Change in paradigm?



  • I am curious to know what others may think of trends in music and instruments, re trumpets. These days, I see, read, and hear performers raving about their new horns, And, certainly, we have a plethora of brands now. I read and hear descriptions such as core, or focused, or smokey. To me, very many new horns sound like a hybrid of cornet, flugelhorn, trumpet. My descriptive for such is dull. To me, a trumpet should have a full, broad, powerful sound, rich in harmonics, and with a sparkling brightness. Seems the sound and virtuosity of the trumpists in the '40s and '50s is gone.

    To give some idea for sound, please listen to Margolis performing the trumpet intro for the song, Oh My Papa, sung by Eddie Fischer. I have not heard a similar sound for what seems ages now.

    opinions?



  • I think that a trumpet generation throughout history has lasted about 50 years. If we look at the medievil trumpets, then Rennaissance, early baroque, late baroque, keyed trumpet, valved trumpet, ever higher pitched trumpets, you can follow the development.

    Even if we only look at the 20th/21st centuries and classical music)we see how the first half of the 20th century was dominated by certain types of instruments. The second half of the 20th century was „dominated“ (in the US at least) by Bach C trumpets. Enter the 21st century: things change - Yamaha starts to dominate with the Xeno sound which is considerably different than the traditional Bach. There is a similar development in Germany/Austria too, but the focus was elsewhere.

    One thing that we should not confuse however is the luxuries that we have basically since the beginning of the 21st century. We have many historically informed performance that certainly require the modern trumpeter to be more flexible than in previous decades.

    Part of the legacy though was driven by recordings. The player started to focus more on „security“. Smaller trumpets became more popular for this reason.

    So, in my opinion, the paradigm has changed in roughly 50 year intervals for many centuries.



  • @ rowuk. You have some very good observations. How true: music and instruments have evolved. 50 years may indeed be correct. A pity the recording technology back in the 40s and 50s was rather primitive: we cannot hear the true sound of the big bands and symphony orchestras. I do prefer the timbre of a Bb trumpet over C. When I hear today Copeland's Fanfare performed with C trumpets, it is lacking something compared to the sound of ensembles in the 60s when Bb trumpets were the norm; and when, as you say, Bach was primarily the norm.



  • Here is where I would disagree on many counts. The „vintage“ recordings offer a lot more insight - even more than today where the homogenization and pasteurization in the studio changes the „facts“. The vintage recordings have all of the „bite“ and „substance“, we just need decent playback to make it work.

    I would also disagree on Bb vs C comparison. To me it is the musicality of the player, not the slight difference in overtones. C Trumpets have been popular in US orchestras since the 1950s. I do perform romantic german music on a rotary Bb however. The vintage german instruments did NOT have a consistent sound throughout the registers. The lower octave is big, dark and resonant. The middle octave is very clear and articulate, the upper register is very „brilliant“. Using the old horns for Mahler, Bruckner, Strauss or Wagner presents a very different picture. Funny enough, the US horns have never had this effect. Modern rotary trumpets have become very close to their US piston siblings.

    @grune said in Change in paradigm?:

    @ rowuk...A pity the recording technology back in the 40s and 50s was rather primitive: we cannot hear the true sound of the big bands and symphony orchestras. I do prefer the timbre of a Bb trumpet over C. When I hear today Copeland's Fanfare performed with C trumpets, it is lacking something compared to the sound of ensembles in the 60s when Bb trumpets were the norm; and when, as you say, Bach was primarily the norm.



  • @grune
    Change in paradigm? Maybe. But I think music (trumpets included) is and always have been in a state of change. My experience with trumpets and their sound is more based on the individual, not the horn. We have (for lack of a better description) our own trumpet voice and that voice is more than likely based on who was their hero(s) during the their formative years.
    There are some, who can channel different trumpet voices (Arturo Sandoval's CD-Trumpet Evolution). In Central Florida, we have a fantastic Public Broadcasting Station (WUCF) and out of a day, I'd bet 75% of the songs have a trumpet as the lead. It's great! A station that plays mostly trumpet players. There's offerings from new people I've never heard of! Some of them play in the stratosphere, some play with a smokey sound, some with a broad powerful 40's-50' sound, some with the articulation of a John McLaughlin. It's spread over all types of trumpet voices. Needless to say, WUCF is on 24/7 in my kitchen. As for makers of trumpets, you can hand a skilled trumpet player a 1953 Martin Committee, chances are they'll try to sound like Miles (for a while) because humans are easily predisposed. If you hand a skilled trumpet player a Monette or Harrelson, they'll probably sound more like themselves. I would say that it's not so much a paradigm change as it is just another layer to the gumbo. Do different brands come with their own particulars? I believe they do. Some are brighter, darker, and some are easier to play than others. However, it's the person's particular trumpet voice that sticks out. For people that know me, when they hear me play (without seeing me) they know its me. I have my own voice.
    If you want a paradigm change, I would suggest listening to some of the free offerings from Berklee College of Music MP&E and/or Berklee College of Music Electronic Production and Design Department.
    Holy Cow! When a person listens to this stuff on the headphones, sound is shifting from ear to ear, and shifting all around a person's head with sounds that are electronically created. One particular piece is called Apocalypse which is just crazy good and nothing like what the general public would call music. I find it as intricate as Bach (no joke). Their offerings challenge the ears and require the listener to listen without prejudice. Otherwise it will come across as noise.



  • When I started reading this thread and it clumped trumpet technology/sound in a 50 year grouping, my mindset was as if I was reading about something historical, antique, distant past. Then I realized that last 50 year clump wasn't in the historic, distant past. It was within my lifetime! 😨



  • @Kehaulani said in Change in paradigm?:

    ...I realized that last 50 year clump wasn't in the historic, distant past. It was within my lifetime! 😨

    Ah, but the key is life!😉



  • @Dr-Mark said in Change in paradigm?:

    @grune
    Change in paradigm? Maybe.
    ...you can hand a skilled trumpet player a 1953 Martin Committee, chances are they'll try to sound like Miles... If you hand a skilled trumpet player a Monette or Harrelson, they'll probably sound more like themselves.

    True, but having both (Committee and Harrelson) my individual voice has a softer edge (not Miles dark, but softer) as a result of the Committee. The quality of the Committee taught me to hold back on the Harrelson, or I would otherwise start to burn as cutting loose on such a new age performing horn could take my voice to a place I'd rather not go.



  • @Kehaulani

    @Kehaulani said in Change in paradigm?:

    When I started reading this thread and it clumped trumpet technology/sound in a 50 year grouping, my mindset was as if I was reading about something historical, antique, distant past. Then I realized that last 50 year clump wasn't in the historic, distant past. It was within my lifetime! 😨

    I most certainly agree! I started playing in 1966 over 50 years ago.

    Unfortunately, we only have audio documentation for the last 100 years or so. The instruments in museums and in the hands of very gifted players however are showing the 50 year turnover on style/construction/technical possibilities. I do not have instruments from every epoque, but I have natural trumpets from the Rennaissance, early baroque, late baroque and classical periods. I have valved instruments from around 1880 to very modern Monette. Even the approach to playing these instruments is different.


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