lip slurs

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by midwestchops, May 22, 2007.

  1. midwestchops

    midwestchops Pianissimo User

    im a comeback player after 6years and honestly, my lip slurs were never that good. after working w/my trumpet prof this semester ive improved with learning faster air and moving the tounge up. now its summer and im still hammering away at them, but in trying not to use my lips to change notes, when i move the tounge up the tone gets thin. any suggestions on changing this?:dontknow:
  2. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

    Jul 18, 2006
    Casper, WY
    I really like the Arban's #'s 12 - 15 on pp., 40 & 41 not rushed at all and played as lyrically as I can.

    Some really pretty intervals that remind me of the Egnima variations a bit.

    A lot of it is in the staff.

    Hope that Helps,

    Richard Oliver
  3. uatrmpt

    uatrmpt Piano User

    Nov 29, 2003
    Why not? That's what THEY DO! :-P

    Just to make my bias clear, I'm coming at this from a Balanced Embouchure perspective that emphasizes developing the lips' ability to roll in and roll out when changing notes. Think it's just me? Let's see what the masters say:

    Arban p. 37

    "Although not recommended for use in acutal performance, this fingering was purposely designed to increase teh difficulty of the exercise and to oblige the lips to move in producing the different pitches without using valves."

    "It imparts great suppleness to the lips..."

    "Next follows the practicing of thirds which is obtained by the tension of the muscles..."

    "Since both of these ornaments are produced only through lip movement..."

    [Note: Yes, I know that Gordon's footnotes imply that slurs are done ONLY with the tongue level; however, I feel that the lips have the main role in lip slurring. I mention this, though, in the interest of clarity.]


    "The lips should work in unison with the tongue. For the extreme low tones, the lower lip is turned over slightly, away from the upper lip, in to the cup of the mouthpiece. As higher tones are played, the lower lipworks slightly up toward the upper, as the tongue rises." (p. 3)

    "All exercises should be played at first without repeating until the lips are flexible..." (p.4)

    "For the high tones it will be necessary to pull the lower lip slightly in towards the upper lip. The procedure will necessitate the application of a little more [air] power. The movement of the lower lip is all done inside the mouthpiece; there is no shifting." (p.4)

    "These low tones at the endof each exercise will teach the turn over of the lower lip." (p.4)

    "Although the lips and the facial muscles are important factors in the performance of these exercises, the sutdent should feel that he is varying the pitch of his instrument by raising and lowering his tongue..." (p.6)

    [NOTE: Irons talks about what the student should feel is going on -- while it should feel like the tongue is doing the work, it's not the only thing that is working!]

    There are many more excerpts for the lips being free to move, and I'm sure there are some against. I'm not being dogmatic about his. I think, though, that the most natural course of action for the lips is for them to be able to move to help change pitch -- not remain static. Of course, from my Balanced Embouchure perspective, this sense of movement means being free to roll in and out, not stretch back and puckering forward.

    I'm sure there will be many more suggestions, both pro and con to what you're experiencing, and many exhortations to just do what your teacher tells you; however, I think that if you "free" your lips, you'll find that you are able to maintain your tone as you ascend and descend AND that your slurs will become smoother.\

    No representation is made the the quality of this post is greater than that of any other poster. Improvement is best gained under the auspices of a qualified teacher. Your mileage may vary. No purchase necessary to win. Chances of winning depend on the number of entries received. Roll Tide.
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I'm going to cheat just a bit and paste some stuff I've already written about slurring. Hope you don't mind.

    Slurring sure is fun when it works! Part of my take on flexibility may be found in the post:

    As to the e to g slur, sometimes it is easier to start with the high g and slur to the e and back again, because we’ll get set for the lower note and have to work to get up high, whereas if we set for the higher one, it is easier to let it fall to the lower and simply go back to the “regular†high g feeling. Sometimes it is helpful to play the note “in between,†(in this case between f and f#, and I like to round up) and then hold our lips like that middle note, going up and down a wee bit instead of that minor third jump.

