corps, right? Or wildly overblown salsa players? And too little...a much more common problem with students right on up to semi-professional players...produces a breathy, weak, tenuous sound.

And then there is the Goldilocks mean. For every player, on every horn, at every volume, in every register. Not too much; not too little...juuuussst right.

If one habitually produces a nasty, blasty sound, there is no need for theoretical information to tell you that "more air" is not necessarily the solution to the problem, you simply need to listen to...and emulate...great players of your choice. And if someone cannot tell the difference between a blasting fool and say Joe Alessi or Tommy Dorsey, then...then I don't know what to say except "Best of luck in the future."

Somebody back there on this already too long thread consciously wrote something that was meant to insult me. I do not take insults personally, but I also do not back down from things that I know to be true.

And I will continue to do so.

S.

P.S. You want 'science?" OK. Here is a little scientific experiment that I would like you to do. If you can freebuzz, do so on say a middle Bb and put your hand in front of your lips. Air is quite plainly moving. Stop the air with your finger on the aperture. No airflow, no sound.

Then buzz into a m'pce and do the same thing.

Ditto with the air, only it is a little more dispersed because the shank's diameter is greater than the diameter of the embouchure's aperture...like opening the adjustable spout at the end of a water hose. Put your finger on the end of the shank. What happens? The air stops dead in its tracks and with it aslo does the sound.

Now put the m'pce into a leadpipe and do the same thing. The air is again slightly less focused because the leadpipe has a larger diameter overall than does the m'pce shank. Finger stop the end of the leadpipe and once again all airflow and sound stop.

Put the m'pce + leadpipe into a slide and once again play a note. Put your hand in front of the opening on the other end of the slide and what do you feel? Again...a slightly more dispersed airflow because the diameter of the slide is greater than the diameter of the leadpipe.

Now take the tuning slide out of a bell section and attach the bell to the slide. Play a note and put your hand near the open neck pipe. Once again...a slightly less focused air flow due to the larger diameter of the neck pipe, but air is still clearly flowing through the horn. Stop it with your finger and the note stops.

Then put the smaller part of the tuning slide into the neck pipe but leave the larger part of the tuning slide unattached to the bell section. Same experiment, same results. Air is flowing but again it is more dispersed due to the larger pipe diameter, and stopping the end of that pipe will stop the airflow and the sound.

Now put the whole horn together and play the same note. Put you hand in front of the bell. It is hard to feel any air moving, but this is again because the radical flare of the bell disperses the air to a point where it is hard to feel. If you could produce a real, perfect air stop for the bell without harming the bell you would experience the same thing as you did during all the intermediate stops along the way.

Or, of course...something truly magical happens in the course of the air after in reaches the end of the tuning slide and it just...disappears!!!



It's gone!!!

But...oh. Wait a minute!!! We are doing science here.

Not magic.

My bad.

Later...gotta go practice.

S.
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« Reply #106 on: Mar 02, 2017, 09:31AM »

Sam,
You CONTINUE to make up your own version of the Smith experiment. 
IGNORING the terms of the experiment is NOT science. 
In the Smith experiment it is FUNDAMENTAL that air continue to pass through the lips.

ALL your "scientific" experiments STOP air passing the lips.

I do NOT understand why this is so hard for you to grasp.

I will NOT continue to waste my time as you continue in this vein.

I respect your playing.
I respect your method books.
I respect your teaching.

The kind of responses you've posted in this thread so far have undermined all that respect.

I'm sure this doesn't bother you at all.  It is pretty sad for me.
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« Reply #107 on: Mar 02, 2017, 10:25AM »

Sam,
You CONTINUE to make up your own version of the Smith experiment. 
IGNORING the terms of the experiment is NOT science. 
In the Smith experiment it is FUNDAMENTAL that air continue to pass through the lips.

ALL your "scientific" experiments STOP air passing the lips.

I do NOT understand why this is so hard for you to grasp.

I will NOT continue to waste my time as you continue in this vein.

I respect your playing.
I respect your method books.
I respect your teaching.

The kind of responses you've posted in this thread so far have undermined all that respect.

I'm sure this doesn't bother you at all.  It is pretty sad for me.

At around :40 of the original post's video, Dr.Smith states "I've been interested in doing demonstrations that will bust some of the myths that have grown up around playing instruments and even making instruments. And one of the big ones is (get?) putting air into your instrument to make the sound...come out."

I do not believe that this is a "myth," and my experiment above proves that it is not. Now...if he had said "to make a good, musical sound come out" it would have been even more ludicrous, but he did not. He proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that a "sound" can be made to come out of the instrument without any airflow within the instrument. I can do that, too. With a hammer.

BANG!!!

A sound came out of the instrument.

