Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2000 10:15:53  0000
From: "Peter Jeffrey Gale" <>
Subject: Re: The Elias Modern Scientific Trumpet Method

I ordered a copy of the above book from John Kool at Swoboda Music last week after reading Ole's earlier review of it for TPIN and his web site.

I was historically curious to see what was written about buzzing so long ago when it seems such a modern idea. There's an interesting snippet of a quote I came across in Arban indicating that there was a debate going on even then about whether or not the lips 'buzz' within the mouthpiece, so the idea must be much older than when people first got around to writing about it. I wonder if those Baroque trumpeters used it ... ?

I was also keen to read about any approach to this practice which might shed new light on it for me.

Well, the book has arrived and, to me, it is  excellent. It's good to see this sort of thing written in 1927 and have people explain matters in different, no nonsense ways.

I read in Ole's review about the 'Mosquito' buzz analogy which Elias uses and I have used it ever since to compliment the other approaches and analogies I incorporate into my playing. I certainly gave me an 'aha' experience, and it has worked wonders for me already.

Although I'm primarily an amateur trombonist, I recently decided to start serious practice on the trumpet/cornet. To start with, the results were good, but I lacked a little flexibility and my range was a little weak near the 'high C'. I've also never been quite sure that my free buzzing was the same as the buzz I actually use to play with.

Applying Elias' 'Mosquito' analogy, I changed the way I free buzz slightly, which now fits in better with other expert descriptions, such as 'Pops' McCloughlin's explanation of the 'closed' rather than 'open' embouchure.

Not only can I now play a solid high C on the Trumpet/Cornet, I can free buzz and play the same notes throughout the whole of my register. With practice, my range should now get higher still.

As a side benefit, and a further point of interest, although I have used a slightly different embouchure setting for my trombone playing than my trumpet/cornet embouchure, I was curious to see what would happen if I applied my 'high C' buzz to the trombone.

Well, although the trombone is pitched an octave lower than the trumpet (i.e. it has double the length of tubing), it might come as no surprise to you that the note that came out was ... exactly the same high C! ... for the trombone, that's the equivalent of a 'double high C' on the trumpet!

I have played this note before, but never with such ease and confidence.

So, as the saying goes, the pitch of the note really is set by the pitch of the vibrations of the lip, regardless of the instrument. Presumably, one could play exactly the same note on, say, the tuba as well.

Now all I have to do is to work out how to play my double pedal bass trombone notes as triple pedal trumpet notes.

I hope that you'll appreciate that I'm saying this not to boast, but just to reinforce my recommendation of the Elias book.

To me, the book's worth it just for that one 'Mosquito' analogy alone, though it contains much more and this is obviously a personal response. However, anyone who's having difficulty in free buzzing notes, particularly in the higher register might also benefit from this book.

I ordered the book from the UK, and I would like to add that John Kool's service was excellent.

I was able to give my credit card details by phone, so not having to worry about fraud on the internet, and could otherwise confirm my order by email. The book was on my doorstep in under a week, so the delivery was quite prompt  I've waited longer for stuff sent from the UK, particulary when sourced in the US - but that's another story.

Finally, the price of the book, including delivery, has worked out at less than I would have expected to pay locally IF it had been available in the UK, so I'm very happy.

O.J.'s review can be seen at:

John Kool/Swoboda music can be contacted at: (his old