    It seems like we all have a “barrier†somewhere, where the slur changes from being a jaw kind of thing (easy) to a back-of-the-tongue-without-changing-the-syllable kind of thing (not quite as easy) which will then give us all kinds of speed. For really fast trills (at my prime) I would use my right hand, like a real controlled shake -- a fun trick, sure to amaze students!

    Hope this helps!
  5. TisEkard

    TisEkard Pianissimo User

    Jul 28, 2006
    L.A./Orange County CA
    Edward Carroll has taught me not to bring the tongue up when doing lip slurs. It makes the slur much easier if you do move the tongue, but if dont want your range to suffer than you can try using this method: When lip sluring, crescendo and glissando at the same time and your note should pop out beautifully. This will allow you to have a glorious sound. This idea is also stressed in buzzing basics by Thompson. I highly recommend this method book, it has improved my lip slurring greatly.
  6. midwestchops

    midwestchops Pianissimo User

    ill have to give that a shot. my slurs as far as making it happen got much smoother and quicker when i figured out how to use my tongue, but now i believe im using it too much and pinching the tone. thanks for the advice.
  7. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    Jul 13, 2005
    Drake and Midwest,

    Hello from Hanover.

    Just to clear up a small misconception (and M has already touched on this in his/her last post), arching the back of the tongue IS an effective way of speeding up the air as it creates a smaller oral cavity. However I've observed in my teaching that many students resport to this method far too early in the game and by the time they reach the top of the staff the back of the tongue is pressing into their brain (tastes like chicken) and they sound like, well, a henhouse.

    I'm a huge advocate of what Drake correctly describes: balancing crescendo/glissando between notes to achieve a silken connection between intervals and saving tongue arch for the final octave (for some high C to double C). Jim Thompson agrees and his Buzzing Book, as Drake mentions, is a terrific resource.

  8. Hags888

    Hags888 Pianissimo User

    Aug 31, 2006
    Corpus Christi, TX
    I've always been taught to think vowel sounds. So, for the lower note, think "Ahhh" or "Awww". And for the upper note think "Eeeee". So, you end up with: Aw-Ee-Aw-Ee-Aw-Ee going back and forth between the notes. This works for smaller intervals of a fifth, all the way up to intervals of an octave or more. In combination with that I always try to maintain a constant air stream with a bit more speed for the upper notes, and above all else, I make sure I can HEAR the intervals clearly as I slur back and forth. If I'm not hearing the intervals or notes, then I'm just guessing where the notes are on the horn. So, starting slowly so you can hear each note is beneficial, and then gradually speed it up without losing your sense of pitch.

    Hope that helps.
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Lip slurs ARE part of the BIG picture. Not just to the next partial but 4ths, 5ths and octaves too.
    As described above, AIR makes the slur possible. The arched tongue makes it easier-at the expense of tone quality.
    So if you want to slur AND have a big fat tone, you need to work on your breathing to get a foundation built.

    Breathing 101
    stand up straight, neck extended, spine as straight as possible.
    Exhale until it hurts, then inhale filling up from bottom to top, when you are full-DO NOT HOLD THE AIR IN! Transition from inhale to exhale SMOOTHLY. When your air is gone, transition back to inhale smoothly.
    Practice this a couple times without the horn looking in a mirror. Make sure your shoulders don't raise! When you have mastered this technique (can take weeks depending on old habits!) you now have that BIG RELAXED BREATH that I often post about. Now you can replace "exhale" with "play". Start with no tonguing, just long tones, pitch doesn't matter at first. Then add slurs (still do not tongue the first note) - they should be considerably easier now. I would recommend adding this tongueless breathing exercize to your daily routine. I warm up daily with it. The Irons book is the one I use most for slurs.
    When you rehearse or perform, you need to time the intake of air to make sure that you do not need to hold it in. Some conductors are poison for wind players because they do not give us the opportunity to anticipate the first played beat. This causes us to close the throat and makes getting started harder!
  10. midwestchops

    midwestchops Pianissimo User

    yet more great advice. i will work on that as well. a question while the subject of air is up. as far as "power" or "volume", are there good excercises to actually increase this? will this excercise help in this area as well?

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