Air -- Chops -- Slurs

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Richard Oliver, May 29, 2008.

  1. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

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    Frequently, I'll use breath attacks when practicing easy slurs in the staff -- feels like breathing into the horn. Along with that, I'll speed up the air or increase the volume of air (that's what it feels like but don't really know which is occuring) to ascend to the next partial.

    Disclaimer: I do not know what really is happening anatomically: lungs, tongue, aperture, lips, corners.

    I can ascend a partial also using my chops rather than air speed/volume.

    When I slur using air, my aperture feels as if it stays roughly the same diameter. When I use my chops it feels as if it does become smaller as I ascend. Disclaimer (again): never measured.

    A long time ago, I noticed that using air speed/volume (don't really know which it is) to slur is a bit more difficult. Also operating on the very suspect notion that more = better. So, I began using that method during practice a good deal speculating "If I can negotiate slurs using air rather than chops would make slurring easier when using chops.

    What does conventional wisdom say about this air thing and chops thing?

    Final note, I'm really not aching to know what my body is doing. When I play during band, I don't have a zillion thoughts zipping about. I'm listening to the music about me endeavoring to play in tune and in time. You know, give the guy with the stick what he wants.
     
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Conventional Vulgano wisdom says "yes" to this air thing and chops thing.

    You are exactly right, Richard--we can change notes both ways, and there are a couple of different American trumpet schools:

    James Stamp was big on mouthpiece buzzing--changing the note by more of less using the chops; Bill Adam prefered the concept of "buzzing the pipe" to buzzing the mouthpiece, changing the note more or less using air. Both of these great teachers produced awesome students, and calling one "right" and the other "wrong," while perhaps a TM tradition, would not get us anywhere.

    My personal take is as follows: Each partial has a distinct "feel" (at least to this hyper-imaginative Vulgano), the result of air/sound/"magic bubble" pressure levels inside the instrument (our bodies are part of the instrument, by the way). Our chops are what allow us to really color different tones, acting like some weird organic active filter.

    So yeah, the answer to the air thing and chops thing is "yes." Isolating one or the other for some spot training doesn't hurt, as long as it is training and not the search for the Holy Grail, and as long as we are able to return to simply playing.

    Have fun!
     
  3. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

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    Right-O Jerry! Not searching for the Grail at all. Just something I noticed and never jawed about with those in the know.

    Ecce Vulgano

    ;-)
     
  4. nordlandstrompet

    nordlandstrompet Forte User

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    Have a look here:

    Welcome

    This guy has some very good ideas.

    And the book is not expencive!
     
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Even cheaper, and quicker (if you have a dial-up modem like me) are a couple of old VB posts, gratis.

    Magic Bubbles

    When we play a note, standing waves are produced in the instrument, and with a normal to lightweight instrument and a light touch, you can feel where different notes seem to resonate in the instrument -- magic bubbles of sound. The higher we go, the more of these standing waves (or magic bubbles) appear. When playing, with a bit of sensitivity and imagination, we can "feel" where these nodes/antinodes (magic bubbles) are. To go from a lower to a higher note in the harmonic series, try pushing the magic bubble down the leadpipe/bell with your air.

    There is a marvelous feedback mechanism at work: the buzzing lips cause the air column to vibrate, which in turn reinforces the buzzing of the lips. This is why using terms like "lip slurs" and "lip flexibility" can mislead us into thinking that it is entirely a lip exercise, rather than an air management exercise.

    RAY OF POWER

    Everbody's right! The finicky thing about air is that, yeah, we must learn the mechanics but then forget about them, because under the stress of performance, as tension sets in, our bodies will lie to us, and it will feel like we're moving huge amounts of air, breathing deeply and supporting when in fact, we are not!

    For this reason, I rely on some Vulgano Voodoo and the RAY OF POWER. It involves the Root Chakra, which is located directly at the base of the spine, also known as the coccyx. The chakras have their own mystic qualities, I guess. I don't know for sure, but they do seem to be located in parts of the body where bunches of nerves meet. (The Vulgano version is situated half way between the places we do our number one and number two in the restroom.)

    In practice and in theory, imagine (and feel) a ray of some sort (red is the most common mystic color associated with the root chakra) shooting down into the ground while playing. For high notes, imagine (and feel) a more intense ray. If we practice this sitting in a chair, we can notice all kinds of muscles come into play, which happen to be the same muscles used to "support" the air stream. By taking attention off of the mechanics and experiencing the mysterious, magical and not yet patented RAY OF POWER we can avoid some of the tension involved in "trying hard."

    Nothing mysterious and magical here really, but the RAY OF POWER does permit me to play with a relaxed but working body.


    I suppose I could call this a "blast from the past."

    Have fun!
     
  6. nordlandstrompet

    nordlandstrompet Forte User

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    I thought I was the "King of Metafores", but I realize that it is time for me to abdicate.
    Very good indeed!
    You should send a patent claim instantaneously.

    ? Is there a secret club out there?
    People from all over is adding a norwegian word
    when they are quoting me, and the word is usually "gratis ":dontknow:
     
  7. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

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    I'm liking pushing the magic bubble down the leadpipe.
    :D
     
  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    "Magic bubbles,
    down the line,
    make me happy,
    give me another ledger line..."
     
  9. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

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    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2008

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