Playing brighter?

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slidewriter
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Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:55 pm

Playing brighter?

Post by slidewriter » Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:10 pm

I've always had a naturally dark sound but these days I'm favoring something a little brighter. Any tips for brightening up without compromising a good embouchure, etc? The sound concept I'm going for in my head is Bennie Green, Trombone Shorty, etc. Appreciate your help.
Doug Elliott
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Re: Playing brighter?

Post by Doug Elliott » Sat Nov 02, 2019 10:20 pm

Without seeing you play or knowing your playing there are entirely too many variables to provide a valid answer.

Sound can be adjusted brighter by a variety of things but changing it depends on what you're doing now and the reasons you have a dark sound.

Are there any videos or recordings of you online?
GBP
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Re: Playing brighter?

Post by GBP » Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:23 am

These is some of it that is equipment choice.
baileyman
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Re: Playing brighter?

Post by baileyman » Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:09 am

You can check for cheek and lip pockets and tongue position easily. There's quite a range of dark to bright available.
hyperbolica
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Re: Playing brighter?

Post by hyperbolica » Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:44 am

Typical things to look at might be a smaller mouthpiece, lighter/smaller bore instrument, yellow brass rather than red...

Talking about embouchure or oral cavity I'll leave to others, but if you can sit with a tuner and see what it feels like to play on the high side of the pitch without making a bad tone, that might be useful.

Also, try playing while trying to conserve air a little. That may or may not be helpful, but I've found that playing dark uses a lot of air. Air speed/volume/direction /temperature and tongue position are all interconnected with other things that effect sound, so talk to Doug about that.
brassmedic
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Re: Playing brighter?

Post by brassmedic » Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:17 pm

See if you're buzzing the same note as what's coming out of the horn. Play a middle Bb, and without changing anything in your embouchure or airstream, pull the mouthpiece out of the horn and continue blowing exactly the same. If you've never tried this, your lips will most likely stop vibrating, or a lower pitch will come out if anything. Then buzz the Bb on the mouthpiece and insert it while you're blowing. The goal is to have the pitch be the same when you pull out the mouthpiece and being able to emulate the sound of that buzz starting on the mouthpiece alone.
Brad Close Brass Instruments - brassmedic.com
Doubler
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Re: Playing brighter?

Post by Doubler » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:05 pm

I apologize in advance for not giving a more technical, understandable explanation.

When I want to play brighter, I use a tighter, smaller, stretchier, more restrictive feel. When I want to play darker, I use a larger oral cavity with a looser feel. This can be taken to extremes, as you are already aware, and even if you change your sound, I think you're compromising endurance. The best way to change timbre is to change the mouthpiece. You still need to adjust to the change, but you'll be using your natural embouchure and getting the desired sound more efficiently than you would by contorting your chops, however slightly you might be doing so.
Current instruments:
Olds Studio trombone, 3 trumpets, 1 flugelhorn, 1 cornet, 1 shofar, 1 keyboard

Previous trombones:
Selmer Bundy, Marceau
slidewriter
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Re: Playing brighter?

Post by slidewriter » Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:23 am

Re: equipment, I'm on a yellow brass King 2B with a Bach 11C mouthpiece, so I think I'm about as small as I can go. I've tried a 12C mpc but felt like that seriously compromised my volume and overtones.

I do think the primary factor here is oral cavity. I spent a lot of time working on a "yawning" embouchure that was great for a dark sound, but I may need to retrain myself to cut back a little. Just need to be careful to not overdo it and start pinching.
AndrewMeronek
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Re: Playing brighter?

Post by AndrewMeronek » Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:05 am

slidewriter wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:23 am
I do think the primary factor here is oral cavity. I spent a lot of time working on a "yawning" embouchure that was great for a dark sound, but I may need to retrain myself to cut back a little. Just need to be careful to not overdo it and start pinching.
Well, this definitely can be a cause. In my younger years, I remember being taught a similar philosophy, but I'm convinced it's only partially correct. The whole 'toe toe toe' vowel for low range and changing to 'tee tee tee' for high range really does work, and there's a gradual spectrum in-between. Although, for me, I find that for my high range, my vowel resembles more of a French nasal 'eu' than an English 'ee'.

There's even more to that to dig into to 'dial things in' in terms of overtone singing techniques, but 'toe' for low and 'teu' for high is a good place to start. The sound actually should open up with a correct vowel placement, which *can* result in a brighter, richer sound - depending on what one means by "bright".
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk
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