Friday, March 12, 2010

More on Tone

Back down on this post on tone, Jonathan West made some excellent comments and then went on to post three times at his blog on tone here, here, and here

It's very validating that such a high level player agrees with the notion of the centrality of tone to your music making. A number of other things Jonathan says are grist for future posts. For now, though, a few points.

In lots of ways, making music is an extension and an elaboration of your voice. Just as the tone of your voice conveys the emotional content of your speech, tone is a primal element of your music making. 

One aspect of Jeff Smiley's BE method of helping people find their best embouchure is having them exaggerate various muscle movements so as to better be able to find that nicely working balanced spot between the extremes. Trying to create the infinite variety of your voice tones on your instrument, with lots of exaggeration thrown in, can help you expand the envelope of tonal possibilities and give you an idea of which sorts of tone you'd like to develop to better make the music you want to make.

A great frustration of mine in community band over the years has been that pretty much all the pieces we've worked on tend to sound at least as much like etudes as they do enjoyable music. They offer all sorts of opportunities to work on rhythm, intonation, dynamics and articulation, but tone quality gets left off the list. 

photo - first warm toned sunset we've had in a while. Taken with the new camera.

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