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butxifxnot
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 6:39 pm    Post subject: Seconds Reply with quote

Hey all.

I feel like I'm cheating when I do this, but here it is:
I tend to get headaches, blackouts and the like when I get real high, especially when I'm pushing to get it out. I am intimately familiar with myself and can usually feel when what I'm doing will result in pain/blackout if I keep it up much longer.
So my question is this: when in the middle of doing a seconds long-set (extreme of range), what do I do when the choice is between backing off then losing the note, and keeping the note going but getting an attack on my brain? Right now I'm backing off just enough to keep the blackout under control, but it almost always costs the note (which I am VERY thankful for, as I flop down on my bed afterwards).

??? Yes? No? If I need to push to the end, I gotta find a better way to play up there. But Caruso is kinda about...not overthinking mechanism.
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Winghorn
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not a doctor, but it can't be good for you to push yourself until you get headaches and blackouts. There is a lot more to trumpet playing than forcing out high notes, and I personally would not risk my health and well being just to hit certain notes at all costs. Sounds like you need to slow down and let your range develope more naturally, and work on relaxation. But you should probably talk to your teacher about it. If you do not have a teacher, I would recommend you find one before you hurt yourself. Good luck.
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goldenboy3
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 7:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Seconds Reply with quote

butxifxnot wrote:
Hey all.


I tend to get headaches, blackouts and the like when I get real high,


lay off the drugs man

... sorry i couldn't resist.
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AJCarter
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, depending on your setup the headaches and blackouts could be due to back pressure. i used to have this same problem. I'm not sure how I overcame it, I think you just need to work to the point where you can control your upper register. remember, it's not how HARD you blow so much as it is how fast your air stream is. plus if you blow your brains out now, you can end up with herniated neck muscles like Wayne Bergeron did early in his career. just take it easy and work carefully and work smart. Like winghorn said, there's more to trumpet playing than high notes. learn everything because not everyone's a lead player.

take it easy and dont hurt yourself
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trpt_music
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like you’re getting way too much backpressure.

I used to have the same problem and 2 things solved it.

First, I realized my throat was closing up. Practicing on the B.E.R.P. and B.E.R.P. CD solved that problem.

Second, I used to play on tight equipment. Switching to a more open horn and mouthpiece helped tremendously.

Hope that helps.
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Winghorn
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A more open horn may help your upper register, but it may be at the expense of some finesse and control in the less extreme registers. Your sound may be affected, too, as may your endurance. I would just make sure you don't give up tone, precision and endurance in an all consuming quest to hit the high notes. But, some careful experimentation with larger equipment, especially under the guidance of a qualified teacher, may yield dividends. Best of luck!
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TrpPro
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 10:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Seconds Reply with quote

butxifxnot wrote:
Hey all.

I feel like I'm cheating when I do this, but here it is:
I tend to get headaches, blackouts and the like when I get real high, especially when I'm pushing to get it out. I am intimately familiar with myself and can usually feel when what I'm doing will result in pain/blackout if I keep it up much longer.
So my question is this: when in the middle of doing a seconds long-set (extreme of range), what do I do when the choice is between backing off then losing the note, and keeping the note going but getting an attack on my brain? Right now I'm backing off just enough to keep the blackout under control, but it almost always costs the note (which I am VERY thankful for, as I flop down on my bed afterwards).

??? Yes? No? If I need to push to the end, I gotta find a better way to play up there. But Caruso is kinda about...not overthinking mechanism.


I know exactly what you're experiencing. When you get to the feeling of blacking out, STOP! You don't need to go any further with the exercise. Even dispense with the second blow. You probably get the same feeling on the Harmonics. Again, on the Harmonics too, keep the top note below where you get the black out feeling.

Why you are getting the blacking out feeling doesn't matter. What you want is to have it go away. One thing that will help to make this happen is pedal tones. Especially as you go below the pedal G (chromatic and chord pedals), really put some volume into the notes. Let the lips do whatever they need to do to get this volume. Always follow the pedal exercise with the 2 octave (or more) chromatic scale. When doing the chromatic scale, go for a good double forte at the highest part of the scale. Don't be concerened with making the scale sound musical. Just blast it out!

