A Conversation for Trumpets

About the author of "The Trumpet"

Post 1

babelhorn

The author of the above H2G2 entry (The Trumpet) is not a trumpet player. He is only someone with a fetish for research and dubious affection for music. His lack of practical (experiential detail) is evident in his entry The Trombone. It is little wonder that most of the dialogue is stifled and spars. Apparently anyone with an opinion and the ability to write can stain a subject with their conjectures and misconceptions. For shame.

Save yourself a lot of grief and read The Trumpet by Edward Tarr and The Trumpet and Trombone by Phillip Bates. For an in-depth read into the physics of the brass wind instruments read The Physics of Brasses published in Scientific America 1973 by A. H. Benade.

I see by the entries contained below that some of the readers (my guess is they were actual trumpet players) were brow beaten and lost interest in this forum rather quickly.

Apparently the ability to write is not a requisite for the ability to know or comprehend. It is a pity isn’t it?


About the author of "The Trumpet"

Post 2

Gnomon - time to move on

I consider your posting insulting in the extreme. This is a personal attack on me. The entry on trumpets was written by me but went through a Peer Review process in which other researchers, some of whom are brass instrument players, vetted it and approved it. If you feel it is wrong, you can present your evidence, but insulting me will not help.

>>The author of the above H2G2 entry (The Trumpet) is not a trumpet player.

True. I have played the trumpet, but was never very good at it. I am proficient at playing other wind instruments: recorder, tin whistle, clarinet.

>>He is only someone with a fetish for research and dubious affection for music.

My affection for music is genuine; it is the most important thing in my life. But that is absolutely none of your business. As for a fetish for research, I think that is to be encouraged.

>>His lack of practical (experiential detail) is evident in his entry The Trombone. It is little wonder that most of the dialogue is stifled and spars. Apparently anyone with an opinion and the ability to write can stain a subject with their conjectures and misconceptions. For shame.

My trombone entry was much admired by trombone players.

>>Save yourself a lot of grief and read The Trumpet by Edward Tarr and The Trumpet and Trombone by Phillip Bates. For an in-depth read into the physics of the brass wind instruments read The Physics of Brasses published in Scientific America 1973 by A. H. Benade.

Also see Encyclopaedia Britannica and various other source which agree with the explanations given in the entry.

>>I see by the entries contained below that some of the readers (my guess is they were actual trumpet players) were brow beaten and lost interest in this forum rather quickly.

I can't see that at all. One posting objected to the trumpet being described as very loud, and I gave my reason for using that phrase. All the other postings are adding information to the entry.

>>Apparently the ability to write is not a requisite for the ability to know or comprehend. It is a pity isn’t it?

I have been told that I have the ability to explain well as well as the ability to know and to write. I hope that I lack your ability to insult.



About the author of "The Trumpet"

Post 3

babelhorn

Actually you don’t lack the ability to insult. The general aloofness of your entry and snide comments about the timbre of the instrument put me off at the very beginning. Your response to a new reader regarding the attraction of the trumpet for “young men” put me in a less than civil mode. I read into your writing a great deal of prejudice, my daughter plays the trumpet quite beautifully and she chose that instrument because she has some affection for her father. That aside many of my best students have been women. Consistently their concern for the trumpet focuses on the sound and those practitioners who have mastered that aspect of the instrument. Another problem that has incited me to less then civil discourse is an apparent academic arrogance. I define this, as someone who expressive opinions to the public with the majority of evidentiary weight brought to the discussion from BOOKS and not work in the field. I have been playing (every day) the trumpet for thirty-six years and teaching it for a little less than that. I have traveled thousands of miles to study with some of the top trumpet pedagogs in the world. Which brings me to your lack of humility as a writer.

Your writing style is that of the authoritative and definitive voice. You are neither. As far as your confidence in the pier review is concerned the medium in which you have chosen to publish is, in fact, a never-ending medium of review. Unlike text books the web is always open and in a constant state of review. By this I mean that discussion follows immediately along side your article, you don’t have the security of receiving private criticism delivered only to you. I would submit to you that in order to write in this medium you need to be tough enough to weather an infinite onslaught of review and not take comfort or shelter in a one time and apparently limited review that takes place out of the public purview. By the way what kind of credentials does this review offer up? Are the educators, are they performers, are the scholars or are they just some friendly chums who write well?

I guarantee that if you had studied with me you would not have such a low opinion of your efforts. My students typically leave my studio with a positive feeling about their efforts and their time spent on this instrument. Which brings me to my original point about the buzz and our disagreement on the sound generator. I need to concede a point that we have glossed over. Yes, you can generate a sound by buzzing you lips and your explanations of the didgeridoo and so forth are certainly correct. What you don’t realize is that the trumpet, and brass instruments as a whole, are extremely efficient and advanced acoustical instruments. The venturi tube and the exponential bell are two wonderful technologically advanced discoveries. They are not accidents. As improvements were made on the instruments found in Egypt brass instrument craftsmen have discovered, over the centuries, ingenious ways to make the instrument more efficient, i.e. more sound for the effort applied. The result was simply that you didn’t have to FORCE a sound out the instrument; Players were able to engage an open and free tone by energizing the acoustical properties of the air column within the length of the tubing. Open means that the harmonics with in the fundamental tone resonate unhindered and completely as possible. Free refers to freedom of tension with in the sound resulting from unnecessary isometric muscular tension.

