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.
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.