TGI NEWS: Issue Number 7 - February 2002
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1) Trumpet Geeks International web site updates
3) Feature Article: Doubling
4) Trumpet Tips
5) Feature Article: - continued
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This months feature article was written by Eddie Severn The noted lead player
and soloist from the UK.
The NY Brass Conference is coming up real soon. It is the 30th Anniversay
of the Brass Conference this year.
Feature Article: Effective Doubling for Trumpet and Flugelhorn
By Eddie Severn
Copyright 2002 Eddie Severn
Effective Doubling for Trumpet and Flugelhorn
Most trumpet players at some time in their lives will want to spend a little
time with the flugelhorn. Some will need to do so to meet performance
requirements and some will just want to because they love the way it sounds.
As we can pick the instrument up and play it more or less straight away many
trumpet players just take it for granted and do not spend much time studying
the flugelhorn as an instrument in it's own right. This is fine if you are
an amateur player who just needs to play it in an occasional big band chart
or indeed just for fun. For the more serious player though time needs to
be spent addressing some key issues.
What instrument and mouthpiece?
There are lots to try and some very good ones around now. If you are serious
about it I would go for a small bore (around .410 - .415)which is like the
old Couesnon Flugelhorn that is so sought after. Trumpet bore flugelhorns
(around .460) are popular with occasional players and fine as far as it goes
but I always feel that the smaller bore horns require you to play them correctly
for optimum sound. Mouthpieces are of course very much a personal choice
but I would not go for something that is ridiculously deep with a huge throat.
Basically you should be able to play with a good sound on something like
Bach 7C Flugel mouthpiece. Mine is like a 10C.
How do I get that "sound"?
I should point out first that my sound on a solo gig is not the same as the
sound I would use when playing in or leading a trumpet section. In the section
I am aiming for a pure and centred sound that is easy to get in tune with
and has a clear and definite attack. If I am leading then this helps the
other players to follow my phrasing and if I am playing underneath a lead
player then it helps me to blend. On a solo gig I like to go for a "wooden
/ fluffy" sound with a less sharp attack. I find I can vary my sound by
controlling the size of my aperture and moving the air differently. As far
as the mental approach to sound is concerned it is very important that we
listen to great players of the flugelhorn to get a sound into our heads.
I have never practiced trying to get a flugelhorn sound. I have however listened
and continue to listen to different players all the time.
These include: Art Farmer, Clarke Terry, Guido Basso, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby
Shew and Tom Harrell. I cannot emphasize the importance of listening enough.
If you hear it right you will play it right!
On the physical side, apart from the choice of instrument and mouthpiece
we need to understand that the air stream for a good flugel sound is slower
than that of the trumpet. Basically you should think "warm air - warm sound"!
There is nothing worse than a heavy hitter blowing a flugelhorn like a trumpet
and for me this always separates the real musicians from the rest in the
We should be able to vary the attack with the flugel in just the same way
as we do with the trumpet from hard to very soft. It's just a question of
using good musical judgment.
To clean you silver trumpet. Fill your sink with hot water And baking soda.
Place a piece of aluminum foil on the bottom Of the sink. Take you horn apart
and place all the parts on the Foil. Within a few minutes all the tarnish
will be gone! Contributed by Dave Trimble
Feature Article: Effective Doubling
- Continued -
Will practicing flugel spoil my trumpet playing?
No. As long as you are aware that the change of mouthpiece and instrument
will prompt new and perhaps at first, unfamiliar physical responses from
you, there should be no problem. As with all practice a little and often
is the key and after a while your body will develop a "memory" for the flugel,
which it will adjust to very quickly.
How can I make sure I am in tune?
This a crucial thing to be aware of especially if you are playing in a trumpet
section that is doubling for flugel passages. Firstly nearly all flugels,
even the best, get progressively sharper as we descend from low C down to
low F#. In a cheaper instrument it is possible to be a quarter tone sharp
by the time you reach low A! I always test an instrument in this register
first and as long as it is in tune down to bottom A then I can either lip
the remaining notes down or use the 3rd valve slide(which it should have
incidentally). In the upper register it is important to remember that the
harmonics feel much closer together than they do on the trumpet. Again control
of the air stream and aperture size is the key to playing in tune up there.
Any interval exercises played slowly on the flugel will help get you and
your ear in tune with where things should be. I sometimes sit at a piano
and play a random note on the horn, say a concert F and then a whole variety
of notes with i!
t on the piano, which change the tonality.
If I play a concert Db on the piano then the minor third will feel darker
than if I play a D natural and it becomes a major third. There will need
to be a very small physical adjustment for this too. It's all a question
of using your ears!
ABOUT EDDIE SEVERN -
Based in the UK, Eddie Severn has performed in a variety of situations from
jazz to classical to rock. His role as Lead Trumpet with the Scottish National
Jazz Orchestra has seen him working with numerous guest artists such as Kenny
Wheeler, Maria Schneider, Joe Lovano,Ingrid Jenson, John Dankworth &
Cleo Laine, Ken Peplowski, Dave Leibman and Bobby Watson. As a soloist he
has performed at home, in Europe and the USA with many well-known musicians
including Tommy Smith, Joe Temperly, Bobby Wellins, Jim Mullen, Emil Vickiky
and Bob Wilbur.
Eddie Severn uses a Yamaha Z Flugelhorn with the standard "Bobby Shew" flugelhorn
mouthpiece. He is also the author of a new book "Trumpet Solutions"
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