Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ROGERIO, Aug 14, 2006.


    ROGERIO Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 30, 2004
    A trumpet colleague of mine from Switzerland attended a TCE Masterclass in Basel. As a favor, I'm posting his review:

    TCE Masterclass in Basel/Switzerland (June 17th 2006)
    Ten trumpeters attended the Masterclass in Basel/Switzerland on June 17th and all participants were anxious to hear about the TCE technique. Civiletti is a former student of the “embouchure researcher†Jerome Callet. He studied with Callet for more than 12 years.
    It didn’t take long for us to figure out that Bahb Civiletti’s name stood for an outstanding trumpeter whose musical expertise ranges from orchestral to Big Band lead playing to all kinds of solistic performance. Furthermore, he was a wonderful, good-natured person who enjoyed detailing and explaining the TCE method to as many musicians as possible. All participants immediately felt that they were being taken seriously.
    Isn't it true that there are many reasons to have an efficient embouchure that is strong and especially dependable? In my opinion, there remains a large number of musically talented trumpeters who can’t live up there “trumpet dreams†due to a lack of technical abilities on the trumpet. In this regard Bahb Civiletti contributes to a “democratisation†of the trumpet playing. In other words, not only will the “natural trumpeters†be the ones who are able to master the challenging and demanding pieces of the trumpet literature - now, everybody has the opportunity with the TCE “trumpet manual†to “jump over one's limitationsâ€, provided that “one put in the hours†!
    Bahb Civiletti started the workshop by explaining the basic principles of TCE, emphasizing the importance of a centered, focused sound on the trumpet. He followed with a stunning demonstration of the third movement of the second Brandenburg concerto on the B-flat trumpet.It was very impressive and aroused great interest in the “secrets†of TCE.
    Bahb revealed his technique openly . Each trumpeter can integrate this “most efficient use of the tongue†(creating a hermetic seal in your mouth) in his playing. Bahb’s suggestion, for instance, against the "more air" approach to the higher register was convincing and he supported the theory by several live demonstrations. “Not more volume of air is required, but a stronger compression of the air between the tongue and lipsâ€. For more details please visit:
    One of the most important aspects of the clinic was the “TCE language". Therefore Bahb proposed the 5 TCE articulations which are the tools to make the tongue stronger and give it the main responsibility for a proper working TCE system. Due to Bahb’s encouraging teaching manner and live demonstration, everybody caught on quite easily to the basic principles of this method. As for me, TCE really works ! The way that Bahb conducted this clinic was in a basic step by step approach that was not confusing and one could actually start to apply these playing techniques immediately. Furthermore he worked with each of the students for at least twenty minutes.
    It doesn’t matter if the trumpeter is inclined to orchestral playing, Big Band lead playing or soloistic playing, TCE is a great help to gain security, self-confidence in terms of trumpet playing.
    At the end of the day, Bahb gave us an informal recital. He performed several demanding pieces of the Rococo period. The Mastery of such pieces requires great endurance and high range. It was striking to me how seemingly effortless (sotto voce!) these movements were played by Bahb. His tone was always centered and brilliant, a prfect in-tune “showcaseâ€.

    Matthias Merki, Switzerland
  2. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona

    Thanks for posting the overview that Matthias sent you on his recent masterclass. It sounds like he really found something that made sense for him. I have always been impressed with his playing and to hear his impressions on TCE is certainly eye opening.

    Quite a few months ago I read a post by gms979 (Greg) regarding the KTM tonguing approach advocated by Claude Gordon. This was right after the Jens Lindemann masterclass where Jens mentioned that he used an anchor tongue approach (especially in the higher register). Just after this Manny and Peter Bond commented that they too articulate in this manner.

    I had heard about this concept for years, but when I tried it once in passing years ago, it just seemed impossible.

    Well, after reading the post by gms979, the timing seem to be right, and since I didn’t have any ensembles or real playing commitments, I decided that I would experiment with this KTM variation of tonguing again.

    What I found shocked me!

    I had always assumed that tonguing was simply a means to articulate a phrase (based on my many years of playing). Well, when I lightly touched my tongue to my bottom lip, I quickly discovered that more “stuff†started to vibrate which translated into a more vibrant sound.

    There are certainly coordination issues involved when adapting this articulation style, but the immediate benefit (for me at least) was a dramatic increase in vibrancy with less effort in overall sound production. I had a pretty vibrant sound to start with, but this just blew me away!

    I’m about 2 and a half months into this new articulation approach, and while I don’t think it’s exactly the same as TCE, it really is something that I’m glad that I stumbled into.

    Thanks for posting the comments from Matthias!
  3. oj

    oj Pianissimo User

    Sep 9, 2005

    The Medical Doctor that was co author of Gordons last book, Brass Playing Is No Harder than Deep Breathing, said that he had kind of "drifted" into a TCE type of playing after having done KTM for many, many years.

    As you also maybe know, Herbert Clarke used a TCE type of tonguing when he was tired but had to play (in the Sousa Band). This is revealed in a letter he wrote to Fred Elias.

    To me, KTM, could also be called TSE (instead of TCE). The S then meaning "Supported" ;-)

    TSE = Tongue Supported Embouchure.
    TCE = Tongue Controlled Embouchure.

    Clarke described TCE (his TCE version) as a stunt or trick. I guess that is also why he never mention it in any of his books? On the other hand, Clarke describe his use of KTM (or anchor tonguing). See his "Remarks On Tonguing" in his "Characteristic Studies".

    Last edited: Aug 17, 2006

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