pivot system

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by cobragamer, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. cobragamer

    cobragamer Pianissimo User

    Jan 26, 2008
    What is the deal with the pivot system. I have seen a few books on it i was wondering why it is benefical and if their is stuff wrong with it. I do it in some of my playing but i need to know why and the disadvantages.
  2. screamingmorris

    screamingmorris Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 4, 2007

    For embouchure types, go to
    scroll down to the middle of the very long Web page,
    to the heading "Reinhardt's Embouchure Types".

    Reinhardt did not invent those embouchure types.
    In the 1940's-1950's Reinhardt studied the embouchures of a multitude of brass players and discovered that they all played with variations of 4 types of embouchures, and he discovered that they did better when they did certain things that accompanied specific embouchure types.

    All Reinhardt did was catalogue what he saw those successful trumpet players doing, and he gave the embouchure types number names to aid in talking about those embouchure types.

    Reinhardt didn't invent the idea of a downstream Type 3 embouchure.
    Maynard Ferguson was playing with such a downstream embouchure years before Reinhardt noticed that embouchure type’s existence, although Ferguson didn't know he was doing it.

    Reinhardt didn't invent the idea of an upsteam Type 4 embouchure.
    Doc Severinsen was playing with such an upsteam embouchure years before Reinhardt noticed that embouchure type's existence, although Severinsen didn't know he was doing it.

    So successful players who say “I don’t use the Pivot System” are deluding themselves.
    They have adopted one of the embouchure types identified by Donald Reinhardt, and they are using the correct techniques associated with that embouchure type, but they are doing it unconsciously, unknowingly, through pure dumb luck.

    If Ferguson and Severinsen and some other professionals became great successes without knowing their embouchure types, then why should anybody else bother to analyze their own embouchure types?
    Because most players are not such “naturals” who never have embouchure problems, most players encounter embouchure problems of some type in their lives (Bill Chase had such problems throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s).
    The only way to fix an embouchure problem is to first analyze and identify the problem, then give an educated detailed explanation of what must be done to fix the embouchure problem.

    When I was in school decades ago I was a terrible player.
    The more I practiced, the worse I became.
    I watched the trumpet players in 1st and 2nd chair and tried to copy their methods.
    I tilted the trumpet slightly downward, I played with more upper lip than lower lip, and I played terribly.
    After I played in band 5 years and then dropped out, my best friend said “I think you might have been born with an upstream embouchure instead of downstream”.
    When I tried his recommendation of tilting the trumpet slightly upward instead, and tried playing with more lower lip than upper lip instead, I had immediate, dramatic improvement.
    Great tone, better endurance, could play an octave higher.

    The lesson:
    Every person is born with a certain embouchure type, and if he tries to play with any other embouchure type, he will fail miserably.

    Robert Slotte posted this great interview with Andrea Tofanelli that tells a similar story:

    ------------begin quote----------------

    [interviewer asked] Have you ever had problems with embouchure and -
    - how did you resolve them?

    Well, here is a "scabrous" theme...i only wanted to do an example for
    other questions you could put in the schedule, but in effect in a period
    of my life i had some problems with embouchure, and i have studied a lot
    on this subject (you can not imagine how much...)

    When i began to study at the Conservatory (i repeat that here in Italy
    is different from US, where the Conservatory is considered like an
    University), as i narrate you before, i was already working in the
    Tuscany area with bands, dance music bands, big bands and also something
    with classical music.

    My embouchure was strong, i played with 1/4 higher lip and 3/4 lower
    lip, with my trumpet inclined up (like now) and the lower lip open on
    the red part.

    You know that embouchures are different from trumpeter to trumpeter.

    There is not only one right embouchure for everyone, because everyone has
    his own face, jaw and teeth formation, so i think your embouchure should
    be the most natural possible.

    But my teacher got the terrible idea to change my embouchure, telling me
    to play in the most known classical embouchure, that is 3/4 higher lip
    and 1/4 lower lip, inclining my trumpet down ...what a disaster!

    I can not play like anything more, and after two lines of an excercise my lips
    were... cooked. I did 3 years like this, and my teacher did not know
    what to do.

    I keep on working in the Tuscany area as before but playing 3rd or 4th trumpet in the sections. I really was down, and very sad. One day i decided to talk with my teacher, with the suppot of my parents, and told him that i wanted to come back to my natural embouchure. It was the only thing to do, because also other experiments we tried were been a failure.

    He agreed, and i started again to study my embouchure.

    In less than 4 months i was ok, but not completely. In fact, i was not able
    to find again the exact embouchure i had before entering at the
    Conservatory. So, i was able to play and do again lead trumpet and take
    successfully my intermediate examinations at school, but there was
    something different, and i was not completely satisfied.

    Two months before my final examination for the diploma i read about

    Mr Armando Ghitalla's seminary in Italy and i went there immediately.

    He told me to put my lips into the mouthpiece, but without changing my high
    inclination of the horn, and try to play very closed, building a wall
    with my lips...it's hard to explain with words, but when my alumns see
    it, they immediately understand.

