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Topic: Brass Technique Missing...

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  1. #1

    Brass Technique Missing...

    Ya know, being a trumpet player, I really listen closely to the trumpet samples nowadays. Has anybody taken into consideration great sounding double-tongue/triple-tongue action? I see flutters and all these weird effects, but many of my peices have crazy trumpet parts, but I can\'t make them with samples. I have to record double tongueing parts on my own several times. Perhaps someone could sample the seperate tonguings tu ku tu ku tu ku. The maestro tools could come in real handy with alternating the tu ku tonguing. Anybody else but me have this issue. I know Thomas time and pitch stretches pre-recorded double/triple tonguing action.

  2. #2

    Re: Brass Technique Missing...

    Good idea Aaron! Why don\'t you try this yourself? sample some doubletonguing phrases totally dry and chop them up in sound forge. Playing Tu and Ku seperately is a little more challenging than playing the actual doubletonguing and will probably not sound like the same thing when you program the .gig. If you need help with the Gigaeditor there are loads of people that can help you on this forum. It\'s really easy though. You\'ll need a sound editor/recorder like Sonic Foundry\'s Sound Forge. I remember their 5.0 beta was free. Maybe you can still get it.

    Thomas

  3. #3
    PatS
    Guest

    Re: Brass Technique Missing...

    Thomas: Didn\'t you create a few tonguing samples for one of your demos?

    While we\'re on the subject of tonguing, I\'d love for some of you brass players to enlighten me on the use of the term \"portato.\" It\'s not a common brass term, at least in most method and orchestration texts adopted in American schools (the rest of you Yanks can correct me if I\'m wrong). On the other hand, Louis Saint-Jacome does discuss the technique in his *Grand Method for Trumpet or Cornet* (first published in 1870; now available through Carl Fischer), and I found another reference to portato in an online \"Schilke Master Class.\" Recently, I shared the latter reference with a brass player who also hadn\'t heard of the term as applied to brass (for the curious: portato is typically notated as slurred staccato, not slurred tenuto, as is typical for strings). However, he did recognize the technique from the description and said that he refers to it as \"feathering.\"

    Comments? Insights? Etymologies?

    Pat

  4. #4

    Re: Brass Technique Missing...

    I\'ve always assumed (there\'s that word again!) that this is a combination of portamento and staccato (as wierd as that sounds.) But you got me curious, so I hit Google. There seems to be a general agreement, thought the details differ from player to player.

    Comments from the \"Basic Articulation\" page of The Concertina Connection [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img]

    Portato
    Portato is indicated by a short line over or under a note, or the combination of a slur and staccato dot. It can also be indicated by the word portato printed in the score.

    Portato means: lengthened, sustained.

    To play portato, sound the note about 50-75% of the length of the notated value. The notes should always be separated by a rest. Finger-portato is probably the easiest articulation form to perform. Because of the time between two notes, it does not require any special technique.
    Pay attention to the lifting up of your finger, which determines the length of the tone you are playing. If you play several portato notes in succession, make sure they are the same length.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">The Oxford Dictionary of Music, © Oxford University Press 1994 defines it as:

    Portando, Portato (It.)

    Carrying, carried. The same as Portamento.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Dan Dean says:
    Dan Dean’s new revolutionary \"Ensemble\" presets are a first in the industry... There is full Keyswitching and Mod Wheel implementation of the programming, which allows for on-the-fly switching from NV to Staccato, NV to Portato, NV to Mutes and other permutations. There are presets which achieve these same effects via Velocity Switching, where there is a Staccato or Portato layer at the top velocities over the NV samples...
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Perhaps Dan can comment on his definition of portato for keyboards simulating brass. Could be a useful post.

    An old piano practice web page (had to get from the Google cache, it\'s not up anymore) talked about technique in various eras...

    mid-18th c. keyboard articulation
    Harrison (97), 33-49. Keyboard touch was divided into four types: staccato (the notes held for half or less than half the note value); legato, always appearing under slur (the notes held for their full value); ordinary touch, which is unmarked (the notes played somewhat detached); and portato, with \"staccato\" dots under a slur (the notes played without any interruption of sound and with slight emphasis).
    \"Ordinary keyboard touch [unmarked in the score] was realized by holding the notes half their value unless marked Ten.\" Bach, C.P.E. (1753, 1762), trans. 157. According to Marpurg (1755), 29, however, \"the finger is [to be] lifted from a key just before the following note is played.\" .
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">And Dan Quayle eats portatoes with his stake! [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

    Dasher

  5. #5
    PatS
    Guest

    Re: Brass Technique Missing...

    Thanks, Dasher, for the information. I haven\'t heard the name Marpurg in over 10 years.

    The reason I brought this up is that a couple of brass libraries (Dan\'s DDSB and Maarten\'s forthcoming horns) include portato in the list of articulations. Miroslav\'s library includes portamento (slides), but not portato. (Granted, for some folks \"portato\" and \"portamento,\" as well as \"portando,\" are interchangeable, but only in reference to the technique of \"sliding\" between the notes--i.e., \"carrying\" the sound between the written pitches.) I don\'t know about Roland, AO, QLB, or BOB. Anyway, I\'m quite curious about this one.

    Pat

  6. #6

    Re: Brass Technique Missing...

    I\'ve always thought that the little line over or under a note is called \"tenuto\", and portato is somehow detached , not staccato nor legato...of course ive been wrong several times in my life.

    Daniel

  7. #7

    Re: Brass Technique Missing...

    Bruce, is there no change in attack for tu and ku? I\'m no brass player so I don\'t really know much about the reality of playing techniques. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  8. #8

    Re: Brass Technique Missing...

