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Range - Cause and Effect



 
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50YrComeback
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:47 pm    Post subject: Range - Cause and Effect Reply with quote

Just a comebacker with the goal of playing comfortably in the G-A range above the staff. Having researched this forum and other places, I know there are differences between the open/closed embochure approaches, buzzers and non-buzzers, etc. so, I don't want to open up that up. And not looking an answer that require a degree in physics.

So, let's say for this discussion we are talking "Open Embochure" a la Bobby Chew. What is making the pitch higher? More air passing through the same aperture, same volume of air passing through smaller aperture, combination of both? My understanding is that we need to increase the speed at which the lips are vibrating, but how is that caused? Is it also a function of pliability of the lips? In other words, will different lips react different with the same amount of air? If so, what can you do, if anything, apart from playing, to increase the vibrating of the lips when played?

Any thoughts? I know this is a science to some, but just looking for some fundamental understanding of things under my control. If there is a link to a good discussion on this, that would be welcome.
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

50 years, and now you've fallen off the wagon. Well, welcome back to your trumpet addiction!

Watch these two videos and I think you'll find most of your questions answered, at least partially.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctyzYXd6HNw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWcOwgWsPHA

If you don't have time to watch both videos right now in their entirety (about 21 minutes total), here are links to the most pertinent part of the two videos:

https://youtu.be/MWcOwgWsPHA?t=104

https://youtu.be/MWcOwgWsPHA?t=433

https://youtu.be/ctyzYXd6HNw?t=538

To play higher, we blow harder, arch our tongues up and forward (into the eee position as when saying the word "sea") and tighten our lip muscles a bit. And to get the feel of how to do this, we need to practice flexibility (slurred) exercises and various range and technical studies.

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Pete
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The videos John posted with Sarah Willis are excellent. She is always entertaining and her interviews are also excellent.

Regarding the open embouchure that Bobby Shew talks about, that is with extremely shallow mouthpieces. His Yamaha Shew Lead is way too shallow for me but works for him. He has also talked about the embouchure being a bit more closed if you are playing deeper mouthpieces.

The goal is to use resistence somewhere to create compression. Whether it is a shallow mouthpiece or a more tongue contolled airstream, the goal is the same. It all depends on which one works for you.

As John mentioned, using flexibility exercises, as found for instance in the Colin Lip Flexibilities, you can find where you need to be as far as using a faster air stream to play in the upper register.

Pete


Last edited by Pete on Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Range - Cause and Effect Reply with quote

50YrComeback wrote:

... what can you do, if anything, apart from playing, to increase the vibrating of the lips when played? ...

------------------------------------------------
For me, mouthpiece pressure seems to be the biggest obstacle. I seem to require pressure on my upper lip to provide fast vibrations, but too much pressure decreases the amount of possible lip movement. When practicing, I attempt to find the 'balancing point' of enough pressure to give fast vibrations, and to allow the upper lip to remain vibrating.
And the amount of air (speed, quantity, flow rate, whatever term ...) moving through the lip aperture has to be 'strong enough' to overcome the mouthpiece pressure and the lip tissue tightening so that the vibrations can be maintained to actually produce the desired pitch.

And NO, I don't have a good high range. I can play pieces up to the G/A/B range when I'm fresh. But trying to do that for piece after piece doesn't work.

Jay
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50YrComeback
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John Mohan wrote:
50 years, and now you've fallen off the wagon. Well, welcome back to your trumpet addiction!


Thanks John - Yes, I had 49 years, 6 months trumpet sobriety, but I guess a trumpetaholic is never totally free of this demon.

Appreciate the links, I will check them out.
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50YrComeback
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John Mohan wrote:
50 years, and now you've fallen off the wagon. Well, welcome back to your trumpet addiction!


Thanks John - Yes, I had 49 years, 6 months trumpet sobriety, but I guess a trumpetaholic is never totally free of this demon.

