Okay, my band director is always like, "You need to play darker! You are playing too bright!" I assumed that bright was bad and dark was good.
So, I go to this music camp in Indiana with my friend, and Mr. Conrad, the horn instructor, had told my friend that she was playing too dark and she need to play brighter. This terribly confused us, since we thought that bright was bad and dark as good. Then he explained how they are just different types of playing.
So, does anyone wanna try to explain this to my? I don't really get it. Also, would you consider the GPO sounds bright or dark? Or can you change them up?
It depends on the sound you're trying to achieve, really. This is a very gross generalization and approached from a trumpet player's perspective, but darker tone tends to be favored in the classical realm, while if you're doing jazz, latin or drumcorps, bright can be where you want the horn (and it will be the only place that a soprano in G can live). In each genre, however, there's going to be a degree of timbral variability you want in your sound.
This is necessary to evoke the emotional state and texture of the music. For example, if you take a listen to individual players during Catacombe in Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, they perform the piece in a very dark (and somber) manner, while later in the Great Gate of Kiev the timbre of the brass will tend to be brighter (and more heroic). Similarly in the jazz realm, anyone playing a ballad (i.e. My Romance) will tend to make their tone darker than when they're on some more straight ahead stuff (i.e. So What). Instrumentation and orchestration also play into ensemble brightness, though that's another story.
The natural range of the instrument will also dictate some of the brightness: in the low and midrange it is much easier to achieve darkness than at the squeaky clean jazz lead player top. Finally, a player's maturity level, practice cycle, and listening habits will influence the brightness of the horn. More experienced and developed players who have listened to the greats will have an easier time getting a darker, fuller, more resonant sound.
Bright tends to incorporate higher levels of higher frequencies, while darker tone has more resonant low frequencies. GPO uses filters to affect the timbre of the sound, and so can roughly approximate shifts in brightness of the sound. In my opinion, the GPO trumpets and horns are darker than their COMB and JABB counterparts for the reasons stated above. The CoMB trumpets tend to be especially bright, though with some EQing you can coax them into a somewhat darker sound.
In my own playing, I like to keep my tone in the middle between dark and bright, because it leaves me the most adaptable to all situations. Juggling jazz, musicals, and weddings, that's where I want to be. And, depending on what I want to sound like, I can use my ear (and chops) to tweak the brightness of my horn.
Yeah, that helps a lot. Seeing as how Pictures at an Exhibition is my favorite piece, that example really helps. I think I understand what you're saying, and I can see where those techniques could be used and stuff. Thanks for the help.