Embouchure shift during pedal tones

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by eisprl, Jan 10, 2007.

  1. eisprl

    eisprl Mezzo Piano User

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    Hello everyone (it's been a while since I posted here)

    I have recently began looking at various pedal tone exercizes. I am finding it very difficult to lock in on the tones below low F#. I find that the only way I can get something close is to shift my embouchure in such a way that makes it work. Someone once told me that you should NOT change your embouchure when doing these exercizes. If I dont change it, they dont come out.

    Are some people just not meant to play pedal tones? And if so, how can these people overcome it and play them? :-)

    Thanks
    Eric
     
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Since pedal notes are not a particularly musical sound I wouldn't worry too much about making an adjustment in order to play them. I don't play them very well, so, I'm one of those people that's not meant to do them. After years of counseling and intense psychotherapy I've learned to accept that and enjoy the talent of those that can (Doc Severinsen, Al Vizzuti, and Mr. Vacchiano for examples).

    Seriously, I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. Just develop a lower register that can rattle the rafters and I'm sure that'll bode well for your overall sound.

    ML
     
  3. k0elw

    k0elw Guest

    If you feel you absolutely must play them (pedal tones); they will come out easier with the same embouchure set on a flugelhorn.
     
  4. redface

    redface New Friend

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    I disagree (dare I?) with Manny - don't let it shift during the pedal tones. The pedal register can take as long to develop as the upper register - if you pedal pedal tones correctly then the benefits are good, if you play them incorrectly then you won't get the benefits, so you may as well not bother.

    To begin, play C down to low F# - hold the F# and make it go very, very flat - keep bending it down (still fingering 123). Experiment with this for a while, always starting from the F# and bending it down. Try to play down to a low C#. This is the `feel' of the pedals - note you can play back up into your normal register easily. If you have problems making it go flat, the bending exercises in the Stamp book can be of help.

    The next step is to bend into the note with the wrong (123) fingering and then switch to the correct fingering - play F#(123), bend it down to F, hold F(123), switch fingering to 1. You will notice there is a lot more resistance playing with the correct fingering. Then try bending down to E, Eb, D etc.

    Pedal C has a different feel, bend down from pedal C# to the correct pitch, then play the correct fingering. Initially do not worry about the pitch of the pedal C just concentrate on hitting the next harmonic down - at first the pedal C will most likely be very, very flat, maybe even a G, once you have the feel for this you can pull it up to pitch with practice.

    pedals do take time to develop correctly, be patient. Hope the above is of help.
     
  5. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    So, then, in the spirit of a good, edifying discussion:

    What is it about playing pedal notes that is of benefit to a trumpeter? As I say, there are sucessful players who do and successful players that don't. What is the edge, as you see it, that learning to playing pedals yields?

    Thanks,

    ML
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Nakariakovs' pedal tones on the flugel help him play the low notes on the cello and bassoon concertos.

    I never have spent much time with pedal notes - nothing in the literature that I have played needs it.
    I have heard about getting "tighter corners", but am sure that is not the only way to get there. As my playing, family and job time are all in competition with one another, I practice what I have to play next and have little time to work on "maybe nice to haves".

    Actually, the pedal note is the fundemental tone for the length of the instrument. It can be can be calculated by dividing the speed of sound by the length of the instrument (1100 feet per second /4 feet = approx. 275 Hz). It is always out of tune on a trumpet due to the acoustic mismatch between the bore size, length of the horn and the bell size (it is math and the numbers do not lie). If your pedal note on a trumpet is centered and in tune, you are twisting something else in your playing to get it there. This may or may not be of consequence however!
    The possible embouchure benefits could be from having to bend this out of tune note up. That strain, if carefully controlled could make certain muscles develop.
    If you have a teacher that demands pedal notes, and can show good results, then do it. I have gotten away for 40 years without it.
    This post could end up being as controversial as "warming up"!
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2007
  7. redface

    redface New Friend

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    I find pedals do a number of things, or certainly help work towards them:
    • Increase airflow - more air is needed to play lower notes. Pedal C downwards takes a lot of air. Whether this is beneficial to normal register playing I am unsure of, but learning to produce and support a larger volume of airflow which I think helps develop the muscles which help us exhale.
    • Reduce mouthpiece pressure - Pedals generally are harder to play with excess mouthpiece pressure and so arpeggios from the pedal register to the upper register encourage the use of less mouthpiece pressure.
    • Personally I have found they improve tone, I don't know why though.
    • Improve your sense of pitch - you really need to hear the note in your head first in order to play it.
    • Pedals often have a lot of resistance, learning to blow against this resistance is helpful in developing the upper register.
    Claude Gordon lists a load of other benefits, but i don't necessarily agree with all of those (correct your embouchure? Hmmmm). I think the main one is having to use a lot of air.

    For the record, I did used to shift my embouchure to get the pedals in school, but after being shown how to do them properly in college I found them much more beneficial to my playing.
     

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