Physics of the Trumpet

Video Lectures

Displaying all 6 video lectures.
Lecture 1
Why do Light-Weight Trumpets
Play Video
Why do Light-Weight Trumpets "Play Brighter"?
In this video lesson, Nick Drozdoff discusses why it would seem that light weight trumpets play brighter than a massive trumpet. In some ways, a more massive trumpet ought to play brighter because it is inherently designed to not vibrate as much. This is supposed to keep more of the energy in the wind column, thus assisting the player.A lightweight horn does vibrate more and it seems to play brighter (most trumpeters agree). However, the reasons are most likely different from most trumpeters think. The vibrating bell on a light weight trumpet probably does not produce any significant amount of sound compared to the sound the trumpet makes. It is almost impossible for this tiny sound to contribute to the timbre of the instrument. The main contributor is the shape of the bell (wind column) and tubing. However, there is the possibility of a tiny bit of feedback to the lips by mechanical vibration which is transferred via the vibrating horn through the mouthpiece back to the lips.
Lecture 2
How Does a Trumpet Work?
Play Video
How Does a Trumpet Work?
In this video lesson, Nick Drozdoff demonstrates how the overtone series you get when a string or wind column is the same at both ends (for example both ends of a string are fixed or both ends of the wind column are open, like a lute or penny-whistle) give a series of all integer multiples of a fundamental frequency and that when a wind column (true for a string two) is capped at one end, you only get the odd multiples. Next we discuss the fact that the only way you can get octaves is with an instrument that is the same at both ends. However, a trumpet clearly plays octaves. It is demonstrated that this is due to the fact that the trumpet is not cylindrical. It has about 1/3 (actually more, these days) conical tubing. The tapered tubing collapses the odd only series filling in the gaps left behind by the missing evens producing an extremely good approximation of the all integer series.This clip is going to be located both here and on Nick Drozdoff's Science Olympiad page.
Lecture 3
Beats and Multiphonics on a Bass Trumpet
Play Video
Beats and Multiphonics on a Bass Trumpet
In this video lesson, Nick Drozdoff starts a minimally technical discussion about how beats frequencies work in both tuning and in the general sound of music. He uses this to dovetail into the idea of mixing two notes together to get a third tones as is done with multiphonics on a bass trumpet. He demonstrates the so called Tartini tones or difference tones in which two notes a whole step apart are sounded at the same time and a third note three octaves under the lower note is clearly heard. The process in multiphonics is slightly different from the beats, in that it involves mixing in a non-linear transfer function, but you can get the general idea of how this works from a visceral level. This will also be included on Nick Drozdoff's Science Olympiad page.

There is one slight “faux pas” on the bass trumpet segment. You say that you're going to play a low Bb. Then you say that you're going to sing the G (hum it) above it. That was a Bb trumpeters transposition slip-up. In Bb speak, you play a low C and hum the G over it. An E above that is now audible. However, you started out not transposing, So if you’re keeping track, in concert pitch, the notes are Bb, F and D. When you slide the hummed note (announced as an A), you're sliding up to a G concert. In the contemporary parlance, “my bad.”

Lecture 4
Timbre and Harmonics and Pedal Tones as Applied to Trumpet and Flugelhorn
Play Video
Timbre and Harmonics and Pedal Tones as Applied to Trumpet and Flugelhorn
In this video lesson, Nick Drozdoff starts a minimally technical discussion about why one instrument sounds different from another, even if playing the same note. While there is a brief flirtation with Fourier synthesis, this is a very qualitative discussion.

This will also be included on Nick Drozdoff's Science Olympiad page.

Lecture 5
On Trumpet Mouthpieces and Tone (Part One)
Play Video
On Trumpet Mouthpieces and Tone (Part One)
In this video lesson, Nick Drozdoff gives a first lesson dealing with trumpet mouthpieces, a huge topic for trumpeters. In this clip, he discusses the impact of the bowl volume on the tone of the horn. He does not go into much detail on the throat and back bore other than to say it “affects the resistance.” He is being vague here as there is a second video clip dealing with this specifically. To elaborate on this clip, here, Nick Drozdoff wants to just say that the most important add on for any trumpet/trumpeter is the mouthpiece. As you watch the clip you can see how dramatically the tone changes simply by changing the mouthpiece! Clearly the 10&1/2 E type mouthpiece produced a much hotter sound than the 3B type. By backing off and closing up the aperture slightly, you can make the hot mouthpiece sound pretty mellow, too! So, why not use it all the time and make the job easier to do all the way around. Nick Drozdoff comes close to that. He uses his asymmetric lead model on most gigs with Bb. However, in serious legit gigs, he finds that it is to much work to darken up the sound to the extent needed, so he moves to a much deeper model. Nevertheless, Nick Drozdoff would encourage you to always pick a mouthpiece that makes the job at hand easiest to do.
Lecture 6
Shattering Glass with the Un-amplified Sound of a Trumpet
Play Video
Shattering Glass with the Un-amplified Sound of a Trumpet
In this video lesson, Nick Drozdoff demontrates an interesting experiment: Can the un-amplified sound of a New York Trumpet Company California Stage 1 model Bb trumpet shatter this wine glass? Nick Drozdoff was able to shatter this cheap wine glass after class one day horsing around while some kids were doing some homework in the back of the lab. Normally this demo is done using a speaker to drive a beaker, but he thought it would be fun to do with the horn.

This will also be included on Nick Drozdoff's Science Olympiad page.