Is it harder to scream on Bbs than Gs?

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Is it harder to scream on Bbs than Gs?

Post by Resume Hut » Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:23 am

One thing I was thinking about in Foxboro... we don't have screamers like we used to... soloists or small ensembles that swagger up front and climb into the stratosphere. Few effects can get a bigger rise out of a crowd than highly effective screamers.

There were people who were pretty good at it in 2005. The Madison Scouts fielded a small group who nailed it in semis, but as often happens, were not quite as good in finals.

But the general trend on screaming has been downwards. Part of this has to do with the arrangements. Many corps would rather deploy soloists to highlight a quiet melodic line. And judging has moved away from rewarding beat and blow/park and bark styles, which in turn has affected the arranging. But Blue Devils and Madison Scouts usually do it, and other corps use it some years. And it just doesn't seem to me to be done as well recently as it was back in the 1970s and 1980s.

Why? Is it the horns? Was it easier to scream on G soprano bugles than on Bb trumpets? Or have brass players been taught to play more musically, and had the screaming skill beaten out of them?
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Post by soprano020304 » Tue Aug 23, 2005 12:34 pm

for me, it was easier to scream on a Bb, the G bugle seemed to have a lot of back pressure, even though i had a powerbore.

it could also be that corps would rather talk in mics, and sing, or doing stupid choreography than have sopranos/trumpets screaming.
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Post by BAA-GA » Wed Aug 24, 2005 12:46 pm

I miss the screaming solos too Resume. Especially when I listen to the older recordings and all the great soloist from those days. Madison and Devils always had great screamers. Some of the Devils solos from the late 70's to early 80's had such great style, man were those guys smooth up there. The trumpet trio in the beginning of La Fiesta ('84) one of all time favs. Man how many time we try to copy those licks.

I found it easier to open with G bugle then Bb trumpet so I guess I am different opinion then soprano020304. Felt higher pitched right away and to me more free to play through.

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easier on G's...

Post by CFI BLOOO » Thu Jun 22, 2006 4:04 pm

I find it easier to scream on the G...

it makes sense, in theory anyway...

The G has a lower positioned harmonic series... more closer harmonics for the same buzz frequency. And there is the key... you can't really play any higher on either instrument... but with closer harmonics you can move more easily and a little bit of flex and air can do a lot with the harmonics being so close. Notice that we don't hear the Devils doing as many lip trill solos with the Bb's... those harmonics are further apart on the Bb in the same sonic register.

The negative issue is that the close harmonics are less stable than the wider...

It's like screaming on a French horn, as a trumpet player (without using the Farkas emboucher)... while traditional horn players find the upper register challenging (using the Farkas emboucher)... and generally have a heck of a time playing a trumpet.

It is my understanding that moving the harmonic series up into Bb helps a number of things that "outweigh" the benefits of screaming on G's.

1. people are comfortable on Bb (I know, I know... people need to deal and learn something new... but, it brings in more kids with Bb)
2. A higher harmonic series is easier to tune, due to having more notes (mid-register) closer to the fundamental.
3. it was a VERY successful FAD that took over... and it's hard to get a fair shake playing on G's against all the top guns on Bb's :wink:
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Post by Hedrick » Sat Jul 29, 2006 1:27 pm

I have also wondered about the cylindrical versus conical bore issue. The G bugles were conical (at least they were back when I marched), which contributed to the more open, meatier sound that drum corps horn lines had as compared to bands playing cylindrically bored trumpets.

Or at least that is what I though at the time.

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Post by MB3 » Sat Jul 29, 2006 3:13 pm

Where in TN are you from Hedrick? We trod some of the same fields in 81...I was a bari player with Memphis Blues.
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Post by Hedrick » Sat Jul 29, 2006 5:36 pm

Hello. . .

I live in Clarksville and work in Nashville.

You may know Jay Dawson, who was the band director at Austin Peay for a little while when I was there. I know he wrote y'all's book once upon a time.

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Post by Double_G » Sun Jul 30, 2006 9:57 am

Lots of Tennessee folks here I see.

