General range question

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by burningphoenix, Jun 20, 2006.

  1. burningphoenix

    burningphoenix New Friend

    Jun 20, 2006
    I know that to reach higher ranged notes, the lips must be tightened; however I’m not sure if they should be stretched or compressed. Any comments?
  2. trumpet blower88

    trumpet blower88 Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 15, 2005
    Flagstaff, AZ
    I try not to focus on what my lips are doing, but rather focus on the air speed passing though the lips, and the air dircetion, being pushed either up or down by the lips. Focusing on squeezing your lips tighter will only give you an icky pinched sound and affect your endurance drasticaly.

    just remember, the two things needed for high notes:
    1. Air Speed
    2. Air Direction

    Any other opinions?
  3. uatrmpt

    uatrmpt Piano User

    Nov 29, 2003
    If you stretch your lips back, as in a smile, you will pull your lips to such a point that vibrations will cease.

    Don't think about your lips, but think about your aperture, or the hole the air comes through. To ascend, you want the aperture to go from a Slurpee straw sized hole to a coffee straw sized hole. Of course, those sizes are completely arbitrary and probably not correct; but, the idea is to think about the aperture going from larger to smaller. This allows the air to speed up, when accompanied by proper support, letting you ascend into the upper register.
  4. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    I tend to avoid the word "tighten" or "compress" in trumpet discussion...they seem to promote bad concepts.

    Very simply, practice soft passages in the middle of your range. This focuses your aperture and places similar demands on you as playing with full tone up higher.
  5. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    Apr 30, 2004
    analysis leads to paralysis... especially in the upper range of the trumpet where people try to get too physical about it. For me, I just think of the sound I want and play. Consistent practice and repitition and you'll have it in no time.
  6. Dustin

    Dustin Pianissimo User

    Jun 19, 2006
    West Virginia
    When playing up high, just try to relax, but still use enough air. That's what I struggled with for the longest time.
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Try doing both at the same time while staying relaxed.
  8. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Be careful with tension...

    There is some physics here. I'll avoid that for now, but the realities of the situation is that for most trumpet players it ISN'T tension in the lips that drive the pitch up. That is physically prohibitive. If it were exclusively tenison and it took .5 lb of tension force to play a double pedal C, it could take as much as 512 pounds to play a double C!

    It's lip mass that counts, or better yet the mass of the vibrating aperture. This is why, IMHO it is better to think of making the aperture smaller for higher larger for lower, smaller for softer and larger for lower.

    Yes, one needs to move air to play, but I always wonder what one means by "faster air" when it comes to playing trumpet. Even at FFF, we are not moving huge quantities of air through the horn and the speed varies. It is moving fastest just at the lip aperture. It is still moving pretty fast in the throat but it slows down throughout the horn once it enters the lead pipe.

    I can see thinking "faster air" could help one think of making the aperture smaller - sipping the air through.

    Gotta run 4 now!


  9. Satish Robertson

    Satish Robertson New Friend

    Apr 26, 2006
    Jersey City, NJ
    I am learning more and more to think less on lip pressure and more on adequate focused air stream pushed from the diaphragm.
  10. NickD

    NickD Forte User


    Actually, I don't think the diaphragm can push air out. It only works for inhalation. I believe the abs and lower back muscles push the air out when we blow.

    That having been said the idea of using air properly instead of lip pressure is good wisdom! (IMHO)


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