Tag Archives: Music

Python piano

Spent several hours to write a trivial piano emulator using Python. I do not have a book so just googled whatever did not work: apparently all newbie problems are already solved.
I used PyQt bindings and Qt-designer to create UI. pyuic4 generates a bit ugly Python code: first, python 2.6 does not understand it (namely assignment some value to function, like self.some_func() = something, so I had to manually edit it (I found a post that latest Python snapshots already support it, likely it was about Python3), second, it does not know about loops and just creates a static representation of the form screen.
Also I did not work hard on things like resizing (I just forbid it :)

To play sounds I used PyMedia library, unfortunately it is not available in Ubuntu, and its compilation failed, so I had to edit setup scripts and put proper defines for C code :) Furtunately I quite know C a little.

Probably I will switch out from PyMedia, since it does not allow to control output sound buffer size. I need to ‘schedule’ audio sample playing so that qt-signal handler returned and next one (like key release) could be processed. PyMedia implements async sound output, but it may be not enough – for example it blocks trying to get and play 100.000 samples.
Or I will try to work with Python threads and assign press/release signals to different threads (if it is possible, I do not know Python enough yet).

This is a very ugly proof of concept code to date. I will polish things and split downloaded scales into separate tones, which will be played when appropriate keys are pressed. I will also try to implement nicer classes for keys and sounds.

And in a meantime my workplace screenshot (full-screen on click):

I found it so simple to program using Python that it is very likely I will switch all prototyping development to Python from Lisp. Lisp is great and I do like its features, but it is way too rare when I used its cool abilities like writing complex macros, most of my macros were rather simple with-something () like with-open-file() and friends.
Lambda and closures for internal states are great, but iirc Python also has them.

But main feature of the Python I like is its incredible standard library as well as zillions of already written extensions. I was not able to find graphical bindings for CLISP or audio processing for example, although its quite unusual to write GUI in Lisp.
I had to write HTTP GET/POST utility myself using low-level sockets; regular-expression in CLISP is rather limited, and although cl-ppcre is great, rich regexp is available in Python out of the box. Python has some multithreading support (and ugly GIL to name), while CLISP does not (at least 2.44.1 version, which comes with Ubuntu Lucid).
And so, and so and on…

Stay tuned, I will play more with this project, after all I want to play some simple music at work :)

I am a musician

A fucking bad musician actually, but I learn…

Yes, there are harminies and scales, accords and arpeggios and so on, which I study every day as well as practicing my trumpet itself. And I have quite good progress I think.

But very frequently I want to play some simple (or complex) motive of the melody I hear. Or ‘workaround’ it a little… At home I can play piano and try to pick out melody by ears, but in office or anywhere near computer I can not do this.

The reason is simple: Linux does not have a piano synthesizer. Well, it has plenty of them, but each one plays through MIDI. And audio system in Linux is only good for listening. MIDI/alsa/oss/jackd/pulseaudio – thousands of them, and this web only works in some precise setups.

I tried to install plenty of MIDI software on Ubuntu Lucid Lyx – epic fail. Jackd stops, pulseaudio crashes and freezes… It is such a mess.

So I decided to write a trivial application which will look like a piano keyboard and play recorded samples instead of going through MIDI synth when keyboard or mouse keys are pressed. I checked FreshMeat – there are only MIDI synthesizer there.

And I need a simple, fast, nice and non-brain-fucking in setup application, which just plays what I press.

Week from lytdybr point of view

I suppose I will start new format for the small events unrelated to hacking. I will accumulate them into once-per-week post with some descriptions.

First, sport. I climb two times per week and see that there is a fair progress in the power endurance. But since I still try to wear out my new shoes (well, not that new, I bought them about a month or even more ago, but they are still very tight), so results are biased, namely I can not control my left feet since it suffers quite a lot after some time in the shoe. But still I got a noticeble jump in the training level. For example yesterday I managed to climb three 6a+ traces on the negative slope without the rest in between. And while this is not some complex trace I could be proud of, it is complex enough for 3 times in a row.
I check power endurance level my measuring how tire I am after the training or exercise or trace. In the above case it was hard to breath, but not hard to secure the holds, so looks like I had some endurance left after this run, but muscle breathing was close to its limit.
If training course will continue to increase for another couple of weeks, I will reach a very good level, and my shape will allow to start working with the really complex traces. Namely I want to do 6c and higher on the negative slope, and local 6c is actually at least 7a in the common sence (yes, there is a special table printed to match local and usual trace grades :)
So, no matter what, I like how things go right now.

