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

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

  1. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY

    All any of us want to do is play better.

    My philosophy, and practice, unsolicited (forebearance please):

    Be civil to all, even if they do not initiate nor respond in kind. I truly find it works well and at very low cost to my health.

    I look forward to my testing.


    -Never play it the same way once.
  2. Sabutin

    Sabutin Pianissimo User

    Aug 7, 2009
    New York City
    It took me a few weeks...I had to develop it a little further and then get my video chops together enough to post some evidence...but a YouTube video demonstration is now up on pg. 12 of this thread.

    My position exactly.

    Thank you, Pedal C.

    Take a look at...and a listen to...the vids; take some time to see how the concept applies to your own playing, and then, as I said at the end of that pg. 12 post:

    Thanks again...

    Sam Burtis
  3. Sabutin

    Sabutin Pianissimo User

    Aug 7, 2009
    New York City
    You have been isolating overtones with your voice and then coupling the result with notes on your horn? With the aim of tuning up your resonance cavities to the timbral characteristics of your instrument?

    You have been using free buzzing, rim buzzing and m'pce the concept of connecting all of them with each other (and with playing the horn) w/the minimum amount of adjustment?

    You have been accessing subpedal notes and notes above double high C on the horn and effectively connecting those ranges and all the others in between them using the same approaches?

    If so...great !!!

    Tell me more.

    And if not...if you are "not sure"...then please tell me specifically what things about this idea make you "unsure" and I will try to explain them to you.


    P.S. I have a lot of friends in Finland...the guys in the Umo Band and a number of others. Helsinki is one of my favorite places in the world. If you see any of those people..particularly Petri Joutellainen, Antti Rissanen, Simo Saliminen and the wonderful singer Sanni Orasmaa...please say hello to them for me
  4. Sabutin

    Sabutin Pianissimo User

    Aug 7, 2009
    New York City

    I see that you are in Ithaca. I went to school there for a couple of Ithaca College as a tuba major. Steve Brown, a number of others and myself actually started the first Ithaca College jazz band, although at the time the administration was very hostile to the idea. Are you involved in the Ithaca College music program in some way? I stayed at Steve's house last year when I visited Ithaca to talk to Chuck DePaolo at Hickey's Music. Chuck helped me enormously in learning how to set up my most recent book. What a nice man he is!

    As far as "civility" is concerned, I have found...both on the web and on the streets and in the jazz, studio and latin scenes of NYC...that one must respond in kind if one is not to be pushed right out of the picture. I wish that it were otherwise, but it is not. So I try to give as good as I get, plus a little.

    In every direction. Good, bad or indifferent.

    I do not attack. Ever. Only defend.

    Almost 40 years in NYC?

    I'm still here, still thriving.

    We all have our ways.

    That's mine.


  5. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    Hey Sam...

    Thanks for posting those videos. That singing exercize you do is pretty wild! I'd never heard of that, so I watched some clips of Tuvan throat singing and was blown away. They can do some amazing stuff. Even if my trumpet playing doesn't get any better, and least I found out about some cool music!

    I read a little about that kind of singing and after working on it a little, I could just barely get a whisper of an overtone or two. Sometimes. I think learning that might be as hard as the trumpet! Maybe I'm wrong, but it seams like when changing syllables, less is more (in terms of moving the tongue).

    One of my teachers had a (maybe) similar way to find a pitch after an extend rest. He called it a ghost whistle and was basically the tongue position of a whistle, without actually letting the whistle happen. He thought it set up the tongue and mouth and ear for a particular note.

    So, one question. When you first started doing this, what was the first step? Your video seems to demonstate something like step 75! Or at least something over my head for the first try!

  6. Sabutin

    Sabutin Pianissimo User

    Aug 7, 2009
    New York City
    Keep working at it.

    Think less; hear (copy) more.

    Sounds good to me...tuning up the body cavity another way.

    Which first step? Making vocal overtones? David Hykes did it in front of me and I copied him. Aurally, not in terms of figuring out where to hold my tongue, lips or any other part of my anatomy. Then I went home and did it some more. Eventually I got pretty good at it, but I am certainly not in the same class as people who make their living and their art at it.

    Good enough for my own uses, which were primarily meditational.

    That first step?

  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    So, now after seeing and hearing what you mean, I can still maintain that the "effect" that you mention applies to vocal but is not the same thing with brass. Why? The "resonant" chamber for a singer is the oral cavity. It is a resonant chamber in FRONT of the motor (the vocal chords). For a brass player it is the instrument. The oral cavity for a brass player, has a much different function. First of all it is BEHIND the motor (our lips) and provides a reactive chamber, "loading" the lips from behind based on breath support, lung, throat and oral cavity volume, etc.

    The second problem with the explanation is that those formants no longer "exist" as such once we start playing. (I did research on this many years ago) The impedance of the instrument "takes over" to a large extent and the resonant behaviour of the instrument (it is not a megaphone) changes the entire system so dramatically that what Sam claims can't work for the reason that he posts.

