Those forward jaw "Upstream" cats

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

  1. wilktone

    wilktone New Friend

    Jul 18, 2011
    Asheville, NC
    I'm not certain that Reinhardt actually wrote this anywhere, at least not to my recollection. He did make some comments about how different embouchure types would tend to have specific characteristics (i.e., Type IV players often had an easier upper register and brighter tone, IIIB players frequently a darker timbre, good flexibility), but he cautioned that these were just common tendencies, not specific features of the embouchure types. Either way, his main goal was to help each individual player understand how their anatomical features influenced how their embouchure functioned best in order to build on whatever strengths they already had and clean up any mechanical weaknesses. He certainly didn't mean that in order to get a strong upper register you should play with a protruded jaw position or for a dark sound and lots of volume you should play with a receded jaw position. Rather, he wanted each player to work with their physical characteristics and learn to play correctly for their proper embouchure type, not try to adopt characteristics that someone else happened to do. We all have different faces, we all have different embouchures.

    There are elements of truth in your above quote, but also some misunderstandings. First, Reinhardt noticed the air stream direction's relationship to the ratio of upper to lower lip not by visualizing things from the outside, but by using transparent mouthpieces to view this. The link I posted on the last page has some photographs and video from a variety of sources that also show this. Secondly, Reinhardt also did view the player's horn angle/jaw position to be important and used them as some characteristics to define a player's embouchure type (as an aside, I think that perhaps he got too detailed in his classifications and unnecessarily confused people that didn't directly study from him or read his writing's carefully enough).

    I could be wrong, so if you can find quotes please post them for us.

    These are interesting thoughts, although I don't see any support that your hypothesis can be universally applied to all brass players. Can you explain in more detail how you arrived at these conclusions or is this more "arm chair" science based on what you feel works for your own chops?

    That said, it does seem that playing with a dry embouchure can be useful for some players in the extreme upper register. Some players feel that their mouthpiece feels too slippery otherwise and simply prefer a dry embouchure. Other players state that things feel too "sticky" with dry lips. As was already noted earlier in this thread, many players change from one to another at different points in their career. As a personal anecdote, I went through a fairly radical embouchure change as a graduate student which required me to play with a dry embouchure to keep my placement consistent, but there were some drawbacks for me (I developed minor abrasions and sometimes found it hard to put the mouthpiece on my "sweet spot"). Gradually I changed to using a wet lower lip but keeping my upper lip dry (not uncommon for low placement/upstream embouchure players). Eventually I went all the way to a wet embouchure, which is how I currently play. Sometimes I practice playing dry again, as I feel it helps me practice certain things. Probably the reverse is true, that dry lip players may find occasionally practicing with a wet embouchure to be useful in some ways.

    Everyone is different, so I would caution us to avoid making very specific recommendations about how you think everyone should play based on your own personal experiences. There's way too much personal baggage that influences the way we see things looking at other players, so it's probably best to qualify our statements when we muse about embouchure online.

  2. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011
    Much of the stats I rely on come from one of your own fellow brethren of Reinhardt fame Dave. Someone you probably know very well. You can if you want however just walk over to any trumpet section of fairly professional quality and ask any strong lead trumpet players if they play wet or dry. More than half the time they will answer some form of dry lip texture.

    That said I disagree on some (not all) of what Donald Reinhardt wrote in his encyclopedia. First of all his works aren't "scientific" as he described. Because at least so far no one, not even Reinhardt has pooled together reliable data regarding embouchure types. There thus has been no peer review, duplication of test results etc. These all part of the scientific process. So if you're grouping me into the category of "arm chair science" then you must put Reinhardt in the same column himself as well.

    Roy Stevens wasn't a scientist.

    Neither was Carmine Caruso and

    Claude Gordon DEFINITELY wasn't a scientist.

    Nor am I. This doesn't necessarily make their observations lack validity. Some like Reinhardt hit the target more often than not. Others like Stevens had many many failures.