Second, music. I did not play with the teacher previous weekend, but wait for the sunday for one. It is rather hard to see any difference in playing in this small time interval, but I can confirm that my previously reachd level is still there.
Today I played in the office for some time, maybe an hour or so, when most of the people went home. And while there were no some incredible things played, I found that I can play and improvise some interesting things from the virtually nothing. It happens quite rarely, actually I could remember only couple of intersting and very small, maybe for 2-3 measures, things, but they were real. So, I slowly move forward. For example I can rather easily start playing from the sheet, although quite slowly, but there will be a clean attack and shap sound upto natural 2F or so. It requires some warming first though. Also learned fair number of various scales, and while they are mostly major ones, I know how to build one (tone, tone, half-tone and so on) from any note as well as magic shift to get minor scale (one tone lower from the major tonic becomes a tonic for the minor scale, while all notes are actually left the same). Also played some bits in pentatonics, it is easier to improvise, and some blues scales, although I do not actually remember it, I played from the sheet.
Sometimes I play some very simple bits on piano. Nothing really intersting, but I still have in plans to start doing it more seriously, namely find a teacher locally.

And while my musical earing as well as playing techique are quite far from what I want to have as the nearest goal, I see that there is a way to reach that level. Although not simple and quick one.

Third, car and appartments. Actually nothing major happened here. I do enjoy to drive my car, but there is a major lifestyle change, which does not allow me to drink when I want anymore. And that kind of dissapoints me, since I actually like this.

Bottles of Ballantine’s and Jameson

I can not start this one, for example… But things are not that bad – I will leave my car on the office parking and enjoy the taste :)

There were some other good and not that good things happend, but it is unlikely to be anyhow interesting, so let’s draw the line: I expect things to be just fucking cool, and that’s what I like.

Stay tuned, there will be some interesting notes from the technical part of the brain: elliptics network pre-production testing, POHMELFS status and its details and maybe also something new.

Recent life happenings in one post

No computers and filesystems, only so called lytdybr. I hide it under the cut since there are photos and a lot of text there.

First, climbing. I continue to train, although the last month it was not very regular. There was a fair number of other tasks to perform. I plan to start it doing regulary again, and expect in a couple of weeks to reach a good level. Its the time when my new shoes will fit the feet.

I had some plans to change living conditions, but then decided to drop this idea for a while. So I had some spare money, sold healthy part of the liver, and bought myself another level of freedom.

I do enjoy it and abilities it gave me. The main one is to move to whatever place I want. That’s where I made those 2000 kilometers.

I also started to play my trumpet with the teacher. I do it quite for a while already (having a car allows to move to any place for study, and it is not that simple task to find a trumpet teacher in Moscow). I have a serious progress on that, although ‘training’ technique is rather simple. My main achievement for the month I think is very clear and sharp attack for all sounds within first and half of the second octaves. I started to play music and not those ugly legato fluff.
Teacher says that I have a very good progress, but that may be because I pay him money :) But even collegues who seriously play and improvise complex jazz confirm that things had noticebly improved.

I like how it goes and do expect more in my trumpet mastering. There are plans to also start playing piano with teacher, since my skills are rather at zero level.

I also seems to finish kitchen development. At least I hope so. There is no kitchen yet, but I installed sound proofing and the door. It did not help noticebly though.

Inspired by the “Devil’s Advocate” movie.

I improved that wall since then and made more rigid contrast on the shapes of the lines, I will make a photo eventually, although I plan to install kitchen there, which will cover most of the wall though. Still plans to have kitchen, how naive…

And some other pleasant bits, like Parallels concert

I think eventually I will play not bad to make and show own music, like with office band, maybe we will play couple of melodies soon. Main problem is my rhytm and sound quality, or actually its absence :)

To develop musical earing and study music and jazz theory I bought fair number of books:

  • The art of jazz trumpet
  • Jazzology – the encyclopedia of jazz theory for all musicians
  • Connecting chords with linear harmony
  • Essential ear training for today’s musician
  • Jazz Theory Resources
  • Harmony textbook (in russian – got from trumpet teacher)

All were selected based on Amazon’s responses and comments. It tooks roughly a month to deliver to Moscow from www.betterworldbooks.com/. I started from the harmony textbook (in russian) and essential ear training, since basically never learned solfegio, and my music earing is rather bad to extract those sounds from the head.