I know that this is a reductio ad absurdum argument, but on the scale of absurdity what he is doing is not too far away from the hammer idea in terms making music on a brass instrument.

I was quite clear in my post immediately above regarding the absolute necessity of moving air all the way through the horn if one is to play it well. Telling a young student...or any student whose head is not yet quite on straight regarding how to play...that he or she does not need to "[put] air into the instrument to make the sound come out" strikes me as being totally counterproductive in about 99% of the cases that I have seen over the years. Putting the right amount of air...not too much, not too little...through the horn is the correct approach a far as I am concerned, and all the tortured experiments in the world that might purport to prove otherwise are totally useless in the actual study and practice of playing a brass instrument. My simple experiment above is all you need to know on the subject.

I am sorry that you have lost so much respect for what I am doing. I am reminded of recent video interview I saw of Jay Friedman speaking about his difficult early experiences with trying to talk to other, older brass players regarding Arnold Jacobs's "Song and Wind" approach...they basically told him that Jacobs was full of hot air and would screw up Friedman's playing. (Jacobs was full of hot air, but it was the good kind; he put it though an enormous horn and made enormously effective sounds with it.)

I am speaking very simply about what "the air" does as it goes through the horn and produces sounds. No air...all the way through the horn because there is nowhere that it can escape except through the bell...no sound. (Also...no buzz, no sound. There have been other "scientists" and players who say the lips aren't buzzing either. I take exception to that as well.)

You no longer respect me for speaking common sense? And then proving it?

So it goes.

Be well.

S.
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« Reply #108 on: Mar 02, 2017, 10:58AM »

...
"Pure science?"

Go to a physics site.

As I have stated here on numerous occasions, I have yet to meet a physicist who has used his knowledge of physics to become a better brass musician. Although I am aware that there may be some, there are literally thousands and thousands of fine brass players who have never given the "physics" of the instrument a thought.
...
But.. many folks have used the physics of the instruments to make better components for YOU to make better music. Do you not believe this is even in play here?

Quote from: sabutin
Yes, but...spending time on useless knowledge is simply wasted time.
This is the dumbest thing I have read from a smart person in a long time.

'Back to the mines with you, we don't have time to play those silly instruments!'

When you profession is largely considered a waste of time, throwing stones seems an odd way to go.

Cheers,
Andy

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« Reply #109 on: Mar 02, 2017, 11:15AM »

But.. many folks have used the physics of the instruments to make better components for YOU to make better music. Do you not believe this is even in play here?
This is the dumbest thing I have read from a smart person in a long time.

'Back to the mines with you, we don't have time to play those silly instruments!'

When you profession is largely considered a waste of time, throwing stones seems an odd way to go.

Cheers,
Andy

Paying attention to those who consider "my profession" to be a waste of time is a waste of time in and of itself.

Human time on earth is finite. I waste as little time as possible on things that I cannot affect.

Including this discussion.

I've had my say. Go do whatever makes you happy.

I've proven my point to the best of my ability.

Feel free to discuss among yourselves.

Over and out.

S.
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« Reply #110 on: Mar 02, 2017, 11:20AM »

Svenne, I admit I didn't read the hole tread and I first saw your video today. Cool  Good! Didn't know you play tenor also!

If my family go to Sweden this summer, I go and visit you. I bring my Conn and you give me some tips on how to play the Sinatra songs. We have relatives living in Mjölby so we might take a trip. And we can go and have a beer in "Grøna Lund". Mjölby isnt that fare away from Stockholm, 1 or 2 ours with car?  Im also a little curious about trying some new instruments like your Kanstul. Brasspecialisten also have some instruments in the shop?

On topic; Today a singer told us his approach to sing. About how to use air, how to make the throat, jaws and different ways to form the body to make different sounds. Very interesting. He told even the canals up to nose and eyes is a factor in shaping the sound. Classical singers open as much as possible to make a good sound. He show us how he warm up and we did it together with him. Even I with my horrible voice felt I could get a decent sound. Amazing! When thinking about it, a lot of the prinsipps are the same on trombone. The air stream make the "voice muscles" vibrate. Same as we use air to make lips vibrate. They dont use tongue then to start the tone and they use a lot more "shape inside" throat and the hole head to color the sound. In short we could learn from singers...

Anyway, very interesting and much of it is the same prinsipp on trombone!  Amazed



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« Reply #111 on: Mar 02, 2017, 01:36PM »

Paying attention to those who consider "my profession" to be a waste of time is a waste of time in and of itself.

Human time on earth is finite. I waste as little time as possible on things that I cannot affect.

Including this discussion.

I've had my say. Go do whatever makes you happy.

I've proven my point to the best of my ability.

Feel free to discuss among yourselves.

