the myth of "fast air"

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

  1. kalijah

    kalijah New Friend

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    rowuk wrote:
    Not true.

    The first nodal point is approximately in the mp throat area. The mp cup is always a distinct anti-node. The standing wave ends there.
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Erik,
    none of the "world class players" that I know, have a sound that "thins out" in their useful upper register regardless of the technique that they implement. Manny Laureano talked about the Tooh, Taah and Tehh quite a bit and had a consistency of sound regardless of octave.

    Granted, at the VERY extreme, the mechanical limitations of human flesh will not allow infinite range or constant power.
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    This is comparing apples and oranges. The trumpet/mouthpiece is responsible for amplitude conversion. The wind in creates the original motion of the lips. The pressure of our breath support blows open the lips creating an aperature. The more air pressure applied, the larger the aperature. That "pulsed" frequency is what sets up the standing wave which is transformed in amplitude (according to the efficiency of the horn).

    There is a change in sound character when the oral cavity is changed, just as there is a change in quality when we relieve body tension issues.

    I would like to mention at this point, that my intention for this thread was to highlight what I consider a myth, not nickel and dime semantics. If any of you have a supportable theory about "fast air" being better, I for sure am interested. I have found that the better one plays, the longer we can phrase with great power and that implies 1) more air intake (better breathing habits) and 2) more efficient use of the air inhaled. My wish is to get our focus on "smart" and "efficient" not fast.

    Kalijah, how can you support the theory for the standing wave ending in the mouthpiece? The lips are vibrating in essentially free space and are not powerful enough to "block" the reflection coming back through the trumpet. We are talking about a horn and the wave travelling down the horn gains amplitude, just as the reflection back has the opposite.
     
  4. kalijah

    kalijah New Friend

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    May 5, 2008
    Just to take a step back, there are a few concepts that are being passed around the discussion as assumptions that I certainly don't agree and would like to offer my view.

    But before that let me touch on the term "airspeed" (or sometimes "air velocity").
    The term is quite popular among trumpet players. So is simply the term "air". (As in "lots of air" or "more air" or "fast air")
    The problem is that when one uses the term "air" they may mean any of a variety of different concepts. (or they may simply not know WHAT they mean)

    For example: We hear so often that playing requires "lots of air".

    I ask: lots of air WHAT?

    Usually one means one of three things:
    Air FLOW
    Air PRESSURE
    Air QUANTITY (specifically: air MASS in grams, or evn more accepted: air VOLUME, in liters or cm**3)

    However, simply the term, "air" is passed around and used by players and no qualification is made, and one may mean one of the above but not qualify which. Or the reader may ASSUME the writer is discussing air FLOW when he actually means pressure, simply because he used the term "air".

    (It is my opinion that the term "air", as used by some players, is a nebulous and "vogue" term. With those not knowing or even caring what they mean, but are simply repeating what they have heard. I know, am cynical.)

    But, air flow, pressure, or quantity are NOT the same things. And the presence of one does not necessarily include or predicate the other.

    An example:

    Let us imagine I have two air-filled baloons. One is filled with 5 liters of air and the other 2 liters.

    Assuming the pressures are on the same order, one baloon will be visibly larger than the other. If the two are simply sitting there in a steady state, it is obvious that the flows are zero, (and certainly the flow velocity is zero) and the exact pressures we may or may not know, (but again, we assume thay are similar).

    Well... I could say that the larger baloon has "more air". But I would be more accurate to say that it has more air "quantity", or air "volume" as this would be evident.



    Now, an example as used in "verbage" of trumpet players:

    One may say, (and one HAS said)

    "Playing high requires only a thimble of FAST air and playing low requires a buket full of SLOW air."


    Well, to examine the statement, I am assuming that he is referring to air "quantity" (thimble vs. bucket) and air velocity (slow or fast) by what he has said. However, I think he may actually mean to express air FLOW and air PRESSURE. How much air flows, and how much air pressure for that matter, will also depend on the intensity (volume) of sound.

    And the air quantity will also depend on the length of the note or phrase. So what the person is attempting to is express, I guess, is, all things being equal, (note length and sound level), the higher note will require realtively less air "flow" and more air "pressure". (Which most would agree upon and could actually measure quite easily if required.)

    but again, he uses terms related to air velocity and air quantity (volume) when this is not what he really meant to express.

    (example: a long duration high note will require more "volume" (quantity) than a short low note. All while the flows may be different)

    This sort of "mismatch" of terminology always seems to be included in discussions of trumpet playing. As are terms which really are varied in understanding, intent or definition. Terms such as "projection", "power", "feel", "energized", "relaxed" etc.



    So... back to the term "air speed":

    Players, when using the term, many times are intending to mean not "velocity" at all, but air pressure, or even flow.
    And players are constantly using "flow" and "quantity" interchangeably as air "volume". Another problem is simply the assumption that if the air speed (and I do mean the velocity of flow) is high, then the pressure, power or energy is also high. This may or may not be the case.

    So the next time someone says playing requires "lots of air", ask them what they mean exactly!

    Back to the discussion...
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2008
  5. nordlandstrompet

    nordlandstrompet Forte User

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    kalijah

    It seems that you are trying to clear up the consepts here.

    The debaters in this forum are from different countries, which might be an issue for misunderstatements. My "Norglish" might be a bit different than Rowuks "Gerlish" and your "Americenglish", and we all might use different terms to express ourselves. All of us writes (of course) excellent english. (It could be a good idea for everybody to add which country you are located from in your public profile!).

    Anyway: We would need a certain quantity of air in our lungs, build up the pressure behind the lips, let the air flow through the lips through the horn at the realtive speed of the airflow which is given by the actual supported pressure and crossection of the aperture.
    This is my "Norglish" way of expression....

