Those forward jaw "Upstream" cats

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Local 357, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. Dave Hughes

    Dave Hughes Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 19, 2010
    Rochester, NY
    Rowuk, that's really not the case in most places anymore- though I did sit in with a DCA corps yesterday and ripped double g's and double b's for four hours- its an old Drum Corps thing, you can't really play it unless you can do it every time, with no down the 8va breaks! :D:play:
  2. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011

    No not exactly. But I can see why you would infer that. It is just that the statistics bear out as FACT that forward jaw players have far easier upper registers. I don't care what anyone thinks or says the evidence is almost empirical. Not necessarily better nor louder either. just easier upper registers. Forward jaw cats are among the minority of trumpet and brass players in general. However their prevalence in lead and scream chairs is almost 50%. I'm not making this stuff up. Just watch you're favorite players.

    I don't like the term "Upstream" or "Downstream" and may stop using these terms completely. The concept originated some 60 years ago (or thereabouts) from Donald Reinhardt and is just as inaccurate today as it was then. Doc defined UP as a lower lip dominant positioning ie more lower lip in the mouthpiece. And "Down" as more upper lip in the mouthpiece. However these categories only reference the visible indicators from outside the brass player. As such it is like judging the iceberg from what is visible above the water. Also by only Reinhardt's explanation your definition is also incorrect. Reinhardt created his categories based upon which lip was more in the mouthpiece NOT the horn angle or jaw positioning.

    I have found that jaw positioning is a far more critical factor in embouchure type than categorizing by which lip dominates the mouthpiece.

    Next: I will refer to a trumpet player as having a "forward jaw embouchure" type even if his horn angle does not rise above the perpendicular. Thus as you said "These players play with the horn pointed straight out from the face" perfectly fits my definition of forward jaw chops. Being straight out or perpendicular is really what separates them from the lower angle, receded jaw cats. You can ask a straight out player to blow with a slightly upwards chop setting and he will still be able to make a decent tone. he probably won't prefer to do this but he can.

    However you usually will not get a receded jaw cat to play anything musical by pushing his jaw out to even horn angle or higher. Not without making other modifications to his chops. And he'll be pissed at you for making him do this. The receded jaw positioning is not transferable to forward jaw.

    Worse still: Some apparently receded jaw cats do not actually play with chop formation typical of a receded jaw! I saw this in a fine trumpet playing friend of mine. A really good player, he hangs his horn down around 4:00 o'clock on the dial. Maybe even 4:30. And yet I noticed that his sound and range (very easy to play high, soft squeaky register) was exactly the same as those obscenely high playing forward jaw cats. So i looked over him more carefully. As it turned out his upper teeth angled IN towards his mouth. So he only appeared to be a receded jaw player. in fact from his tooth position his horn angle was perpendicular to above 3:00. It's just that his horn only looked to be played at a downward angle. These kind of trumpet players are rare but exhibit the exact characteristics of the standard forward jaw players.

    In fact it is the lower lip positioning relative to the upper lip of the trumpet player that defines what we typically call "forward jaw" embouchure. NOT the jaw or the horn angle. Essentially what is happening is that the lower lip contacts the upper lip for a longer length during the path of the air through lips and mouthpiece cup. It is this LOWER LIP ASSIST that helps the trumpet player get the screamers.

    You could compare the lower lip guidance to the screaming candy wrapper annoyance whistle: The lower lip is holding the upper lip in a way similar to what you do when you make the cellophane screamer annoyance.

    Uh no not really. I have my stats from some very reliable sources. One an amazing pro from the east coast who knows or knew all the players i mentioned personally. Local is on the ball, up to date and knows his schidt.

    You can if you want OBSERVE many or most of the unbelievable screamers and find out for yourself. Just watch as they dry one or both their lips prior to setting the horn on the face. In fact and for instance, at 2:52 AND 4:45 here:

    Future Corps - Everybody Loves The Blues (August 1998) - YouTube

    Here we see Mark Zauss drying his chops with the little arm band worn in drum & bugle corps bands. The first time is barely noticeable due to the camera angle catching only part of it. However at the 4:45 or so mark it is obvious as the sun.

    But i will take you to task for this statement:

    Au contraire. Local knows his stuff. I refuse to post any matters I can not back up with direct knowledge.

    Let's at least take brass playing pedagogy out of the 19th century folks. We may not get to the 21st century for who knows how long but we can resist the tendency to fight progress by sticking to outdated and useless teaching concepts. You may not like my "know it all" type thoughts but this is only because you haven't read nor heard them before. Instead of having your ego feel challenged and fighting back? Try and observe whether or not these ideas have merit. I fact they always do.

    Or i wouldn't post them.