Appreciate the links, I will check them out.
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50YrComeback
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 6:55 pm    Post subject: tongue shape Reply with quote

John, thanks for the links - I was really surprised as to what role the tongue was playing. I had read an article by a that studied the "perfect embouchure" suggesting the tongue was most efficient flat, at least my interpretation. Frankly, I am relieved, because I experimented tried playing with a flat tongue and found it nearly impossible.

One other question - tongue shape - I can make the channel and i believe some can't. However, unlike the long pointed tongue in the video, mine is rounded. Frankly, back in the old days, the double tonguing was never any good, can't roll r's in spanish, can't do the "growl" with the tongue. WOndering if this is an obstacle. Not too worried at this stage as my aim is standards/jazz with single tonguing. Is the point tongue better for articulation?
Has there every been study of tongue shape by great trumpet players?
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ProAm
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Range - Cause and Effect Reply with quote

50YrComeback wrote:
What is making the pitch higher? More air passing through the same aperture, same volume of air passing through smaller aperture, combination of both? My understanding is that we need to increase the speed at which the lips are vibrating, but how is that caused? Is it also a function of pliability of the lips? In other words, will different lips react different with the same amount of air? If so, what can you do, if anything, apart from playing, to increase the vibrating of the lips when played?

Essentially, yes, the lips need to “vibrate” faster. It might help you to know a little bit of the science - look up standing wave in a brass instrument. It is not like a string instrument.

You have to increase the energy in the standing wave. The opening and closing of the lips (they don’t actually have to close all the way) has to occur more rapidly.

What do you need to think about to do this? Different lips certainly behave differently and what helps one person may or may not help another. Some are certainly helped by thinking of arching the tongue - but not everyone. No one thing works for everyone as we are all different with different lips and different strengths and weaknesses.

There is no magic. Build slowly, increase the number of times you play the top note in your range every day (play it musically, not just jump on it and quickly get off), add a half step after you feel comfortable and repeat until you are where you want to be within your own time constraints.
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Robert P
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Range - Cause and Effect Reply with quote

50YrComeback wrote:
So, let's say for this discussion we are talking "Open Embochure" a la Bobby Chew. What is making the pitch higher?

The exact same things that make the pitch higher in any other circumstance - the lips vibrate faster due to increased tension of the tissue that vibrates resulting from subtle muscle tension, increased air speed and more blowing force - not necessarily moving more air, but you have to use more grunt to get higher. Also things change as you play louder/softer at a given pitch. You can't play a FFF high C with the exact same setting as a ppp high C. The tongue/oral cavity is different, the teeth will open as you play higher, you'll use more muscle tension.

I wouldn't worry too much about esoteric embouchure issues if you don't even have a solid G on top of the staff. Work on getting a good sound and clean articulation within the range you have, build a base to work from.
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LSOfanboy
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:11 am    Post subject: Re: Range - Cause and Effect Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:
50YrComeback wrote:

... what can you do, if anything, apart from playing, to increase the vibrating of the lips when played? ...

------------------------------------------------
For me, mouthpiece pressure seems to be the biggest obstacle. I seem to require pressure on my upper lip to provide fast vibrations, but too much pressure decreases the amount of possible lip movement. When practicing, I attempt to find the 'balancing point' of enough pressure to give fast vibrations, and to allow the upper lip to remain vibrating.
And the amount of air (speed, quantity, flow rate, whatever term ...) moving through the lip aperture has to be 'strong enough' to overcome the mouthpiece pressure and the lip tissue tightening so that the vibrations can be maintained to actually produce the desired pitch.

And NO, I don't have a good high range. I can play pieces up to the G/A/B range when I'm fresh. But trying to do that for piece after piece doesn't work.

Jay


Without wanting to cause confrontation, your entire approach is (in my opinion at least) very flawed. It is all based around 'overcoming' pressure and using tons of air and 'tightness'. To play efficiently on the instrument we need to find the most relaxed balance we can, which should only require a sustainable level of mouthpiece pressure and feels free, open, resonant and a small input-large output formula.

