The lips

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by YTR-2335, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    My wife discerns when I've practiced a lot during the day and when I have not ... and such is all in our kissing when she comes home from work.
     
  2. JNINWI

    JNINWI Piano User

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    Do't let my GF find this out !
     
  3. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    Since I don't know your GF, or want to know her, I won't tell if you don't. I still don't know whether my wife discerns whether my lips are harder or softer and I'll not ask her as such would be a mood breaker.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  4. Pete Anderson

    Pete Anderson Pianissimo User

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    It takes muscle to play this instrument - both facial muscles and core muscles (back, etc). The key is that, when everything is working "efficiently", the lips don't have to do much at all to make it work. It's the breathing muscles that do most of the work.

    That said, as you ascend, it requires more and more air pressure to play. The reason our lips get tired is that they are resisting high amounts of air pressure. Even though the lips are only "minutely changing" the aperture, it requires strength to keep them together. Also, the most important thing is that you must keep the lips together without consciously using your muscles - if you do this your sound gets thin and squirrely. It requires a lot of strength for the lips to be able to STAY RELAXED while withstanding the air pressure required to play high notes. For example, I can play a double C if I go "I'm gonna play a high note now" and I tense up my muscles as hard as I can and blow as hard as I can... But the sound ends up just being a squeak, I lose responsiveness in my chops, can't descend to play lower notes after doing it, etc.


    This isn't a 100% accurate analogy, but think about someone bench pressing 150 pounds. For you or me, we could probably do it but it might be a struggle. Now think about an Olympic weightlifter doing it. For him it's easy, and he's able to stay relaxed. He could probably sit there benching that amount of weight all day long and not get tired. This is what we need to do - we need to be strong, but not use that strength actively, because we need to be relaxed in order to sound good.

    (this analogy isn't great because playing the trumpet well is really more about technique than brute strength, though some strength is required... Maybe something like a tennis serve or golf swing would be a better example. Strength is important if you want to serve at 100mph or hit a golf ball really far, but form/technique is even more important)
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  5. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

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    From my understanding, we work the muscles surrounding the embouchure the most. Our lips themselves, over time, get conditioned to vibrate more freely. What that means exactly seems up in the air to me, but I would perhaps suggest that this means the lips grow "softer" or less stiff. I would agree, in general, however, that the lips themselves aren't actually doing the work (as mentioned above). The muscles put them in the right place; the air you put forth stimulates them to open/close (vibrate); and the lips themselves are not being directly controlled.

    ADD: Breathing plays the largest role in playing, but I was addressing the options put forth by the OP (muscles vs lips)
     
  6. Pete Anderson

    Pete Anderson Pianissimo User

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    I would posit that the lips don't actually physically get softer over time. I think it feels like that's the case because as the player builds more strength in the lips and refines technique/efficiency, it requires less effort and he doesn't have to tense up as much to play. Similar to the weightlifter - if he starts out with 150 being the most he can lift, he's going to have to tense up his muscles a lot to do it. By the time he's able to bench press 500 pounds, he barely has to engage any muscles at all to lift 150.

    Technically speaking, the lips actually do a very crucial part of the work - controlling the aperture/resisting the air. However, this job requires such fine control that the conscious human brain can't really do it - when everything is working well, it should feel like your lips aren't even moving at all (well, actually this may not be true for players who use an extreme roll-in embouchure... I dunno). But I think you're right that they aren't being directly controlled, ideally.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  7. Etiennse

    Etiennse Pianissimo User

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    Same here ROFL
     
  8. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

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    I see what you're saying there, I can agree with those ideas
     
  9. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

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    YES -- I agree with Pete ---- you need the whole strength issue in the face muscles that hold the lips in place. You need to be able to hold a small aperture that freely vibrates in the center of the lips, WHILE having the rest of the muscles in the FACE to hold that all together. what more can be said???? USING AIR IS AWESOME --------------but if you can't hold the embouchure together --------then it won't be the total solution!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Yes.
     

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