From: "Chase Sanborn" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2003 23:12:09 -0500
Subject: [TPIN] buzzing
(lip, mouthpiece, leadpipe)
I received a couple of questions about lip buzzing recently. I thought
my reply might be of interest.
Why is mouthpiece buzzing more effective
than lip buzzing?
Because it creates an embouchure that is closer to the way you play
your horn. Lip buzzing alone may encourage an embouchure that is too
tense, choking off vibrations.
I would think that a player who can lip
buzz would rely on less mouthpiece pressure than a player who can only buzz with the
That is possible, but again, it may encourage too much tension, robbing
the sound of resonance and projection
As with all facets of brass playing, there are different schools of
thought. Experiment and form your own opinions about what works best
Below are excerpts from an article I published some time back. They
contain pertinent info about lip buzzing, mouthpiece buzzing, and
leadpipe buzzing. All three buzzing techniques are demonstrated on the
Brass Tactics CD.
Buzzing the lips without the mouthpiece is the subject of some
controversy. Some feel that it creates excessive embouchure tension,
and I agree it has that potential. There is no question that it is a
workout for the corner muscles, as they must create all the necessary
tension in the absence of a mouthpiece rim
Try to buzz a pitch near a 2nd-line G, and buzz a descending scale
through a few octaves, until the lips are just flapping. (f the corners
stay firm you will still hear a recognizable pitch.) By not trying to
buzz too high, you avoid excessive embouchure tension, and by
descending into the pedal register you promote relaxation and blood
The rim visualizer is a trumpet rim mounted to a holder. Most often
sold as a device to view the action of the vibrating lips (something
I've found to be of limited value) it is a useful connector between
free-lip buzzing and mouthpiece buzzing. I do my mouthpiece buzzing
routines on both the visualizer and the mouthpiece. I can get almost as
high on the rim as on the mouthpiece. The visualizer lets you focus on
the essential vibrations, and makes obvious the fact that our
instrument is really our body, not the mouthpiece or trumpet.
Playing the mouthpiece in the leadpipe alone (remove the tuning slide)
is advocated by Bill Adam. It often produces improvement in the ability
to play a full-bodied, well-centered note, and teaches the sensation of
being in sync with the resonant frequencies of a length of pipe. The
leadpipe produces fairly well-slotted pitches at approximately pedal F,
1st space F, G on top of the staff, high D and high G (this will vary a
bit between players). The pitches will not slot as definitively as on
the trumpet, but much more than on the mouthpiece. Play each pitch
several times, looking for the 'sweet spot' on each note, the perfect
combination of air pressure and embouchure compression which produces
maximum results. When moving to the trumpet, look for that same
sensation on every pitch.
As you add the rim, mouthpiece, leadpipe, and finally the trumpet, it
becomes easier to produce the lip vibrations, and you should use this
to your advantage. Allow the resonance of the pipe to feed the
vibrations of the lips and reduce unnecessary tension. Search for the
minimum embouchure compression on each note that allows it to respond
easily and with the greatest sound.