Hi, Ole, and All!
My thinking, along these lines, is that there really is NOT such a great
diversity as to how the trumpet is "blown" - the REAL differences have
to do with how that process is DESCRIBED!
I see only two FUNDAMENTAL approaches to "sounding" a brasswind mouthpiece.
1. The STATIC EMBOUCHURE - The mouthpiece, even the entire body of trumpet,
is used to "adjust" the embouchure so that the desired pitch will sound.
This "adjustment" consists of varying the amount of mouthpressure via the
I describe this as "bringing the mouthpiece to your chops".
Psychology implications: An EXTERNALLY orientated, "trumpet as New years Eve horn" approach - you blow into "it", "it" produces the sound.
2. The CONSTANTLY ADJUSTING EMBOUCHURE - the basis for this thinking is the "mouthpiece-less buzz". The functioning of this embouchure is a result of consciously manipulating the muscles that control pitch and airflow/speed. I describe this as "bringing the chops to the mouthpiece". An INTERNALLY orientated approach: Pitch is controlled by pressing the lips INTO each other, and adjusting the airpressure accordingly.
Our highest tone is the point where we are
(A) Unable to further compress the lips, to effect a "higher buzz" - the air "breaks through" our lips at more than one vibration point, or leaks at the corners of the mouth.
(B) We are unable to supply sufficient airpressure necessary to "breakthrough" and "buzz" the lips. No buzz, no tone!
You may like to experiment with the "balloon" analogy:
Blow -up the balloon, hold the neck of the balloon with the thumb and first finger of both hands. Now you can run your own series of experiments Re. pitch, airpressure, and compressing/relaxing the aperture or buzz.
I'll conclude with a quote from the PREFACE of SAIL THE SEVEN C'S. Though written nearly 20 years ago, I have found not need to alter the premises.
"It is the author's premise that all good players play essentially the same way, but due to human variation both physical and mental, no single approach will be effective for all players. I have further hypothesized that the greatest stumbling blocks to teaching ``what to do'' while playing are :
(A) A lack of scientific evaluative techniques.
(B) A lack of standardized terminology, and
(C) the difficulty of trying to externalize, or verbalize, a process which is essentially internal.
In other words, most disagreements regarding playing techniques are a result of several differing verbal descriptions of the same process. It is much akin to the proverb of the blind men who gave conflicting descriptions of an elephant based upon the examination of a particular appendage of the animal.
The range of the trumpet, as well as that of all other brass instruments, is contingent upon the chops of the player. To this end, we brass players have to devote considerable time to the physical development of our embouchure. I doubt that anyone can promise that any amount of practice will enable everyone to play the above-mentioned seven octave range, any more than we can guarantee that every jogger will eventually be able to run the four-minute-mile. It is not given that all should be able to do so! But I can promise that everyone who seriously and conscientiously follows the regimen prescribed in this book will be able to improve his range and endurance considerably.
The high register will not capitulate to casual practice - but it will yield to those who correctly persist!" (End Quote)
Anyone who would like to receive the complete PREFACE from "SAIL....", may do so by contacting us via email.
Keep 'Em Flying!
> Ole J. Utnes wrote:
> Lately I've been speculating about why we still have a lot
> of troubles on our brass instruments. Why are there no
> consensus on how etc.?*