Two questions

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ptynan, Dec 7, 2006.

  1. ptynan

    ptynan Pianissimo User

    Sep 13, 2005
    Antigonish, NS
    Two questions:

    1. I'm wondering how big the difference is between the importance of tongue level awareness between Trumpet players and Tuba players?

    I recently had a discussion with a great friend (who has a DMA in Tuba performance from ASU) about this very topic. He adamantly stood by his point that tongue level studies are not worth practice time for any brass player.

    2. Is there a difference in the moisture content of slow warm air and cool fast air (Again, a point of contention in the above mentioned conversation) found in the breath used to play a brass instrument?

    Any thoughts on these? Thanks in Advance.
  2. CJH

    CJH Pianissimo User

    Mar 15, 2005
    Boston, MA
    Hey Paul,

    Here is my take: #1 - I don't know, though I'd lean towards saying they have more effect on trumpet players than tuba players due to the smaller mouthpiece and bore.

    #2 - no, in my opinion. My thinking is that visualizing blowing warm or cool air is a useful abstraction to get away from thinking too directly about mouth/embouchure position, but is probably not grounded in reality. I don't think the temperature or moisture content of the air changes just because it's moving faster; the wind chill effect might cause such an illusion though.

    Of course, I'll gladly change my vote for you if there is money at stake here. For a cut of the profits, naturally. :D

  3. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    As a trumpet player, I use my tongue for flexabilities and shakes and range.

    As a trumpet player who also doubles on tuba, I don't use my tongue. The air speed and lips are much more important than air and tongue.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    to #1: if you don't have a problem, don't create one. Embouchure and "tongue" changes are for teachers experienced in fixing problems! Tongue position can come into play for extreme high register, fast slurs and "lip trills"
    to #2: there is no such thing as exhaling "cool" air. The air you breathe in is warmed up by the body. Air speed alone is inconsequential in brass playing (there will be controversy on this point!).

    The basics of creating a tone say that moving air forces the lips to "resonate". In this case it means open and close at a specific frequency - like a switch. The volume or pitch produced are based on lip tissue tension (more compression= higher resonant frequency), aperture size(larger hole= more volume, less pressure) and lastly air PRESSURE(this essentially blows the lips "open").
    Velocity is a product of air PRESSURE and everything that inhibits airflow like resistance of the mouthpiece/instrument, aperture size and tongue position. Less resistance=lower velocity. This is why a smaller mouthpiece with a tighter backbore and throat CAN aid high register playing. More resistance=higher pressure=higher velocity.
    Pressure is a product of lung capacity, diaphragm condition, quantity of air inhaled and everything that inhibits the air flow. High resistance= high pressure.

    This is of course greatly simplified - but you should get my point: the more factors you worry about, the worse your playing gets. If you can slur quickly and can play "lip trills", your tongue is just fine. If you can't - get professional help. The problem could be one or many factors! Just addressing one could make the total picture worse! The deciding factor is what you cannot play - never some theoretical model of how something should work!
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2006
  5. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    I had to laugh; when I read this the first thing that popped in my mind was, "Unless it happens to be your dying breath."

    I'd suspect that one would be relatively warm though too.

    Just had to add that. :-)
  6. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    As for number 2, Paul, I think there is a PERCIEVED difference. When teaching low brass or flutes to play down in the bottom of their register, I often have them blow on their hands as if they are waiting for the bus in the dead of winter (which, as you know, can be quite cold here). Inevitably, moisture condenses on their hands. I never mention warm, moist air... my objective is to have them widen/broaden their airstream and relax into the pitch. In contrast, playing with a faster air stream, such as when in the upper register, no condensation appears.

    I think both questions are very much related to one another; but to answer number 1, I honestly could not say.

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