I think it is much easier to scream on a G Bugle than a Bb. I assume it is because of the harmonic series being closer together, but in my opinion is takes less air to scream on a G.
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Re: easier on G's...

Post by Kingpin » Wed Aug 09, 2006 1:58 pm

CFI BLOOO wrote:I find it easier to scream on the G...
1. people are comfortable on Bb (I know, I know... people need to deal and learn something new... but, it brings in more kids with Bb)


I've always been confused about this statement when I've heard other people say it. Maybe someone can explain it to me: If there are less corps NOW, how are more kids being brought into the activity?
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Post by jazzer » Wed Aug 09, 2006 2:34 pm

Well, could it be that even a trumpet player in the bugle era might have thought twice about what was required to be comfortable/competent/confident on the [albeit small] different playing [especially to the hearing eye] bugle?

Now that it's Bb in most corps, no such thought enters into the equation.

I dunno-just my guess.
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Post by LAMystreaux » Wed Aug 09, 2006 2:40 pm

jazzer wrote:Well, could it be that even a trumpet player in the bugle era might have thought twice about what was required to be comfortable/competent/confident on the [albeit small] different playing [especially to the hearing eye] bugle?

Now that it's Bb in most corps, no such thought enters into the equation.

I dunno-just my guess.


Also, consider the difference in the times. There are many more activitied out there for kids to be involved in these days. There are tons of factors to consider on this topic aside from just the number of corps.
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Post by bluestarcontra » Mon Aug 14, 2006 12:58 pm

Hedrick wrote:I have also wondered about the cylindrical versus conical bore issue. The G bugles were conical (at least they were back when I marched), which contributed to the more open, meatier sound that drum corps horn lines had as compared to bands playing cylindrically bored trumpets.

Or at least that is what I though at the time.

Actually, the conical-vs.-cylindrical issue is a longstanding myth of drum corps. The original bugles that civilian drum corps were first established with were not conical, they were cylindrical; they were what the military termed "field trumpets" for that very reason. One reason many think that "sopranos were conical while trumpets are cylindrical" is because of the construction of the bell and throat; while trumpets tend to have smaller throats and a greater flare, most G sopranos will have a larger throat leading to a lesser bell flare to aid in projection.

In general, one of the biggest reasons that there is a perceived difference between G and Bb lines is because of where they're pitched. G lines have a bass that's pitched a third lower than Bb lines; that lower region of vibration can create an impression of "bigger" or "louder" sound.
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Post by 97Crossmen » Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:19 pm

Personally I'm all about moving air. I felt that my G bugle was a LOT more open than my Bb that I was playing at the time. And that was a .464 Bb too. Not that I could play higher on the bugle or anything. It was just easier to really roar. At the end of tour, for both years that I marched, I went back to my Bb and felt like there was so much backpressure that my head was going to explode.
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Re: easier on G's...

Post by CFI BLOOO » Fri Jun 08, 2007 11:48 am

Kingpin wrote:
CFI BLOOO wrote:I find it easier to scream on the G...
1. people are comfortable on Bb (I know, I know... people need to deal and learn something new... but, it brings in more kids with Bb)
I've always been confused about this statement when I've heard other people say it. Maybe someone can explain it to me: If there are less corps NOW, how are more kids being brought into the activity?
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The vast amount of corps from decades gone by were a result of non-conflicting interests in them. Which is why also at that time, corps generally weren't ALL highly skilled. I think that we are seeing fewer corps, mostly more skilled... because they are made up of kids who have reduced all other conflicts in favor of being in the corps. If Bb's increase the incentive for skilled brass players to participate... then the skill level increases (although the number of corps won't... cuts will be made at the personnel level).

That's the best theory that I can come up with.
Nothing is too difficult... only time consuming.

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Post by Blurae1 » Sun Jun 10, 2007 6:18 am

I think you need to keep in mind 2 things:

1. The purpose of drum & bugle corps in the old days was to keep kids off the streets as much as to present a musical performance.

2. The disproportinate rise in the cost of putting a drum corps on the field.

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