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

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

  1. Veldkamp

    Veldkamp Piano User

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    I don't think Sabutin cracked THE embouchure code, but HIS embouchure code. Everything I read about his way of playing and practicing (in this thread) doesn't apply to me. Next to that, I broke my own embouchure code a long time ago.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2009
  2. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Ok, I've REALLY got to finish getting ready for work, dang ya! I just finished off about 40 min on bass trumpet, so I couldn't resist messing with this.

    I did email Dr. Moore. Let's see if he can get back to me on summer break. In any case I did some sleuthing on the search string: The Role of Vocal Tract Resonance in Trumpet Playing Benade and I hit this article. It's not by Benade, but he's cited. Sorry about the formatting, but I copied this section from the PDF. It is really interesting in the context of this thread! Pretty cool, actually. I'll put the url for the whole article at the end of this.

    Consequences on the timbre of lip valve instruments
    Instruments of the brass family have a bore that, at the input end, has a cross section rather smaller than that of the vocal tract. Further, the mouthpiece has a constriction with a diameter of only several mm. The peaks in the bore impedance Zb are therefore usually rather greater than those in the mouth or vocal tract impedance Zm, and consequently the effects of the vocal tract are often modest.

    A notable exception is the didjeridu, in which the effects of vocal tract
    configuration on the sound are very prominent. The didjeridu is a traditional Australian instrument made from the termite-hollowed trunk of a small tree. Its bore has no mouthpiece constriction and has a cross sectional area comparable with that of the vocal tract. This instrument usually plays a single, long, sustained note at a frequency near its lowest resonance, with notes at higher resonances used only rarely. The musical interest comes largely from variations in timbre produced by changes in the configuration of the vocal tract (Fletcher, 1996).

    In traditional didjeridu performance, a rhythmic variation in timbre is produced by what is called circular breathing: during the exhalation phase, most of the air from the lungs goes into the instrument while a portion is used to fill the player’s cheeks. During the next phase, the palate seals the mouth and the player inhales through the nose, while simultaneously expelling the air from the cheeks into the instrument, thus maintaining a
    continuous note. The changes in timbre that accompany these large, repeated changes in vocal tract configuration are usually used to establish the rhythmic structure of the performance. Other changes in timbre are produced by changing the position of the tongue in the mouth.

    Peaks in Zm are very closely correlated with minima in the spectral envelope, and vice versa, as shown in Figs. 3 and 4. This is because, when Zm at the mouth is large, very little acoustic current enters the instrument, so there is little sound output at that frequency. It is as though players use the tract resonances to ‘sculpt’ the spectral envelope: broad peaks in the tract impedance suppress certain harmonics, leaving the remaining bands of harmonics as broad peaks in the spectral envelope (formants in the
    original sense) (Tarnopolsky et al., 2005, 2006; sound files in Music Acoustics, 2005).

    The same auditory system that readily follows formants in speech presumably tracks the formants in the sound of the didjeridu.
    For brass instruments, similar but smaller effects on timbre are audible and well known to musicians (Berio, 1966; Erikson, 1969). However, to date, only preliminary measurements of Zm during performance have been made. The size of the glottis affects both the frequency and the magnitude of peaks in Zm. For this reason Mukai’s observation (1992) that the glottis size during playing was smaller for experienced brass players than for amateurs suggests that experienced players may use their glottis, among
    other vocal tract parameters, to adjust resonances.
    -----------------------------

    Ok here's the url: http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/jw/reprints/WolfeGarnierSmith.pdf

    If I can get this squared away with Moore's article, I think Ive got it.

    I was able to muster pretty dramatic timber adjustments with my bass trumpet. I still have to make sure that I'm not messing with the aperture with the tip of my tongue (very much a part of my extreme upper register thing), but I can see what Sam is talking about here. It is quite interesting.

    This does seem to offer a smoother explanation than the flow control (DC conversion to AC). It seems the two models should square, though, and that's where I'm still stuck.

    OK, I'm going to a gig! I'll catchup with all of this tomorrow.

