Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 18:04:34 +0000
From: "Rune Aleksandersen" <>
Subject: Re: Vibration of Lips

Hi again!

> Err, Rune:
>       Slight disagreement on which of the lips vibrates more...
>Try a
> simple test:
>       1  Buzz your lips
>       2  Stop the buzzing of first the upper lip(by holding it, but
> not the lower lip)
>       3  Repeat number 2, but this time stop the lower lip....
>       I think you'll discover that the lower lip will continue to buzz
> strongly when the upper lip is stopped, but that the upper lip
> will NOT buzz as strongly when the lower lip is buzzed...

Actually, it is the opposite for me. Stopping the upper lip tends to shut of the vibrations of the lower lip. If I supply more air, the lower lip will start to vibrate again. So my top lip vibrates more easily than my bottom lip.
Are you familiar with the A Strobosopic Analysis of Lip Function by Robert D. Weast (1963)? This is most interesting reading. The findings are that the lower lip always vibrates less than the top lip, especially in the high range. Weast admits the theoretical possibility of the opposite might take place, but of the 42 players examined, none of these addmited such behavior. I have noticed that the more I get the lower lip involved in my playing, the more it vibrates (over time.)

>       Imho, the lower lip is the most important for vibration, the
> upper lip for endurance and clarity....
Are you shure? If so, this is most interesting stuff. Maybe the 1963 experiment should be repeated with more players taking part, and also including jazz and lead players.

> > Rune Aleksandersen wrote:
> > A little more weight is on the bottom lip,
> > freeing the top lip a litte for easier vibrations.
> Careful!  Remember that the lower lip needs to be capable of
> movement, and thus should not be *locked down*, whereas the upper
> lip, which (due to anatomy) has less capacity for movement, is
> the logical point for an anchor.
Agreed. The lower lip must be able to move. Therefore, I prefer it inside the rim, and not playing on the red of the lower lip.

> >Find out what works the best for you.
> Great advice!
And very easy to give :)

> > (A forward jaw is part of the Costello method.)
> One of the reasons I do not thoroughly advocate the
> Costello-Stevens system....
This part is actually the part bothering me a little about the system. I don't think there is any point of forcing the trumpet
against the sky if it is against your physical nature. It will help having the jaw just so much forward that the lips get a fairly even placement. And this can and will happen at different horn angles for different persons. My lower teeth are sloped quite much, so even with a even lip placment, the horn angle will still be downward. There is much else good about the Costello-Stevens system, that I feel is much more important. Rolling the lips slightly inwards and playing with a sensible teeth opening are a couple of pointers.

Would be interesting if other TPINers have a easy vibrating lower lip. We'd like to hear from you!

Keep on vibrating,