Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Trumpet Pedagogy' started by mhendricks, Feb 14, 2016.
Pretty cool video, thanks for uploading!
Earl D. Irons' "Twenty-seven groups of exercises" teaches that the tongue is most important when changing pitch, just as can be conjectured when watching this video. He also stresses that the corners of the mouth should be fixed and not pulled back into a "smile" when increasing pitch.
It is notable that when whistling, the pitch is all in the tongue position (changing the resonant volume of air), while singers use the same technique to control tone, not pitch. Brass playing has more in common with singing, I believe. The lips fill the same role as the larynx does when singing. The difference being that in a trumpet, the vibrating membrane is after the resonating chamber of the mouth, rather than before it. (Then another resonating chamber follows, in the instrument.)
It would seem odd to me to use tongue to change pitch like in whistling, when in fact whistling is acoustically so dissimilar from brass playing. Rather, we should expect tonal color to change, like Rowuk wrote. I will try to pay more attention to this in my next practice session!
My experience has been that Irons' tongue approach has not at all helped me, however his advice about the corners is sound.
We need to be careful about what our gut level feeling tells us, because not all of the playing parameters are easy to derive "logically".
The tongue does aid pitch - even with singers. A slight increase in "resistance" loads the vocal chords in a different way. A long O or U vowel is harder to sing high than an eeeh for instance. The resonant behavior of the trumpet is very complex and many things are very difficult to explain.
Earl Irons observed that many players benefitted from tongue level control. My personal experience is that if a player has trained with much less tongue activity, they would need to unlearn that habit before they could benefit from another approach.
The real question is what happens when the tongue goes up. Some claim faster air (I don't believe it as the speed is governed by the smallest opening and that is the mouthpiece throat). Others claim that the "resonance" of the oral cavity goes up in pitch, supporting the lips differently. Others think that the angle of the airflow needs to be pointed at the throat of the mouthpiece. What is believed goes on and on. I think that it is far more complex because tone, pitch and volume are interdependent. We could isolate certain facets, but have to keep in mind what we don't know/haven't thought about.
I teach with the Irons book. In 45+ years of teaching, I have never had a student that did not benefit immensely. I do not attribute this to tongue level, rather a holistic approach to body use, air use, embouchure development and a psychological factor that can be discussed in a later post.
Worth repeating. I suspect it's the second reason, the resonance of the oral cavity. But it could be any of these reasons.
I believe that it is equilibrium between the pressure/resonance in the oral cavity and in the cup in front of the lips. Only then are the lips "free" to flap at the highest frequencies.
Thanks Rowuk for clarifying this. I really should get me a good instructor one of these days...
There are many fine teachers that do not know the physics behind this but have good analytical perception and can guide the student without the geek factor. There are also teachers that talk too much and confuse the hell out of innocent students...
There used to be a trombone forum run by (I think) Sam Bass. He described his experiments with multiphonic singing which involved manipulating mouth resonance and applying it to trombone. He also mentioned Adam Rapa's use of a Japanese variant of the jew's harp to do the same thing. Sam's writings were very interesting and well worth reading if I could only find them again
Outstanding video.. thanks for posting Mark
on a side note.... I can't imagine doing this for 2 hours in that tube... heck I had one the other day and ask the tech to please pull me out for a minute because I was FREAKING OUT ....