    Dave you'll find that NOWHERE IN MY POST(s) have I mentioned recommendations on whether anyone should or should not play either:

    Forward jaw

    or any other placement save and except for those chop settings that I consider unplayable. And I didn't talk in this thread about what those unplayable settings are. That's a good topic for some other time i suppose. My point never was to advocate one system vs the other but to point out TENDENCIES.

    But I'll give you credit. You've kept it civil. And you are at least one person on the forum who even understands the concepts presented. Much of the time I post these truths and I'm blasted half to hell.

    Once an actual Reinhardt certified TEACHER nastily castigated me for quoting Reinhardt. here's the killer: I was 100% accurate in my statement which was words to the effect that Reinhardt didn't encourage dry lip settings. Stating that the wet lip placement was preferable and easier to maintain. I am sure that you could find the source in the Reinhardt Encyclopedia. Believe its toward the back.

    Another time someone claiming to be of Stevens-Costello experience (and whom studied with Roy Stevens himself) slammed me for applying words incorrectly from Roy. However my words were a DIRECT QUOTE FROM ROY STEVENS HIMSELF! I even remember the page they came from...

    So i can't win at times.

    But we discuss these things, try some, forget about most and keep what works. Always trying to find the most efficient ways for ourselves and other individuals who fit similarly.

    But no I don't go by 100% of what Donald Reinhardt wrote. Some yes. Much no. Also I know of other Reinhardt advocates who do not go by the Doc's ideas 100% either. For the sake of professional courtesy I leave their names out of my posts. For that and for other reasons of privacy.

    I will say this about the Reinhardt system: It will always work for any student. Might be a round about way to get there and one must pass through miles of dogma and irrelevant areas at times. But it will always eventually work.

    No one can apply those words to any other brass playing system. This is a CREDIT to those that promote the Reinhardt system.

    PS: Another thing I concur with Donald Reinhardt is that he considered the great majority of chop doctors "idiots". I have heard on good authority that he avoided invitations to brass conventions and public discussion involving other systems. As did Al Cass whom i knew fairly well. Al refused all invitations to brass conferences everywhere. Organizers would put his name on bold banners proclaiming he would attend just to pimp off his name. Without asking his permission to do so. Al always blew them off.

    Most the advocates of various chop system approaches are dogmatic fools. This true as much back in 1972 as it is today.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  3. wilktone

    wilktone New Friend

    Jul 18, 2011
    Asheville, NC
    Depends on what you mean by "reliable" data and peer review. Duplication of the results certainly has been done. Here are some to get started.

    Farkas, P. (1970). A photographic study of 40 virtuoso horn players' embouchures. Bloomington, IN: Wind Music Inc.
    Leno, L. (1987). A study of lip vibrations with high-speed photography, The International Trombone Association Journal, 15 46-48.
    Froelich, J. (1990). The mouthpiece forces used during trombone performances, The International Trombone Association Journal, 18, 16-23.
    A DARK SOUND, A COMPARISON OF TWO MOUTHPIECES AND EMBOUCHURE POSITIONS Ted Sanders and Nathan Himes Physics 199POM Fall Semester, 2004
    An Analysis, Clarification, and Revaluation of Donald Reinhardt's Pivot System for Brass Instruments (David Ray Turnbull, doctoral thesis, Arizona State University, 2001

    I'll leave my own dissertation and subsequent research out of this list. There are some others, but many didn't specifically look for embouchure types, however you can see examples of upstream and downstream players in them. Some of these were independently discovered and many of them replicate each other. But you really shouldn't take anyone's word for yourself, as once you learn what to look for you can see for yourself.

    Was there a specific feature about Reinhardt's embouchure types you feel is not accurate? Maybe with more details about what specifically you're critical of one of us can either refute or confirm your thoughts.

    Although it seems that most brass players and teachers never really consider embouchure types, there really isn't any question that different characteristics exist in brass players and that there are at least three basic patterns of embouchure types that all players can be classified into. Whether or not they are useful for pedagogy is debatable, but not that they exist.

    At least to the best of my knowledge I can state that. If you can falsify this, it would be good to know I'm wrong.

