Monday, August 29, 2011

Entry 154 8.30.11

Entry 154, August 30th, 2011, 12:10am (GMT +2)

A few musical observations.

Key fluency is a must on this gig. One of the numbers in tonight's production show starts in E major, moves to E minor, then F major, G major, A major, B minor, C major, and back to B minor – and we're only halfway through the number! These changes happened over the course of perhaps three minutes of music. Some of them are marked in the key signature, while others are just long strings of accidentals.

Also, as a 2nd chair trumpet player, it is very important to know what the lead trumpet is playing. I'll take three measures from the show tonight as an example. I have three whole notes – D in the staff, D again, and then up a whole step to E. The second D never sounds right, and it took me a month or two of playing the show to figure out why. The lead trumpet also has three whole notes: F, a minor third above my D, up a whole step to G, and then another G. Thus it looked like this:

Rob: F → G → G

Me: D → D → E

F is a little flat on the trumpet, and so is D, so that interval was in tune (actually, D is notoriously flat, but trumpet players learn to lip it up at an early age so it works). G, however, is really sharp, and so the sharp G against the flat D was grinding and creating dissonance. E is also usually a bit flat, so I was lipping that up enough already to meet Rob's G.

The solution was to leave the first D in place and push the second one up a few cents. Two notes, written exactly the same way – but they have to played differently to sound right! This is why you gotta know what's going on in the lead part.

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