    I find these kinds of topics interesting but not so much because one can choose whether or not the to play either forward jaw or receded jaw but because it adds clarity to our understanding of the game.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  3. Dave Hughes

    Dave Hughes Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 19, 2010
    Rochester, NY
    I see what you're saying about the jaw, but everyone's different. When I go below the staff, I drop my jaw, but I also move it forward; when I go High C and up, I move my tongue up in my mouth, thus closing my jaw and receding it a bit- that'd be the exact opposite of what you've just described?
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
  4. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    That's funny.

    rowuk - What if the angle of the trumpet is not changed but that the horn, itself, is simply backed off a bit to not "squish" the upper lip?

    I am very uncomfortable when I read such statements as "statistics bear out", "FACT" (particularly in upper case), and "empirical" without any reference to any primary sources. Local, could you give any links that might shed more light on your post? Thanks.
  5. wilktone

    wilktone New Friend

    Jul 18, 2011
    Asheville, NC
    This page and the video embedded in it may help clear up some of the confusion about what it really means to have an "upstream" or "downstream" embouchure type. Using a transparent mouthpiece you can see that air stream direction is related to the ratio of upper to lower lip inside the mouthpiece, not horn angle.

    To the best of my knowledge, no study has been done with a random sample of players to judge what percentage of players have a protruded jaw compared to a receded jaw. My best guess is that the majority of brass players do indeed have a more protruded jaw position, however there are far too many fine brass players with a receded jaw position to state with any certainty that one way is better than the other. Skimming through photographs of 34 trombonists that were subjects for my dissertation study showed about 8 players with horn angles that were markedly lower than the rest, although this feature did not correlate with ability level or experience in any way that I can tell. Keep in mind that I went out of my way to find at least 15 players of the three basic embouchure types I was researching at the time, and in no way can this be considered a random sample population.

    Like mouthpiece placement/air stream direction, this feature appears to be related to what embouchure characteristics work with a particular player's anatomical features and isn't a choice that can be made.

  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    my experience is that moving the whole horn away from the face is different. When all the pressure is reduced, it seems to be more revolution than evolution. Generally endurance and range go south, for some, never to return. A slight angle down frees up the upper lip and does not seem to be as big of a geometry change for the working muscles. If we look at the position of the teeth when our embouchure is formed, and then consider that the lower lip is a bit thicker than the upper, the obvious angles that could work become obvious. For my students, I don't talk about it, I move their music stand so that they automatically move the horn to a more favorable position. If I would tell them what I am doing first, then I would not be sure if the result was due to suggestion or geometry. The mind is a VERY powerful factor too. That is why the uncertainty caused by low pressure needs to be very closely monitored.
  7. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    vielen Dank, rowuk.
  8. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    Yeah, I have a youtube of a 6th grade girl playing a 2 octave F scale and making it look easy too --- I get the principle of making the high notes without forcing them --- but to make that a reproducable, everyday event with double forte is the kicker. I think someone once said here on TM, if you can't play the high notes with dynamics, and cresc. descresc. --- THEN YOU REALLY CAN'T PLAY THEM ---- so I am somewhere between that point --

    I tilt the horn downward -ever so slightly in the high range --- and back it off a bit, more or less pushing my lips to the trumpet, instead of pushing the horn into the face --- that is how it works for me, whether that is upstream, downstream, or middle of the stream I do not know!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
  9. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    Local 357, I do not doubt your knowledge. As To upstream or downstream. here is what I know. An upstream player plays with their lower teeth in front of their upper teeth. I had a student who played quite well this way. A downstream player plays with their lower teeth behind their upper teeth. Then their are players you play with their upper and lower teeth even in the vertical. All three of these kinds of players can play with a jaw forward embouchure. I have a severe overbite but I've always played jaw forward. Now my teeth are not even. When I've tried to do this my jaw actually start to ache so I know it's not going to work. My jaw is comfortably forward. I get a better sound and control and esp. a better upper register. Does my horn point straight out, no it has a very slight downward angle.

    As to the wet lip versus dry lip my concern has two parts. First a lot of novice players read these post and when a professional players such as yourself or my self makes statements they tend to take them very literally. They don't have the experience to see if they should try and play this way.

    Second, For there to be real empirical evidence that even the vast majority of lead players play with a dry chops you would have to interview at least 75% of the lead players in the country. Even if you know a hundred lead players who play dry, that's not a big enough sample to have any statistical meaning.

    If you said "most of the lead players I know play with dry lips" I would have no problem with that. But what you said sounded all emcompassing for all lead players. And there is no real information to know if that is true or not. Are there lead players who play with wet or even moisy chops. we really don't know do we. well actually I do know lead players who play with moist chops. I play with wet chops as I don't like any grip to the mpc at all. Esp. with my upper lip. But that's just me

    So while what you say does carry a lot of weight I'm just very aware of how what we say appears to someone else who is probaly going to take what we say as "the way I HAVE to do it"
  10. Dave Hughes

    Dave Hughes Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 19, 2010
    Rochester, NY

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