Over and out.

S.

Sam, shouldn't you go and try experiment a little....you never know...just joking...

Anyway, we obvious have discussed nearly everything in this forum when we make a this tread that long. Its starting to be more like facebook where people either tell they have a solution for all "world problems" or they tell what wonderful food they made for dinner.

 :D ;-) Don't know Amazed Yeah, RIGHT. Bad dog.  No Biscuits. :/

Leif
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« Reply #112 on: Mar 03, 2017, 02:49AM »

 
Quote
My point is that regardless of whether they affect sound, they matter to the player.

That is true.

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« Reply #113 on: Mar 03, 2017, 03:23AM »

Quote
Some people here are saying that knowing this "the air doesn't go though the horn"



Well, that is not how it is. Nobody in this thread say "the air doesn´t go through the horn".
Absolutely nobody.


Except, when you lead the air stream out of the mouthpiece before it can enter the horn.



Nobody disagree with that. All your "experiments do work. Nobody disagree with that either.

Is it possible for all of us to agree on two simpel thing things?



1 when we play the trombone, the air goes through the horn.

2 if we somehow lead the air out of the mouthpiece before it enters the horn, the air does not go through the horn. Thats not how the trombone is played most of the time though.  :)



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« Reply #114 on: Mar 03, 2017, 05:07AM »


Is it possible for all of us to agree on two simpel thing things?

Maybe we could agree on a third thing.  It's not super controversial in itself, but it requires recognition that a myth exists and is widespread, and not everybody may want to agree with that observation.

The third thing is this:  The answer to all trombone playing problems is not Put More Air Through.

Experienced forum members know this, but it's still extremely common advice here and outside here.  Can't hit the high notes?  Move more air.  Support more.  Bad tone?  Move more air.  Chipping notes?  move more air.  Move faster air.  Move warmer air.  Fog the mirror.  Etc. 

In one of sam's last posts, he said "move the right amount of air."  I would suggest that is a necessary but not sufficient condition.  Yes, you should do that, but even that isn't the answer to all problems, it's just a requirement.

I have another opinion but I think there would be less agreement, I'll save it a bit.   
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« Reply #115 on: Mar 03, 2017, 05:13AM »

I always thought the idea behind the meme of "moving air" is NOT to move it through the horn necessarily, but rather to move it through the chops, in specific ways; fast, slow, volume, from the gut, etc.   Don't know

...Geezer
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« Reply #116 on: Mar 03, 2017, 05:45AM »

As I have stated here on numerous occasions, I have yet to meet a physicist who has used his knowledge of physics to become a better brass musician. Although I am aware that there may be some, there are literally thousands and thousands of fine brass players who have never given the "physics" of the instrument a thought.

I'm not a physicist, but I've used some of the acoustic side of that knowledge to improve my playing. I can think of two examples right away:

Realizing that the typical slow slur exercise where upward slurs include a crescendo and downward slurs include diminuendos can be balanced such that the aperture formed by the buzz stays more constant in size despite the change in vibration frequency and volume, leading to a new and fun way to think about those exercises.

Finding interesting ways to tune chords with higher harmonics. Our ears certainly can find a lot of fun tuning tambres, if you will, but a short dive into what harmonics actually can happen can sometimes drive us to trying out ideas that aren't as obvious. For example, the 19th harmonic distance from a root is pretty interesting, includes a nice difference tone, but I find that it can be somewhat difficult to find by ear, and didn't really, until I knew it existed. It's very close to the Pythagorean minor third.
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« Reply #117 on: Mar 03, 2017, 06:31AM »

Breath control is a fundamental in that a brass player who wants to play at the highest level must gain control over the air flow through the lips before any other aspect of playing can be really controlled. That's why so many teachers talk about it.

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« Reply #118 on: Mar 03, 2017, 06:31AM »

I always thought the idea behind the meme of "moving air" is NOT to move it through the horn necessarily, but rather to move it through the chops, in specific ways; fast, slow, volume, from the gut, etc.   Don't know

...Geezer

Geezer,
I'm glad you had that idea.

I have yet to see anybody recommend it so I doubt that it is commonly accepted wisdom.  Nobody tells you to aim your air through your lips or even into the mouthpiece; they tell you to blow the candle out past your bell, to nail your sound to the back wall, to aim at your teacher's nose, etc.  
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« Reply #119 on: Mar 03, 2017, 06:33AM »

Breath control is a fundamental in that a brass player who wants to play at the highest level must gain control over the air flow through the lips before any other aspect of playing can be really controlled.
Chris Stearn

Well, yeah.

Quote
That's why so many teachers talk about it.


But they rarely if ever do - they make talk about air flow, but normally not specific to the lips. 
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