Changing the angle of the horn

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Glennx, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. Glennx

    Glennx Pianissimo User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Just wanted to share this out there...

    Quite by accident, I lowered the angle of the horn a week ago just a bit for everything above, say...a 2nd line G (maybe...5-7 degrees?) and it's making all the difference in the world. I *always* run a constant feedback loop from the sound in my head to the physical aspects of playing to the sound that comes out, but this slight change has me amazed...and very very pleased. The results?

    - less overall effort to play (ie. more "output" for any given "input")
    - more air gets through the mouthpiece (bigger sound with less work)
    - slightly different muscle groups being brought into play (less fatigue)
    - less pressure on the upper lip (obviously)
    - a more even sound, and a fuller sound in the upper range (top line G to high C)
    - muuuch better control at all dynamics, all the time
    - better & improving high range (I'm a retread, and a high register is finally appearing!)
    - and greater day-to-day consistency.

    Why? I figure the tolerances inside the mouthpiece are critically small and things are now simply lined up better for my arrangement of lip, teeth, tongue, jaw and airstream.

    For what it's worth, I also watched a YouTube of Chistopher Martin (Principal, Chicago); he plays with an angle a touch lower than most players. I read that Phil Smith (Principal, New York) reported a considerable improvement when he lowered the angle. Paul Merkelo, (Principal, Montreal Symphony) has a *very* low angle and is an amazing player. And Roger Ingram (or someone like him) believes that many players who have trouble with high notes simply don't have enough (upper) lip in the mouthpiece.

    Am I advocating this for everyone? Definitely not; everyone's different. But for those who do everything else more or less right and who practice (and practice with ears open) but *still* feel something's not happening as it should, this might be considered.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
  2. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Rather than repeating what has already been mentioned with excellent commentary by Rowuk, do search the TM site by the window above for the discussion and post Rowuk made on the alpha angle. I find this very helpful.
  3. fraserhutch

    fraserhutch Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 23, 2004
    Novato, CA, USA
    Are we talking about the alpha angle of a mouthpiece or the angle of a pivot?
  4. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    The alpha angle to which I revere is the mathematical angle of the mouthpiece wall as it goes from the end of the rim curve then into the cup. The alpha angle effects how the lips set in the mouthpiece, which can impact on tone, range, endurance and attacking a note. The "best" alpha angle is player dependent. The average angle ranges from about 13-19°. But some do better on higher and some on lower angles. I am suggesting changing the angle of the horn will be transferred back to the mouthpiece.

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