    Here is what I just found in Reinhardt's "Encyclopedia of the Pivot System."

    Note the qualification that not all players may want to adopt a wet embouchure.

    It would probably be more accurate that Reinhardt encouraged wet embouchure over dry, but recognized that not all players can adopt one and would encourage those players to learn how to play well with a dry embouchure. So you're not quite 100% accurate, but partially correct.

    Perhaps, but this isn't a reliable method of collecting data. How would this compare to brass players who aren't "strong lead trumpet players?" Would this hold true for brass players in general? Would we find even more dry lip professional players playing in orchestral settings? More students? More among players who struggle? All we'd end up with is a collection of anecdotes and as any statistician or scientist would tell us, the plural of anecdote does not equal evidence.

    Not to mention that doing something like this is very prone to confirmation bias. To use my own personal experience again (not evidence, of course), when collecting data for my dissertation I was looking for specific observable physical characteristics that would correlate to embouchure types. I got good enough at spotting them that I thought I could accurately guess the player's embouchure type before even watching them player. Unfortunately, when I crunched the numbers my stats showed that most of the time I was fooling myself. I remembered the hits, but forgot the misses.

    As I mentioned earlier, it's useful to qualify our statements when we're musing. Your thoughts that more than half of lead players will play with a dry embouchure might be true, but we're really just guessing now. Speaking of which:

    Please note my own qualifications in the passage you're responding to. I'll post it again, with some emphasis to help you understand that it was directed to everyone, not you in particular.

    Perhaps I should have left the "you" out and replaced them with "we," but I figured that in the context it would be understood. I'm sorry you misunderstood my point. That said, you do offer some pretty confident statements that I think aren't really supported. I've already pointed out above about asking lead players if they play wet or dry, but here are some others you've made in this topic that I think would be helpful to note that are probably just guesses.

    This doesn't make you wrong, but I think your confidence in these statements may be a little too strong. I think it's more honest to state that we really don't know that forward jaw players have easier upper registers (can you cite a source for the empirical evidence you mention?). Also, I think that your thoughts the lower lip contacts the upper lip for a longer period of time would not be accurate, at least not according to the my understanding of the physics. The study by Lloyd Leno I mentioned above was not designed to show upstream and downstream embouchures, it was to designed to test whether the lips actually vibrated at the frequency of the pitch being played (turns out they do). Regardless of jaw position or air stream direction, the lips open and close at the same frequency for the particular pitch being played. I don't believe it would be accurate to suggest the lower lip contacts the upper lip for a longer period of time with forward jaw players. Maybe I misunderstood your point there, though. Stating that a forward jaw is associated with high note proficiency I feel is also a little misdirected. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, it's possible that simply most brass players play with a jaw position that is protruded somewhat. Finding more forward jaw players among lead trumpet players may simply be more statistically likely, sort of like finding more right handed people drive cars.

    To be clear, I never studied directly from Reinhardt but from one of his former students (Doug Elliott). While I am interested in his approach and borrow quite heavily from it, these days I try to discourage people from calling me a "brethren of Reinhardt" or "Reinhardt disciple" or whatever such term people like to use. I find that too many teachers and players make arguments from authority and expect ideas to be considered infallible based on the fame of the person who said it or because they studied from someone famous. I think it's much better to simply discuss ideas (citing sources, when appropriate) and debate the logic and accuracy of that information alone.

    That said, I would be interested in the stats you mention here. I've found that many of Reinhardt's former students seem to make the argument from authority or misrepresent what he appeared to actually say, so without knowing more about where you're getting your information I think it's best to take them with a grain of salt.

  4. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    I don't believe I should not stomp my feet on my computer keyboard to kinda paraphrase sticking my foot in my mouth about this subject, but for the moment I believe "screamers" get dry lips simply because of stronger air flow, and how well you are able to hit the higher or lower notes depends on where your air stream is directed.