Reread the five elements of the embouchure in MCFB.
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butxifxnot
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Winghorn wrote:
I am not a doctor, but it can't be good for you to push yourself until you get headaches and blackouts. There is a lot more to trumpet playing than forcing out high notes, and I personally would not risk my health and well being just to hit certain notes at all costs. Sounds like you need to slow down and let your range develope more naturally, and work on relaxation. But you should probably talk to your teacher about it. If you do not have a teacher, I would recommend you find one before you hurt yourself. Good luck.
Regards
Steve Allison
I will. But you understand, I don't play that way: just on Seconds.

(goldenboy, you're a riot)

Quote:
plus if you blow your brains out now, you can end up with herniated neck muscles like Wayne Bergeron did early in his career. just take it easy and work carefully and work smart. Like winghorn said, there's more to trumpet playing than high notes. learn everything because not everyone's a lead player.
I'm not really talking about general practice: just this exercise, where the point is to force your embouchure to push its limit.

Quote:
It sounds like you’re getting way too much backpressure.

...okay, I think I might be confused as to what exactly "backpressure" is. Is that throat pressure, or horn pressure?
Quote:

First, I realized my throat was closing up.

Yep! I hear ya. But when my throat closes off, no sound comes out at all above high F. I'm very conscious now about keeping my throat open. Still getting the spells. =\

Quote:
some careful experimentation with larger equipment

I've got a teacher: this is just to get some thoughts between lessons.
But as for larger horns...
meh. I'm a bright player. Horns that are bigger tend to eat up my air.

Quote:
I know exactly what you're experiencing. When you get to the feeling of blacking out, STOP! You don't need to go any further with the exercise. Even dispense with the second blow.

I'll do that for now, til I can talk to Teach. *nods* But I don't have to stop: usually pulling back to the point of losing the pitch keeps things from being painful.

Quote:
You probably get the same feeling on the Harmonics.
Nope! Right now I'm doing Harmonics 8, and that's pie.

Quote:

Why you are getting the blacking out feeling doesn't matter. What you want is to have it go away. One thing that will help to make this happen is pedal tones. Especially as you go below the pedal G (chromatic and chord pedals), really put some volume into the notes. Let the lips do whatever they need to do to get this volume. Always follow the pedal exercise with the 2 octave (or more) chromatic scale. When doing the chromatic scale, go for a good double forte at the highest part of the scale. Don't be concerened with making the scale sound musical. Just blast it out!

??? How does that help?

Quote:

Reread the five elements of the embouchure in MCFB.

:confused:
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TrpPro
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

butxifxnot wrote:
I'll do that for now, til I can talk to Teach. *nods* But I don't have to stop: usually pulling back to the point of losing the pitch keeps things from being painful.


Is your teacher a Caruso student?

By pulling back you are no longer following the Caruso instruction on how to play his calisthenic drills. The Blow is part of the embouchure. It should be done freely while playiing the calisthenics. Carmine used the word "abandon" when I asked him how to blow for certain exercises. I don't think you should be intentionally holding back when playing the calisthenics unless specifically instructed to do so as, for example, in the <> and the ><.

Quote:
Right now I'm doing Harmonics 8, and that's pie.


I didn't have any black out problems with Harmonics at 8 either. For me, the black out feelings didn't come on the Harmonics until 12 and above.

TrpPro wrote:

Why you are getting the blacking out feeling doesn't matter. What you want is to have it go away. One thing that will help to make this happen is pedal tones. Especially as you go below the pedal G (chromatic and chord pedals), really put some volume into the notes. Let the lips do whatever they need to do to get this volume. Always follow the pedal exercise with the 2 octave (or more) chromatic scale. When doing the chromatic scale, go for a good double forte at the highest part of the scale. Don't be concerened with making the scale sound musical. Just blast it out!

butxifxnot wrote:
??? How does that help?


I'm giving you advice on what CC believed was a powerful way to address embouchure. This will involve ignoring a lot of other non Caruso advice that has the student maintaining the same embouchure, that exists in the normal range, throughout the pedals .

