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

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

  1. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Dr.Mark
     
  2. gunshowtickets

    gunshowtickets Forte User

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    Hay guise, I know most people in here play trumpets, but i also sing. We've all heard or seen that the trumpet is the most analogous instrument to the human voice- you have two reeds vibrating an air column, being amplified by a chamber of variable volume.
    I took some mental notes last night at choir rehearsal (i'm in two, one is "large" with 64 members and the other is much smaller with only 15).
    Since Easter is coming, a lot of music being dynamically and tonically extreme in range, also doubling on some tenor parts.
    The baritone parts of RVW's "Let All the World in Every Corner Sing" has a lot of upper-register work and i was paying attention to what my tongue does unconsciously and i noticed a lot of raising motion. On the surface, it seems like pinching the airflow/speeding up. Or is it a combination of increased velocity and smaller resonance chamber?
     
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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  4. tjcombo

    tjcombo Forte User

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    your tongue is rising as you sing higher notes, but this a reaction that classical singers train to counter by dropping their larynx. Allowing the tongue and larynx to rise chokes off the sound and the tension won't allow the vocal chords to resonate at the higher notes.

    It takes some time to develop this technique, but is worthwhile. I've experience benefits both ways from singing and playing trumpet but they're not tied directly by things like tongue level.

    Something that can be fun to play with is messing around with your vocal resonators whilst playing. To get started, try singing a note and moving the resonance from your chest to your head, then into the extreme nasal area then try manipulating these muscles whilst playing.
     
  5. Gxman

    Gxman Piano User

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    I thought about this myself but then from one perspective thought it was not even related.

    I had taken classical singing lessons for a time. The idea is to have as much space in your mouth as possible. The larynx is supposed to drop in throat to 'cover' the sound over (aka, the operatic voice), the dangling bit in the throat (never remember the name of that bit) is supposed to raise up, producing a nice open hole, and the last thing you need is the tongue getting in the way, thus the tongue sits as low as possible.

    However, with singing, the sound is produced via the vocal chords, which are behind the tongue and even behind the hole. So the sound is produced there and thus everything in front of it (lips, tongue, that dangling bit etc) should be all out of the way of the sound.

    With trumpet though it is different, because the 'vocal chord' in this case is the bottom and top lip (embouchure) which is all "after" the tongue, hole, etc. Because it is after these things, then we need to consider the positions of the things prior and what they are doing before the air gets to the vocal chords (lips) and thus released to produce the sound.

    I also had the chance to talk to a world class classical singer that only teaches people once they are at the top. He told me that "you may find it very difficult to play trumpet and sing to the top level because the breathing mechanisms etc are very different from each-other" So brass playing and classical singing some how uses different functions and techniques that conflict with each other.

    Thus I never thought to bring up the point about singing here because as said... vocal chords are behind everything, trumpet chords (the lips) are in front of everything. In one (singing) the sound is made inside the body, and the tongue etc needs to move out of the way of the sound, with trumpet the sound is made at the lips which is after everything, so nothing is in the way in that sense to move out, but rather, needs to be put in position to make the lips work right.
     
  6. tjcombo

    tjcombo Forte User

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    Gxman, whilst there are dangers drawing parallels too closely between different ways of making noise, I'd question the qualification of your world-class-singing teacher to comment about breathing as it relates to trumpet. At a very basic level both singing and trumpet benefit from support down below and relaxed up top.

    After taking vocal lessons for a couple of years, I picked up a horn after a 25 year layoff and noticed that it was simply easier to play. In three years since, my trumpet playing, with the benefit of lessons and part time college study is better than it ever was. I'm unlikely to achieve greatness as a trumpeter or singer, but both disciplines benefit from practice in the other. The biggest barrier to parallel improvement is finding the time I'd like to practice.
     
  7. Gxman

    Gxman Piano User

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    Dunno, when I spoke to him, I did say "If i wanted to get to Pavarotti level" - as a trumpet player... and he said once you aim for that level of profession, then there are differences between the 2 that are counter productive to each other and one would probably need to pick one over the other to be a professional in.

    As far as how good he is, he sings all over the world for operatic musicals, concerts etc and is one of the most famous singers in this country. I think he would know better than us.
     
  8. tjcombo

    tjcombo Forte User

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    Not questioning the singing credentials of your mate. It's ludicrous to suggest that one could be both a stellar opera singer and a great orchestral trumpet player. The singular dedication required for either pursuit would render the other out of the question (along with a whole lot of other fun things that "normal"people enjoy). The breathing question is therefore irrelevant at that level. At the level of we mere mortals, my own experience is that there is an absolutely positive correlation.
     
  9. Gxman

    Gxman Piano User

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    He is not a mate. Just someone I got a chance to talk to.

    It may be possible his understanding of what brass players do might be counter productive. I just thought it was an interesting comment he made to me that's all. When we get finicky with everything, then apparently there are subtle differences that start separating the similarities. However, that is as you said, at a completely different level.

    I would like to do both to grade 8. Once I am 8 in both, decide which I am loving and enjoying more, and proceed to get stellar at one while maintaining the other at grade 8.

    That shouldn't be impossible? I would think that to be reasonable.
     
  10. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

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    Have you an AMBE syllabus book, this will show what each level requires for grade exams, have your teacher prepare you for the exams and sit them. Grade 8 is a pretty advanced level, think University entrance.

    Regards, Stuart.
     

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