Those forward jaw "Upstream" cats

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

  1. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    Dave, I would neither consider myself to be either an upstream or downstream player as I hold a trumpet generally close to level. Too, I try to keep either lip from actually entering the mpc cup as I'm certain such would alter the internal design of the cup producing inconsistent variations in the sound produced

    Too, I believe all the various kinesiology visual studies of the lower lip vibrating are only false allusions, truly being only a flutter / waver in response to the upper lip vibrations. Yes, too I can finger isolate the top lip and vibrate / flutter the lower lip, but I've no control of it as I do with the upper lip in forming an aperture with control by my facial muscles viz the whole embouchure. I know of no cinemagraphic visualization performed at film speed faster than 24 frames a second as otherwise they'd become a blur to the human eye, and yet there is presently a scientific camera with a film speed so fast that it can reveal a bullet's rotation in flight or the electronic pulse in computerized circuitry. Still, I'm sure there have been advancements in the technology of this camera in the time lapse since I once utilized one with spin-offs in such technology to other imaging equipment. When I used this camera, it was known as a Fastex camera, but what it is called today I really don't know, but one can Google Fastex Camera and quickly confirm the film speed is about 5,000 frames a second in a study by the University of Michigan on steam turbines ... and this wasn't yet digitalized imagery.

    Yep, no way in my mind can one humanly discern actual movement at 5000 frames a second and no musician I know of can play that fast. Taking the pictures was the easy part. The analysis of each frame was the arduous and tedious part, even when divided among hundreds of analysts. I would have welcomed it had such a camera been on a C5A when airbourne, but alas it was not and the plane it was on made it very cramped to operate. Too, it required intervarometer integration to the aircraft speed as caused me to wish I could cuss at times (maintain radio silence). Still, I could smile when the final status was acclaimed, "Mission Accomplished", and I must say it was a team of 4 of us that operated that camera making sure that many film cannisters rotated in place precisely and that all systems were maintained with optimum accuracy. Thankfully, never saw that plane or camera again, but I have seen Fastex cameras otherwise as a civilian.
     
  2. wilktone

    wilktone New Friend

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    Again, while I consider horn angle to be an important part of a player's embouchure, I don't believe that it really has much, if any, effect on the air stream direction. You can find great variation of horn angle/jaw position in both upstream and downstream players.

    In every case I've studied (and that of others that looked for or identified air stream direction), one lip or another predominates and the air stream gets blown either up or down. Occasionally a player will do both, flipping the direction at some point in their range or resetting the mouthpiece for different ranges. Typically this causes an audible break that you can also see if you know what to look for. Follow the link to see one example I happened to catch on video. I haven't been able to find anyone in person or seen any evidence of any players that look to be blowing straight down the shank for anything but very low notes.

    I suppose it's possible that you blow straight down the mouthpiece at all times, but I doubt it. Even players who place very close to half and half seem to be one or the other.

    The stroboscopic videos look pretty convincing to me, but perhaps there is something fundamentally inaccurate about this sort of "hack" that we get a mistaken view when using this approach. Leno claimed that he filmed his subjects "somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 frames per second." Of course, we're not viewing it at that speed, that's how we see it in slow motion when it's played back in 16 or 24 fps.



    Dave
     
  3. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

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    Is this forward jaw? I try to play with my lower teeth lined up under my upper teeth(like smiling and saying cheese), and I use the gap between the teeth to help regulate the size size of the air stream that goes past the lips.
     
  4. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

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    The fret/mouthpiece rim analogy helps answers the question as to why the trumpet players who blow dry lipped have an easier upper register. Essentially the extra friction the dry lip gives at the upper part of the mouthpiece rim allows the vibrating flesh to remain less flexed. Gives a power assist to the chops.

    But there are people who can not play well at all with dry lips. And those who can not play well with a forward jaw. The likely reason for this is that the lowest point of the upper lip isn't all that soft. So they unconsciously have chosen to blow receded jaw where the vibration feeds off the inside of the upper lip. Commonly they activate this chop setting from playing pedal tones and dropping/receding the jaw.

    Which conversely is one of the reasons forward jaw players find that pedal tones "screw them up". As Brisbois noticed when he tried them.

    The answers are out there if we stay open minded. As for the data people have posted regarding clinical studies? Well since they don't establish the significance of where the vibration is emitted, jaw position, lip texture and other major matters of detail?

    They are are of limited to no value. Hardly much more than old wives tales.
     
  5. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    Dave, I never said I directed my airstream straight down the mouthpiece throat, expecially when I optimize playing on my fav Parduba mpc. All I said was that my aperture and the mpc throat should be aligned. Were I to slip one of my slim coffee stirring straws though an Asymmetric or any other mpc as to set the mpc on the players lips in their aperture, they should align. Yeah, posture should be considered in the complete embouchure.

