This research project aims at examining the production of different articulations in relation to distinct morphological aspects of the instruments in question and in regard to the performance instructions found in historical sources and contemporary treatises. In particular, it is intended to verify whether there are meaningful relationships between the shape of the mouthpiece (round or flat rim) and the quality of the articulations.
MethodsA first preliminary study has been conducted in order to examine the extent to which it is possible to analyse sound waves and get meaningful information by means of the most recent hardware and software technologies for audio analysis. Two trombone players have been invited to play and record a short musical excerpt with two different instruments: a) a modern trombone; b) and a historical trombone (from 17th century), manufactured by the French makers Fraize et Marques and mounting a mouthpiece that is the reproduction of a wooden copy coming from the Mortuary Chapel of the Freiberg Dome (Germany).The FFT spectrum analysis shows important differences between the two acoustical results and, in particular, highlights the sharp timbre of the early instrument, in opposition to the dark quality of the modern one. This reflects the way harmonic partials resonate: the early trombone is characterized by a stronger resonance of higher partials whereas, in the modern one, higher partials tend to dim soon and become perceptually irrelevant.Six instrumentalists (two trombones, two horns, two trumpets respectively)
- will be recruited and will be asked to practice different articulations using two different mouthpieces (flat versus round rim).
- will be trained to produce different kinds of articulation as suggested by the most relevant historical sources available from 16th to 19th Century (Dalla Casa, Fantini, Altenburg, Bendinelli, Duvernoy etc.).
- Their study outcomes will be recorded monthly as to collect digital audio tracks to be analysed by means of specifically devised software technologies (Audiosculpt).
- During the recording process, participants will be asked to update a “study diary” where to keep track of difficulties, problems, technical questions, pros and contras related to the use of the two different mouthpieces.
- At the end of the process, a representative selection of the collected recordings will be used to run a listening test and verify the perceptual relevance of the differences. This in order to verify the existence of meaningful correlations between musicians’ intentions and listeners’ perception.