Re: Dark v. bright

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Posted by Sean Chisham on December 10, 1998 at 15:45:22:

In Reply to: Dark v. bright posted by Brian on December 10, 1998 at 13:50:11:

Hmm. Now that is a good question.

Darker sounds tend to have stronger lower overtones while brighter sounds tend to have stronger middele to upper overtones. The darkness and brightness of a sound aren't as important as the richness in total overtones a sound has. These are descriptions which are difficult to quantify without a strobascope or some type of measurement of the overtone series in the sounds. No real rules can be established as to goals to reach, as all ears and situations are varied.

Attend a concert of the Summit Brass. While in the audience, close your eyes for a bit and try to pick out which instrument is playing which line for a piece of music. Although there are different instruments playing, it becomes difficult at times because the richness of overtones in everyone's sounds causes them to blend when needed. Granted, someone could easily brighten up the sound for a quick jazz lick or darken up for a somber section, but the entire sound is pleasing.

A sound which is too "dark" and lacking in upper overtones sounds dull and perhaps boomy or muddy. A sound which is too "bright" and lacking in lower overtones may come across as thin or weak or harsh. There must be a good balance.

Achieving the proper results will take experimentation with a tape recorder, possibly different mouthpieces, and possibly even different horns if you can afford it.

Arnold Jacobs' sound was always rich, but the balance of brightness/darkness was adjusted for the playing situation. This is the same type of goal we are all after. Rich but flexible in timbre.


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