    Except for KT and Nick Drosdoff, I don't know others who are familiar with the Asymmetric mouthpiece, but its design by John Lynch positions the throat in balance with where the player's airstream should be directed using 2/3 lower lip one 1/3 upper lip. I don't have a problem with this lip placement or directing my air stream into the throat, I just don't find the flat rim comfortable especially the outer edge of it.

    Otherwise, I believe we are all so anatomically different, that some can compensate for these differences and play very well, and others cannot, just as others can play an Asymmetric well, and others cannot ... yet. I reduce this to some do and some don't and of the latter there are some that won't because they just don't want to because they don't have the peristant dedication to do so, not because they can't.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  5. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011
    My gosh folks send this discussion around to everyone on your buddy list. Make sure they read everything three times. Better yet commit them to memory. Probably the best back & forth you will ever see on this or any brass forum ever anywhere. Dave's thoughtful reply requires a much more thorough response than i am available to make right now but will take a few pieces here. Much of the following I copied and pasted from earlier notes.

    For centuries there have been peer reviews and advocates for various theories on how things work. From playing tennis to volleyball. However to the best of my knowledge there are no peer reviews regarding the science of playing with good register on a brass instrument. Or let me put this premise or qualifier in first: at least no peer reviews that meet my my satisfaction. There are a few reasons for this.

    The amount of trumpet players in the world is a relatively small percentage of the general populace. Also no person actually needs to play the trumpet. It isn't like its a required activity like breathing or eating is. So while the New England Journal of Medicine can quote peer reviews on a new treatment for Multiple Sclerosis we shouldn't hold our breath waiting for some similar serious study to be made available soon on why so many trumpet players have a Dickens of a time playing high notes. There just isn't enough public interest in the game.

    Also we even have trouble in medical science getting doctors to agree that vitamin C is good to ward off colds and flu. Plus outside of religion or politics I've never seen a branch of methodology (like brass playing) so cluttered with hostile dissent. Next even if we did have a serious study regarding various embouchure types, jaw settings and what-have-you it would be very difficult to get enough trumpet players on board to make it an acceptable study for peer review. Let alone trust the participants to practice contentiously enough. So without these elements we're not soon likely to see a study most of us can agree on. Thus I remain steadfast in my assertion that even Donald Reinhardt did not have a scientifically based brass playing system. Nor to the best of my knowledge anyone since he came and went. Occasionally we see wind studies, x-ray and whatnot but each seems to me to be lacking in the big picture.

    I read in Jeff Smiley's interesting read "The Balanced Embouchure" words to the fact that he had "never seen a wholly scientific approach work in most applications" (loose quote). Well in fact this is true because there never has been a wholly scientific approach written. It isn't that a truly scientific approach wouldn't work. In fact it would BY PURE NATURAL LAW HAVE TO WORK. We just haven't seen one yet.

    Roy Stevens proposed that he had "plenty of science" to back up his ideas but outside of some neat pictures and graphs in his work none of the stuff was much useful. Worse still he and others were overly complicated. You can fix the majority of brass players by my harping on them to "JUST TONGUE AND BLOW". Or at least get them to achieve a professional quality tone with decent register.

    So what we're left with, if we're honest about this (as Dave certainly is) are advocates. By nature advocacy does not make scientific acceptable assertions. At times they amount to little more than happy customers. So while we can note that during the 1960's and 70's a large percentage of top notch trumpet players used Al Cass and Jet Tone mouthpieces we can't exactly call this "scientific". The information often helpful but not always reliable.

    Claude Gordon had many many advocates ('happy customers') but often these type were people more impressed with Mr. Gordons positive personality and guru types status. of all of them his was in fact the most unscientific.

    What we've missed so far are a few basic premises left undefined. Not even discussed. Concepts so EASY to understand that i lose more hair each week wondering why no one has put them in print yet. For starters each brass playing system which wants to at least head in the direction of scientific research needs to define these principles. or ask these questions;

    1. What part of the human body or instrument in a brass playing person is analogous to the position of a string on a guitar fret? I'm not talking about lip stretching here as this is usually a terrible way to change a tone.

