Extreme Range playing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by jazztrumpet329, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Nick,
    remember when you had played trumpet for a year or two and you could play up to the G on top of the staff? Everything else above that was hard. You almost always cracked the "A"! Every once in a while you could squeeze a high C out and that made you very proud!
    What did you change to get above that G? Most likely the pressure that you used on the mouthpiece was reduced, probably a bigger more relaxed breath, maybe a more focussed embouchure. In every case, better controlled with LESS FORCE. An octave up, we have the same problem. The lips do not just stop working at high G. We generally apply FORCE first to get there and that squeezes off the airflow or puts pressure on the upper lip and THAT stops the vibration. When we back off on the force, the lips are at least free to vibrate higher than high G and then we need to make sure that the "airflow" is sufficient to play the note. A useful Double C fairly loud requires 3 atmospheres of air pressure. That is enough to pump up the tires on a racing bicycle or blow up a hot water bottle like a baloon (I do not recommend doing either - it is bad for the cheek muscles!).
    The airflow and reduced pressure issues are things that I do not talk about on the internet because the actual procedure depends on the player. Here we have body use, breathing, embouchure, tonguing, overbite issues that I have to physically see to comment. No trade secrets, just too individual! There are also enough players that seem to do everything "correctly" but don't get that last high octave. I can only speculate what is wrong there.
     
  2. _TrumpeT_

    _TrumpeT_ Piano User

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    Apr 26, 2006
    Lol! That reminds me...
    Scherbaum's feats are so amazing that doctors (including a lung specialist, a brain specialist and a radiologist) at the University of Basel once wired him with a battery of instruments to see what happened to him when he blew a C above high C. Their conclusion: although the air pressure inside Scherbaum was higher than that of the average automobile tire (24 lbs. per sq. in.), he was doing himself no noticeable harm. The source of his power, says Scherbaum, is "diaphragm and abdominal muscles", plus "a secret" that he will not reveal. Time article
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I know his secret - and it is no secret. It has 2 parts, how he used his tongue and the long throat on his mouthpiece.
    Scherbaum would not be my model for modern high playing however. He had on one of his solo records a note that he had enough breath support to pump up the tires on the Citroen automobile that he drove - many colleagues at the time thought he would be better suited to work at a gas station...............
    There are enough players without "extreme" equipment doing an incredible job. Double C means different things to a lead player and to a piccolo player playing the Brandenburg or Richter Concertos(where it is considered "safety factor").
     
  4. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

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    If only all gaz stations assistants played piccolo like Scherbaum ROFL

    Robin,

    What it this thing about the long throat? Did his piccolo moutpiece have a longer throat that conventional moutpieces? And how does that affect high playing?
     
  5. Tom Mac

    Tom Mac Pianissimo User

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    I have been working on and thinking about range for quite a long time. As a high school student I could play an f above "high c"(3rd ledger line). I achieved this with some regularity and could nail the high note at the end of stage band tunes. I couldn't, however, play above f no matter how hard I tried. Reason, I was using enough pressure (mouthpiece against chops) to rearrange my molars. As I grew older and (check w/ my wife on this one) wiser, I realized that reaching for high notes didn't give me the ability to play in the high register. I started playing the Clarke 2nd study up the octave and trying to relax and let the air do the job. This, I found, caused me to use my diaphram a lot more efficiently. As I became proficient with each key I moved up chromatically.
    I am not what one would call a high range specialist but, on a clear day, I can double high c (though not forever). This gives me a working g and a lot of "comfort" on Picc (I don't do no stinkin' Brandenburg). Most of the picc. work I do is the occasional church engagement such as weddings.
    All that said, I am generally affirming what Robin said about pressure stopping the lip from vibrating.

    T. Mac
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Nick,
    yes his mouthpiece was very unique. The throat was very long compared to what we see today. He is not the only one that used a mouthpiece like that. Let's not forget that the instruments were built differently back then. There was no standard production of these things in the 50's and 60's. Each one was hand made for the player and tweaked until it worked. Most all of them used alternate fingerings to even be close to in tune. A colleague of Scherbaum told me the story and that was confirmed by Heinz Zickler, another very accomplished trumpet player from that time.
     

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