Quote:

Reread the five elements of the embouchure in MCFB.

:confused:[/quote]

Confused about what?
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butxifxnot
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TrpPro wrote:
butxifxnot wrote:
I'll do that for now, til I can talk to Teach. *nods* But I don't have to stop: usually pulling back to the point of losing the pitch keeps things from being painful.


Is your teacher a Caruso student?

By pulling back you are no longer following the Caruso instruction on how to play his calisthenic drills. The Blow is part of the embouchure. It should be done freely while playiing the calisthenics. Carmine used the word "abandon" when I asked him how to blow for certain exercises. I don't think you should be intentionally holding back when playing the calisthenics unless specifically instructed to do so as, for example, in the <> and the ><.

Yes. Alan Dean. Who may be popping in when he finds out I'm asking about this. ;P

Ah, crud. Then I need to call him and talk to him about that, definitely.

Quote:

Quote:
Right now I'm doing Harmonics 8, and that's pie.


I didn't have any black out problems with Harmonics at 8 either. For me, the black out feelings didn't come on the Harmonics until 12 and above.

12?
*counts*
Oh. G. I could probably handle that. dbl/high A is where I start feeling it. Mm. Sounds like we're in the same boat.
But I just started, so the Harmonics don't go as high yet. I just do what I'm told. *laughs* And he said that Seconds go as high as possible, and not to stop.
Quote:

TrpPro wrote:

Why you are getting the blacking out feeling doesn't matter. What you want is to have it go away. One thing that will help to make this happen is pedal tones. Especially as you go below the pedal G (chromatic and chord pedals), really put some volume into the notes. Let the lips do whatever they need to do to get this volume. Always follow the pedal exercise with the 2 octave (or more) chromatic scale. When doing the chromatic scale, go for a good double forte at the highest part of the scale. Don't be concerened with making the scale sound musical. Just blast it out!

butxifxnot wrote:
??? How does that help?


I'm giving you advice on what CC believed was a powerful way to address embouchure. This will involve ignoring a lot of other non Caruso advice that has the student maintaining the same embouchure, that exists in the normal range, throughout the pedals .

So, do pedals and chromatic scales...when/before the blackout thing is going on? Or just as regular exercise? I'm afraid I didn't quite grasp what your advice was.

Quote:

Quote:

Reread the five elements of the embouchure in MCFB.

:confused:


Confused about what?[/quote]
MCFB? What's that?

Sorry! Clueless.
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TrpPro
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

butxifxnot wrote:
Yes. Alan Dean. Who may be popping in when he finds out I'm asking about this.


You have an excelent CC teacher. Disregard other advice on this forum unless he concurs.

Quote:
So, do pedals and chromatic scales...when/before the blackout thing is going on? Or just as regular exercise? I'm afraid I didn't quite grasp what your advice was.


Practice pedals when your teacher assigns them. I assumed you had been practicing CC longer than you have.

Quote:

MCFB? What's that?


Musical Calisthenics For Brass by Carmine Caruso
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Trumpet1Ohio
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I, too, have had the same experience (to an extent). I took lessons from Carmine in the 70s. Half a dozen trips from Ohio to NYC. Anyway, Carmine was aware that I was light-headed when I did 2nds, thirds, etc. Fortunately, it cleared up during my 12 or so counts before my 2nd blow and I always continued. I was always seated in his studio and still do those exercises sitting down because of the possible dizziness. When I do the studies I start at a comfortable mp volume and as I ascend I get louder, but I dont overblow when I get up high for the sake of eking out 1 more note. I go as high as I can with my embouchure still intact, but if I feel it's coming apart and I can't blow as efficiently I stop at the end of that interval. Then I pick up with the 2nd blow using the same approach. That has helped me deal with the problem and get alot more out of the studies. FWIW
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:05 am    Post subject: Re: Seconds Reply with quote

butxifxnot wrote:
Hey all.