    Nick

    PS: Where I had it wrong originally was in the notion of the lip mass being greater than that of the air. In this excerpt, it is pointed out that the impedance mismatch is due to the difference on the SIZES of the openings involved. They're implying that the effects Sam is discussing would be less noticeable on a trumpet as opposed to a trombone (assuming that the didjeridoo opening is closer to a trombone mouthpiece than a trumpet), but NOT negligable by any means. I can also see clear possibility of settling the discussion about the DHC resonance. Of course that opens a NEW can of worms: the relevance to the trumpet itself in the range beyond about a high G concert, but let's not go there --- yet.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2009
  3. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    I think Sam may have found a new way of describing the shape of the throat and oral cavity that produces the optimal resonance for a brass player. He may even be describing an instructional tool for players that have a hard time feeling what it means to use an efficient airstream. He is not however describing a "new" physical approach to playing efficiently, he is just describing it differently.

    Efficient players have been using the efficient lung/diaphram/tongue/jaw position combination for as long as there have been brass instruments. Maybe they didn't know how to explain it, but they have been using it.

    Manny had some very good discussions about the "open pipe" or some such metaphor back in the day. I have search and his old forum posts don't seem to be around, or I just don't know how to find them.

    A breakthrough for some, but just a new name for proper air control I'd call it.

    Greg
     
  4. Sabutin

    Sabutin Pianissimo User

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    I'll go with that.

    A more objective way to establish the optimal airway setup for any given player on any given horn.

    A breakthrough by any other name still sounds as sweet.

    I sit here warming up for the single physically most challenging gig that I have ever played...the lead trombone book of the roaring big band The Latin Giants Of Jazz. It is a chair that was written specifically for me by the great arranger José Madera, and this chair has caused me to rethink everything that I do on the horn over the past several years, from equipment right on through this present experiment in which I am involved. I am using this new technique to warm up and in a scant 10 minutes I have achieved the best balance that I could possibly imagine. Right on up through double Bb, right on down into the subpedals. Three weeks ago the same act would have taken me 30 or 40 minutes, worn me out a little in the process and the balance would not have been nearly as good.

    A breakthrough by any other name still feels as sweet as well.:D:D:D:play::play::play::thumbsup::thumbsup:

    Later...

    S. (A happy man.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2009
  5. thebugleboy

    thebugleboy Pianissimo User

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    So you were talking 6 octaves on a trombone? I don't think I'll ever range 6 octaves on my trumpet.
    Bob
     
  6. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    It depends on if you count pedal tones or not. Its not that tough to get 2 octaves below low G if you practice your pedal tones (of course, it sounds horrible because you're doing it with a trumpet) and if you work your way up to a G above double high C that would be
    6 octaves, I believe.

    I can't cover that range all the time, only messing around on good days.
    But, I believe that there are many pros, which I am not, who can cover that range every day without straining.
     
  7. thebugleboy

    thebugleboy Pianissimo User

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    How about it guys? Can any of you cover 6 full octaves?
     
  8. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    My money's on our boy Nick D. :)
     
  9. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

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    This is VERY interresting (the discussion as such, I mean)!

    Sabutin, could you please demonstrate
    what you´re saying by posting a video clip?
    A clip says more than a thousand words, you know . . .:-)
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2009
  10. Sabutin

    Sabutin Pianissimo User

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    A fine idea. But...

    I recently moved and my computer camera...which I bought 6 months ago but never found the time to learn how to operate...is still packed in a box somewhere. Plus I am a cyber semi-idiot and absolutely hate entering any level whatsoever of computer hell unless I am absolutely forced to do so. Also...there is only time enough in any day for about 200 things to get done, and I bump up against that limit every day of my life.

    That said...it's a good idea and I will probably eventually do so.

    Any day now.

    Aaaaaany day now....

    S.

    P.S. I am off to France Thursday, back on Monday, then working in NYC for a couple of days. Not before the middle of the week of Aug. 24th at the earliest. If then. Sorry...
     

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