Input Please: Why Is The Tongue Used In The Upper Register?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Pedagogy' started by Dr.Mark, Mar 6, 2015.

  1. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    Interesting, but still more total b*******ks Dr Mark.

    We all know that we put LESS air per second into the instrument the higher we go. And because the frequency is higher, the amount of air contained in each wave cycle is EVEN LESS. So as we raise a note the momentum of air leaving the mouthpiece is less than the momentum of the air in the return waves from the old note. Where they collide at the antinodes, there is therefore a nett momentum left over - a force on the air column acting back towards the mouthpiece that pushes the antinodes, and hence the nodes and hence the entire air column back towards the mouthpiece shortening the wavelength and increasing the frequency.

    Another research paper in the offing. I expect a co-authorship credit ;-)
  2. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    PS. If in addition to tensioning the embouchure, you also open the aperture to put more air in, you maintain the momentum balance at the antinodes, and the note stays at its original pitch. Only it gets LOUDER. Hope this helps.
  3. tjcombo

    tjcombo Forte User

    Nov 12, 2012
    Melbourne, Australia
    How does the increased energy explain a situation where you for example slur up to the next partial whilst playing diminuendo Stuart?

    FWIW, an electrical analogue I think of is a crystal controlled oscillator. A circuit with just the crystal will oscillate at the fundamental frequency of the crystal, however with a tuned circuit at odd multiples of the crystal fundamental will run at third, fifth and sometimes even higher overtones. Whilst it's dangerous to draw too many parallels between electrical and acoustic worlds, I think of the trumpet as the crystal and my lips as the tuned circuit.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
  4. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    More air = louder not higher
    So what's been discovered or at least raised a few eyebrows.
    There's a large body of people that contend that raising the tongue to speed up the air helps playing in the upper register.
    Here's what I've come to conclude for now:
    Raising the tongue helps make the aperture smaller.
    Raising the tongue helps to speed up the air which is needed to make an even smaller hole occilate.
    Whew, after all that searching, studying, and fussing, this is what I've learned (for now)!?!
    I need and as for co-authorship, I'll do you one better. Co-authorship and a drink on me.
  5. Gxman

    Gxman Piano User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Ok, I am now beyond confused.

    I just did my practice session. Lip (tongue) slurring from low C up to top space E.

    I tried doing this the way I have advocated here, "more EEE position" with the tongue as going up.

    I then tried to play a G above staff (EEE).

    Then I did the same stuff by consciously trying to not move the tongue at all to leave the maximum room inside the mouth (opera singers sing with the biggest room in mouth whether high or low pitch, thats what gives them the full bodied sound like Andrea Bocelli etc, rather than a pop straining sound by closing up throat and other stuff as you go up).

    I found I can slur from Low C to top space E lips only and by using the tongue.

    In fact, when I was trying it that way to isolate the 2 scenarios... the tongue slurring still causes the lips to do what they can do without actually needing to move the tongue. The sound however sounded 'thinner' by doing it with the tongue while it sounded more free/open by just manipulating it with lips (no tongue).

    So what on earth is right here?

    I can play to a top Bb by going from an AWWW (low C) position tongue to an EEEEEE position tongue.

    I can also play from a low C position to the Bb without worrying about the tongue and the tongue doesn't even feel like its climbed up to the top of my mouth as when I do it with the tongue.

    It also seems that that lips are doing the same thing regardless of tongue as that is the vibrating apparatus that causes a different vibration causing a different pitch.

    Truth be told... I find it MUCH easier to just slur WITHOUT the tongue then trying to move all this stuff... it seems to allow me to move faster slurs (like a siren) as well by just doing the lips without trying to go up/down/up/down with tongue to get the same Siren effect.

    It seems there is 'less' disruption in the sound by not using the tongue as you are bi-passing one step. By using the tongue, yes the lips by default will do what they need to do... but why not just do that with the lip and not worry about the tongue then since the lips are gonna do it anyway? Its 1 less thing involved to get the same result and thus seems more fluent.

    I know this is totally opposite of what I said before... but... this whole thread got me thinking to consciously feel and think whats going on.

    Maybe the tongue thing is helpfull when you want to go beyond High C. But up to High C... is it even necessary or is it just closing up the sound like a pop singer, while keeping it flat in mouth to play high will give you a richer/fuller tone?

  6. fels

    fels Piano User

    Jun 8, 2008
    Colorado Springs
    Have not read the entire thread (apologies) - had a lesson from Lead Player from Falconaires - he mentioned using the tongue arch to influence air. I worked on it a bit - nothing definitive - no clue about the physics.
  7. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    tj, so far I have only looked at minimum pressure required to sustain a note, soon I will investigate pressure vs sound level for various pitches.

    As for slurring with a diminuendo, I suggest there must be sufficient pressure present to sustain the upper note or the slur would not occur.

    For electrical analogies of musical instruments I recommend "Music, Physics and Engineering" by Harry Olsen.

    We should have another meeting soon.

    Regards, Stuart.
  8. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    See! Confusing isn't it!!
    May this will help:
    This applies to those that already incorporate a lifted tongue to change notes and why it works.
    Here's something fun to try:
    Play your horn as you normally would and while doing this, imagine a horizontal line where your lips separate.
    Next, do the same thing but this time add a imaginary vertical line. Imagine a line from the bottom of the chin to the bottom of the nose. It would be like cross hairs that cross right at the aperture hole. Don't do anything physically, just play like you normally would, no tweeking or thinking about facial parts. When you get to your upper register, see if "just thinking" about the cross hairs and where they intersect helps make the upper register clearer and easier.
    Remember, you're doing nothing physically different. All you are doing is just imagining cross hairs that intersect at the aperture when you play high.
    Good luck
  9. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi Fels,
    I just sent a fun little thing to Gxman that's a couple of posts up/down that might help.
    The trick is to do nothing different but imagine. See what happens when you do!
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    There is a bunch of stuff going on in the body and face. Each of us has a specific balance of powers within our bodies. Unbalancing does not improve anything medium term. That may be "Naysaying" for the the doc, but in my world holistic is the answer. For the record, arch does not change aperature in my world. The tongue and embouchure are not hotwired to one another. I can lip trill on the natural trumpet with lip movement or with lip and tongue movement, but on a Bb trumpet it seems to make no difference. Possible reason: on the nat the partials are closer together and minor changes "could" have a bigger effect - especially considering that the higher partials have lower impedance. This is not a definitive take, it just seems to make sense and I don't have time to waste on things that I previously have tried without "results". I am having too much fun with what I have worked out over the years - not fumbling with symptoms, rather attacking root evils.

    Dr. Mark,
    you will have to find your own proof. You can read everything that is on the IWK site (or any of the other links that I have repeatedly mentioned) just like I did and then create your own opinions about how they apply - or don't. I have found NOTHING that supports arch in any general terms. What I have found is that arch gets mentioned when players already have a lot of other skills (Claude Gordon for instance worked with a lot of professionals) - without quantifying anything. So maybe IF there is advanced body use and strong chops, there could be specific benefits to adding arch. I haven't found any, but I have only had a couple of hundred students in my career. I am not a typical type of guy, so my own playing can't be considered "representative".

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