    2. What flesh or muscles can be used to change register on a brass instrument? (along with air support of course, goes without saying)

    3. Which ones must remain soft and un-flexed?

    4. What conditions will always cause the tone to cut out in the upper register?

    and lastly while we're looking into extreme register

    5. What physical characteristics of human embouchure consistency allows a person to blow with

    A. Forward jaw?

    B. Receded jaw?

    6. What physical characteristics allow good production on

    B. Dry lip settings

    B. Wet lip settings?

    7. Why will certain cats find sharp edged mouthpieces acceptable and others find them anathema?

    Well you get the idea. I believe that the above factors as well as some others need to be addressed for a brass theory to get solidly off the ground in my mind. At least if a cat wants to conquer the notes around a High G or above.

    But then since the great problem most trumpet players have is to play with professional quality up to a High D or so i say perhaps we should promote the "JUST TONGUE AND BLOW" theory over them all.

    I will answer one of the questions above: 1. What part of the human body or instrument in a brass playing person is analogous to the position of a string on a guitar fret? I'm not talking about lip stretching here as this is usually a terrible way to change a tone.

    Answer: The inner rim edge of the mouthpiece is analogous to the fret on a guitar. Especially the top of the rim where it meets the upper lip. The main difference is that the lips do not stretch. Instead the lip gains tension against the air flow by changing aperture size and through influences from the teeth (jaw closure). Conversely a guitar shortens the string for tone change by pressing the fret down. Only when bending their strings do guitarists change the pitch of their instrument in a roughly similar fashion.

    One can prove this truth to himself by checking the "pop" in his tones when switching between a rounded rim mouthpiece and a sharper rim piece. Just like switching from a fretless bass to a fretted one the ability to make sharp tonal attacks increases.

    I'll get back to the rest later Dave. thanks so much.

    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    There HAS been quite a bit of research into the factors required to play, not just upstairs. The international press is there but one has to look for it. Here is an excellent resource to learn more:

    IWK Brass Research

    Malte Burbas excellent book "Teach your Body to blow" takes a step further with detailed research into a holistic approach to "unlimited high range".

    John Froelich's "The Mouthpiece Forces Used During Trombone Performances" should be required reading. He describes how mouthpiece pressure towards the lips (vertical forces) and shear pressure (horizontal forces) functioned in three test groups, student trombonists, professional trombonists, and professional symphonic trombonists. Froelich noted that the symphonic trombonists used the least amount of both direct and shear forces and recommends this model be followed. Other research notes that virtually all brass performers rely upon the upward and downward embouchure motion.

    Knowledge in other disciplines is also useful. Because the vibration (actually the "flapping") of the lips is dependent on the resonant behaviour of the instrument. This behaviour is also used in electronics when building a monostable multivibrator. (Monostable multivibrators : MULTIVIBRATORS).

    A bit of horn theory is also useful when interpreting what the horn sends back to the lips (reactive component).

    It is not like there is no qualified information out there. I have found nothing to back up or refute Locals wet/dry, upstream/downstream claims. They are stories that have been told for a very long time, but do not represent the european scene that I have been part of for a long time.

    One thing that I am sure will NEVER be available is a recipe. The combination of bodily attributes, mind set and opportunity is reserved for the very few that make it. For me it is enough that I have been able to have an extraordinary amount of fun in the last 45 years, that my health holds up for the next 20 or so.

    More later!
  7. wilktone

    wilktone New Friend

    Jul 18, 2011
    Asheville, NC
    Some author/teachers (Reinhardt, Leno, myself) have noticed that when a brass player moves into the upper register the air stream will strike a point in the up of the mouthpiece at a sharper angle. So a downstream player will play with an even more downstream angle as he/she ascend (reverse for upstream players). The lower the pitch the straighter the air stream will get blown into the mouthpiece.

    As far as high note specialists being dry lip players because the air is being blown stronger I think probably depends on what you mean by "dry." I personally would define a "wet" embouchure as one where the player saturates the lips so that the lips under the rim is wet. The inner embouchure (inside the cup) seems to get wet simply because of the condensation and spit that naturally get blown past the aperture when playing. I'm not certain how likely it is that blowing with "stronger air flow" will dry the inner embouchure like a hair drier. At least, I've not noticed this in my research.