    We all know that changing the tongue level in the mouth does change our playing, and what Sam is doing will also change something. The challenge now is to find out what it is and IF the claim is wishful thinking, a rehash of the Taaaah, Teeeeh, Tooooh that is centuries old or something that is in fact new.
  8. Sabutin

    Sabutin Pianissimo User

    Aug 7, 2009
    New York City
    Rowuk, have you ever heard the phrase "All hat, no cattle?" It's a Texas thing. All talk, no substance. All theory no experience. That is what I am reading from you. All thought, no notes. All eyes, no ears.

    I will elaborate:

    You think that you are "seeing and hearing" what "I" am doing. But have you tried it yourself? For even 15 or 20 minutes per day over a few days? Let alone for the several hours a day that I have devoted to it going on two months now? I think not. Your expertise in this matter is totally theoretical, while mine is rooted in real practice and real, aurally received experience. Guess which position holds the most water in my life.

    Good thinking. But again, only "thinking". Two dimensional thinking. It is not "either/or" here. It is both. The fact of the matter here is that the functioning resonance chamber of a brass player is a combination of the physical resonance cavity of the individual player and the equipment on which he or she is playing. How do I know this? Because I can color my sound...I can emphasize various overtones above that sound...solely by changing the contours of my vocal cavity in any number of ways. Where did I first find this to be true? When I heard the great trombonist Jimmy Knepper warming up on a long tone D below middle C in the very resonant NYC loft in which I lived 30 years ago. There above his magnificent sound were angels singing. So I went looking for those angels. And I found them, too.

    In the overtone series.

    Harmonic angels.

    Harmonic angels who come and go as I change my vocal cavity.

    Bet on it.


    Whaddayou, deaf or something? You did "research" on this? Many years ago? Hell, man, I do research on it every day. In my own laboratory. The practice room.

    Here is the operatiive phrase in that statement:

    "...those formants no longer 'exist' as such once we start playing."

    And here is your proof:

    "I did research on this many years ago."

    Ludicrous on the face of it.

    #1-If the formants no longer exist when we are playing, how come I can as plainly hear them as I can see my hand in front of my face? Now of course an argument can be made that my hand does not really exist, that it is really a construct of sub-atomic particles that my mind assembles as an ad hoc tactic in order to get the (non-existent) strawberries that I (The concept of "I" also being relatively non-existent on some levels of the universe as well.) am currently eating into my (equally non-existent) mouth. The stick with which a good Zen teacher unexpectedly whacks his meditating students is the Zen answer to that avenue of (non-existent...or at the very least, non-productive) thought, the Japanese Zen antidote to that particular form of the all hat, no cattle fallacy that is so common in the western world.

    Theorize all you want, rowuk. The formants...easily heard (if you still possess and can actually access the ears to hear with which you were born) and fairly easily controlled by emphasizing various overtones above a note...exist above any sound that is being produced by a brass instrument. They exist above any and all sounds, period. The only ones that cannot be heard are those that have frequencies that are above the range of human hearing.

    #2-" longer 'exist' as such?" What on earth does that mean? Do they turn into butterflies? Donuts? Cosmic rays? Please. You are a "systems analyst", right? (That's what is says in your profile here, anyway.) That profession is popularly supposed to be a scientific pursuit, although my father...who was a real, practical scientist, an aeronautical engineer...railed about systems analysts and their predecessors, "efficiency experts" throughout his 50 years of designing (and flying) airplanes for companies like Grumman.

    "All hat, no cattle" he would fume. I am beginning to see his point.

    #3-"I did research on this many years ago."


    Prove it.

    Present your research, please.

    Plus...people did "research" into thalidomide, lobotomies and the inherent genetically mandated inferiority of certain races of people (just to name three out of thousands of possible examples) many years ago as well. The words "research" and "proof" are well established in the history of mankind as not being anything even remotely close to synonyms.



    Tell alla them digeridoo players out there in the outback of Australia for millions of years.

    "Sorry, guys...y'all jes' cain't be doin' that!!!"

    You are talking through your no-cattle containing hat, rowuk.

    Wishful thinking, eh?

    "Wishful thinking?"

    "...a rehash of the Taaaah, Teeeeh, Tooooh that is centuries old?"

    It is certainly a new look at vowels and their effect on brass sounds. (An effect against the very existence of which you seem to be arguing above, I might add.) A more objective way to choose and produce "vowel sounds" that couple well with the equipment/player totality. Certainly more objective than "Taaaah", "Teeeeh" and "Tooooh". How does a Chinese speaker auralize those words? How does someone who grew up in the South Bronx, Appalachia or Helsinki auralize them? But "isolate the third partial above this note?" In Beijing, on Fox Street in da Bronx or in the middle of a dark Finnish winter pretty much the same sound is going to issue forth from every mouth that learns how to do it. I got yer "science", right there!!! Wishful thinking? I done stopped wishing.

    Go learn how to do this if indeed you still play the trumpet on a level where you can do so. Do it for an hour or two a day over several weeks and then get back to me.

    It is beginning to appear to me that all of your "thinking" is wishful, rowuk.

    Stop wishing and go practice.

    God save us all from no-playing, all-thinking experts.

    All hatting, no cattling.


    Thanks for the useful...but negative and totally unfounded in experience...input.

    Ah kin dig it!!!

    You've got a mind like a steel trap, rowuk.


    And you are trapped inside of it.

    Too bad.


  9. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    Said the pot to the kettle...
  10. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

    Jul 26, 2008

    How are things going with those video clips?

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