Date: Fri, 9 Oct 1998 09:12:57 -0400
From: "Peter Sokolowski" <>
Subject: the Farkas problem...

Miyoshi wrote:

>So if I understand you correctly, the neutral or bunched chin is "better" for
>trumpet players than the taut chin?  Is that the main "Farkas problem"?  I
>found Farkas' book to be a very logical and well thought out presentation of
>the biomechanics of a good embouchure and that's why I mentioned it. Thanks
>for the warning though...I had no knowledge or experience regarding possible
>harm to trumpet players using the Farkas approach.  Gotta take it all with a
>"grain of salt".

I'm the last person to spout dogma, but...if you look at *any* strong player--especially conspicuously strong players, such as Faddis, Maynard, Harry James, Wynton, Mark Van Cleave--when they're playing high and loud, you'll see the bunched chin.

No grain of salt, just plain logic.  How can you possibly resist the air with a controled aperture if you're tugging *down* on your bottom lip?

I rarely discuss pedagogy here because of all the experts, but I've heard good players tell students to "make a flat chin" or "pull your chin down."  If you want to play with better endurance, range, and flexibility, you'll be wasting your time.

Keep in mind that those pictures of Bud and Chicowitz and Kaderabek in Farkas' book have them buzzing in the middle register.  I'm sure that if a photo was taken of those same players playing two octaves *higher*, you'd have a very different picture indeed.  It might not be dramatic bunching, but their chins wouldn't be pulled the other way at all.

When you close a drawstring bag (I keep my mutes in such a bag), do you hold the opening with both hands and then ask a friend to pull the cord?  Think about it.  That's literally what you're doing if you pull your chin *down* while playing.

All muscles can only do one active thing: contract.  Use your muscles to help you, not hurt you.  Make your chops thicker and more resistant to the air (and to the pressure) as you go higher.

- --Peter