BREAKTHROUGH!!! (I have finally broken the embouchure code. I think.)

Discussion in 'Trumpet Pedagogy' started by Sabutin, Aug 7, 2009.

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Up until around my 22nd birthday, I used a Bach 10 1/2E, then came a Schilke 14A4A which changed to the Monette equivalent (BL) in 1998. I guess old age is starting to settle in. For the last couple of years, I can only play on that piece for a glorious 15 minutes, then nothing comes out anymore (swelling of the chops). I now use a B4LD or B6 (around 3C/3D size). My range stayed the same. The sound is not quite as laserlike, but works very well. I think that if I was playing primarily lead and PRACTICING more of that type of playing, I could get used to the 14A4A or equivalent again. I just don't have any reason to.
  2. thebugleboy

    thebugleboy Pianissimo User

    Dec 10, 2008
    Deep South
    I understand that. I played the 14a4a too in my younger years. I hadn't thought about age making a difference for me, but I find it more difficult to hang with the old lead piece. I guess the age factor isn't so much that we have changed physically, but I don't feel the urgent desire for lead work anymore. Maybe I'm getting lazy. LOL
    This is the sort of info I was hoping for. I think I'll be getting something that better matches my current playing style. I haven't felt the need to "be Bill" since I've come back.
  3. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    I'm very disappointed. Sam didn't say anything funny in his last post.
    Well, you know entertainers can be moody...
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2009
  4. nordlandstrompet

    nordlandstrompet Forte User

    Apr 5, 2008
    Classical burn out?
  5. Sabutin

    Sabutin Pianissimo User

    Aug 7, 2009
    New York City
    Hello all...

    I have just posted a short video in two parts on YouTube...Vocal Overtones + Brass Embouchure #1, Pt. 1 and Vocal Overtones + Brass Embouchure #1, Pt. 2...that contains a quick, minimally produced illustration of this vocal overtones/brass embouchure coupling idea plus a couple of small examples of how to hook that approach up using free buzzing, rim buzzing and m’pce buzzing. Please keep in mind that this stuff was done down and dirty on a home video recorder, so the sound of the horn is not very well captured. I am eventually going to produce a professional quality DVD that will be included in a short book about this technique, but until I can get around to that project...and it could be months before I can find sufficient time to do so...this will have to suffice.

    The real sticking point in this approach for most people in my original post had to do with actually producing the overtones and then how to couple them with the horn, and the audio on these vids is certainly good enough to hear the overtones that I am isolating with my voice. Simply use your ears, imitate the singing and vowel changes that you hear me produce and you will soon be able to isolate overtones fairly well. Then...couple the results on your instrument.

    How to find which overtones to isolate that will best couple with the horn sound? Play long tones and listen for the overtones that are being most emphasized above the note that you are playing. Those are the formants. They are easier to hear above relatively lower notes than they are above higher ones simply because they eventually go up past human hearing range. If you cannot find them, simply use your mind and listen for where they should be. The abstract overtone structure above any note is always the same...the 1st overtone (2nd partial...the 1st partial is the note being played) is an octave above the root note, the 2nd overtone is an octave and a perfect fifth higher , the 3rd one is 2 octaves higher, the 4th is 2 octaves and a major third higher, the 6th is 2 octaves and a perfect 5th higher, the 6th is 2 octaves and a minor 7th higher (roughly speaking...remember the physical overtones series is not tempered) , the 7th is 3 octaves higher and then the overtones go up (again...roughly speaking) in a major scale that includes a #5th/b6th in it right on up to the quadruple octave...the 16th partial/15th overtone. If you know where they should be, it's easier to locate them aurally. Use a keyboard to help you lock onto them. They're up there somewhere. Bet on it. When you find them and then successfully couple the singing of them with a note on the horn, there is almost a physical "pop" that I can only describe as being like the tumbler on a lock suddenly falling into place and you will immediately feel a difference in the way you and your horn are interacting.

    A positive difference.

    A new balance.

    Bet on that as well.

    Have fun...

    And...especially french horn players, trumpet players and female players on all horns...please get back to me with what you find, win, lose or draw. I am particularly interested in the possibility that higher notes on the horn...notes than generally cannot be sung by male players...can be coupled with this approach by singing the same pitches in lower octaves and/or singing notes of which the desired note is itself a harmonic. This is a work in progress, and I value your input.


  6. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    I will try it, using my very freshly regulated and tuned 1974 U3 Yamaha. I will sit at it, with my foot on the sustain pedal, and listen first for which pitches in the harmonic sequence are most stimulated when I play my horn. Then I will try using the vocalizing approach you suggest, Sam.

    Then I will repeat the test with a different horn/mouthpiece. The results of my test I wll post in the near (after Labor Day) future. If I have conclusive results I will record them as well, and post links.

    Whatever I find, and whatever any of you think about my findings, let's please keep it civil.

  7. Sabutin

    Sabutin Pianissimo User

    Aug 7, 2009
    New York City

    Thank you.


    P.S. By the way...I am always civil to those who are civil with me. Reread this thread. Read the original post again and then watch how and where the acrimony started. (With Rowuk's dismissive, Reaganesque "Here we go again" and "Nice try" licks in his very first post on P. 5.) I do not mind disagreement as long as it is the result of open-minded inquiry. In fact. I welcome it. I am posting these things in the hope that some of you can show me ways to go further with this. If I did not want "disagreement"...constructive criticism and discussion at the very least...I'd simply post this stuff as fact and be done with it. But I am not. I am offering it up for peer review. All peer review, yea, nay or undecided. The only apparent problem on the web is figuring out who the peers are and who's an amateur or a faker. A knee-jerk, blindered attitude and dismissive, sarcastic language are almost always good clues for ferreting out the latter types.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009
  8. EdMann

    EdMann Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 20, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Thank you for taking the time to produce these vids. Well explained. I'll be working on this throughout the wknd. It's seems a nice marriage of wind/song and getting just the right tongue level/oral cavity. Good stuff.

  9. Sabutin

    Sabutin Pianissimo User

    Aug 7, 2009
    New York City
    You're welcome, ed. And yes, "time" was the operative word. Learning how to use the camera, figuring out how to explain the stuff, editing, posting...I must've spent 10 hours on it yesterday. For 10 minutes of video. And all I really want to do is play better. YIKES!!! So it goes.


  10. RobertSlotte

    RobertSlotte Pianissimo User

    Jul 7, 2008

    Ok ok I admit, I must be slow and stupid becouse I still do not get it :(
    I´m having a bit of problems withe the language also since I´m from Finland but.... as I se it, the things you are talking about and this I am NOT SURE about; I have been doing all the time. But again: sorry if I´m wrong...I´m not sure.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009

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