    Instead of blowing "slow air" when playing smooth passages/melodies, in Norway this expression is often called "hot air"....
     
  6. kalijah

    kalijah New Friend

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    rowuk, I must respond.

    you wrote:


    Air power and sound power are both "power". And the whole mechanism is to convert air power from the lungs to sound power outside the horn.

    Efficiency IS related to how much power "out" for so much "in". Regardless of the "form" of that power.


    The mechanism of playing could be described as a crtically damped unstable system with feedback.

    Or in laymans terms: The reflected wave in the horn has a dominant influence on the opening/closing of the aperture. And the "state" (namely, relative size) of the aperture will determine the frequency.

    The aperture with a pressure source alone is stable. But the introduction of a resonant feedback (the horn and mp) makes the combined system very unstable. Such that a steady cycle of air pressure fluctuations in the horn will occur.

    It is not simply "wind" or air "flow" or "speed" that makes the aperture open/close. If this were the case the air flow would reach a steady state and the aperture would attain a constant (non-vibrating) size and you would simply have air flow, no vibration, and very little sound.


    It is the fluctuation of pressure IN THE MP CUP due to the reflected resonant wave that is responsible for the opening and closing cycle of the aperture.

    The pressure of the oral space is quite constant. When the pressure in the mp cup rises and reaches the peak (due to both reflected wave and input of pressure from the oral space) the pressure is nearly equalized. When the pressure on the mp cup and in the oral space are equal the aperture will (nearly) close. When the pressure of the mp cup recedes, due to the wave heading out toward the bell, the (constant) oral pressure will again become dominant and will cause the aperture to re-open and will again give energy to the reflected wave as it returns again. This happens steadily, over and over, in a cycle.

    But, since some of the sound power is not reflected but is projected from the bell on each cycle (and absorbed by the horn), the pressure returning to the mp on reflection will be a bit less than the oral pressure. In order to "pump up" this pressure to hold the sound volume constant, a given amount of air must flow into the cup on each pulse. The horn accoustics (impedance) have a great influence on this required flow. (This is why horns have a different feeling of resistance due to different designs)

    To say another way: since sound power is leaving the bell, sound power must be put into the mp. This power is from not only pressure, but pressure AND flow. Pressure alone is not power, nor is flow alone. Both are requred and necessary.

    As a matter of fact, the amount of power one applies to playing IS

    pressure x flow

    A more efficient player will get more sound power for that air power.

    It is not simply the "wiggling" lips that are resonsible for the sound power. It is the power of the air pulses that are resonsible for the sound power. The embouchure is simply controlling frequency and tone quality, not creating sound power.

    As a matter of fact if you could get the lips to open and close in the same way, but with no air pressure and flow, there would be very little sound. No matter how much "amplitude" you had from the vibrating lip aperture alone.

    So the statement that "air flow is not required or necessary" is really a false statement.

    And the horn is not simply an "amplifier" of the lip motion or vibration.

    There is a change in sound only if the embouchure is effected by changes in oral disposition, which for most is the case. They simply do not recognize it (or admit it)
    And if the embouchure is working perfectly to create a tone, body tension would only hinder the capacity to create air pressure and would only effect sound volume.
    Absolutely agree.

    Easily!
    Free space? Not really.
    The oral pressure is quite steady. The mp cup pressure is fluctuating significantly. (Again)The lip aperture is opening and closing due to these fluctuations.
    The lips do not need to "block" the reflected wave. The pressure from the oral space will do this.

    And not only does it "block" the wave it gives it more energy on the "open" cycle of the aperture. The reflected pressure wave in the mp cup will never have more pressure than the oral space. If it did the sound would dimnish , or stop, on short order.
    As a matter of fact. when the open aperture cycle allows the oral air pressure to enter the cup, the pressure in the mouth may drop by a small amount as the mp cup pressure rises, and then restore on the "closed" cycle.
    If this does happen it would be only a "ripple on a pond" as compared to the "ocean wave" in the cup. And this "ripple" would also be 180 degrees out of phase with the cup pressure.
     
  7. Veldkamp

    Veldkamp Piano User

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    It isn't hard to keep a good sound till a high D/E if you are a well trained player with a good embouchure. You don't need a tongue for that in any position.

    Manny was a student of Arnold Jacobs. AJ always said to keep the tongue relaxed and low so that there isn't any extra resistance.
     
  8. kalijah

    kalijah New Friend

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    American trumpet players are plenty confused about terms among themselves. Its not a language barrier.



    Comedian Bill Dana said, with a heavy hispanic accent:

    " ...In the war, I met a lovely little French girl!

    There WAS a language barrier...

    She spoke French, but very little english.

    I spoke english...., but very little english"
     
  9. Veldkamp

    Veldkamp Piano User

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    If there is a myth in trumpet playing, then I would say tongue positions is a myth. I never heard great trumpet players like Maynard, Bud Brisbois, Cat Anderson, Chuck Findley, Bobby Shew, Jerry Hey, Charley Davis, Wayne Bergeron, Andy Haderer, Allen Vizzutti, Roger Ingram, etc. talk about tongue positions. They play with about good air support and strong chops. There's no secret about that.

    Tongue positions is just a visualisation to get a different embouchure. With a higher tongue position the lip muscles have a bit more tension, so you get a higher note. But you can get the same result with a relaxed tongue, the result will even be better because you don't have restrictions in the mouth.
     
  10. nordlandstrompet

    nordlandstrompet Forte User

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    :D Explains the most about reading between lines if you are on the same frequenzy :roll:
     

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