Questions about reducing mouthpiece pressure.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Octiceps, May 26, 2010.

  1. Octiceps

    Octiceps Pianissimo User

    May 5, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    How would you rate the articulation DA compared to all those other ones you described? I use DA for single tongue, DAGA for double, and DADAGA or DAGADA for triple. Is this a bad syllable to pronounce when articulating?
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    My take on this does deviate from many others. I don't think that Da or DaGa is "bad", but in any case not the right syllable to start with.

    Just like you taking the pinky out of the finger hook doesn't solve pressure, many things may not be "bad", but only when used in context.

    I think whimpy articulation is terrible when speaking or when playing the trumpet. The consummate trumpeter needs it all BUT just like with a great orator, clarity of expression is the key to making music instead of just playing notes.

    My concept of playing the horn starts with posture and breathing. I have often posted on the "Circle of Breath", where we visualize the breathing process as a circle, left side inhale, right exhale. The transition between the two is NOT with high pressure abs, rather with a simple exhale. The top of the circle is smooth and round, as should be our body when moving from in- to exhale. The first exercizes that I teach are inhale, exhale until the circle of breath works, then inhale, exhale through the horn with NO tonguing. Our sound must be able to develop WITHOUT that initial attack. The circle of breath for playing long tones. After 10 minutes or so of this type of long tone, we should have a pretty relaxed embouchure and body with a clean sound.

    I then teach using the circle to get lipslurs started - NO TONGUING, inhale, exhale into the lipslur.

    We then add the tongue at the top of the circle using a very clear Tooooh. Because we no longer need the tongue to kick start our sound (I think that this is your problem), We can use very little tongue motion to get a much clearer and cleaner initial attack. It takes time to synchronize the circle and articulatio. I have often needed 3-4 weeks for students with previous playing experience. The bad habit of hammer blow tonguing is bad for every aspect of playing. Many of these players resorted to Da/DaGa to compensate for this less desirable behaviour.

    The next step is using the circle and our newly discovered approach in tunes. I use easy tunes like those found in the hymnbook. This gives us time to implement positive articulation when playing. When we have text underneath the notes, we realize how "articulate" we should be when we make music.

    So to answer your question directly, Da or DaGa should NOT be the articulation of choice until Toooh/TooooKoooh is PROPERLY working. Round, soft articulation is slang - great when making a specific point but too inarticulate to make our musical message optimally understood. Listen to great radio announcers. There you hear what works. Incorporate that into your playing - once the breathing is down.
    Brassman64, curlydoc and richtom like this.
  3. Brassman64

    Brassman64 Mezzo Piano User

    May 13, 2017
    Pressure is the range killer you can only go so far with it.Maynard Ferguson said that everybody can be a hero for 8 bars using pressure to play.There is a better way.

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