Those were the recent happenings, and I expect it to continue to be interesting. Stay tuned!

Office band live concerts

Office band with cool page, embedded player and stream link now.

They (highpower (bass), viert (keyboards) and narn (drums)) perform smooth jazz and improvisation live and page has an appropiate status.

As written on the page, band’s level is moderate. So, as a matter of fact, I can not play that level, but my current target is ‘visualized’ for some time now.

Currently it is off-air, but concert is scheduled for today’s evening. Check homepage after 16:00 UTC or this CGI:

Enjoy live music!

P.S. I’m a loser, I will go climbing…

To listen

Office band (Highpower, Viert and Narn, all in russian) gives a live concert today, which is available on-line at http://home.narn.pp.ru:8090/yandex.mp3.

Very cool soft jazz with the mixture of jamming bits all over the place. It will start soon, but stream is already available. It will last for several hours live I suppose.

In a meantime I listened some trumpet players to get in touch with the modern jazz.
Old-school stuff like Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis is not really what I like.

So got several songs of Chris Botti and Rick Braun.

Also listened Laco Deczi on youtube, who is a crazy super fast high range player, but still it is a quite modern sound.

Chris Botti is a trumpeter with very romantic, soft and nice, slow music (in particular he plays with Sting), very much intended for relaxation on a sea-cost with a bottle of wine. Rick Braun is a little bit more fast, more rythmic, more like a common jazz, but yet without its ear-thrilling and eyes-rolling solos or big-band loud.

So, recommend for the easy soft jazz listening.

EDITED TO ADD that concert is over. It was fucking uber cool to fill up the whole 20 mbit channel by your ears and opinions. Apparently it was good enough to hold you on the channel up until it was over.
Thank you! There will be some new sound soon to check out.

Stay tuned!

Sound the Trumpet

Finished reading the book.

Sound the Trumpet: How to blow your own horn

Actually I expected a little bit more new information. So effectively this is a book for the very beginning, I regret I did not have it one year ago. Right now I could use it as a small reference to several exercises and notes, but most of its content is what I already ‘learned’ myself.

But it is so well written that can be read on the single breath – I did not get bored during reading and finished its almost 300 pages really quickly. Although my english was not always good enough to translate every word (and grep utility does not work well with the paper medium), I did understand all the content. I especially liked its public performance chapter – it is so optimistically written that kind of pushes you to the scene.
Also there is a fair number of further reading links and music titles.

In a meantime I got a lot of electronic books about trumpet mastering technique in particular and music theory (and especially about improvising) in general. They are mostly scanned pages transformed into PDF, so I’m not sure it will be possible to read with the modern eReaders like Sony PRS-505, which I heard has very good PDF support, but unlikely to work properly with the scanned books. Will try to check it when get handy.

There are several books (even in russian) about jazz improvisation, which is what I’m very interested in right now – I want to pull those sounds out of my head, and expect it to be extremely interesting process.
I would be glad to read most if not all of them from the well-printed sources, but it is unlikely a possible case though, since those books cover rather unusual topics for the common book shops.

In a meantime I started negotiations with the private teachers. To date I found only one trombone player, who finished Gnesins RAM several years ago, and I talk with him about the supposed process. Getting that he lives way far from my location, this may end up in a nowhere, so maybe I will continue to practice and learn myself as before.

Time will show. And I expect it to be very interesting.

The first trumpet record: phtshtph

It sounds similar to that ‘word’ actually. I used Yamaha silent brass system with its inner mic and preamp. Even when connected to headphones it sounded not how trumpet sounds in a real life, so recording would not make some magic here.

I played number of melodies and was not in the best shape this evening, but resulted sound is what I usually have with that mute in the headphones. I want to note that real trumpet even with my technical level (I admit I do not play very well) is far and far from what you will hear.

So, put away children, pets and pregnant women as well as people with neurological or psychological problems and the ones with the headache. Actually put away anyone who you care about.

Here is the link, you have been warned.

There will be no such records anymore, besides the fact that it is ugly, it is also worse than what I can really play without mute. So I will eventually buy a good mic and external audio card and will record some stuff with the sound I really have and like. In a meantime use the record to scare neighbours.