    Embouchures are not symmetrical, so I don't think there's any reason why mouthpieces necessarily have to be. I think the asymmetrical mouthpiece design has a lot of potential, but I feel Lynch has some misconceptions about how embouchures function, based on the information he's posted on his web site. For one thing, I'm pretty confident that upstream players (that is, brass players who place the mouthpiece with more lower lip inside) are actually a minority where Lynch claims the reverse. In part because of this error, I think his recommendations are backwards. Lynch suggests that most players (upstream, according to Lynch) will want to position the larger rim portion of his mouthpiece on the lower lip, thereby inhibiting the vibrations of the lower lip. This is essentially what already happens with downstream players by placing the mouthpiece with more upper lip inside. There is more rim contact on the lower lip this way, which facilitates the downstream embouchure. Lynch notes that a minority of players will play better with the larger rim portion on the top lip, which would facilitate an upstream embouchure.

    Minor quibbles in the grand scheme of things, but details matter.

    If you're looking for a single, definitive peer-reviewed article that answers all your questions of course you won't find one. This is really a misunderstanding of the scientific method. Certainly I agree that brass pedagogy can benefit from a more scientific approach, but there are musicians, physicists, and biomechanics researchers that are investigating brass embouchures and going through a peer-review process. "Process" is the key word here. Science works because it grows and changes over time and new information comes to light and adds to our understanding. We will never get to a point of where we can understand everything about brass embouchures and we should certainly criticize studies and texts that don't take a more complete understanding into account. However, it's not really true to say that no one is engaged in the science of learning more about embouchures. It just takes time and moves forward very slowly.

    I don't really feel this is the correct analogy to use regarding brass embouchures. At a basic level, a brass instrument is not simply a megaphone for the lips. The vibrating embouchure's purpose is to excite the air column inside the instrument. It's this air column that is more like the vibrating string.

    Physicists often refer to a brass embouchure as a "lip reed," which is probably a more accurate analogy.

    I'm sure that we're aware that what muscles "can" be used is different from what "should" be used. There are some studies that investigate this. Mattias Bertsch (his site was mentioned by rowuk in his above post) has done one. I recently found another by Frank Heuser and Jill L. Mcnitt-Gray called EMG Patterns in Embouchure Muscles of Trumpet Players with Asymmetrical Mouthpiece Placement, published in 1993 in the journal Medical Problems of Performing Artists. I know there are some others I've come across, but I'm too lazy to go look for them just now.

    My dissertation research (The Correlation Between Doug Elliott's Embouchure Types and Selected Playing and Physical Characteristics Among Trombonists) wasn't designed to look at those specific research questions, but was somewhat related. The results ended up being largely inconclusive for the majority of observable anatomical features that I tested for, suggesting that there are either other factors involved, that a combination of physiological differences are responsible for embouchure types, or that more accurate measurements that are beyond the abilities and interests of most teachers and players are needed. I would love it if some grad student or researcher would take up where I left off and get more into this topic, but from my experience it's an impractical way to teach.

    Again, I think this analogy breaks down. Leno's film shows pretty clearly that one lip will vibrate with more intensity than the other and neither lip will really vibrate for the entire length of lip inside the mouthpiece, so the rim isn't really acting as a fret. Viewing the video at the link you can see that as the trombonists play higher they draw their lips in tighter against the teeth and less lip mass vibrates.

    Bertsch's site is a great resource, including the raw data he presents there. I've had some limited communication from him and know that he continues to study brass embouchures and has some new publications in the works. I hope that he continues to post and update his site.

    I've also seen some publications by Japanese researchers, although the translation software makes it hard to sift through. I recently came across a couple of papers on embouchure related topics in Turkish but haven't had a chance yet to run it through Google Translate to read them. Unfortunately I'm a typical American and while I used to be conversational in Spanish, I'm not really bilingual.