Lastly you describe the trumpet in one dimension. That of a loud and crass nature. To be sure the trumpet can be loud and crass. But only a few relevant examples from orchestral literature need be sited as demonstrative of the warmth and beauty of the trumpet. If you listen to Respighi’s Pines of Rome you will hear the full depth and breadth of the timbral possibilities of the trumpet. I submit to you that the aesthetic range and expressive capabilities as full and complete as that of any other orchestral instrument. I further submit to you that your introduction to “The Trumpet” was the antithesis to this fact.

Please consider removing your contribution to H2G2.


About the author of "The Trumpet"

Post 4

Gnomon - time to move on

So after your initial indignation at me describing the trumpet as loud, you've actually got around to thinking about what I've said! And you find that you agree with me, after all, about the way in which the sounds are produced. I don't stress it quite the same way as you do, but we're both in agreement on the physics of it as far as I can see.

As for the volume, I present the initial impression only. Many people are in fact attracted to the trumpet because of its volume, making it a good solo instrument rather than a harmony one. It attracts people who want to shine rather than to blend. And it does certainly attract more males than females. There are certainly some females as well. One of my best woman friends learnt trumpet for years but was eventually forced to give it up because she had nowhere she could practice at the volume necessary to get a good embouchure. I believe, but am open to correction, that you have to learn to play loud before you can learn to play soft.

I'm sorry that you should be so repelled by my article. It was not intended to denigrate trumpets in any way, but to tell people about them in a semihumorous way which should make people think of them fondly.


About the author of "The Trumpet"

Post 5

babelhorn

Great entry. This comes at a great time and is very exciting to me. I am building and researching a small static model and will be able to use this information to decide on the exterior. Thanks so Much Farlander


OH Please stop. This volume business, or as I like to say "acoustic efficiency" allows us to sound the horn with out stress. I have my hands on the instrument every day and no less than twenty years of teaching it. My anecdotal data from this labor of love tells me that kids and adults that have studied with me love the quality of a great sounding trumpet. Your anecdotal evidence (correct me please if you have any kind of pool of scientifically collected data) comes from what source?

As far as youngsters being encouraged to play with lots of air. I heartily agree with the reasons you have just cited as goals for youngsters, but you must know that in my studio lots of air does not always mean loud. In any circumstance if I hear that loud playing is helping the student I encourage it. Your article was not intended to encourage students of the trumpet. Your article was intended to tell students of the trumpet some of the basic facts of the trumpet and the first thing you told them was it’s really loud.

Perhaps if you had endeared yourself to me first as a writer on the subject of the trumpet – EAR SPLITTING VOLUMES – would not have put up the red flags that it did. Consider the context of your entry and work on the appropriate humor. If you were going for Douglas Adams’ sense of humor I missed it. By the way I love the how many trumpet players does it take to… Jokes. The love and sweat that goes into mastering an instrument did not ring true with me as I read through your entry. I was very excited about becoming a member H2G2 as I was Adams’ A Salmon of Doubt unfortunately but inevitably the entry I read first was yours. It put me off. Bad luck for me.

And by the way when anyone has just told me (your wrong) with no substance immediately following that statement, they usually do hear more from me than they want.

Respectfully


About the author of "The Trumpet"

Post 6

Gnomon - time to move on

I hope that you are still enthusiastic enough to contribute to h2g2, and that I haven't put you off. How would you feel about the following re-write of the first sentence?

"The Trumpet is a brass musical wind instrument capable of playing at ear-splitting volume."


About the author of "The Trumpet"

Post 7

babelhorn

Now you've made me feel all evil and guilty. Thank you for this opportunity to soften my rhetoric between us. How about this? I say that I misunderstood your intent as the author of the article and you write the article anyway you see fit. As far as humor is concerned make it outlandish. For example. The trumpet is an orchestral instrument of an incredibly wide range of musical nuance. That is, at least, when its operator is not caught up in a "HIGHER FASTER LOUDER" mind set. As this unintentional enthusiasm elicits an ear splitting migraine due to the sonic phallus they tend to express in such raptures. Your prose are much cleaner and more succinct than mine, I tend to get wordy and babble, so I am certain that you would do better in your own words.

There is a tumultuous history in the Late Middle Ages about the trumpet. The Field or tower trumpet players verses the court trumpeters. The trumpet guild had very strict and well defined rolls for the players to adhere too, "oddly enough it resembles a familiar debate that you and I have shared. For example, in regards to the type of playing between the above entities of the trumpet guild, it is recorded that one group of players (physically) beat up another that was heard playing out of his designated register. THE HISTORY OF THE TRUMPET OF BACH AND HANDEL by Werener Menke as well as THE TRUMPET by E. Tarr address this issue very well. I think that you will find a lot of humor in these books. It has been a long time since I have read these books so I am sure that you will find better detail than I have just provided off the cuff.


About the author of "The Trumpet"

Post 8

Smij - Formerly Jimster

On Gnomon's request, we've edited the first line of the entry, which we hope will be less 'inflamatory' to trumpet lovers everywhere.

Thanks for contributing to h2g2 smiley - smiley


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About the author of "The Trumpet"

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