Lip Slur Technique

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Trumpet Dreamer, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. Trumpet Dreamer

    Trumpet Dreamer Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2010
    Jazz Town, USA
    What is the proper way to do a lip slur? I was told to change notes by using only tongue position, i.e., arching the tongue up to slur up, and lowering the tongue for the lower notes. It was impressed upon me not to use any lip/embouchure change or airspeed change to facilitate changing notes. All of the exercise is to be accomplished with tongue position only.
    Is this the desired and proper technique?
  2. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

    Oct 5, 2010
    Wow. If that is the case I would really like to know. I use air, the corner muscles and tongue level to accomplish slurs. This is especialy true if I slur between notes using the same valve combinations. But tongue level is still a great mystery to me. I do not specifically raise and lower my tongue or arch it. Tongue level for me seems to come from jaw position, going slightly lower as I approach notes below the stave. I would love the read futher comments on this.

  3. Trumpet Dreamer

    Trumpet Dreamer Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2010
    Jazz Town, USA
    My current teacher stresses using ONLY tongue position to accomplish slurs with the same valve position. This can be done by arching the tongue up and simultaneously retracting it slightly to the back of your mouth to slur "up", and the opposite technique is employed to slur "down", i.e., lowering the tongue position and moving it forward a bit. The venturi effect created by tongue placement is what causes the notes to change.

    I was told to practice this while looking in a mirror so as to maintain a constant lip / embouchure configuration...and use only tongue position for the slurs.
  4. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    I use syllables [tongue arch] air speed and lip [corners] to slur,of course how much I use depends on how wide an interval I'm slurring. You don't change octaves when tonguing by tongue arch alone,so why would you try to do it when slurring. The trick is to slur with a minimum amount of movement.Most students use too much when first learning but eventually settle down.
  5. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    Hi all

    I really think that lip slurs are as much about feel as technique, as long as there is very very little or no increase in MP pressure. We all may feel what we are doing is different but I suspect we are more similar than we believe, a combination of lip, corner, tongue and dare I say it MP pressure. Its seems to be something that comes as much from experience as practice. I know if I concentrate on tongue position I feel as though I am choking the sound at the tongue root, however I am sure I move it unconciously. Much like a golf swing, somedays I have to think, take away, others, top of swing, others wrist position. they key (in golf, for me) is to suss out what is working quickly enough to enjoy my round. I think the trumpet is much the same, somedays I have to think breath, others lip, others fingers. the quicker I recognise how I am feeling the more I enjoy playing.

    Hope this ramble helps


  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    There are many roads to Rome. Tongue arch is not enough, neither is chop tension or air pressure. The consummate trumpeter needs it all. Most important, we need enough breath support to "float" the notes - all of them.

    What we don't need are too much mouthpiece pressure, body tension or excessive focus on any one technique.
  7. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    If you're teacher has the same idea as mine - its to make sure you aren't introducing extra tension into your lips and muscling the pitch with your lips.
    Your lips will change, but the idea (for him) is that it will be as a result, rather than the trigger for the change in pitch
  8. hichez

    hichez Pianissimo User

    Jul 13, 2009
    Don't think about it too hard. My teacher and band director(trumpet player) reccomends using the mirror and sliding on the mouthpiece. In short your lips should not make any drastic movement you might see some movement when going down really low but other than that just focus on the air and PRACTICE.
  9. fraserhutch

    fraserhutch Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 23, 2004
    Novato, CA, USA
    Yes! In my mind, it is about minimizing the amount of work necessary to do the job. Al is right, it requires both tongue arch and corners and lip contraction, but, the tendency for beginners in my experience has been to rely too much on the lip part of the equation and not enough on the air part, hence, tension and overwork. it requires a rather subtle balance of the two to be effective and easy.

  10. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight Pianissimo User

    Apr 7, 2010
    This is a great thread. I have always wondered these things about lip slurs. For example, I have Eric Bolvins' "Tongue and Air Level". He talks about using a "kick of air".

    I am getting very close to the end if the Rubank Elementary Method. I am on page 38. The lip slur for the second valve going between B and D#. This level marks the end of what are simple slurs for me. I actually have to concentrate and using both slight kick of air and my corners to complete the exercise cleanly without "stalling" between notes. Coordinating the corners with the kick of air is even more important when I get to the upper stave and beyond for slurs using the same valves (a la Markie). I increase the air velocity (or, pressure, can't tell) while decreasing the aperature via the corner muscles.

    It feel like I am muscling things. Am I really off base here? Maybe it feels like muscling things because I haven't mastered the coordination yet.


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