Respectfully, to any professional player (myself included), 'G/A/B' isn't even considered as 'high register'. You are absolutely expected to be able to play those notes all day long, with almost complete accuracy and good intonation, articulation and at any dynamic. If I was you, that would be enough evidence that I am not approaching those notes in the right way.

Here is a video of fantastic British trumpet player Paul Mayes talking about high notes, do check out his other videos because he is an extraordinary player with some very smart teaching concepts. I hope it can prove useful.

All the best

https://youtu.be/j_zYNudrpaY
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JVL
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hello
being a student of Bobby (met him in 1993), i'll add one of his fundamental point in his range teaching : air pivot.
Air direction in the cup : low in low range, mid-cup in medium range(medium C), and upward for high range.
This plus the wedge.

best
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dstdenis
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check out the first section of the Franquin Method, his principles of study. Here are a few excerpts, paraphrased:

It's impossible to define exactly all the movements that our body performs instinctively when playing the trumpet, and it is not useful to call attention to them. The wisest and shortest thing is to aim for the target and let nature take its course.

Sound is produced by placing the mouthpiece on the lips, setting their position and relative tension of the forward muscles in the direction of the mouthpiece according to the degree of sound to be played (pitch and volume) and producing the sound. It's valuable to practice sound production exercises every day to make this action a consistent and reliable skill. (The Franquin Method is especially noted for these exercises.)

To play high notes, it's essential to work progressively rather than attempt the highest notes possible without preparation. Start by playing an easy note and make it supple, round, rich and pure. Over time, expand your range in both directions, at all dynamics, focusing on quality of sound. In general, when the sound is good, higher notes are more easily reached.
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50YrComeback
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:21 am    Post subject: Re: Range - Cause and Effect Reply with quote

Quote:


Here is a video of fantastic British trumpet player Paul Mayes talking about high notes, do check out his other videos because he is an extraordinary player with some very smart teaching concepts. I hope it can prove useful.

All the best

https://youtu.be/j_zYNudrpaY



Thanks Jay - Very interesting and enlightening -
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50YrComeback
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all for the feed back - I will use these to help formulate my mental approach. I think for us comeback players, particularly someone at age 67 like me, we are trying to make the most efficient use of the time and make sure we are on a path of improvement with no wrong turns, hence the tendency to over analyze.

Yes, we also dream perhaps we will wake up someday popping out pristine double CC's with the holy grail not yet discovered by anyone in the history of music. This is right after the dream of winning the largest lottery in history, the lottery probably being much better odds. A solid methodical approach with patience and the mind/body will start to follow along on a progressive basis.
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Seymor B Fudd
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:48 am    Post subject: Re: Range - Cause and Effect Reply with quote

LSOfanboy wrote:
JayKosta wrote:
50YrComeback wrote:

... what can you do, if anything, apart from playing, to increase the vibrating of the lips when played? ...

------------------------------------------------
For me, mouthpiece pressure seems to be the biggest obstacle. I seem to require pressure on my upper lip to provide fast vibrations, but too much pressure decreases the amount of possible lip movement. When practicing, I attempt to find the 'balancing point' of enough pressure to give fast vibrations, and to allow the upper lip to remain vibrating.
And the amount of air (speed, quantity, flow rate, whatever term ...) moving through the lip aperture has to be 'strong enough' to overcome the mouthpiece pressure and the lip tissue tightening so that the vibrations can be maintained to actually produce the desired pitch.

And NO, I don't have a good high range. I can play pieces up to the G/A/B range when I'm fresh. But trying to do that for piece after piece doesn't work.

Jay


Without wanting to cause confrontation, your entire approach is (in my opinion at least) very flawed. It is all based around 'overcoming' pressure and using tons of air and 'tightness'. To play efficiently on the instrument we need to find the most relaxed balance we can, which should only require a sustainable level of mouthpiece pressure and feels free, open, resonant and a small input-large output formula.

Respectfully, to any professional player (myself included), 'G/A/B' isn't even considered as 'high register'. You are absolutely expected to be able to play those notes all day long, with almost complete accuracy and good intonation, articulation and at any dynamic. If I was you, that would be enough evidence that I am not approaching those notes in the right way.