Btw, its about a year I learn music and practice trumpet.

Trumpet mutes

My new trumpet mutes arrived past weekend and I did not miss the chance to try them all.
I have three mutes now: two silent and a harmon one for two trumpets.

There is an analog silent mute, so called cup mute from DenisWick.

Cup silent mute

It has a movable cup with rubber and ‘hairy’ rings for the maximum bell control. And it sits pretty thight in the bell to make sound very quiet, I suppose usual talk is louder than that, so I’m not afraid to practice late, although did not try yet, since I have a silent piano for that :)

Trumpet with the silent cup mute

Its weight is small enough for comfortable holding, but it has a quite big air flow resistance, so it changes sound noticebly, especially in the higher range. Still in the first and second octaves it is quite usable even being fully ‘closed’. If there is at least a small open part, it becomes rather loud compared to closed state, but sound quality improves.

Another silent mute is electronic Yamaha Silent Brass SB7-9 system. It is also called a personal studio, since besides the mute itself it contains a small preamp, which allows to play in parallel trumpet and external music. Output can be sent to headphones or any other external device. That’s how I will make my first records :)

Yamaha Silent Brass SB7-9 system

It is also quite lightweight, which does not impede playing. But, its sound is rather strange.
It is definitely not what you hear on the modern CDs, rather similar to old vinyl disks, i.e. not very good (at best) So sound quality is not what I exected, but then there is no difference on what trumpet to play :)

Trumpet with Yamaha silent brass system

It is not completely quiet, but similar to what I hear with the analog cup mute. Likely it is not only the open part of the horn rippling, but also a second class citizens from the middle part of the bell. So it can be used to play and not disturb others, but in the close range there will be some sounds.

The last mute is a harmon one from DenisWick. It is rather fun device which allows to produce sounds similar to guitar’s wow device.

Harmon mute

But if one takes out a small inner ‘bell’ (the one it stays on), trumpet starts sounds the way you used to hear in jazz compositions – with high ringing bells. I very like that sound, but to be really interesting one has to blow rather hard, otherwise only low frequency bells will appear.

Although I experimented a little bit with the mutes, I also did not forget the everyday morning exercises. At the beginning I can play long scales upto 3C now, but would not say it is very stable especially when lips become tired. Still it is not very hard when I have them fresh.
Learned 8-9 natural major scales (iirc minor ones are the same with the tonic moved one third low) with increasing number of sharps and flats (4 of both I recall), but still do not remember very good the relation between tonic and number of alteration signs, need to memorize it better by playing more. Also I can produce scales by hands, since remember number of tones and half-tones in the scale, but again it is not very fast.
There are some scales like D-dur and Es-dur which can be played really fast, since they are very logical and simple in the trumpet fingering (I always play in concert pitch). Sometimes I transpose small melodies (upto a dozen or less notes) into different tonality, although most of the time I play either scales or known part in the original tune.

Getting to that level I do want to start improvise, but I just can’t. I want to play the sounds in the head, but my intervals are always wrong, and while I ‘select’ the right one I already forget the melody. I expect there will be some interesting notes about this in the ‘Sound the Trumpet‘. In a meantime I learn and practice a very interesting vibrato technique, similar to ringing ‘r-r-r-r’ in the sound, from that book. Although its beginning part is already known.
I suppose understanding and ear development is a matter of long practice, but I would not resist against some magic there. There is an appropriate chapter in the book, who knows…

Well, I want to play my music, and I will. Eventually. And now back to the LISP hacking, I’m two steps before regexp implementation completion, which is the first major step in the very interesting journey.

Stay tuned!

What to do in office on weekend

One would say to program programs. That’s what I mostly do the other days. I sometimes do that at home too, but usually I play trumpet and piano there.

And sometimes I do it in the office, especially when there are no people who risk to lost their mind listening for my improvisations. Basically because I do not know interesting melodies, I try to create them.
Rarely succeed, but sometimes it is not that ugly.

Couple of days ago I thought out a simple 3/4 rock-n-roll (this night I extended it to another 3 tonalities separated by fifths) – just major triads and then a scale part.

Let’s rock-n-roll

But I feel something is missing there, something is not 100% complete.
Eventually I will find.

Wanna improvise

I got the shape when I can play about 5-7 scales in different tonalities (I play major ones, since it happend that minor is the same but one third lower), know what are the stable sounds (not always though, since I forget tonality names and thus can not build major triad, but can quite easily do that if I know the tonic).

