What it sounds like where I sit (Part II): The Swiss watch called articulation

Listening From The Back Row

I’m dedicating this week to discussing what it sounds like to sit in an orchestra all the way back there in the trumpet section. On Monday,I explored what the dazzling rainbow of overtones sound like to me. Today, I’m exploring articulation and how I utilize it to fit in and find my musical place in the orchestra.

When I am surrounded by a loud, unblended, and yet to be focused ensemble sound, the first thing that catches my attention is articulation. Frequently, articulation is the only way that I am able to distinguish between different instruments or sections. With the sound from every musician on stage purposefully moving away from me, I need something to latch on to in order to fit myself into what’s happening all around my seat.

To even a moderately trained ear, identifying an instrument based on its sound isn’t a difficult…

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