    Anyway, mr Ghitalla did the miracle...i changed again my embouchure, as mr Ghitalla told me, and i followed and practiced all the things he explained during the seminary. After a month i was a new trumpeter, a new life was started and i did my final
    examination at the Conservatory successfully, with highest full marks (10 and praise, the only one in trumpet in all the story of the Conservatory of Lucca).

    You know the rest...

    Take care and keep in touch Roddy.
    Andrea Tofanelli

    - quoted from

    -------------end quote----------

    If a trumpet player experiments with the tilt angle of his trumpet,
    and if the trumpet player experiments with his mouthpiece placement,
    to see what works best for him as an individual,
    then he is investigating to find his embouchure type,
    whether he realizes it or not.
    And what he finds out about his embouchure type
    will inevitably fall into one of the embouchure types
    already identified by Reinhardt 60 years ago.

    - Morris

    Last edited: Sep 5, 2008
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Morris has posted the whole deal.
    Just because the pivot system works for some does not make it an "answer" for all. Leave embouchure changes until you are with a really good teacher. Try and get a lesson with a real pro before you mess something up.
  4. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    The Pivot System is about finding YOUR EMBOUCHURE TYPE and how to get the most out of it, not change it.
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    The pivot system as I understand it involves changing the angle of the horn which changes playing geometry on the fly. Whether that is good, bad or indifferent has to do with a much bigger look at the player than simply embouchure development. This is why I consider most attempts to focus on embouchure change really brainless.
    I do not ever recommend a change without help and the notable exceptions only prove the rule. Most embouchure books end up collecting dust because they like any other method do not change the root issue - the playing habits of the player - Breathing, Body Use, Chops, Musical Development.
    I have seen too many embouchure crashes and not enough successes to support this stuff as a DIY concept. I wish anybody willing to try best of luck and want only to warn that picking the pieces up after the crash is MUCH tougher as there is seldom a way to turn the clock back completely!
  6. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Read the Encyclopedia of the Pivot System I don`t think you understand what Rhinehart was saying, its not about change it`s about using you`r own setup more efficiently.
  7. screamingmorris

    screamingmorris Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 4, 2007
    The degree of trumpet tilt is usually almost invisible.
    For example, you would have to look very closely to discover that Doc Severinsen is tilting his trumpet slightly upward.
    In fact, Reinhardt warned that beginning players would have a tendency to tilt too much early on, that tilt should be kept to a minimum.

    Reinhardt's book covers all of those subjects.
    Even the abbreviated version that I once owned, containing perhaps 25 pages, covered all of those subjects.
    Sit erect.
    Don't over-breath.
    Breath like you are squeezing toothpaste out of a tube.
    Don't use too much mouthpiece pressure.
    Aim for the best tone.
    Practice while sitting and standing.
    Eat properly.
    Don't cross your legs while playing sitting.
    Head slightly back and chin slightly down.
    Don't hunch up your shoulders.
    Avoid jaw vibrato.
    Practice all of these exercises in all keys to achieve tone and range and endurance and musical ability.

    Have you ever witnessed or heard about any player "crashing", losing his ability to play, because he attempted what Reinhardt wrote?

    Reinhardt's fundamental recommendation:
    Over a period of a few minutes,
    try various mouthpiece placements (high, medium, low)
    and try various trumpet tilts (slightly down, horizontal, slightly up)
    to see which gives you the individual trumpet player
    the best tone and the best endurance.
    That isn't going to cause anybody to "crash".

    In fact, Reinhardt was the first to say "If something doesn't work for you, then don't do it".
    He would say that 99 percent of players with a particular embouchure type should do such and such, but there is 1 percent of players with that embouchure type which needs to do it the other way, so try it both ways to see which works best for you.

    Again, until I am blue in the face:
    Reinhardt did not invent a system which invented different embouchure types and different trumpet tilts.
    Reinhardt analyzed hundreds of successful trumpet players and discovered that they were *already* playing with different embouchure types and different trumpet tilts,
    he discovered that each player was born with a particular embouchure type and each player should not try to play with an embouchure type different from the one he was born with.
    Thus his recommendation that each player spend a few minutes experimenting with mouthpiece placements and slight trumpet tilts,
    so that each player could discover what was natural for each player.

    - Morris
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2008
  8. cumpozer

    cumpozer New Friend

    Nov 29, 2010
    South of Youngstown, OH
    Morris, do you have any of Reinhardt's old books? I'm trying to find his Pivot Manual but it's out of print
  9. Trumpet1Ohio

    Trumpet1Ohio Piano User

    Jun 22, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    The idea that you change the angle of the horn, or tilt it, is incorrect. I always thought that, too. The horn angle may change a bit. However, the pivot is actually moving the mouthpiece and the lips, as a unit, straight up or down over the teeth. I am a lllA and I move the mouthpiece/lips up when I go higher. Conversely, I move it down to go lower. A Type lllB uses the exact opposite pivot, down to go higher, etc. The pivot is only used on intervals of a 4th or greater. Typically, as you become more proficient, the pivot becomes less noticeable. The goal of the system is to develop the pucker. That has become extremely apparent in my playing.
  10. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    Don't expect to get a reply on a thread that has been inactive for 3 years!

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