Tightening the corners of the lips...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Gxman, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. Gxman

    Gxman Piano User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Hey guys,

    Can someone help clarify what it means to 'tighten the corners' or the lips?

    There are several things I find I can do...

    1: do a hard smile. Corners are now set tight via a horizontal pulling of the lips.

    2: Close down on the sides of the lips... squeeze them together in the sides via a vertical use of the muscle/jaw

    I added a random internet picture with arrows exactly where im referring to 'pushing down'


    *scratches head*
  2. jtpowell

    jtpowell Pianissimo User

    Mar 15, 2011
    I think what most people are talking about is the corners of the playing aperture not the corners of the mouth itself. I like Greg Spence's explanation of it. How To Improve Your Trumpet Playing - YouTube and Aperture and Harmonic Slurs 10/06/11 - How To Improve On The Trumpet - YouTube
  3. Harky

    Harky Pianissimo User

    Feb 22, 2013
    Lancaster, PA
    Overthought and overanalyzed. jtpowell is correct. Most folks talk about the 'corners' being where the lips meet the mpc not where the lips meet the cheeks. However it is important to know which 'corners' a person is talking about.

    ADDITIONAL UNSOLICITED INFORMATION: The current thought is that the corners and the muscles all around where the mpc sits are focused or contracted IN toward the aperture. (little hole where the air goes through) NOT up and down as in the photo. They need to be firm and strong and will vary in degree of contraction depending on the range of the note or phrase played AND being sure to allow the buzzing surface inside the mpc to be soft and flexible so your notes can resonate. From the mpc corners out the lips mostly just keep the air from leaking out and left alone they will take care of themselves. Don't worry about them.

    Check out Claude Gordon's "Brass Playing is No Harder Than Deep Breathing" for all you will know about this topic. I wish I had that little book forty years ago. It would have saved much heartache and frustration.
  4. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi Gxman,
    You asked about how the corners should look. From my perspective, it shouldn't be a smile but it shouldn't be like a pucker like a person that bit into a sour lime.
    One way is to first:
    Pretend to blow out a bunch of birthday candles with a soft steady stream of air. Notice that your jaw went out "just a little." Now, do the same thing again and this time slowly put the mouthpiece against the lips. That's basically it.
    Now: Once you have that down, play a long tone (soft) and very slowly begin to pull the mouthpiece away from the lips while maintaining a good sound. VB posted about this some time ago and it gives the person the ability to feel the muscles in the corners and it's a very good exercise.
    In addition, as you know, every note has it's own air speed. Knowing those different speeds is very helpful. Why? Because when we don't know them, we tend to apply more pressure, and the overall mechanics tend to go south. Please remember, the trumpet is a whole body device and to isolate and focus on just one area can sometimes negatively effect another. With that said, be sure to not rob Peter to pay Paul.
    Hope this helps
  5. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
  6. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Rolf Qunique's explanation was to pull the corners to the eye teeth when forming an embouchure. He was principal in Munich and had some pretty good high chops. The fact that he wrote his fingerings in his parts doesn't seem to have hurt his playing.
  7. MiragePilot

    MiragePilot New Friend

    May 2, 2011
    Fort Worth, TX
    I have several of Quinque's method books. Excellent stuff indeed!
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I regularly talk about M-bouchure. A powerful M gets the corners tight - without smiling or frowning
  9. Gxman

    Gxman Piano User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Well a powefull M seems to get those corners pressed down which is basically what I was trying to explain with that picture I drew arrows on.. Thanks for clarrification.

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