Trevor Wye's "tone colours"

Basics of Flute Playing, Tone Production and Fingerings

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Trevor Wye's "tone colours"

Post by apleasuretoburn »

Hi everyone. I just read a post in another thread that made me remember a question I had from awhile back that I had forgotten about, pertaining to the tone colours (purple, yellow and whatnot) that Trevor Wye refers to in his tone books. How many different "colours" are there, and what types are sound are they meant to represent?

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Post by flutepicc06 »

Well, as in real life, there are a near infinite number of shades....The tone colour spectrum is not clearly defined between one colour and the next, rather it is continuous, much as the visible light spectrum is continuous. One color bleeds into another with no clear break. And unfortunately, different tone colours register differently among different people, so while one member of the audience might hear a red, another might hear blue, or green, or any other colour, meaning that it is very difficult to put any kind of name on a tone. I'm not terribly familiar with Wye's methods, but I know of his descriptions of at least two colours. The "yellow" tone is somewhat transparent and hollow. The purple, on the other hand is deep and rich, with a lot of core to it.

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Re: Trevor Wye's "tone colours"

Post by Micgalway »

I have Trevor Wye's book +CD on Tone. I have listened to his CD on the yellow and purple tones. Yellow, hollow tone is given in Aquarium by Saint-Saens (from the Carnival of the Animals) Indeed in his book on tone, he has gone to task by writing this Aquarium in different keys and asking the student (me) to practice this hollow sound. For the purple tone, he gives the introduction and Allegro for septet by Ravel which, he says, is richer. I hear the latter as more pinched, an oboe-like sound. Does he pinch his lips more, as I seem to hear. He doesn't really explain how to mark the difference. Perhaps someone could give me an answer to how to mark this difference?
How do you produce "a rich, darker" sound?

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Re: Trevor Wye's "tone colours"

Post by MissyHPhoenix »

Before I went back to school I had never heard of "colors" in playing. Then my teacher started talking about them, but never really explained how to achieve these different shades. It was very frustrating. Then a fellow student told me that she thinks of the colors as vowel sounds rather than colors, and she configures the inside of her mouth and throat to produce what she wants. I played around with this concept and found that it works sooooo much better for me than the idea of colors. My standard usual full tone is an "ahhh" and when I want it sweeter I start with "ooh" and basically go from there. I believe it is going to be different for each player because everyone has a different sinus/nasal set up. Just play around and see what works for you.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

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