Function of lower lip

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by frankmike, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    All of you guys quoting 2nd hand sources should just take a look at the link that I posted. There you can see for YOURSELF instead of believing somebody that is just passing the MYTH that they learned and never questioned.

    Both sides flap. How are they synchronized? easy. The resonance of the horn (some say slots) actually takes hold and forces them to vibrate with the standing wave in the instrument. It is a simple system. To change the tuning resonant system, force is required. That is called "chops".

    If you guys know it all, there is no need to ask the question. My link offers simple videos - no language barriers to overcome.
  2. Dave Mickley

    Dave Mickley Forte User

    Nov 11, 2005
    rowuk - quit throwing facts into the game. if you keep posting scientific studies the trolls will have no place to play.
  3. guyclark

    guyclark Piano User

    Feb 28, 2008
    Los Gatos, CA
    Hey guys!

    It's easily checked! I took off my wedding ring and buzzed through it. I could take a finger and touch either upper or lower lip while buzzing and see that both of MY lips vibrate when I play.

    Try it for yourselves!

    Guy Clark
  4. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    Any idea how to get these videos to play? I get audio but no video.
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    you are right, I should lighten up. It just is really annoying when competent players are reported as spreading lies and myths. That means their message was NOT understood or that they really are spreading lies and myths.

    I received my formal musical training in the early and mid 70s. Even back then we knew that both lips flap. We had mouthpiece rims on a stick (like a lollipop) to visualize what happens.

    That all having been said, there is a technique for playing tuba where they make a point out of immobilizing the lower lip. A professional tuba player explained it to me, but I couldn't do it with the small trumpet mouthpiece.
  6. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    OK, in the interest of scientific discovery and analysis, here is what I did:
    (1) I started with the mouthpiece 50/50 top/bottom lip, played a middle 'G', and paid very close attention to how my lips were vibrating. I noted that both lips vibrated but the top lip felt like it was vibrating slightly more than the bottom lip (the video of the lips shows a similar situation - lips 50/50 with the top lip vibrating more vigorously).
    (2) I moved the mouthpiece up to a 75/25 top/bottom position. There, it felt to me that the bottom lip was doing most of the vibrating. Even though there was much more top lip inside the mouthpiece, the bottom rim seemed to put tension on the bottom lip which, with the reduced mass, made it easier for that lip to vibrate. However, the tone was very poor (airy and ragged).
    (3) I moved the mouthpiece progressively up until my bottom lip was almost entirely out of the mouthpiece (pressed against the outside of the rim) and was still able to buzz but I could tell that the very soft, fleshy part of the inner bottom lip was doing the buzzing. If I moved further so that none of the bottom lip was in the airstream, then there was no buzzing. I could not make the top lip buzz by itself.
    (4) Then, I moved the mouthpiece down to about a 20/80 top/bottom position. Even in that position, it felt like the bottom lip was doing most of the vibrating. I was able to make a nice, clear tone in this position. In fact, I was able to play higher notes that I could in the 50/50 position.
    (5) I moved the MP further down until there was virtually no top lip inside (the top lip was pressed entirely between the rim of the mouthpiece and my teeth so it could not vibrate) and I was still able to buzz using just the bottom lip. But, the tone and range suffered.
    (6) I moved the MP further down until the top lip was outside of the rim entirely. I was not able to make a tone in that position.

    Summary: NOTE - This applies only to me, personally. Your mileage may vary. (My lips are on the thin side but my bottom lip has more fleshy mass than my top one.)

    - In every position except numbers (1) and (6), the bottom lip seemed to vibrate more vigorously than the top lip and in position (3), it was not the usual, outer part of the lip that vibrated but the inner, fleshy part (well back from the front of the lip).
    - Position (1) was the only one where the top lip seemed to (slightly) vibrate more than the bottom lip.
    - In no position was I able to make the top lip vibrate alone without the bottom lip being involved to some extent. But, in position (5) I was able to make the bottom lip vibrate without the top lip vibrating (that I could detect) but the top lip still was present between the teeth and MP rim. (The bottom lip would not vibrate with the top lip totally absent as in position (6)).

    So, for me, the bottom lip seems to be more adaptable to different positions and take over the main function of vibrating, even to the point of allowing higher notes (position 4) than I could achieve in my normal 50/50 setting (position 1) where the top lip seemed to be predominant.

    In the end, I concluded that both lips need to vibrate but the lip that is predominant will change depending on mouthpiece placement and the amount of the lip that is present in the airstream.
  7. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    I remember seeing some clear (plastic) mouthpieces. Watching one play one should solve the big mystery. Personally, as long as a good sound comes out the horn, then I'm happy.

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