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new to stamp. Why pedal tones?



 
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Box hill brandisher
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Joined: 29 May 2006
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PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2006 7:31 pm    Post subject: new to stamp. Why pedal tones? Reply with quote

I'm an australian high school student, and have recently started the stamp routine, and found this really helpful. But my teacher has challenged me with a question and won't tell me the answer: What is the purpose of practising those pedal tones?
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_dcstep
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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pedals develop control and relaxation. Play them in tune and connect them with slurs to the playing range and gain a lot.

Dave
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Derek Reaban
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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BHB,

I’ve recently started working with the method book by Pierre Thibaud from Rob Roy MacGregor’s publishing company and his description of the “why” behind pedal practice is the best that I have seen. When approaching the pedal F for the first time, he says, “A lot of work has to be put into achieving this note [with the first valve only]. This is because it is precisely this action which produces the thickening of the lip tissue which protects the lips from mouthpiece pressure.”

I discovered just recently that I have been playing into the pedal register wrong for probably 20+ years now (my instructor had a similar realization after some lessons with Rob MacGregor). The point of the pedals is not simply to play them. The point is to begin with your middle embouchure setting and slowly “stretch” down to the pedals and then return to the normal playing register.

These words also really helped me from Chris Gekker’s “Notes on Practicing”. He says, “Don’t pucker the lips to produce these notes and don’t “bark” from pedal C downward, trying to get these pitches in tune. Intonation will correct itself with patient practice and playing these tones too loudly will forfeit many of the benefits. Try to imitate the sound of the baritone horn.”

I was certainly guilty of “barking” and I could play some really great sounding pedals. Man!! Talk about missing the boat! The pedals must connect to the middle embouchure setting!

Thibaud mentions that the student (while performing the pedals correctly), may experience “trembling” at first when playing down to the F just below F# at the bottom of the horn. This is natural! If the F is extremely difficult to play, try playing an F# arpeggio down to the low F#, but finger the low F# with second valve (acting as a pedal). Make sure that maintaining the middle register setting is the priority which will allow you to return to the normal register of the horn. This is the true key and the benefits will be well worth the effort. I think Rob MacGregor mentions that this work can take up to 6 months to see real benefits (the false pedals from F down to pedal C). Be patient and be persistent. Return to the regular playing register frequently when playing pedals to connect this sound back with the “middle setting”.

Players talk about using lot's of air to support the pedal register. Here’s another “danger zone” relating to the barking comment from Gekker. Take a full relaxed breath and simply “let” the air out. Don’t blow harder to get the sound to respond. That will kill the benefits of this work. If the sound starts to tremble because you are entering this register for the first time, that’s OK. Blowing harder might seem like the right action to get the sound to “open up”, but it will only lead you down the wrong path. The trembling will subside soon enough, and by “letting” the sound happen, your sound production in all registers will take on tangible benefits that will not be found by simply “barking”. With full lungs, the air will come out on its on and have plenty of support. This is another VERY important point of these exercises from my perspective.



I’m sure this is in line with Stamp and I hope it’s helpful to you.
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Last edited by Derek Reaban on Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:10 am; edited 1 time in total
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SinfonianTrumpeter
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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

great post, Derek--as always
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mateo
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

how bout this? I have been told to use a harmon mute when you are first working on them and then do them open! so intonation is first, but they dont really help the emboucher unless they are really vibrating the lip really well. one of my teachers says that if you warm up with these and really honk out those lower tones they will loosen up the chops and you will eventually have as much volume or power in the extreme upper register as you do from middle g down. Its pretty amazing, my sound has fattened up quite a bit and I have more extreme dynamics from a really quiet piano to a wall rattling (but clean) forte. try that once a day, just honk out a half tone at a time try to make it as obnoxious as possible and when your done and rested a few minutes you'll notice how much easier tones come and how relaxed and FAT your sound is even if you're playing pianissimo!
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mateo
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

to go along with Dereks post, just so there is no confusion; I mean honk as in go from a comfortable level to as loud as possible without having to move the emboucher. as i said intonation is first, so once you have it, honk it. a good way to figure the pedals out is to use note bends on the way down. Go from middle G down chromatically and bend each note a half step G F#G, F#F F# etc. when you get to that low F# you'll do the same thing. some people try to drop their jaw and this causes a rather unnatural spread of the aperature rather than something that would otherwise be controlled by the facial muscles. all the pedals are doing is vibrating the soft tissue of the lip at a lower frequency and just as with all other areas of your range it should be controlled by the same muscles.
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jonalan
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

_dcstep wrote:
Pedals develop control and relaxation. Play them in tune and connect them with slurs to the playing range and gain a lot.

Agreed.

I've also noticed that many players tend to descend down to pedals and stop (especially those new to pedals). However, I've noticed the most benefit when ascending back up from the pedals (i.e., Stamp exercises #3 - 2nd half, 4b, 3a, 3b, etc.).
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Fin Du Monde
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like to think of pedal tones as a range of motion concept, very much related to cross training concepts employed for many years in sports. As we are all familiar, athletes regularly engage in activities not specific to their sport but known to enhance their performance. Sometimes the cross training is obvious, such as weight training and stretching, sometimes not, such as a running back studying dance. Examples are infinite but whatever it is the concept is that by doing other activities or sports you increase your physical-mental-conceptual knowledge of yourself and thus become well rounded.
So..... by applying this concept to our discipline (lip buzzing) it's easy to see it as a range of motion issue. By familiarizing ourselves physically, with the extreme possibilities of our instrument we learn things about playing that we might not otherwise. This concept applies not just range but to everything, breathing, volume, flexibilities, articulations, finger technique. Since we are all different the things that are revealed will naturally be different and to try to verbalize exactly the sensation to expect can be misleading. But the important thing is the concept, having faith in it, and practicing your butt off. The benefits will come, your playing will improve and at some point you'll find the words.
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