Lip Bending 1/2 step (or more) up

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by 4INer, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. 4INer

    4INer Pianissimo User

    Dec 31, 2013
    I've recently returned to trumpet playing. (I've played for 45 years, but haven't been serious about it since I quit college and let a career get in my way. But am now retired and am taking lessons and back at it) I've been working with lip bending which is new to me. (pretty much the Hakan Hardenberger routine) For six months my morning routine has been a combination of buzzing and lip bending. The lip bending portion is to start on G (in the staff), play and F#, then back to G, bend down to the F#, bend back up to G, then finger G# but stay on the G. Then working down chromatically using the same pattern to low G, then jumping up to C and working back down to middle G. Noticing that notes especially in the lower register tend to be slightly flat, I've added a bend up to the pattern (ie G to G#, then a couple of bends trying to replicate the 1/2 step increase in pitch) I've been doing this for a couple of weeks now and have noticed a slight improvement in my range, my endurance, and my tone, and am bringing my lower register more into tune. Anyway, I was just curious if anybody else is bending pitch up, and if so if it is eventually possible to accomplish a complete 1/2 step pitch bend up (I'm always slightly flat before my lips want to jump to the next harmonic). I can come close, but always slightly flat (especially with second valve only). I think I'm going to stick with it for awhile since it seems to be working. I just hope my ear doesn't get used to, and start accepting the flat pitches.


    Trumpet - Benge (MLP bore)
    Flugelhorn - Schilke 1040
    Bass - Ibenez SR755
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Welcome to TM, Chuck! Hope you enjoy the community here.

    I know of no one who advocates lipping notes up. We call that "playing sharp." :cool:

    It has been 30+ years since I took my acoustics class, but at the time 24 cents was considered the most one could lip a note on brass instruments before being in serious danger of breaking into the next overtone series, so about a quarter tone in either direction. The downward bend is useful because it involves relaxation and strength at the same time. We relax to get the tone to go lower, but use strength to hold it even when it wants to jump down. Lipping up, on the other hand, encourages tension, and tension is very dangerous to good sound production.

    A killer exercise is to play a c major scale starting in the staff and going to the c above the staff. The first c is normal, the d is a lipped down e, the e is normal, the f is a lipped down g, the g is normal, the a a lipped down b[SUP]b[/SUP], the b a lipped down c and the second c is normal.

    The bending stuff is all about relaxation and strength. Bending up is just bending down as seen from the other side of the ice.

    Have fun!
  3. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

    Jun 22, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Welcome back to trumpet and to TM, Chuck. I only practice pitch bends occasionally for special effects. Mostly, I practice centering my pitch upon attack. Concerning range, I practice my entire range daily, focusing, again, upon centering the pitch upon attack. For range building, lately I have been doing chromatic runs upward beginning at our C (Bb trumpet) above the staff and then going back down to the C. I mix up dynamics and note values as I do this, being sure to incorporate long tones. If your approach is working for you, it must be good!
  4. 4INer

    4INer Pianissimo User

    Dec 31, 2013
    I get the idea that lip bending is about relaxing, and I know this sounds counter intuitive. But what I'm doing is playing very softly on the up-bends and making myself relax. In fact if I'm tense I can barely get a 1/4 tone bend, but relaxed, I can get close to the 1/2 step with most fingerings. I'm doing this with a tuner (and a metronome). I'll have to give the c major scale a try. That sounds brutal....
  5. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 14, 2010
    I can get about a fifth out of a lip bend, on my conch, the next highest harmonic note is a minor 9th due to the conical shape, so getting notes in the middle range are all about the lip bend. Though, they are substantially quieter and require much less air than the fundamental. You might want to try hand muting while you do it, to get an idea about how that changes the pitch.

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