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The Morrison Digital Trumpet

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August 8, 2005

The Morrison Digital Trumpet

The Morrison Digital Trumpet

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August 9, 2005 The Morrison Digital Trumpet (MDT) is a new brass-style MIDI wind controller invented and designed by international virtuoso musician James Morrison and musician/inventor, Steve Marshall. Using entirely digital technology, there are many new and important capabilities of the Morrison Digital Trumpet beyond the normal wind instrument. One of the most compelling new capabilities is that the MDT can offer the sound of an entire horn or string section from one person – because it interfaces with MIDI it can effectively “play” any instrument. The MDT is also easier to play as there is no embouchure to be maintained in order to produce a professional quality tone - some people find they simply do not have the time to maintain their "chops" on an acoustic instrument and an MDT is more in tune with their lifestyle. Finally, apart from an infinite array of adjustments and capabilities not found on your standard trumpet, the US$1995 (or 1300 Euro) MDT glows and comes with genuine “Show Business Appeal!”

The Morrison Digital Trumpet, or MDT, is a new brass-style MIDI wind controller invented and designed by Steve Marshall and international virtuoso multi-instrumentalist James Morrison.

Using entirely digital technology, there are many new and important capabilities of the Morrison Digital Trumpet beyond the normal wind instrument, the most obvious being that it offers the sound of an entire horn or string section from one person – because it interfaces with a MIDI it can effectively “play” any instrument. The MDT is also easier to play as there is no embouchure to be maintained in order to produce a professional quality tone - some people find they simply do not have the time to maintain their "chops" on an acoustic instrument and an MDT is more in tune with their lifestyle.

It is designed to give acoustic trumpet players an easy “pick up and play” instrument to enter the digital age. Unlike a traditional trumpet, the MDT makes no sound on its own but “triggers” any MIDI-capable sound device, such as a synthesizer, sound module or computer etc, to allow the player access to literally thousands of sound possibilities.

The MDT allows people with minimal trumpet playing skills to play well beyond their capabilities with a standard trumpet – indeed, it’s not going too far to say that even a beginner can sound like a professional.. You don’t have to buzz, as with a regular trumpet, you just blow. The harder you blow the louder the sound and the breath sensitivity is super responsive to allow for high speed tounging and smooth notes. It also dramatically increases player endurance, meaning you can reach all those extremely high notes and play for extended periods—just like a professional musician.

Octaves are controlled with a series of buttons on the left hand and because you don’t need to have tight lips and practised breath control, anyone can play 10 octaves of pitch perfect range.

The C scale fingering is identical to an acoustic trumpet and repeats for every octave too. The right thumb has access to three controllers. These are usually set to pitch bend up, pitch bend down, and vibrato, but are programmable. These allow super-expressive playing of various sounds.

Professionals, on the other hand, who have mastered the acoustic trumpet, love playing the MDT for its expanded sound possibilities and expressive capabilities.

The MDT has been specifically designed for trumpet players to make it as easy as possible to transition from the acoustic trumpet. James Morrison, arguably one of the worlds leading trumpet players and multi-instrumentalists, has been working with a robotics guru and electronics wiz Steve Marshall for more than 5 years to create an instrument that feels right when first picked up by a trumpet player. While it has a funky look, in comparison to your standard off-the-shelf trumpet, it has a familiar feel due to the similar hand positions, standard valve movement and a normal trumpet mouthpiece.

Due to the much increased range and features that the MDT makes possible, there is a need for more controls than you find on an acoustic trumpet. After many prototypes and much research, Marshall Morrison Instruments, believe they have found the best way to incorporate these without making the MDT overly complex or strange to play. Although the MDT is completely electronic, its familiar feel allows an acoustic trumpet player to learn it quickly and start playing with the least amount of change from their trumpet skills.

For the more advanced player it has awesome stage appeal and great players like James have crowds amazed at the sound capabilities, expressiveness and range possible with the MDT.

At the press of a button you can switch between any of the sounds available – meaning that it can sound like a trombone, clarinet, flute, guitar, bass, mouth organ, piano or a set of bagpipes. Not only are the sound possibilities endless, but transposition is a button push away.

The MIDI data generated by MDT can be recorded and manipulated in a MIDI sequencer. The MDT has the power to be completely programmed using the built-in backlit LCD

Using headphones means you can practice without disturbing the neighbors

Marshall Morrison Instruments is seeking international distributors and dealerships and expressions of interest should be directed to Steve Marshall.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
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