O.J.'s Trumpet Page Articles and reviews
"Buzzing with Mr. Elias in 1927"

In 1927 Fred Elias, Omaha, Nebraska,  published a book called "The Elias Modern Scientific Trumpet Method". On the front page is written that it contains the "Complete Elias Buzz System" (if you click on the image of the book, you will see it).

The book is 69 pages and most of it is music, but there are some pages in the beginning explaining things like, How to produce the Buzz, How to Practice, Playing Buzz on the Mouthpiece. It ends with a text chapter called  20 Valuable Pointers

The cover page describes what is contained in the book:

  How to Practice
  Breath Control
  Muscle Building
  Lip Trills
  Extreme High Tones
  25 Pages of Major and Minor scales and Chords
  36 Major and Minor Triads
  Dim 7th chord scales
  Whole Tone Scales
  Correct Single, Double and Triple Tonguing
  Most Important Finger Exercises
  Syncopation Studies
  18 Tricks (Baby Cry, Cat Meow, Horse Laugh, Circular Breathing, etc)
  20 Valuable Pointers

"Buzzing in 1927"
It is interesting to find a system that advocates the use of lip buzzing and mouthpiece buzzing already in 1927!

Today this technique is practiced all over the world thanks to people like James Stamp and others, but early in 1900 it was not common practice. Fred Elias' teacher, Herbert L. Clarke did not use it. Rafael Mendez, born in 1906, used and described it it in his book Prelude to Brass Playing, but that book was published much later (around 1960).

In the chapter  How to produce the Buzz, Elias says the following:

Buzz playing is the secret of tone. There are two kinds of buzzing sounds that are made with the lips, they are the rough and the fine buzz.
Now what we are after is the fine kind, because this means fine tone.
Did you ever see a fly flying against a window pane? Have you noticed the buzzing sound he makes?
Did you ever have a mosquito buzz around your ear? Have you noticed the buzzing sound he makes?

This is the kind of buzz we are after.

An octave above High C
If buzzing was not very common back in the early 1900, neither was it to play up to the so called "Double High C". Louis Armstrong amazed the world in the late 1920 and early 1930 by playing F and G above high C.  Herbert L. Clarke showed in some exercises in his books that he used to play chromatically up to G above high C.

Elias has an exercise (page 13) called "Building the embouchure for an octave above high C". He uses an arpeggio (C - E - G - C) and then repeat 3 whole notes on the high note (C). He repeats this exercise, ascending chromatically up to high C (the last arpeggio from High C to Double High C). Each exercise starts pp with a crescendo up to forte and then decrescendo down to pp.

Other interesting points in the book

Who was Fred Elias?
Mr. Elias is referenced in the endorsements to Roger W. Spaulding's book "Double High C in 37 Weeks" as

1. Former student of the late Herbert L. Clarke.
2. Former Cornet Soloist with the U.S. Navy Band
3. Former Trumpeter and Soloist with the Omaha Symphony Orchestra
4. Famed originator of the Elias Buzz System, method of teaching brass players.

Thanks to John Kool and Swoboda Kool Music who published it again!

John's email: johnkool@thatskool.net(his old was: johnkool@alltel.net)