    Interesting stuff, everyone!

  8. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    First, I have and have played an Asymmetric Lead 342 mpc and with such successfully reached the altissimo easier than with many other mpcs IMO. In your statement Dave, which I have enhanced in bold, you seem to believe the lower lip is significant in the production of lip vibration essential to playing a trumpet. I do not! I can lay a finger across my lower lip, isolating my lower lip, and buzz with my top lip engaging my finger, vibrate my upper lip as well as were it engaged above the lower lip. Thus, I do not believe there is any significance of the lower lip in production of the vibration necessary to play a trumpet. More succinctly, the lower wider rim of the Asymmetric is only a support to the lower lip and isolates it from entering the cup and provides only contact rest point that aligns the mpc for the optimum airstream and vibration of the upper lip. Such also provide a miniscule back off of my upper lip to catch a breath without losing position of my mpc. As to embouchure it is only the muscles of the face and aperture control with manipulation of upper lip vibration that affect performance when sufficient air (carbon dioxide exhalation) is available.

    As to your statement about alpha angle changing when ascending into higher range I agree, but this is what makes a Parduba double cup mpc (my favorite) work for some and not others.

    All this being said, I cannot acclaim that either an Asymmetric or Parduba mpc should be preferred by anyone. I just say I can personally use them as equally I can use a Bach 7C, 5C, or 3C but if Bach, I prefer a 6 concurring with what Bach himself (or the company) has written in his / their mpc manual.
  9. wilktone

    wilktone New Friend

    Jul 18, 2011
    Asheville, NC
    Sorry, I wasn't very clear. This isn't quite what I think. Downstream players (the majority of brass players) will place the mouthpiece so that there is more upper lip inside. Viewing the lip vibrations in slow motion (as in the Leno film and in some of the IWK research and other stroboscopic studies of the embouchure I've seen) shows that with the downstream embouchure the lower lip vibrates with less intensity than the upper lip (which predominates inside the cup). The lips don't quite function as a double reed, but in some ways resemble clarinet mouthpiece. The lower lip sort of serves like the mouthpiece against which the upper lip vibrates (the upper lip being more like the reed). This is a simplification, but should help you get the idea.

    Upstream players are the reverse, the lower lip predominates and vibrates with more intensity.

    This would match my thoughts about how this would work for a downstream player. When you play a normal mouthpiece do you place it so that there is more upper lip inside typically? If so, then I think that the extra support of the lower lip provided by placing the larger rim portion on the lower lip is, in part at least, helping you isolate the lower lip in such a way that the upper lip can vibrate against it. For an upstream player, this mouthpiece position would probably work against their natural tendencies.

    My point with Lynch's asymmetrical mouthpiece design is that I think he unintentionally reverses the proportion of downstream/upstream players (actually, I would personal guess about 85% downstream to 15% upstream, but it might even be fewer upstream than that). I also believe that with the lower lip vibrating with less intensity for downstream players that placing the asymmetrical mouthpiece so that the larger rim portion is on the lower lip it would suit downstream embouchures, not upstream players as Lynch believes. Since Lynch states that a minority of players (he believes these are the downstream players, but I'm confident that upstream players are actually the minority) actually play better with the larger rim portion on the top, I suspect that he has his recommendations actually reversed.

    Of course, it could also be that the asymmetrical mouthpiece design is such that it can make a brass musician who would normally not be able to play with an upstream embouchure be effective with this placement, but based on what I can visualize, a larger rim on the lower lip helps the upper lip predominate, which is most likely a downstream embouchure.

    I have not had the opportunity to observe players using a transparent asymmetrical mouthpiece design, which would answer these questions. I emailed Lynch a while back to ask him about this and also offer a correction about something he wrote on his web site concerning an article of mine he cited. He got a little defensive (understandable when someone emails you out of the blue and tells you you've got something wrong) and seemed uninterested in discussing my research, but I think he did remove the inaccurate information regarding my article, at least.

  10. RobertSlotte

    RobertSlotte Pianissimo User

    Jul 7, 2008

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