Role of the lip corners in an embouchure

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by MahlerBrass, Jun 12, 2005.

  1. MahlerBrass

    MahlerBrass Piano User

    Oct 1, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Hello all, I've always been told to keep my corners firm when I play, and have been for the past 9 years that I've played the instrument. My questions is, what is the role of the corners? I always thought that they were more for control of what my lips are doing and the notes that come out, but the more I pay attention to it, I notice that the corners are working more to keep the air inside my mouth than anything else. Is this the purpose of why we keep our corners firm? if it is, it's never been explained to me that way, thanks a lot in advance!
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    Just as you use your legs to stand, the corners are the "legs" of the embouchure. As the corners remain firm so will much of the stability of the lips to function.

    Some people draw the lips back and are very successful. I don't use this approach. Doc places great value on the use of the corners to maintain endurance and stability.

    When I play, I keep my corners down and forward to produce a sound that I find representative of symphonic playing. Harry Glantz did not. He drew them back a fair bit and was very successful. Maurice Andre does too and his pre-eminence in the world of trumpet is undeniable.

    Different strokes for different folks.

  3. dbacon

    dbacon Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Scottsdale, AZ.
    Manny, I never knew that about Glantz. That's fascinating, how did he develop such carrying power? I'm just going by some old recordings I remember from college. He seemed very exciting to listen to.
  4. Greg Blunt

    Greg Blunt New Friend

    Jun 13, 2005
    Antelope, CA
    I find that the more forward the corners are, the darker the tone; and the further back the corners are, the brighter the tone. The corners of the mouth also help you keep controll.
  5. MahlerBrass

    MahlerBrass Piano User

    Oct 1, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Do any of you guys feel that your corners are working a bit harder than they should be just to hold the air back? For the record, I try to keep everything as forward as I can while maintaining a good sound. Thanks a lot for the great responses!
  6. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    Only when I'm getting back into shape after a little time off. I have to be vigilant about that or it would be easy to lapse into bad habits.

  7. sdgtpt

    sdgtpt New Friend

    Dec 3, 2004
    The corners are the anchor of the entire mechanism...

    If there is strength in the corners (firmness) then the center of your embouchure has the ability to remain soft, fleshy, and can maintain a texture that will freely vibrate.

    If there is air in the corners I believe that is a sign of weakness and causes the center of the embouchure (where the mpc is) to suddenly work harder than it needs to to hold it's self together causing lack of endurance etc...

    For brass players (except tuba and bass trombone when the corners should be relaxed and come away from the teeth)... the corners is where it's at.
  8. butxifxnot

    butxifxnot Pianissimo User

    Jul 10, 2004
    Corners? I don't think emphasizing corners is good. When I thought about tightening corners, I went into the "stretch the lips" mode. Bleh. I had to fix that. Now the focus is making sure there is a good amount of flesh between the mp and my lips. the corners follow.

    Just my $.02
  9. pops

    pops Pianissimo User

    Mar 17, 2004
    There isn't ONE answer to your question and Manny has already alluded to why.

    Those who draw the corners in use a different mechanism to control notes from those who draw them back.

    And when you throw in lip curl or pucker then even more differences enter into it.

    You like 99.9% of all players think and want there to be ONE way.

    There simply isn't ONE way and that is why so much info seems conflicted.

    People read what a pucker player says to do and try it with a lip curl... or what a lip curl players says and try it with a smile.... or.....

    Then they say that doesn't work. Which is inaccurate? It simply doesn't work with the wrong embouchure. Most advice is really embouchure specific and knowing that will eliminate misunderstandings.

    For some embouchures the corners create tension and lip stiffness which is what they use instead of compression to play higher.

    For embouchures that rely on compression the corners become much less important and if they use compression and lip curl then tight corners PREVENT sound from coming out and are a hindrance to playing.

    So the corners run the gambit from being one of the most important parts of the embouchure to being completely useless to it.

    I would rather speak of the corners of the vibrations (inside the mouthpiece) this after all affects the range more than the outer corners do.

    The outer corners affect the sound quality and the inner the range.

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