    To view 1000 frames taken in one second at 24 frames per second would take 1/3 of a second less than 42 seconds, and what you would see would not be slow motion ... you'd only see what was filmed prior in one second without any motion at all, slow or otherwise. Seems that Leno did a cut > print editing of the film you watched to achieve slow motion and then I'd expect it to look like one of the earliest hand cranked flicker films. If I were a Judge, such a film would not be accepted in my Court as evidential.
    Those film cannisters for the Fastex cameras each held just 5 minutes of film and weighed over 200 lbs each. Taking them off as they rotated and reloading another was a real sweat job! Now my Docs limit my lift to just 15 lbs.
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    This is about as wrong as wrong can be. The lips open and close like a switch. They do not "vibrate" like strings. The aperature is not fixed, rather constantly opening and closing. The better the player, the more completely the switch closes!

    Just look at any video of lip action with brass players. That "square wavish" method of exciting the standing wave in the instrument is one of the reasons the trumpet has such predominant overtones (squarewaves in electronics also have strong overtones). The tension is based on the muscles, the air pressure from our breathing apparatus and the back pressure from the horn. This in my opinion is the argument for the shallow mouthpiece. The air cushion out of the cup vs the air pressure from our breathing actually help control the motion of the lips. The compression (force from both sides) helps the lips vibrate at a higher frequency. It also helps explain how lead players can survive on a gig lasting a couple of hours - it isn't brute force, rather a sympathetic reaction to the physics of the trumpet/mouthpiece and a "lower impact" approach to using the lips.

    I believe one of the major functions of the asymmetric mouthpiece is to keep the lips closer together in the vertical plane. That makes the open and closing easier because of reduced distance. In the horizontal, a large part of the lip is still in play to increase the flesh mass and keep the tone from being too thin.

    To learn more about playing, I think we need to study more of the reactive component of the standing wave that actually influences the lips directly. I think if there are any secrets, they can be found there.
     
  7. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

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    LOL. Sorry Rowuk but you just dissed the fundamental ingredient of embouchure function. Other have done this so don't feel like you're the first. Like someone saying Henry Ford would never be successful with the assembly line or the internal combustion machine.

    In addition to that you COMPLETELY misunderstood the concept I was mentioning. I figured someone would. They usually do.

    So far in this thread we've seen (except for my own) largely irrelevant data. Or at best it was inapplicable or unnecessary science. By this I mean statements that while possibly true aren't relevant to the process. Such as the whole "upstream" "downstream" type concepts for one. As if by projecting the air directionally one way or the other has any significant bearing on the way the upper lip controls pitch or enhances tone, range or control.

    It doesn't. Of primary importance is the inherent elasticity of the upper lip. As well as how it is supported by the lower lip and the control/channel made by teeth and jaw working together.

    The upper lip HINGES on the mouthpiece rim in at least a slightly analogous method as a fretted string does. We can observe this by listening to the pop a fretted instrument makes vs a non fretted neck. And the rounded inner rim of the mouthpiece making a less secure attack or "pop" does a sharper inner rim edge. Again I KNEW someone would screw up the understanding of this. Sheesh.

    Understanding this analogy is critical if someone truly wants to understand why some cats have extreme register and others don't or struggle.

    But back to the bad or inapplicable science: A few years back i took one of these promotional "chop docs" to task for a book he wrote. like several and most others he claimed his work was "Scientific". I said B/S and pointed out why. He in turn reiterated various thoughts from his book like:

    "The air not the lips set up the vibration. They are not a siren". Or words to this effect.

    OK that is true except that it is irrelevant.

    Just as understanding the nodal pattern, fundamental frequency, first, second third harmonics etc. is effectively unusable study. Ditto the "standing wave" concept. While true this science is WORTHLESS advice to a trumpet player. Ditto all the tongue arch studies, x-ray and other electrical current mouth and facial scans whatever.

    Until the structure of the embouchure function is PROPERLY DEFINED (and prior to my words I don't believe that it ever has been carefully dissected) discussion of chop usage that goes beyond certain useful generalities like "don't use too much arm pressure too often on a gig" is valueless.

    Thus the reason my suggestion to all chop docs is that they really ought to stick to the "JUST TONGUE AND BLOW" philosophy. If emphatically stressed that concept will yield a cure/fix rate probably in excess of 80%. Or at least give a poor kid a solid usable High C with good tone.

    OK you might want to put the student on a diet of Clarke Studies and shift him through some helpful mouthpiece choices (if you know what you're doing that is) too. But seriously it is high time the so-called chop docs try and humble themselves enough to become teachable. Otherwise their advice is essentially useless. About all they can teach are fingerings and breath control. My advice to them?

