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Jokes / One liners
« Last post by John Szczechowski on September 22, 2018, 01:15:03 PM »
I've just bought some state of the art garden shears .They're the latest in cutting hedge technology.

To the person who stole my antidepressants, I hope you’re happy now.

What do you call a camel with four humps? A Saudi Quattro.

Inside the White House, President Trump was informed that Hurricane Florence is causing trouble.
He replied “Give her the same deal we gave Stormy Daniels”.
Valves are used to change the length of tubing of a brass instrument allowing the player to reach the notes of the harmonic series.     Each valve pressed diverts the air stream through additional tubing, individually or in conjunction with other valves.   This lengthens the vibrating air column thus lowering the fundamental tone and associated harmonic series produced by the instrument.     
Designs exist, although rare, in which this behaviour is reversed, i.e., pressing a valve removes a length of tubing rather than adding one.    One modern example of such an ascending valve is the Yamaha YSL-350C trombone, in which the extra valve tubing is normally engaged to pitch the instrument in B♭, and pressing the thumb lever removes a whole step to pitch the instrument in C.   

Obviously, all brass instrument valves require regular lubrication.

A standard valve layout based on the action of three valves had become almost universal by, at the  latest 1864, as witnessed by Arban's Method published in that year.    The effect of a particular combination of valves may be seen in the table below.  This table is correct for the core 3-valve layout on almost any modern valved brass instrument.   The most common four-valve layout is a superset of the well-established 3-valve layout and is included in this table.

Valve combinations and their pitch effect

Valve Combination     Effect on Pitch     Interval             Tuning problems

2                                    ½ step              Minor Second
1                                    1 step               Major Second
1 + 2 or 3                       1 ½ step           Minor Third            Very slightly sharp
2 + 3                              2 steps             Major Third            Slightly sharp
1 + 3 or 4                       2 ½ steps          Perfect Fourth        Sharp (1+3 only)
1 + 2 + 3 or 2 +4            3 steps             Tritone                  Very sharp  (1 + 2+ 3 only)   
1 + 4                              3 ½ steps         Perfect Fifth   
1 + 2 + 4 or 3 + 4           4 steps             Augmented Fifth     Flat
2 + 3 + 4                        4 ½ steps         Major Sixth            Slightly sharp
1 + 3 + 4                        5 steps             Minor Seventh        Sharp
1 + 2 + 3+ 4                   5 ½ steps         Major Seventh        Very sharp

Tuning brass instruments

Since valves lower the pitch, a valve that makes a pitch too low (i.e. flat) creates an interval wider than desired, while a valve that plays sharp creates an interval narrower than that desired.    Intonation deficiencies of brass instruments that are independent of the tuning system are inherent in the physics of the most popular valve design, which uses a small number of valves in combination to avoid redundant and heavy lengths of tubing.   Since each lengthening of the tubing has an inversely proportional effect on pitch, while pitch perception is logarithmic, there is no way for a simple, uncompensated addition of length to be correct in every combination when compared with the pitches of the open tubing and the other valves.

Therefore. playing some notes when using the valves requires compensation to adjust the tuning appropriately, either by the player's lip-and-breath control, via mechanical assistance of some sort, or, in the case of horns, by the position of the stopping hand in the bell.

Tuning Compensation     The additional tubing for each valve usually features a short tuning slide of its own for fine adjustment of the valve's tuning, except when it is too short to make this practicable.   Some instruments also add a trigger to generate the tuning effect.

Aren't you relieved that to 'blow your own trumpet' on the AR, you don't have to worry about any of this.  However, it is helpful to know what brass players need to be aware of.

In the next Reply we look at actually producing sound from brass instruments.

Peter's Pearls / Re: No__73___Learn To Read Music
« Last post by Peter Anderson on September 19, 2018, 09:00:53 AM »
Hugh kindly passed this You Tube video on to me, and I thought it appropriate to share it here.

On the other end of the instrument there is a flaring into the familiar bell shape.

