How to measure wind power

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by frankmike, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. frankmike

    frankmike Piano User

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    Hi I can blow cigarette lighter at the arms length. I can move pages of the book at the arms length. What does it mean on the scale from 0-10 ?

    What should i strive to?

    Is there any device to measure breath power more accurately or any other tricks other than two mentioned before?

    thank you!
     
  2. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

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    Breathalizer? You could make some adjustments so it reads force instead of alc content? :dontknow:


    Turtle
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Why is that significant? How does wind power correspond to playing finesse? I can say that blowhards generally are not the best trumpet players. You could blow up an automobile tire after removing the pump from the meter. Then you know how many relative PSIs that you have. The problem is that the trumpet works completely differently. Air pressure has little to do with the horn, rather with how your embouchure works (or doesn't). Mash your face against the mouthpiece and you need a lot more pressure. Play intelligently and you can reduce the effort by a great factor.

    I measure my total system power on stage in front of an audience (or behind the string section).
     
  4. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

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    I was just being funny with the idea above but this could really work. :think:

    Not sure what good it will do (as Rowuk points out).


    Turtle
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  6. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

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    It certainly has little to do with music. If you want to know about lung function, there are devices that will tell you about a number of values. The chief one is called FEV1, I'm sure our house docs can tell you more about that (or find out on your own).
     
  7. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

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    If you're handy with pipe you could rig about 20 ft. of 1" or thicker pipe. Put a cap at one end and a threaded Tee fitting on the other. The "up" side of the tee holds a pressure gauge and the straight end has a ballcock valve.

    Tape all ends with teflon. When assembled blow like hell into the open gauge and shut the valve while still holding the pressure with your lungs..

    I was able to consistently hold something around 6 - 8 PSI on a regular basis. You need a fairly long pipe or medium sized container as an enclosed container that is too small will not allow the air to compress easily.


    We can extrapolate a lot of valuable information from this experiment. For starters the concept kind of blows the cover off the "closer valve tolerances helps the sound" myth. In fact loose valves will sound just as good as tight ones except the tight ones will stick more often.

    We know this is true because the contained air is fairly low in pressure. THEN when we release the air in the horn this maximum of 6 - 8 PSI drops way down to just slightly above the ambient barometric air pressure. Thus loose vs. tight valves are of no concern. The pressure is so freaking low that no air will leak to any effect in the tone.

    This is the reason I like to mildly polish my valves with #600 grit sandpaper. Sanded while wet of course. By doing this every couple years or so I make sure that my valves will never stick.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  8. Glennx

    Glennx Pianissimo User

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    Rowuk is dead right: what you're asking has little relevance to playing the horn. The instrument - and what you want to accomplish with it - is your only real measuring stick. You can measure your 'wind power' against either a piece of music (a concerto, for instance); another player (if, say...you're playing second to the lead player); or against a style (some traditional brass quintet repertoire vs endless repeated military marches).

    In every case if you can play the piece as it's supposed to be played, then you've met your goal i.e. what you're striving for. If you haven't yet met the performance standard, then does it really matter where your breath power placed on some arbitrary measuring scale?
     
  9. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

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    I kind of disagree with this. Learning the capability of the human body's capacity to compress air is very valuable to me.

    I've learned that a trumpet player may need more or less air pressure to play the same note, register and volume as his peer. That some chops emit tones very efficiently and at lower PSI. Others? one must blow like the Dickens.

    Nowhere is this element more observable than in the upper register. When ascending above the staff some cats

    1. May hold little squeakers without much air pressure or embouchure muscle flexation.

    2. Others will have to blow like thunder and hold their mouth corners and other facial muscles very firm.

    Interestingly enough those that must utilize heavier air pressure (as in number 2 above) will usually blow with a bigger sound.

    Conversely category 1 will often fall into the category of "non-pressure" players. Ease of playing being common with them but not possessing much timbre or volume. Pretty good for piccolo trumpet and classical notes but nearly useless for big band lead playing.
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    We are all free to offer opinions. What always comes out in the wash is that those connected to really PLAYING the trumpet figure most necessary things out in the process. That can lead to different conclusions. Those less connected to playing approach body use in a different way that shows their level of interest/experience. Interest in the isolated numbers is not something I run into except in a laboratory. Here is a great site for that: Forschung

    In the 60's I remember an LP of Adolph Scherbaum, one of the first serious "piccolo trumpet" players. On the liner notes they wrote that he needed 3 bar air pressure for the highest notes of the Richter trumpet concerto. The next sentence was that that was enough to inflate the tires on his Citroen automobile. At the time, many of us thought it would have been favorable for him to work at the gas station (although that was not fair considering the pioneering work that he did).

    Getting back to this thread topic, there is no significant way to measure airpower or capacity that will allow us to compare players or even the same player on different days - without the horn. As far as the big sound goes, we obviously have a VERY different view of what that is. I see no possible generalization between heavy air pressure and big. The "low pressure" top symphony guys have a sound every bit as big as Iron Mike from T.O.P. or Maynard. Whether a lead player has an easier time in a symphony or a symphonic player in a big band depends on the player. I have been disappointed in both directions and never been impressed either way. As a matter of fact, the studio/broadway guys like Lew Soloff or Tony Kadlek are probably the REAL chameleons.

    Learning about our bodies is only useful in context. Isolated PSIs, cubic meters of air or MPH across the arched tongue tell us NOTHING without the horn attached. At the end of the day, the only way that Iron Mike or Maynard got through a 2-3 hour, high energy gig was through EFFICIENCY and that is a holistic situation. We all have finite reserves of power. Those players that are extraordinary do not have magic powers (except maybe their incredibly creative brains), they just aren't wasting much and ARE focussing a great deal. Introspective Yoga/Alexander technique has been much more useful to me than Tai Kwan Do or swimming regardless if I am playing a Gordon Goodwin chart or a Molter concerto with the natural trumpet. The focus is on CONTROL not brute strength.

     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012

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