    Maybe someone with adequate abilties to double tongue on any instrument could do what Thomas said: Record a double tongue phrase and chop it up in some audio editing program. Well, something like that.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Brass Technique Missing...

    Originally posted by Hasen:
    Bruce, is there no change in attack for tu and ku? I\'m no brass player so I don\'t really know much about the reality of playing techniques. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Well, it depends upon your level of mastery. Ideally, no, in orchestral work. Only in relatively contemporary music would you find it notated as an actual effect calling for an obviousness of articulation.

    The device is simply used to facilitate quick, articulated performance. Every player has a limitation as to how quickly he can repeat the \"t\" articulation, which is preferable because it is the closest position to the aperture, and therefore the most efficient and least disturbing to your airstream. When the player reaches that breakpoint, he changes to multiples, either varying the t-k-t-k in the case of doubles, or using t-t-k-t-t-k or t-k-t-t-k-t or even just a straight alternation for triples. In an orchestral situation, the principal chair will usually specify the articulation if everyone is not already so used to playing with each other that they intuitively know the collective \"breakpoint.\" Sometimes the conductor will specify if he has a preference or wants to impose a particular character on a phrase.

    When you hear a player with a huge difference in the \"t\" and \"k\" syllable, though, they\'re actually having a performance problem which isn\'t limited to the syllable as much as it is in their concept of airstream as it applies to fast articulated passages. It would definitely be considered a defect--standard brass pedagogy teaches making the syllables indistinguishable from one another. Generally, if you have an unevenness, it\'s one of two technique issues: either attacking the \"k\" syllable less aggresively, or more generally, letting up on the airstream instead of driving through the figure. Most often, both.

    It\'s ironic that with sampling we are immediately tipped off to a repeated sample by the machine gun sound. When you\'re working with your articulation on the horn, the machine gun sound is exactly what you\'re trying to emulate and achieve.

    All bets are off playing jazz or pop, because there, you\'re being much more emulative of the human voice. Articulation becomes one of the primary stylistic mechanisms by which we identify players.

    Take Allen Vizzutti for example. He\'s an extremely clean and aggressive player, whether playing legit or jazz. Not so coincidentally, this makes him an ideal sample-session musician. I have admired his playing since I was a teenager. His notes are like bricks--they have a very defined attack whether articulated or slurred, and his airstream is extremely stable. His solo work as well as the work he did with Chick Corea in the early 80s is almost classical in tone production, just a little more aggressive. The choice of notes and lines are the more prominent jazz component to his style. Get a little farther towards vocal-style playing and you have Wynton, who is doing more with the airstream and pitch manipulation within notes but still keeping pretty clean. Taking it farther, you\'ve got Freddie Hubbard who is somewhat liberal with his pitch and more so with his airstream. Miles is a different take on that same \"distance\" from the legit, solid-note style. Then there\'s Nat Adderley, Thad Jones, Chet Baker--guys who are (were, I guess) making use of even more internal syllables to affect tone in a vocal manner.

    From there, really you can go on and on to Louis Armstrong, Al Hirt, and anyone from that New Orleans tradition where basically all bets are off and you are growling, grunting, and using whatever means available to vary articulation.

    But for orchestral work, nope. The notes are written on the page, it doesn\'t tell you what syllable to use in 99.9% of the music that will hit your stand, so the notes should simply be played in the fashion which the phrase demands, with no additional layer of syllabic variation imposed. And therefore, given a decent variation of velocities, one should be able to knock off a double-tongued passage with ease.

    With sample libraries, really the more difficult issue with getting a nice quick articulation lies in the musician who was sampled. A blossoming tone, where the airstream isn\'t constant behind the articulation but starts at less than the target volume and swells, makes it difficult to get anything but mush. This is one of the weaknesses of the AO trumpets--they\'ll do passages of a certain speed and sound OK, but if you get too fast, the attacks start to get weak and mushy.

    Clearly, the coffee is kicking in. I need to get back to work.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Brass Technique Missing...

    Originally posted by A_Sapp:
    Ya know, being a trumpet player, I really listen closely to the trumpet samples nowadays. Has anybody taken into consideration great sounding double-tongue/triple-tongue action? I see flutters and all these weird effects, but many of my peices have crazy trumpet parts, but I can\'t make them with samples. I have to record double tongueing parts on my own several times. Perhaps someone could sample the seperate tonguings tu ku tu ku tu ku. The maestro tools could come in real handy with alternating the tu ku tonguing. Anybody else but me have this issue. I know Thomas time and pitch stretches pre-recorded double/triple tonguing action.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">What a coincidence, I was just doing some double-tongueing parts with DDSB. I use the staccato patch, and just make sure that whatever note the \"ku\" syllables fall upon are triggering lower velocities than the \"tu\" syllables. It works very well. Triggering the same velocity levels in a row, however, gives the dreaded machine gun effect.

    Rhythmically, if the double-tongued part is on the upbeat, then you can also delay the first note slightly, so that the figure starts just a hair late and is just a bit compressed rhythmically. That tends to be the way people actually play, so it can take a little of the \"curse\" off. Of course, if the double-tongue part begins on a downbeat, you won\'t want to do this--it\'ll just sound late.

    You could probably also do some programming to provide yourself some variation. I\'ve never gone to that extreme because I find the above methodologies get me there. After all, the goal of double-tongueing is to match the attack quality as closely as possible. If you just articulate a double-tongued phrase with no horn, onto the palm of your hand, you\'ll feel the relationships of \"ka\" to \"ta.\" The biggest difference is not the sharpness with which the breath hits your hand, but the lessened overall velocity of air with the \"ka\" syllable. My college trumpet professor made us do this all the time, to train ourselves to even out our air across the entire figure.

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