The tube connecting these two ends has two important characteristics, namely
1.   the degree of taper or conicity of the bore and
2.   the diameter of the bore with respect to its length.

Now Cylindrical bore brass instruments are those in which approximately constant diameter tubing predominates.  Cylindrical bore brass instruments are generally perceived as having a brighter, more penetrating tone quality compared to conical bore brass instruments.   The trumpet, and all trombones are cylindrical bore.        You will recognize that the slide design of the trombone necessitates this.

While, Conical bore brass instruments are those in which tubing of constantly increasing diameter predominates.  Conical bore instruments are generally perceived as having a more mellow tone quality than the cylindrical bore brass instruments.   Instruments that fall into this category  include the flugelhorn, (see photo below) cornet, tenor horn, alto horn, baritone horn, horn, euphonium and tuba.     Some conical bore brass instruments are more conical than others.     For example, the flugelhorn differs from the cornet by having a higher percentage of its tubing length conical than does the cornet, in addition to possessing a wider bore than the cornet.   Notice how its tube is different from the trumpet.

n.b.   These picture are not to the same scale.

In the 1910s and 1920s, the E.A. Couturier company built brass band instruments utilizing a patent for a continuous conical bore without cylindrical portions even for the valves or tuning slide.

A second distinction, based on bore diameter in relation to length, determines whether the fundamental tone or the first overtone is the lowest partial practically available to the player.

Neither the horns nor the trumpet could produce the 1st note of the harmonic series ... A horn giving the C of an open 8 ft organ pipe had to be 16 ft (5 m). long.    Half its length was practically useless, but it was found that if the calibre of tube was sufficiently enlarged in proportion to its length, the instrument could be relied upon to give its fundamental note in all normal circumstances.    

1.     Whole-tube instruments have larger bores in relation to tubing length, and can play the fundamental tone with ease and precision.   The tuba and euphonium are examples of whole-tube brass instruments.

2.     Half-tube instruments have smaller bores in relation to tubing length and cannot easily or accurately play the fundamental tone.   The second partial (or first overtone) is the lowest note of each tubing length practical to play on half-tube instruments.    The trumpet and horn are examples of half-tube brass instruments.

In the next Reply we begin to look at the ‘valves’.

Jokes / Re: The farmer's new breeding programme
« Last post by Peter Anderson on September 15, 2018, 09:00:53 AM »

Why didn't I think of that?

When Whistler said something really funny to the then, young Oscar Wilde, Oscar said, "I wish I'd said that."
Whistler replied, "You will, Oscar, you will!"
Jokes / Re: The farmer's new breeding programme
« Last post by John Szczechowski on September 14, 2018, 04:19:17 PM »
What do you call a laughing organ?

A Yamaha-ha-ha!!
Jokes / The farmer's new breeding programme
« Last post by Peter Anderson on September 14, 2018, 01:11:25 PM »
Did you hear about the farmer, who crossed an organ with a chicken?

He wanted Hammond eggs!

I can't think of a way to get Yamaha into a joke.........yet!

How about you?
General Interest / 20th Birthday
« Last post by Keith Rose on September 13, 2018, 09:28:34 AM »
In November I will be “celebrating” the 20th year of owning the AR100 and what a grand instrument it is too.  It is showing its age, faded lettering, bits breaking off and the occasional crackling when it is switched on. A bit like me really.

Back in the heady days of the late 1990’s I used to enjoy visiting the three shops near me that sold the organs of the day, Yamaha, Technics, Kawai, Thompson, Hammond, Lowrey Eminent etc., etc.  and see the latest models and the new features the manufacturers were introducing. Now there is only one shop left and that no longer sells organs. I miss those days visiting the shop when I could play (badly) some of the top end models many of which I could only dream of owning

Hugh’s excellent thread on “Vintage” organs got me looking at Youtube videos and I came across several featuring Wersi and Lowrey organs.  One set of video’s I stumbled across had been posted by Allens Music of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk and featured the Lowrey organ.

