How high notes work.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by keigoh, May 29, 2013.

  1. keigoh

    keigoh Pianissimo User

    Oct 24, 2012
    I'm a bit confused about how high notes work...
    I've always been taught to make the air faster by making a tee syllable along with a smaller aperture for high notes. But lately, I've read some of other people's posts in this site, and I'm starting to question the concept. Is playing high notes on the trumpet more than just using fast air and a small aperture?
    Last edited: May 29, 2013
  2. DaTrump

    DaTrump Forte User

    Oct 21, 2011
    Huntsville, Texas
    There are dozens, if not hundreds of variables that go into playing certain notes, it's best not to think t0o hard and just do what works. Keep your air fast and don't think too much.
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I'll agree with DaTrump. Almost all verbal tips about how to play the trumpet are the result of reverse engineering. Ask a good high-note player how they do it and very often they'll look at their own playing and describe the symptoms. The cause, however, is almost always intelligent practice, not neglecting any area, and the willingness to be patient.
  4. mchs3d

    mchs3d Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 30, 2005
    Provo, UT
    How about you just slam the horn to your face? That usually seems to work.
  5. keigoh

    keigoh Pianissimo User

    Oct 24, 2012
    heck no. extra mouthpiece pressure will just bring me trouble. i used to do it all the time, but it started to not work at some point.
  6. mattiasc

    mattiasc Piano User

    Jan 14, 2013
    I think it works better when you play the trumpet like a flute
    Or start like this and then bring your trumpet to your mouth
  7. applianceguy

    applianceguy Pianissimo User

    May 22, 2012
    San Antonio Texas
    I think he is serious!

    To obtain upper register you must re-learn your placement and embouchure. Center the mpc, or mostly upper lip, trying to keep the upper rim up above the "red" of the lips. Purse the lips "Inward" that's right do not pooch them out (YOU DO NOT wanna look like the lady pictured above)., draw them in and then to ascend, you "Curl" the upper lip upward and inward and at the same time push upward with your "diaphragm."

    These are called lip slurs. practice these lip slurs and try to ascend while using the least amount of pressure. try applying backward pressure with only a finger. These are the famous "Long tone and lip slurs" exercises that are talked about so often. I found that I have to play off center to find the muscle group that will actually perform the curling action.., but everybody's anatomy is different.

    Give it time, it is almost like re-learning to play all over again. Oh, and your sound quality will suffer dramatically at first, but will return with time. It will sound like a Cat howling, at first but it will get better!!

    Last edited: May 30, 2013
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    The basics... first see the note.... hear the note you want to achieve... and concentrate on that sound

    Then do these three steps:

    Lift the shoulders while inhaling to get maximum air support
    Put pressure, force into epigastric (at the stomach) abdominal muscles and keep them tight while blowing (this allows you to relax the embouchure. Let the belly do the work.)
    Relax the tongue, and open the mouth... and let the air flow to that note you envision in your mind (the Zen component)

    DO NOT force the trumpet mouthpiece into your lips... keep it light on the lips.
  9. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    It takes a lot of dedicated practice playing high notes (which is relative to the individual player). As you progress up the scale, the high note you used to "say" tee on has to become the one you say "too" on. Eventually it should become "taa" or aa-oo-ee v. taa,too,tee. G on the top of the staff used to be my "tee" note, now it's a "taa" note. Currently, High F-A are my "tee" notes (DHC isn't far off as a real note!). Long tones, playing ppp and pedals are important parts of my regimen. Since embouchures are personal, it's a result of trial and error. What works for me may not for you. I have an overbite and you may have an underbite.
  10. JNINWI

    JNINWI Piano User

    Apr 26, 2011
    Upper range is a very personal thing, as everyone is built different, although the concept is always the same. There are many players that actually have two “Sets” on the mouthpiece, one for normal playing and one for the upper range. I used to have to use two sets, but have taught myself one set for my full range, (Thank you Colin advanced lip flexibilities and Leon Marrin). To achieve this I had to do the opposite of appliance guy. I use approx. ¾ bottom lip, ¼ upper lip all the time, and only enough pressure to make a seal, no more. When ascending I curl my bottom lip in and back and my bell drops down slightly. Also Gmonady hits the nail on the head with pressure…..NEVER use excess pressure, never. It’s done with relaxing your upper body, opening your airway to accept the fast air and forward tongue arch, pressure is your enemy in the upper range every time…. When teaching yourself to play in the upper range, practice very softly. It will start out as a squeak, but a squeak today WILL be a note down the road. Teach your muscles what to do to hit that note first, let it go into muscle memory, once it’s there, (and it will take a while, be patient) just press on the gas pedal (air) and you will have your volume AND note…
    One thing I have found is that when my upper range is working correctly it is a huge flag that everything is working correctly…. Hint !

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