Here is a video of fantastic British trumpet player Paul Mayes talking about high notes, do check out his other videos because he is an extraordinary player with some very smart teaching concepts. I hope it can prove useful.

All the best

https://youtu.be/j_zYNudrpaY


Thanks for the link! Nice fellow speaking the Queens english explaining
his ideas in a clear and sensible way!
I´ll try sighing and focus on the resistance while doing my best to relax!
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kalijah
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

50YrComeback wrote:
Quote:
Having researched this forum and other places, I know there are differences between the open/closed embochure approaches, buzzers and non-buzzers, etc. so, I don't want to open up that up. And not looking an answer that require a degree in physics.


A truly "open" embouchure will not play. All embouchures MUST have a repose position that is "closed" or very nearly so.

The difference in perception is rather if you place the instrument on the lips with the lips touching OR placing the instrument with the lips not touching or "open". For the later, one must then use muscular effort to bring the lips together to play once the instrument is placed but before playing a note.

I found MUCH more efficiency of effort and range headroom by placing the instrument on closed and relatively relaxed lips. I would say it was a tremendous breakthrough when I began doing that.
Quote:
So, let's say for this discussion we are talking "Open Embochure" a la Bobby Chew. What is making the pitch higher? More air passing through the same aperture,
no.

Quote:
same volume of air passing through smaller aperture,
possibly, but air "volume" has nothing to do with pitch.

Quote:
combination of both?
No. The air (pressure, or flow, or speed) is not the determining factor of pitch.

Quote:
My understanding is that we need to increase the speed at which the lips are vibrating, but how is that caused?
First, vibration has frequency, not "speed". (The "speed" of vibration can vary on a constant frequency)

Quote:
Is it also a function of pliability of the lips? In other words, will different lips react different with the same amount of air?
Basically yes. The state of the lip aperture controls the frequency of tone. The air pressure then controls the loudness of tone. The more relaxed aperture is more, as you say "pliable". It will pulsate at a lower frequency. The more tensioned lip aperture (less pliable) will produce a higher frequency tone.

Quote:
If so, what can you do, if anything, apart from playing, to increase the vibrating of the lips when played?
You say "increase the vibrating" . Do you mean the frequency? Or the loudness?

Quote:
Any thoughts? I know this is a science to some, but just looking for some fundamental understanding of things under my control.

I just gave you the fundamentals. As for application, yes, you must practice but there are two things you should incorporate for improved range:

1. Reduce your "baseline" embouchure effort. Especially at your lowest notes and do it here first. Practice low and soft tones at VERY low effort. Do this MANY MANY times such that it becomes habit. I can give you some more information on how to do this.

2. Ascend in pitch very gradually with the smallest increase in embouchure effort. There is also a way I approach this that works very well. And it does NOT involve lip slurs at first so do not use them early in your practice. Hopefully I can explain further.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 8:40 am    Post subject: Re: Range - Cause and Effect Reply with quote

LSOfanboy wrote:

...
Here is a video of fantastic British trumpet player Paul Mayes talking about high notes, do check out his other videos because he is an extraordinary player with some very smart teaching concepts. I hope it can prove useful.

All the best

https://youtu.be/j_zYNudrpaY

--------------------------
Thank you for the link Paul Mayes' youtube videos. In addition to his verbal descriptions, it is interesting (and hopefully helpful) to WATCH how his embouchure is used, mouthpiece position and angle, neck expansion and tension, etc.

For ME a difficulty is making the transition from being taught the 'goals' - such as your mention of
LSOfanboy wrote:

... To play efficiently on the instrument we need to find the most relaxed balance we can, which should only require a sustainable level of mouthpiece pressure and feels free, open, resonant and a small input-large output formula ...


and the 'physical mechanical actions' of how to DO those things.

Jay
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kalijah
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pete wrote:
Quote:
The goal is to use resistance somewhere to create compression. Whether it is a shallow mouthpiece or a more tongue controlled airstream, the goal is the same.


I would like to address this but I shall do so in another thread.
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