So I start improvising in selected tonality, and although sometimes I find out something quite interesting imho, most of the time it does not sound the way I want. Also I do not know about particular ‘rules’ of the music, for example like it should end on the stable sound in general and frequently in tonic in particular, i.e. do not know the harmony.

In particular I do not know the pentatonism rules. That’s what I found somewhere in the jazz improvisation book (those days I did not understand half of the words, now I believe only a third or a quarter, so needs to find the book again):

Blues pentatonism

This particular image shows way too many notes in different tonalities for my small sound part of the brain to understand.

As of trumpet – with 14C mouthpiece I’m quite able to play different scales upto/downfrom trumpet 3C (aka high C) or 2Bb on piano. That mouthpiece is default with Yamaha Xeno which I play at home, while with 7C (default on Bach Strad 37 and 43 iirc) I likely will not play that high easily, so I do not count this as 100% my technique result. Playing higher than 2F is still not very stable, especially quickly and with tired lips, but I slowly move in the right direction: train the lips and breathing.
In particular I found that playing with the full breath when air comes unaltered by the throat, mouse and tongue, and only lips control it, results in much more interesting sound than when I push the air using throat. IIRC the right breathing is exactly when air is pushed by diaphragm and not throat.

Anyway, it goes pretty well from techical point of view, but creative part is somewhat miserable at this point. But its only beginning.

Raping ears with the tones

Listened second composition from the office band set (mp3) – it is the one I especially like.
Decided to pick it out by tunes and play solo on trumpet. They frequently play in the neighbour office and while I’m not that good to play or improvise together, I still can play in my room :)

That’s what I picked out, and even if it is not 100% precisely the melody (obviously not, I just selected a part of the start/solo and mainly wanted to get a tonality to improvise myself), I’m on the right way.

Here is what I believe is the start in G-dur (the one with the single F-sharp, although I did not pick it further), likely with the couple of delays for the 4/4 rythm modulo.

G-dur small part of the solo/start

And then music flows around this tonality and selected melody (scale parts and the like).

Maybe I’m plain wrong (note, my musical hearing is very bad), but I like what I picked out anyway. So I will play this on trumpet, it is quite simple actually, especially since I know G-dur tonality fingering quite good.

Music picking out process part

Just bloody love this – maybe in a while I will be fired so I could implement my dream to become a good musician and end up with the liver cirrhosis playing in bars for life.

The scale

I have a good contact with at least 3 musicians who finished musical schools and college in the past, and at least one of them still plays (in the neighbour room in the office).
They all saw my miserable and ugly attempts to play some notes and no fscking one (although I have to admit that I rarely rape ears‘play’ on public) said that scales exercises made from different notes in different keys are so extremely cool!

And they are – scales just rock! Not because they sound good, they are pretty usual and boring (although they also can be played with some fun), but after one somewhat memorized fingering of one or another scale playing its notes in the order you imagined in the head sounds just great.

Of course there are some additional notes which sound great in given rhythm and tonality, but even sounds from the simplest C major scale (C-dur iirc) form a nice melody. Spent an hour today morning playing various bits, and would continue further if not needed to move to the office.

And although I would not call it a good playing or somewhat interesting for more or less good musician, I liked it alot. Decided to make further lessons playing that way – memorizing scales in different keys and then improvise some bits ‘there’.

Given that I have some troubles understanding time duration, it is rather hard to play very interesting albeit simple melodies. Actually not to play but to ‘create’ (in quotes since those simple melodies unlikely to require somewhat serious efforts from me, so I do not count it as a creation :). And although I try to play with the metronome, what I jam on my own is rather far from those sharp duration edges…

Ordered a set of mutes from UK (thanks to Meph who will bring it to Russia in a month or so, since no internet shop wants to ship it) – the more I learn the more I like and want to play. So decided to jam when I have a mood, and looks like office is a really good place for this.
Getting my playing skills it is better (and safer for myself) to play so that no one really hears that :)

Got Yamaha Silent Brass system (to play in office, yeah), cup mute to play at home when time does not permit and a harmon mute (eventually I will be a great jazz player, although maybe not in this life).
In late August this all will be here, but even without I want to continue. And to enjoy. And I do. Hope you too.


