Understanding Bore/Throat and Air Flow

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by neal085, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. neal085

    neal085 Mezzo Forte User

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    I need help.

    I find that I sometimes have air flow issues, but it's usually because I have too much air, not too little. It's been in the back of my mind for a while as something I want to address, but I just found this from Rowuk on one of the sticky threads, and it reminded me.

    "2) Efficiency is the proportion of energy in to energy out. In horn design, we get improved efficiency when increasing the resistance at the throat (the mouthpiece in our case) compared to the mouth (the bell). The problem that we have as trumpet players, is that we need to breathe to stay alive and play. That means that we need a certain amount of "inefficiency" to use our air up in the time that our body requires fresh air. A too free blowing horn on the other hand sacrifices efficiency and limits our ability to phrase because our air is gone too quickly."

    I usually run into this when I'm playing something that's slow/soft/reflective - say, Bach's Air on the G String. When I'm playing faster or louder, it's not really a problem.

    What happens is that I'm done playing a phrase, and still have about 17 gallons of air left that I need to get rid of - like I've been holding my breath too long underwater.

    Is there a possibility that I would do better with a more free-blowing horn or mouthpiece, at least for certain pieces?

    Or could it be something completely unrelated?

     
  2. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    I find myself with that problem when I play a piece with few places to breathe and those places aren't long or spaced out very well. I end up taking in more air than I can get rid of while playing a phrase, and there's not enough time to get rid of the excess "stale air" and take another good fresh breath before the next phrase begins. I end up packing a shallow breath on top of some stale air and the problem repeats itself. Once I'm more familiar with the piece, I can do better, but it still happens if I don't concentrate on what I'm doing.
     
  3. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

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    I haven't got this problem licked either, but I do try to not take in too much air, much like when swimming. Most people can survive longer than they think holding their breath, and with some training can easily do a minute or more without feeling uncomfortable (and thereby not tensing up so much since they know this is okay). With this in mind I try to take in the air I need for a phrase rather than as a grab for as much air as will fit (which takes longer anyway). I compare this to swimming where I breathe after every fourth stroke, so don't need more air than will see me through four strokes. If I take in too much or too little it upsets my rhythm. As Dale says, concentration will help you get this right.

    --bumblebee
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Uhhh, Neal, is your mouthpiece and trumpet clean?
     
  5. neal085

    neal085 Mezzo Forte User

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    Yeah, I keep the axe pretty clean.

    I've tried taking smaller breaths, but it may be something I just need to spend some more time on.
     
  6. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not convinced that smaller breaths is the way to go. Not certain, but it could create excess tension while playing, and that is not a good thing. You might want to try taking fewer big breaths, say every eight bars instead of four, and remember we don't need to breathe during every rest. The breath marks in music aren't there so much to breathe but rather to show the phrasing.

    Have fun working with your air!
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    My experience is that players that suffocate have simply made some bad decisions. Even relatively small mouthpieces can "move" substantial quantities of air as most every successful lead trumpet player in the world proves.

    What is the difference? Well, the successful do not conquer the pieces that they play. Their bodies function in harmony with the art form.

    Students that come to me with this type of problem get longtones and lipslurs to turn force into finesse. If you can hold your breath for 30 seconds, then there is no horn/mouthpiece combo on the planet that will kill you.

    The solution is not the gun, it is he who pulls the trigger. Get your chops and brain together. It is a lot more fun that way!
     

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