    If you can't lend a hand? Get out of the road. Become a part of the solution, not the problem. You may not like the humble pie I offer you to feast on but come on: GET WITH IT!
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
  8. EdMann

    EdMann Mezzo Forte User

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    Ya know, I was truly hoping to learn something from this little give and take, but it's just so unhinged. The upper lip is a fret? It hinges there like, what, a door? Does it swing? Can you swing? What of wet lipped high note giants like Roger Ingram, who's been accused of dripping saliva on nice chairs from here to Royal Albert Hall? I'm sure you're aiming for a cogent argument, but it's resonating like a lead bell. What about letting your sound dictate your choices? Reading a thesis to play high notes is nonsense. Try what works, and work on that. Everyone's different, dude.

    ed
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Local has disqualified himself. That is OK. If he had a real system, there would be tons of players acing double Cs. Where are they?

    He is not the first or last to be confused and claim that the scientific community (of which I am only a devouted reader and guinea pig) has no idea what is going on. Nothing to fret about. Read the posts, check the links, try stuff yourself. The truth comes out in the end. Understanding what happens inside the mouthpiece and the effects from the entire system do indeed give us a better understanding of what we need to do to move forward. Myths restated simply do not provide results. The recipe for high playing is a very individual one based on geometry and physiology as well as psychology.

    As far as lending a hand, I guess that you will just have to remain in the dark about who I have helped and how. The road is very wide.
     
  10. wilktone

    wilktone New Friend

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    Sorry, Ed. I misunderstood this passage:

    So what to you mean here? As I mentioned, I think it's pretty likely that you're either upstream or downstream and that this is related to the ratio of upper to lower lip inside the cup. At least, this is what I have observed to happen. I would be curious to learn if you position your asymmetrical mouthpiece so the larger rim portion is on the lower lip if you were a downstream player and on the upper lip if you were an upstream player. My hypothesis of how Lynch's mouthpiece actually work are different from his and make that prediction.

    You obviously have had more experience working with high speed filming than me and can bring that experience into the conversation. Leno's original study was designed to test to see how many times the lips open and close while playing a particular pitch and he painstakingly counted by going frame to frame. The film I linked to is obviously altered to run on a standard projector and later digitized, but what I see looks pretty compelling. Have you had a chance yet to follow the link I posted and watch the entire film? If so, do you still reject that as an accurate source for the pattern of vibrations and how they differ between upstream and downstream players? Can you explain further your reluctance to accept that evidence after viewing it? It seems to me you're starting to move the goalpost. At the very least can we now confidently state that there has been at least one person who has conducted embouchure researching using filming faster than 24 fps? Why should the stroboscopic studies be disqualified as inaccurate? Don't they give us a pretty authentic view of how the lips vibrate in slow motion too?

    There may be some plausibility to your idea here, Local, but I don't think you need to invoke the rim as a fret analogy to develop this further. In fact, I think that dropping that analogy would probably make your hypothesis stronger.

    Lip texture can certainly have an effect on a particular player's embouchure. My teacher, Doug Elliott, mentioned during the interview he gave me for my dissertation that some players will place the mouthpiece is such a way that they look from the outside like they should be blowing in one direction, but because of their lip texture end up blowing in the opposite direction from what you would expect. Personally, I've never seen this and suspect it's pretty rare. Here's what Doug said:



    Doug also put together a film called "The Brass Player's Embouchure" that showed how other physical characteristics can change things around in unexpected ways. He shows a trombonist with a pretty large underbite. This player placed the mouthpiece quite high on the lips, close to the nose, and had the high horn angle you would expect. Watching him play in a transparent mouthpiece you can see how his underbite forced him into an upstream embouchure, yet his mouthpiece placement was characteristic of the downstream types. Moving his placement so the lower lip predominated (like other upstream players' placement) corrected some issues he had been having in his playing.

    So while your soft lip affecting jaw position might be related with some cases, there are plenty of other plausible reasons why some players can't make a certain jaw position work well for them. Some players simply can't bring their jaw forward comfortably enough to play protruded. Other players just can't bring their jaw back and play receded. These players will want to learn to work with their anatomical features and if we look around I think there are enough examples of fine players playing with both protruded and receded jaws, so we know it is possible.

    I really don't mean to antagonize you here, Local, or contribute to the decline of what I thought had developed into a nice discussion. However, I find difficult to respond to you criticizing scientifically conducted research as "old wives tales" and then shortly thereafter very confidently pronouncing your own ideas are correct with very weakly developed thought experiments and red herrings. Remember, even if the results of experimental research doesn't conform to what we might discover later it doesn't make your ideas the correct one. Maybe there is a combination of things that contribute or maybe something completely different entirely. Short of conducting your own research, the best we have is what has already been done. Sure, there are probably things that we should consider taking those studies and applying them to different situations. That is fair to bring up.

    Rowak, I think if we carefully consider your logic we would realize that it doesn't matter whether a person has taught thousands of successful students or never even given a single lesson. What matters is whether the ideas are accurate and logically applied. While I think Local is making some fallacious arguments in support of his ideas, we shouldn't respond in kind.

    I hope that we can get back on topic in this discussion. It was looking for a while as if it would be a good one and there is still that potential. Let's all cool out a bit and realize that criticisms of your ideas doesn't mean you're a bad person. Let's all try to keep our criticism constructive, if we can.


    Dave
     

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