No, it is not cellular network generation, it the highest sound I was able to play. Today.
And even couple of harminic scales from 2F up to 3C/2G. Still usually can not play higher than 2F in the melody, but can run an upstairs scale now.
3G and other highest tones were produces by rounding bottom lip in and covered by the upper one. IIRC it is part of the Maggio technique, although I’m not really sure what school I play. It was fun to make that high tones, but I do not like the sound – it is rather empty, without interesting overtones. Main purpose for my level in playing in the third octave is to be able to play in the second octave very stable, which is not yet the case.

Added another exercises into the small set of various melodies and hear developing interval playing – playing with metronome (thanks to highpower@). I set it to 92 and play harmonic upstairs/downstairs scale for each 4’th tick in the first octave. I play either 4 same sounds with clear attack per tick and switch the tone after 4’th tick, or make the same tone for 4 ticks without interrupt and then switch it. Found that I can not play whole octave on a single breath, but that’s mostly my wrong breathing, since I sometimes feel when air goes through the mouthpiece without producing a sound. Apparently lips are not very strong yet, but eventually I will develop this.

What’s next interesting thing this day is about to bring?

My trumpet playing quality

– How was that playing?
– Hmm, a… Kind of 16 bits

Nothing particulary cool, but I’m just warming :)
Will try again in a few moments, when people start going home.

EDITED TO ADD another couple citations:

– You do not have a sound

– If I would drink, I’d stop it

The latter was said when a passing pedestrian in the office heard how we played ‘Hava Nagila’ by trumpet and bass guitar. highpower@ and me were not in the best shape though…

Well, I kind of agree – when I’m drunk and there is an audience (even of one person) I can not play my best sounds, so, yes, it sucked. There were no attack and clear note’s sound changes, lips did not always stay the right way and produced the sound I can play best, so instead it was most of the time some ugly crap.

But, but, but: I knew that myself (I always knew that I can not yet play when I’m drunk), so I suppose that my judgement about sound quality in the different condition is also correct and I do produce interesting sounds some other time.

But what I definitely have problems with is the sound duration and clear sound attack – I’m just bloody miserable at it, so even do not use it on the sheets and instead hear a melody played by the author to understand what and how it should be done. So I will buy a metronome tomorrow and will start playing and memorizing sounds with clear durations. And maybe will by a trumpet. Just to get myself a toy present: 6335(S), 8310(S)Z or even 8335 Xeno, although I incline to the light and sharp lead sound, so likely Z-series, but I will try to play it and hear how does it sound. Or maybe not, we’ll see.

I’m not a good musician, but I like how things go, and I will improve.

Trumpeting in Bb

Today I managed to play (piano tune) small C and 3C, the latter in a downstairs scale to 2F or so. I was able to play it multiple times although never in upstairs scale, and frankly I do not like the sound very much.

In the middle register sound is frequently (frequently now, but not always, and it was ‘rarely’ couple of months ago) interesting (imho of course), full of overtones and kind of ringing, while higher register sounds just like a plain tune. But I will extend it further.

Listened quite a few melodies played by professional trumpeters and found that most of them (besides loving the highest register) frequently play staccato (did I get it right that it is a set of short sounds very quickly following one after another). I can not do it that way, only sometimes my attepmts sound good, but usually it is a bit slower than needed. I still do not know how to use tune durations written on the sheet, so I play like I would like it to sound, which may be not right though.
Found that professional records are very rich even on the highest registers, which is definitely not the case for my playing (besides the fact that I rarely able to play there at all).

Another issue I discovered is small octave sound. Sometimes it just bloody good IMO, but again it happens rarely, most of the time it is kind of damped, there are no fresh, ringing overtones.

Decided to force myself to do the regular trumpet, piano, painting and reading ‘trainings’, the former several times a week at the morning, all the latters at the late evening when I return from the office (usually an hour or so for one of the tasks after 12).
If stars will draw up into the straight line I will play with a trumpet teacher, but I’m not 100% sure it will happen though.

Sometimes I think about getting a new trumpet, a bit more serious lead instrument (like Yamaha 4xxx or even Bach 37 or 43, I think I can afford another toy for myself :), although I like my $150 J. Michael 300S one.
I do want to hear how others sound in a real life and not in edited records though.

But no matter what, I see the progress and result, even on my own, which is a great pushing force to continue the process. Stay tuned, maybe eventually you will hear something interesting!

