How to measure wind power

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

  1. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

    Oct 5, 2010
    As I former body builder and now runner I have huge amounts of wind power but could not convert that into high notes. In fact, on pure strength and wind, I could last as long as my teacher on arduous long tones but without efficiency that was all I had. I could play nothing else, while he was just warming up. Early on I was able to hit a strong, resononant high C that I was very proud of. Now, after two years, I have learned to use my embrochure, tongue, and air together more efficiently. As look back, that high C came with so much strain and effort. Now, when I get everything right (all the elements coordinated), it feel so easy. There is little strain. By comparison, I was really over blowing the note two years ago.

    Our first chair was 80+ and he recently retired due to ill health. He could belt out beautiful resonant high notes during his solos. If you closed your eyes, you would have not any idea how old he was. In poor health and fitness, he was fantastic. I do not imagine he is capable of a fraction of my wind power, but he really knew how to use everything else to near perfection to my ears.

  2. CuriousMe

    CuriousMe New Friend

    Jan 2, 2012
    New York
    I'm not a Doc, but do know that this is basically the amount of air you can force out of your lungs in 1 second. Medically it's relevant in finding if your airway is constricted (think asthma). I'm not sure that I could see a relevance for playing trumpet.

    Now, the FVC (forced vital capacity) which is how much air you can blow out of your lungs might be somewhat interesting....but again, I don't think it would be really relevant.

    To the OP, I'm not really clear what kind of metric you're looking for.
  3. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011
    Sorry Rowuk but you're a little off base there. I don't want to nit pick everything there but:

    The pressure required to fill up a Citroen would soon burst the throat cartilage of a human neck. Granted these were someone else's words but none the less my rebuttal is still true. Pressure above 4 to 5 PSI by itself is enough to induce a neck puff. Average car tire uses 32 PSI. This would spill a trumpet player's guts all over his music stand.

    That and symphony cats have nowhere near the air pressure requirements of a big band lead player. Were they to push the envelope like the lead players do? They'd lose their job in a second. No way that kind of volume would fly in a classical ensemble.

    All said and done? PHYSICS ALWAYS APPLIES TO THE TRUMPET. We can extrapolate much from data and experiments if we choose to watch it. Unfortunately most times trumpet pedagogy ignores physical reality. This is the reason we STILL carry obsolete and useless theories like the tongue arch and "faster air". To name just two.

    No activity is immune to the laws of physics. To the extent we learn which of these applies to us in any of our endeavors the more we can contribute.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  4. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

    Oct 5, 2010
    Local 357

    My understanding is that tongue arch creates a venturi tube inside the mouth wherein air does speed up at the narrow end, which terminates at the lips. Thus, faster lip vibrations. Air support is then necessary to maintain air volume which correlates with the loudness of the note. In terms of trumpet pedagogy, when I was taught how to do this, there was a night and day impact on how easy it was to play the trumpet. I by no means say that I have mastered it. But, starting to use these things has made a big different to me.

    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  5. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011
    It may FEEL like it does this but it does not. If there is a help caused by tongue movement related to register or interval change it is due to the slight support it gives to either the lower lip, upper lip or both. When one applies tongue pressure to the lip(s) it can push the upper lip into a more favorable position for higher notes. Then when releasing the tongue? Lowers the pitch to back where it was before.

    About ten years ago I decided to completely disregard and oppose the concept of the tongue arch for range theory. And the reason I did this was because I only read the so-called "reasoning" for what causes the interval or range change. The explanation was and is "faster air" but this I knew to all be bullschit.

    The air pressure within the lungs, mouth cavity etc. stays constant. Sure it may speed up while it travels through the closed mouth cavity due to the arched tongue but the air PRESSURE REMAINS THE SAME.

    Air pressure and volume are the only factors that air has to bring into the trumpet equation. And really just air pressure. Volume only determines how long the note can be held.

    Conclusion: Too many arguments result due to discussion of the false tongue arch for range theory. I an correct in mentioning that it can not do what people claims it does. However a forward push of the tongue actually MAY help support a higher note. This however is not due to so-called "faster air".
  6. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    It's hard to get serious about this thread .... I think that overblowing is the cause of numerous problems for me and so PSI is not my friend. I find that, with the Prana mp especially, less pressure and less force give me better results. There's a kind of fine balance point that makes everything work the best .... You will NEVER be able to measure that point, so why even bother? :dontknow:

  7. oldgit

    oldgit Pianissimo User

    Jun 16, 2010
    Basingstoke, England
    used to blow up hot water bottles as a party trick, but play the trumpet well, not yet. its not what you have but what you do with it!
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Physics are interesting, but music is never created by the numbers - even when playing the trumpet. Working on both sides of the fence, I can say that Mahler/Tchaikowsky/Bruckner with a world class orchestra is every bit as tough on the body of the player as a lead gig with a top band. It is simply a different type of playing with different parameters. I guess you don't have much contact with "big" classical music otherwise this would be clearer to you.

    Physics may define the limits of what is possible, but fine motor activity determines the quality of our playing and high quality playing is not at the bleeding edge - unless you were with the Buddy Rich band. In that case you didn't last more than 6 months anyway.

    How many serious paying lead jobs are out there? How many decent symphony jobs? What about casual playing for fun like most of the TMers are involved in? I think that the numbers alone show that high air pressure is NOT the route with the most opportunities. Those with the natural ability and work ethic to be successful in any genre command and deserve respect. Maurice André and Maynard Ferguson were probably THE two most influential players of the last century - in every register and at every volume.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
  9. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    I've heard of a man blowing a South American blow gun dart over a kilometer, but I'd have to see such to believe it. Still, I'll wager he doesn't play any brass musical instrument, and my pulmonologist concurs ... still he is amazed that I can play my brass instruments with his diagnoses of my COPD and other health issues ... particularly a very long history of prior smoking.

    MTROSTER Piano User

    Jan 25, 2007
    Pure wind power in playing the horn is not the solution to good playing. I've known players who were smokers with resultant emphysema in wich the walls of the alveoli in the lungs are destroyed, who couldn't walk around the block without being short of wind, play excellent horn. Lung power is a small part of the equation.::D

    Dr. Mike

Share This Page