I feel like I'm cheating when I do this, but here it is:
I tend to get headaches, blackouts and the like when I get real high, especially when I'm pushing to get it out. I am intimately familiar with myself and can usually feel when what I'm doing will result in pain/blackout if I keep it up much longer.
So my question is this: when in the middle of doing a seconds long-set (extreme of range), what do I do when the choice is between backing off then losing the note, and keeping the note going but getting an attack on my brain? Right now I'm backing off just enough to keep the blackout under control, but it almost always costs the note (which I am VERY thankful for, as I flop down on my bed afterwards).

??? Yes? No? If I need to push to the end, I gotta find a better way to play up there. But Caruso is kinda about...not overthinking mechanism.


Caruso is not about how high....it's about coordination.
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pepperdean
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Peter,

Gee, nobody suggested spreading pillows around where you practice to cushion the fall

I can remember a couple of experiences in Carmine's studio where I was very dizzy in between intervals. I know we spoke of it but Carmine never suggested I stop the process of playing the exercise. After a period of time, the symptoms mostly went away. I think I achieved the proper balance and synchronization of muscular actions.

Other than that, I have no direct wisdom on the subject that came directly from Carmine.

I do have some ideas and suggestions, however. I believe breathing is the key, taking a proper full breath without tension and delivering that breath "on time".

For the first part, I strongly suggest Yoga breathing exercises. You could get "The Science of Breath" by Yogi Ramacharaka or simply Google yoga breathing to find a source of information and exercises.

The second part is a matter of "timing" that will be addressed by just doing the exercises, but you can help it along with a little conscious thought.

We are all vulnerable to EXCESSIVE back pressure and that is the enemy and probable cause of your of your symptoms. The actions of the trumpet weight moving toward your embouchure, your lips moving forward to meet the trumpet, the lips achieving the proper tension against one another, the tongue releasing, and the air being delivered must all be synchronized for optimum performance. When one or more of these actions fail, deficiencies start to show up in our playing.

In this case, I speculate that your are tensing your lips for the notes before the air arrives. It sure is easy for any of us to view that high note entrance on the page and start to tense up as we're taking our breath, winding up, so to speak. If you are lucky enough to get the note out after this happens, you will have only done so with the burden of much greater effort and back pressure.

Carmine taught that the basic embouchure tension was created by resistance to the airflow pushing through it. Set a relaxed embouchure and begin to blow easily, gradually blowing harder. As you increase the air velocity, you'll see the muscles tense in response to the air force trying to push them apart.

Carmine's system trains all of these actions to be in balance. During the rests in his exercises, you want to maintain your embouchure formation in a relatively relaxed manner waiting for the next blow to dictate the proper tension for the notes you are trying to play. Sometimes, it won't work and the notes will fail. No big deal. Just like falling off that new bicycle. Get back on and try again. Your body will learn what to do.

In summary, I suggest that you explore some yoga breathing for a few minutes each day and try to avoid over-tensing your embouchure prior to the air striking it. I think you'll find that helpful. Give me a call any time.

Of course, I'm speculating, since we're dong this in cyberspace Hopefully, the discussion will be helpful to someone.

Alan
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butxifxnot
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pepperdean wrote:
Hi Peter,

Gee, nobody suggested spreading pillows around where you practice to cushion the fall

'Twas implicit!

Quote:

I can remember a couple of experiences in Carmine's studio where I was very dizzy in between intervals. I know we spoke of it but Carmine never suggested I stop the process of playing the exercise. After a period of time, the symptoms mostly went away. I think I achieved the proper balance and synchronization of muscular actions.


Yes, Logan also backed this up as well with his own experiences.

(Logan is another of Alan's students, and a buddy of mine)
Quote:

I do have some ideas and suggestions, however. I believe breathing is the key, taking a proper full breath without tension and delivering that breath "on time". For the first part, I strongly suggest Yoga breathing exercises. You could get "The Science of Breath" by Yogi Ramacharaka or simply Google yoga breathing to find a source of information and exercises. The second part is a matter of "timing" that will be addressed by just doing the exercises, but you can help it along with a little conscious thought.
We are all vulnerable to EXCESSIVE back pressure and that is the enemy and probable cause of your of your symptoms. The actions of the trumpet weight moving toward your embouchure, your lips moving forward to meet the trumpet, the lips achieving the proper tension against one another, the tongue releasing, and the air being delivered must all be synchronized for optimum performance. When one or more of these actions fail, deficiencies start to show up in our playing.
In this case, I speculate that your are tensing your lips for the notes before the air arrives. It sure is easy for any of us to view that high note entrance on the page and start to tense up as we're taking our breath, winding up, so to speak. If you are lucky enough to get the note out after this happens, you will have only done so with the burden of much greater effort and back pressure.


