3D look at the trumpet embouchure

First let’s see how some people think of embouchure. 1-D Some people think of a trumpet embouchure in 1 dimension. That is they think only about how long is the aperture or buzz. Yes this does affect what note is being playing but it is only a small part of the aperture. (1 front view of aperture length) (2 front view of aperture length) How long is the aperture? ie are you playing a low note or a high note. People who think this way tend to only rely on mouth-corner tension to play higher notes. Lip to lip compression has no place here. Every octave higher that we play; the size of the aperture is cut in half. Double Pedal C = 64 inches, Pedal C = 32 inches, Low C = 16 inches, Middle C = 8 inches, High C = 4 inches, Double High C = 2 […]

Continue reading

Why is there air in my sound?

This is THE easiest question to answer. No gray areas with this one. Sound IS vibrations. Air in the sound IS caused from too big an aperture for the note/volume we are playing. What happens is that some of the air gets through the hole without touching any lip tissue and doesn’t get put into vibration. So it sizzles right through the sound. Air in the tone goes hand in hand with every bad thing that can happen. Not being able to play soft cleanly or at all, poor range, poor endurance, excessive mouthpiece pressure……. All BECAUSE the aperture is too big. Soft playing makes the aperture smaller. Here are some causes of an airy sound: A shallow mouthpiece causes this because you bottom out and it spreads the center of the chops. Fatigue causes it because the chops don’t stay together and they spread. Moving the lower lip out […]

Continue reading

Adam & Weast test results

Experiments can be setup to prove something, to disprove something or to find out something.A trumpet professor at Indiana U, Bill Adam, did some experiments a few years ago with an air gun. He stretched a piece of leather and secured it very tightly over the mouthpiece of a trumpet. He then poked a tiny hole in the center which serves as the aperture. Then he used a compressor which blows highly accelerated air across the hole in the leather. He said it produced an extremely loud and high note, much like an air horn. He concluded that the sound produced by a trumpet is the result of sympathetic vibrations that are setup in the tubing. The more the air is accelerated the easier it should be to produce high notes. Mr. Adam did a great deal for trumpet playing but he was not using good scientific principles. Mr. Adam […]

Continue reading

Factors for a dynamic embouchure

Lip tension, tongue arch and air speed are great for changing pitch in a particular register. But lip compression is needed inorder to change registers. Jeanne has already pointed out that arching the back of the tongue causes headaches and blackouts. So please remember to use a forward arch. A combination of 6 things are NEEDED to play trumpet well. Close lip setting (aperture) + mouthpiece pressure (just enough to make a seal) + lip compression + lip tension + tongue arch (forward) & Air (speed and support). These 6 points control the range of the instrument. There are many variations available in how these can be added together to play any one note. It is possible to play a double high c with a close setting and compression only. Stevens’ static exercises are played that way. Adding some mpc pressure to that can flesh out the notes yet these […]

Continue reading

Open and closed apertures

The original question was about Lynch’s book and his version of a lip curl, very little pressure embouchure. One poster stated that Bobby Shew (a great player in all areas of the horn) said it was BS. Well that is true in Bobby’s case. Here’s why. The 2 use completely opposite approaches to get to the same place. Bobby uses an open aperture and by his own words NEEDS the horn to give him feedback (resistance) to complete his buzz. The Z horn has a published bore size of .445. It has a large bell and a ML tuning slide section and these things enable it to blow more freely than you would think. I played an open aperture for years. It produced a good tone (although no better than my current embouchure). I could play to high A above high C. For me it required too much work to […]

Continue reading

Range and embouchures

1. There is NOT a perfect embouchure that fits everyone. There is 1 which fits you better than the others. However that is a person by person finding. 2. Why from scratch? If you already have good skills and tone why change embouchures? 3. I’ve seen people take YEARS to change an embouchure only to change back to the first one. You don’t change because you are bored or need an extra note of range. Starting from scratch did you get where you are today in 5 weeks? 4. You need a PLAN. Nobody would try to build a foundation for a bridge without a plan. Don’t try to build a foundation for your playing without a plan. 5. Nobody can (should) give advice without more facts. You need to be able to describe accurately your embouchure, playing abilities and problems before anyone can offer any viable solutions. What you […]

Continue reading