Developing a hearing

Today I believe I played my best sound – it was just what I always wanted to hear.
Trumpet sounds were so voiced, clear and had sharp attack, that I even thought I reached the edge I set for myself. As reached so pushed it further – it is quite stable, but not always and not always easy at small octave and higher than piano 2F. But that’s what I know how to improve – practice. And I see some progress there.

But my hearing – I believe I do not really have it good. This weekend I spent with friends where among others tried to play both acoustic and electric guitar. I can not play guitar anymore (well, even 8 years ago it was something really miserable), so I just tried to pick out by ears some melodies I heared. It was noticebly different than that on trumpet or piano, but still it was very hard. I believe I succeeded on the part of the melody I tried, but it took maybe 10 or so minutes to pick out about 20 notes (I ‘played’ just on two strings).

Looks like my trumpet playing technique moves way too faster than hearing development, and practice I have does not help to develop a hearing. Need to do something with it.

Jamming the bits

Collegues in the neighbour office formed (and play right now :) a small band consisting of piano, bass and drums. All electronics. Sometimes they play really interesting compositions formed out of nothing just after several jamming minutes. Even current melody sounds good although it contains just about 10 notes played by bass – it is what is the loudests, so likely composition is more complex (for example piano plays by accords, which sometimes show up too).

Couple of times I though to get my trumpet and start raping the melody play in tune from my office :) At least those sounds what I hear could be excellently mixed with the brass timbre.

But I believe its too early though, so a question – drop me a melody name (with a sheet link if possible) which sounds great played by trumpet. I listened quite a lot of old-school brass jazz and actually was not very impressed, but maybe I missed some brilliant.

Please share your favourite music, which sounds great by brass instrument, which one can play alone!

If I will succeed playing it, I promise to share the record :)


Today I managed to play a harmony scale upto trumpet 3c (2Bb on piano?), even multiple times. Usually I do not have enough air in the lungs though. Playing it descending was simpler, but yet in the melody it is far from being simple.

Still played the whole Paganini’s caprice #24 including 3c notes but quite slowly and always looking into the sheet where I wrote trumpet fingering on top of each note in the high register. I will play it without those tips eventually of course, but right now it is a complex task for me.

I usually play when my alarm clock (Radio Ultra) is still playing, so I frequently try to pick out by ears the melodies played there. My ear for music is rather subtle, so I rarely (if ever) succeed. Another problem is that trumpet is quite loud instrument even although I try to play it not by its whole power (actually playing with the whole lungs and strong breath is simpler, sometimes much simpler especially in the higher register, than when I try to play it more silently), so I hear main melody noticebly worse, which complicates picking out even more.

No matter what, but I can not easily pick out the melody, so will search for solfeggio lessons (mainly sounds) and will try to pick them out myself. Let’s see how this will end up.

Bb trumpeting

Today I managed to play a harmonic scale from trumpet’s 3C down to small F or so (at least down to 1C for sure, small octave does not sound good all the time, I rarely can quickly ‘change’ the lips from higher range). Sometimes I could even play piano 3C, but very rarely. Ascending scale only finishes at trumpet’s 2G/2Bb (piano 2F/2Ab). Actually I played the whole non-transposed measure of ‘He’s a pirate’, which ends up at trumpet’s Bb (piano Ab).
Playing in that range was not that complex, although lips tired quickly playing very close to the third octave, so effectively I like the range I can play (when practiced to stable 3C) now. I do not say, that it sounds great, but I play for myself and I like the direction it goes.

But it does not help in any way with improvising. Sometimes I play short interesting sketches (especially if lurked/listened several good notes before), but it is rather exception than a rule. Also there are troubles playing the melody picked out by ears – after several attempts I may succeed (or likely will not), but again it is far from the level I would like.

Thus I’m stumbled upon the problem of music creation – I can ‘play’, but can not create. I thought this is a matter of practicing, when I will memorize more and more different intervals which could be connected to each other, but looks like it is not enough.
For example today I played this simple set (piano notes in the first octave): D-G-A-Bb-A-G-D-C (optionally) F-Eb/D (do not remember, recalling looking at trumpet finger sheet :) (based on Beethoven’s ‘Fur Elize’ I suppose).
I like how it sounds played by my trumpet, but I did not create it myself, although play ascending and descending intervals within the first octave quite for a while already.

Believe everything has an explaination, but the way music is created is still hidden from me.