fast air

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by fels, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. fels

    fels Piano User

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    Jun 8, 2008
    Colorado Springs
    My instructors have advised me that playing regularly above the staff requires "fast air". Different instructors (players) have used different metaphors and images for describing the concept. I am looking for practical guidance for how to practice "fast air."
     
  2. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

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    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE
    I'll start the ball rolling but I'm sure that those that are much better qualified than myself will build on it or correct me.

    Like lots of brass players I like to conceptualize. I find that by concentrating on something that I can imagine in my mind, a feeling or an image or some other intangeible, I can achieve a result (the only one that matters is the right note with a good sound). Some guys like to theorise about moving this muscle or that, moving their tongue up and down...all sorts of things. I find the balance required to play the trumpet well too complex for that.

    One of the things that I constantly conceptualize when I play is to imagine that the air that I put through the trumpet is actually a river. When I play low the river is wide and it's flowing along...majestic and unstoppable. When I play higher it's the same river with the same amount of water flowing through it, still unstoppable but it has to flow through banks that are closer together. In order to do that it has to compress.....the water becomes faster, it's inevitable.

    That's how I conceptualize 'fast' air.

    The problem is I don't think you can practice 'fast' air. It's a concept not a technical requirement, like tripple tonguing. Long, soft high notes that sound good have got to have it all together...whether you have 'got' the whole concept or not. If you can't visualise the concept and still play them then it just didn't work for you...no biggee. If you're question is I can't play long, soft, high notes then that requires a definite, technical answer.


    Regards,


    Trevor
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2008
  3. fels

    fels Piano User

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    Jun 8, 2008
    Colorado Springs
    Thanks - In a former life i did a lot of white water kayaking and like the image - will work on it.
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    THERE IS NO FAST AIR is the first visualization. The "speed" of the air does not get you anything - except tense.

    Unless you are playing lead in some big band, you will find that a RELAXED BIG BREATH gives you everything that you need even FAR above the staff.

    The problem is not the speed of the air, but the coordination of the embouchure, air and tongue. That is plain and simple practice. lots of long tones and slurs played softly will do wonders for your high range. Adding tension by blowing harder will only negate the advantages.

    This subject was dealt with in very great depth here:

    http://www.trumpetmaster.com/vb/f131/myth-fast-air-39505.html

    Check it out before you mess something up!
     
  5. RobertSlotte

    RobertSlotte Pianissimo User

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    Jul 7, 2008
    Finland
    ROWK....play a pedal F....then a C4....for me the air DEFENETLY goes faster on the C4...I guarantee you it does! at C4 I can really feel my air going fast...but at C5 the aperture is so smal that I do not longer fel the air..only hear the tone.
    Sorry for my bad eanglisch...Im from Finland :0)
     
  6. RobertSlotte

    RobertSlotte Pianissimo User

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    Jul 7, 2008
    Finland
    one way to actually SE it is if you smoke....I did before....I did a lot of experiment with that...the smoke ( air) is going much faster on high notes than it does on low notes...that is a FACT!
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Robert,
    I wish there was an easy way to visualize this. The mechanics of the embouchure and trumpet work differently.

    There are different mechanisms to play tones of differing frequencies. One is the actual compression of the lip tissue. Those lips pressed against one another are in fact blown apart with our air - the aperature (the hole created between our lips) does NOT stay open, rather it opens and closes like a switch - and that at the frequency that we are playing. There is no TIME for our air to gain speed, it does have high pressure however.

    The second factor is the efficiency of the trumpet itself which is much less for the high notes. When playing a note, a standing wave is set up in the horn. That standing wave controls our lip motion and plus the characteristics of our mouthpiece creates a certain amount of "back pressure". The most efficient playing is when the back pressure and our wind pressure are similar. The lips are supported from both sides and can more easily produce high notes. The lower efficiency of the trumpet means lower resistance up high (of the trumpet only). If we blow to hard, we blow the lips into the cup, immediately stopping all vibration. This is called bottoming out.

    In college we also did the smoke test. It took almost a minute before smoke came out above high C and about 20-30 seconds for notes near the bottom of the staff. That has to do with the aperature being open longer for low notes, not the air moving faster.

    If you try the test without the trumpet, the air could end up being faster up high, with the horn attached, no way.

    Robin
     
    MJ likes this.
  8. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    Levittown , NY
    ROWUK, I do play lead in big bands. The Jimmy Dorsey Band lead by Lee Castle, The melba Liston Big Band , who at that time had people like Slide Hampton,Waymon Reed etc. I no longer play for a living goy married need benefits got a day gig. I kept playing in local bands and am currently playing lead with Something Special Big Band ,we play charts from Buddy Rich, Maynard, Doc Severinsen, Basie, its not a nostalga band, and I always use a relaxed full breath it`s the only way to beath. No matter how high and loud I might have to play volume has never caused me to bottom out. It is lip compression and air support from the diaphragm that works. Bottoming out is caused by not using the lips properly.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2008
  9. gregtrum84

    gregtrum84 New Friend

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    Oct 19, 2005
    Boston, MA
    Gentlemen, let's not bicker over split hairs. Both your opinions have been posted and I'm sure will help the OP, so let's not ruin this with an argument. Consider all egos satisfied.

    I like to visualize higher notes as farther out, not higher up. Instead of focusing so much on the air speed, I would suggest focusing on sound quality in the upper register. When the sound is resonant, pure, easy, and beautiful, you'll have the air right.

    Greg
     
  10. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    This is how I learned it. I don't know if the air goes faster or slow but the idea worked for me.

    Play a G on the staff and slur up to C on the staff. When you do this think or say on the G as aaaa and when you slur up change to eeeee.

    eeee = the same amount of air going through a smaller opening. It probably changes the angle of the stream too.

    There used to be a great famous player on here who posted all the time. I don't want to say his name because I'm probably quoting him wrong but, he said, "what if you start up high and have to go higher?"

    I don't know the answer but I think if you practice this idea relaxed in an easy register, it will be automatic up high.

    If you practise this up high, be careful not to squeak out the notes or choke off to get them.

    Here is another thing to remember; I am and most of us on here are part time players. For some real advice, go to one of the dedicated forums for a pro.
     

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