the myth of "fast air"

Discussion in 'Trumpet Pedagogy' started by rowuk, May 2, 2008.

  1. jdostie

    jdostie Piano User

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    This whole conversation is at once interesting, tough to absorb, and confusing.

    Please indulge me in a few questions, that if answered will help me - if no one else.
    1. Lip "tension" if you will, there are a few ways to accomplish this - opposing force top to lower lips (think tight corners, perhaps even tight near the aperture), curling lips over the teeth, supposedly a slight pucker in the lip, but that seems a contradiction, and "stretching the lips" by making a kind of smile. The lips are the guitar string if you will, that are vibrated, and ultimately define the pitch.
    2. Pressure - ostensibly to make a seal, but also, I think sometime used to help increase the tension of the lips.
    3. Air velocity - the subject of this thread - it seems is a function of (and it's been a while since physics), pressure - internal and external, the volume of the source, and the shape/volume of the various cavities. As the volume of the cavity y goes down, or there is a restriction of volume at an aperture, there is a pressure differential from one side to the next so the fluid (air) speeds up even while the volume goes down.
    4. In order for the tongue to affect the volume of air, would not you need to have a seal between the tongue and the lower portion of the mouth? If there is no seal, it's possible that more air gets directed into one portion of the oral cavity then the other, and those opposing forces come together at the edges of the tongue, or right behind the aperture. It seems like the tongue "shapes" the air column more than changes the volume/speed. As previously mentioned, it is possible to raise/lower the tongue without changing pitch or pressure (as applied by chest/back muscles/no more "push).
    4A (edit) When we say oh - eh - oh, there are a lot of things changing besides the tongue as far as the muscular structure of our face is concerened - could we be changing the tension of the lips (see item 1) the shape of our lips (ever so slightly), changing the elasticity of our lips (I am leaning toward this one), or something else???

    So then, the question is, what percentage do you think each of these play in this, or where are the faults in my analysis?
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2008
  2. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    I have always thought that the amount of air moving through the trumpet was minimal. All the air does is make the lips buzz.

    I think moving the tongue changes the size of the chamber. Smaller chamber = higher pitch. It also changes the direction of the air stream into the lips. Maybe a small air direction changes the frequency.

    Whatever the reason, I don't think the pitch goes up because the air is moving faster but who knows, maybe it's a combination of everything.
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Most of you are confusing one thing: we only blow air through our lips to make them start to vibrate, after that the resonant system essentially takes over. Water, carbeurators all are "flow dynamic" and would only apply to overcoming Newtons Law (lips at rest tend to stay there). Once the lips have been kick started (with AIR PRESSURE not velocity), the efficiency resonant system governs the effort needed to maintain a tone.

    Sound is made of ALTERNATING waves, breathing is a relatively LOW SPEED activity. It is not speed which aids the upper register, it is breath support (the size and capacity of the air pump). Lips tightly pressed together need a bigger hammer to open them, not fast arrows!
     
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity New Friend

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    A very interesting conversation! Has anyone (in the literature) weighed in on the difference that muscle tension makes in the resonance of the whole system?
     
  5. nordlandstrompet

    nordlandstrompet Forte User

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    Just couldn't resist................

    Check the attachment

    I don't know how to show the picture directly in the message:-(
     

    Attached Files:

  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Anybody that "bends" notes does exactly this. When you do not play on the resonant center of the horn, you lose efficiency and uniformity of sound. That is also why a good slotting trumpet better be in tune.
    The trumpet does not help amplify off resonance notes. What comes out of the bell is essentially the same volume as what would come out of the mouthpiece alone.
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Bear,
    the initial tension of the embouchure and blast of air sort of determines which partial (note) is played.

    As far as valid combinations to play a note, we can play a double C with the tongue low in the mouth. It is just a lot more work (the inefficient oral cavity).

    Let's not forget, a great player has an infinite amount of combinations depending on mother language, jaw and teeth structure and plain old playing habits. Theoretically, any improvement can help something........... The tongue forms the shape and size of the oral cavity. When the tongue is high in the mouth, the sound gets brighter AND the efficiency seems to go up. I believe this is due to a smaller/"stiffer" oral cavity.
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    This is the MYTH that I am talking about. It is NOT true when playing. Why? Because the principles only apply at DC (blowing air through the horn without playing a note!). The trumpet impedance (resistance to airflow) is greatest where resonance is highest (any tuned note on the horn) and that resonance wipes out any speed that may have existed BUT does increase the air pressure at the lips. When we play a note on the horn, the resistance of the horn goes up proportionately to the efficiency of the mouthpiece/horn system.

    Air speed is a non issue regardless of whose picture is used! Any trumpet player that studied physics can figure this out. That is also why a water bucket or carbeurator is not a good analogy - no resonance in the equation! A bass reflex loudspeaker demonstrates this effect. At the tuned frequency of the port, the speaker hardly moves at all (the resonance of the box prevents it from doing so!) but the port blows air like crazy. Below the tuned frequency, the box provides NO support for the speaker membrane.

    This is not an issue of semantics, it is an untruth spread by players that never thought about what really happens when playing a trumpet.
     
  9. hornguy

    hornguy New Friend

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    This is a great discussion and I will probably spend the next week trying to understand all the information.

    To further cloud the issue......

    When discussing the 'sound chamber' and the effects of decreasing the size by raising your tongue, how do we account for Dizzy's cheeks expanding the size of his 'sound chamber'? He had a great tone and could play high, but his oral cavity had to be triple the size of any other player.
     
  10. nordlandstrompet

    nordlandstrompet Forte User

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    The picture I put together shows that the air actually has to go through the instrument at different speeds, through the "venturies", pipes and bellcone. This is a fact.

    I also made a drawing inside the picture which shows that the instrument actually is a resonancechamber/loudspeaker, which is cabled to the tuner/equalizer by the embouchure/mpc, which is the switch which opens and closes for the airstream and makes the fluctations. Therefore I mentioned "442Hz" at the bell, which is the normal tuning pitch.

    I think that we are pretty close to an agreement, if we just understand each others metafores....

    The picture I have used is only for illustration, and the great player who appears on it has nothing to do with this particular discussion....yet
     

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