I have never been a fan of the Lowrey, silly as it may seem because I found the cabinets were so big and chunky and unattractive when compared to the compact and stylish offerings from the likes of Yamaha and Technics.  Seeing the videos it appeared that not much had changed but at least they were still producing new instruments and importing them into the UK.

The videos showed just how much instruments had improved and I was intrigued to find out more and so this week I made the 4 hour roundtrip from my home near Colchester to Gt Yarmouth.  It was worth the effort. 

The design of the cabinets still leaves something to be desired as to my eye they are still quite chunky but less so than my memory recalls but what they pack into them is quite amazing.    So yes the demonstration I heard was on a top of the range “Marquee” but like the AR80 most of what is contained within that model is available in the next range down, the Rialto, the “Rialto being the equivalent of the AR100.   Now I have always been a little cynical about demonstrators in shops having been trained on just a few “party” pieces to show off the different features of the organ.  However not on this occasion as the person demonstrating the organ appears in various videos and he can certainly play. 

I won’t try to explain the various features and sound/tone of the organ but just finish by saying that the “automatics” available to the player seemed to put you just one stage down from playing a pre recoded CD as you did need to play the occasional note yourself! You don’t have to use the automatics but wow how they and other features enhance your performance.  As good as the AR100 still is the Lowrey showed just how much further things have progressed.  If only Yamaha had kept faith with organ enthusiasts in Europe.

Would I buy one? yes if I had room in the house for both the Lowrey and the AR100 plus the funds available to meet the £25,000 price tag.   Ouch!

Hugh I hope I haven't broken any rules by posting what is a promotional video.  If I have the "delete" button will solve the problem ;)
Jokes / Birth Control For Grandma
« Last post by Peter Anderson on September 12, 2018, 09:53:32 PM »
The doctor that had been seeing an 80 year-old woman for most of her life finally retired.

At her next check up, the new doctor told her to bring a list of all the medicines that had been prescribed for her.     As the doctor was looking through these, his eyes grew wide as he realised Grandma had a prescription for birth control pills.

“Mrs. Smith, do you realise these are BIRTH CONTROL pills?”

“Yes, they help me sleep at night.”

“Mrs. Smith, I assure you there is absolutely NOTHING in these pills that could possibly help you sleep!”

The old lady reached out and gently patting the doctors knee, said,
“Yes, dear, I know that, but every morning I grind one up and mix it in the glass of orange juice that my 16 year old granddaughter drinks and believe me, it definitely helps me sleep at night!”

You gotta love Grandma.
Brass instruments are wind instruments, which are normally made of brass, but they can be formed from other metals as well.

A Brass instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by sympathetic vibration of air in a tubular resonator in sympathy with the vibration of the player's lips. Brass instruments are also called labrosones literally meaning lip-vibrated instruments.

There are several factors involved in producing different pitches on a brass instrument.
These include Slides, Valves, Keys and Crooks (though crooks are rarely used today).  These mechanisms are used to change the vibratory length of tubing, thus changing the available harmonic series, while the player's embouchure, lip tension and air flow serve to select the specific harmonic produced from the available series.

The term "brass instrument" should be defined by the way the sound is made, as defined above, and not by whether the instrument is actually made of brass.  You will find ‘brass’ instruments made of wood, like the alphorn, the cornett, (spelt with 2 t's) the serpent and the didgeridoo, while some woodwind instruments are made of brass, like the saxophone, but are not classified as being part of the Brass Family.

Each brass instrument has a mouthpiece, shaped like a cup or funnel, which the player presses to their lips.    As they blow, their lips vibrate, rather like the double reed in an oboe.

The actual shape of the mouthpiece cup affects the quality of the tone.    For example, a deep-funnel shape mouthpiece, as used in a Horn gives a smoothness of sound, while a cup shape funnel like that of a Trumpet provides more brilliance.

In the next Reply, we'll explore more about the basic brass instrument.

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