Joined: 14 Nov 2001 Posts: 2285 Location: SF Bay Area
Posted: Wed May 22, 2013 10:08 pm Post subject:
This is interesting and Charlie's a great player and teacher. However, read what Hickman says about fixed and floating jaw. This may not work as well for those who have a floating jaw.
Great stuff though and I will try this tomorrow.
I can't disagree with what he says in the video because his exercise may help players find their natural horn angle according to their natural dental bite. The problem is, about half of the players will find that their natural angle/bite does not allow them to get all over the horn with an even tone like he does.
For people with a fairly large overbite, their "natural" horn angle will be quite downward, like a clarinet. BUT, this may prove to be a poor angle for the upper register because A) the lower lip will tend to "tuck" up behind the upper lip, causing a stuffy tone with no power, and B) the lower lip offers very little cushion for the mouthpiece pressure. That will mean too much pressure on the top lip, killing the vibration of the upper lip (which is the main sound producer).
Most people with large overbites need to bring the lower jaw forward (floating-jaw set) so the angle of the horn is more horizontal. There are exceptions, of course, such as Ray Mase and Eric Aubier, who have large overbites, but still play in a "fixed-jaw" manner with the lower job NOT extended. But, the more horizontal angle usually helps place more mouthpiece pressure on the lower lip, and allows the upper lip to do its job. . . vibrate.
For me, a good exercise or test to help find the best horn angle/jaw position is to do this:
On the mouthpiece only, take a huge breath and buzz a forte gliss from about G on the top of the staff down to about pedal C. Keep it very loud and rich.
If there is a weak area of sound (usually at the bottom of the staff) while descending, then the jaw/horn angle needs to be adjusted. Many people who play with a large overbite incorrectly start the gliss with the bell pointed downward, and find that the notes below the staff are weak. If they suddenly move the lower jaw out, thus raising the bell to a more horizontal position, the tone is strong and full again.
These people (with large overbite) should experiment with this exercise by STARTING the gliss in the more horizontal position (lower jaw forward), maintaining it throughout the long gliss. In most cases (and with a little practice) they will find that the entire range needs little adjustment, and that the tone is full and brilliant throughout.
If a player happens to have a naturally good dental bite (front teeth almost perfectly aligned vertically while molars are clenched), their natural horn angle will be fairly horizontal in all registers. These people do not need to bring the lower jaw forward, so the jaw remains in the TMJ. This is ideal, but only about half of the people in the world are lucky enough to have such a good dental alignment. Others, like me, need to bring the jaw forward to some degree.
Loud lip bending exercises, as outlined in my book "15 Advanced Embouchure Studies," will also help the player find his or her proper jaw position/horn angle. Playing the exercises properly is the only way to acquire and develop the correct lower jaw position. Guessing at horn angles will result in much confusion. Let the exercises take you where you need to be. Then, develop your proper way of playing.
Joined: 25 Aug 2002 Posts: 516 Location: Asheville, NC
Posted: Thu May 23, 2013 5:38 am Post subject:
It might help a player find his or her best general horn angle, but then again it might not. Charlie assumes a couple of things that work well for how he plays is going to be the same for other players (where he suggests you place the mouthpiece in his exercise and how little he happens to change the general horn angle as he changes registers).
Personally, I think you can skip the whole blowing soup exercise and if you want to find your best horn angle find it while playing your instrument. Some players will play better if they just their lower jaw forward more and need to develop muscles in their jaw in order to feel comfortable holding it there for long periods of time. Sound is the guide here, not how you naturally position your jaw to cool soup. Some people will find that their jaw position/horn angle changes slightly as they change register (see Vizzutti video below), while others, like Charlie, may find it remains more still (this can change over time as a player develops too).
It's tough to summarize this because everything can be so personal to the player and sometimes what the player is already doing (and feels natural and comfortable because of the repetition) isn't necessarily what will work best over the long term.
Joined: 29 Jan 2013 Posts: 388 Location: Somerset, UK
Posted: Fri May 24, 2013 2:37 am Post subject:
I have to agree with Wilktone on this one it's very personal what works or not. I love CP's videos's generally but I found this one hard to work wtih.
I've been experimenting with jaw position for a while as have been really struggling with consistency of sound across range in the last year (I've realised I'm changing embouchure position all the time to play anything which I think is ruining my endurance).
I found very slightly moving my lower jaw forward to allow the mouthpeice to rest more on the lower lip has made a big difference to my ability to move from bottom to top range i.e. I get a good clear sound down to bottom G with this position and can traverse up to high C much easier with a good sound and hardly any shenanigans with angle, roll-in etc etc (I don't go much above high C these days!).
It has resulted in my lower lip getting a bit tender but I've found I can get through gigs much easier this way. Also found my horn angle is much more horizontal now than it was.
Not really sure why this works but maybe I'm supporting better with my jaw and therefore playing more efficient. Who knows?
Anyway my 2 cents worth from a struggling comebacker. _________________ Eclipse Enigma
Benson Brevette 1950 Flugel
Curry 3C Custom, Bach 3C, HT Jazz
Joined: 03 Sep 2003 Posts: 10124 Location: Escondido California
Posted: Mon May 27, 2013 6:46 pm Post subject:
I completely agree with tpt.hick and Wilketone. _________________ Crazy Nate - Fine Yet Mellow Fellow
"so full of it I don't know where to start"
Horn: "just mismatched Kanstul spare parts"
- TH member and advertiser (name withheld)
I have a fairly decent overbite and have been struggling with my angle, trying to get it up because I always thought playing downward was incorrect; however, I do often find myself pivoting as I play in the upper register when I try to play straight out so maybe I need to find the middle ground...just thinking aloud here, thanks for the help guys, reading through these has given me alot to think about!
This is definitely really interesting. I have never heard a true definitive answer to this. The reality is I have met kids that have been playing for only 6 months and are naturally still developing all of their technique, but their upper register is incredible! Others may have been playing for years and still not have an upper register like that youngster. Beyond upper register, it is sound quality and all kinds of dynamics that make you wonder whether certain jaw/tongue/genetic combos really make all the difference, or whether it is better to force a more unnatural jaw position because your natural one is just not all that great.
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