You know what?
I think you are right on just about every point.
I discovered a short while ago that I don't play as well with the Reinhardt thing of breath-through-corners and lips-together-before-breathing. When I do that, I have trouble keeping my throat open, and forget about "the complete breath".
So I find myself taking the best breath I can with my lips together, then end "winding up" right after that anyway!
Crud.

Quote:

Carmine taught that the basic embouchure tension was created by resistance to the airflow pushing through it. Set a relaxed embouchure and begin to blow easily, gradually blowing harder. As you increase the air velocity, you'll see the muscles tense in response to the air force trying to push them apart.

Carmine's system trains all of these actions to be in balance. During the rests in his exercises, you want to maintain your embouchure formation in a relatively relaxed manner waiting for the next blow to dictate the proper tension for the notes you are trying to play. Sometimes, it won't work and the notes will fail. No big deal. Just like falling off that new bicycle. Get back on and try again. Your body will learn what to do.

Mm. Maybe I was focussing too much getting the next notes out, and not enough on letting the air dictate the embouchure AS it begins moving.

I think it may be time for another lesson.

Quote:

In summary, I suggest that you explore some yoga breathing for a few minutes each day and try to avoid over-tensing your embouchure prior to the air striking it. I think you'll find that helpful. Give me a call any time.

Of course, I'm speculating, since we're dong this in cyberspace Hopefully, the discussion will be helpful to someone.

Alan

Indeed.
Thanks a dozen, Alan. =)
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butxifxnot
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I can remember a couple of experiences in Carmine's studio where I was very dizzy in between intervals. I know we spoke of it but Carmine never suggested I stop the process of playing the exercise. After a period of time, the symptoms mostly went away. I think I achieved the proper balance and synchronization of muscular actions.

Just an update for the heck of it:
it's starting to feel better.
But I took the liberty of additionally doing something else than what was suggested:
instead of doing whatever I can to get the note to come out, I kinda just...play like I would if I weren't airing out. I don't NORMALLY choke myself to play notes, so why start when the note is disappearing and end up pinching off anyway.

...and more on that as I continue exercising. =P
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is the proper approach. Carmine used to say that when things started to "go wrong" in calisthenic practice that we should continue playing normally as if everything was feeling great and coming out beautifully.

Please, keep us posted.
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TrpPro
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
instead of doing whatever I can to get the note to come out, I kinda just...play like I would if I weren't airing out.

I think that doing "whatever" to get the notes to play (as in intentionally pivoting, twisting, turning, sliding the mouthpiece) may not be a good policy to follow. Carmine would say to use all the mouthpiece pressure you wanted but to work the lips. Everything was predicated on working the muscles that control the lips while air was being blown through the lips: the "complete"embouchure. And doing this set to a self created time frame as in tapping the foot and subdividing.

Practice pedals and really blow them out. This isn't supposed to be musical. Get the air moving. And then follow with the two octave scale.
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butxifxnot
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TrpPro wrote:
Quote:
instead of doing whatever I can to get the note to come out, I kinda just...play like I would if I weren't airing out.

I think that doing "whatever" to get the notes to play (as in intentionally pivoting, twisting, turning, sliding the mouthpiece) may not be a good policy to follow. Carmine would say to use all the mouthpiece pressure you wanted but to work the lips. Everything was predicated on working the muscles that control the lips while air was being blown through the lips: the "complete"embouchure. And doing this set to a self created time frame as in tapping the foot and subdividing.

Practice pedals and really blow them out. This isn't supposed to be musical. Get the air moving. And then follow with the two octave scale.


Alan doesn't have me doing pedals yet. =P
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