Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by screamingmorris, May 11, 2008.

  1. screamingmorris

    screamingmorris Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 4, 2007
    I have many years as an amateur under my belt.
    Because I have an insatiable curiosity, I not only want to know "what", I also want to know "why".

    I am slowly getting used to a fairly deep Bach 7 (no letter) mouthpiece on a .485 bore Conn 5A cornet, trying to obtain the same control I used to have with a .460 bore cornet.
    I still often hit a sour note when trying to slur "Can't Get Started", but I hit all the notes OK when I legato tongue the song.
    I assume that the standard answer is "You still need to develop your flexibility more".
    But the intervals between notes are still the same regardless of whether I slur or legato tongue.
    So why does legato tongue help in playing those intervals?
    Why does slurring make those same intervals more difficult?
    *Why* does tonguing help the player to jump an interval? :dontknow:

    - Morris
  2. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    I would think that when the tongue interrupts the air stream, even if it is really briefly, it creates a small build up of pressure in the mouth, which helps the note come out.

    I wouldn't get so hung up about bore size. It is not the only thing that makes a horn play the way it does.
  3. Newguy

    Newguy Pianissimo User

    Mar 30, 2008
    Pittsburgh Area
    Morris, as strictly a novice on the instrument, I can assure you that tonguing the note is easier and more accurate than slurring into it. I am sure that one of the knowledgeable guru's here will be able to explain why, but it sure is a fact.
  4. screamingmorris

    screamingmorris Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 4, 2007
    That might be right.
    When I slur up an interval, I am trying to tighten the aperture while the air is still flowing through it, so I am fighting against the still-flowing airstream.
    But when I tongue, I am able to tighten the aperture while the air flow is momentarily interrupted, so the airstream is not fighting against that tightening.
    It is a very small difference, but enough to temporarily cause plenty of sour notes while I am getting used to the cornet and mouthpiece.

    I'm not obsessed with the bore size of the Conn 5A.
    I am just recognizing that the conbination of .485-bore cornet with fairly deep mouthpiece is temporarily not giving me the control I used to have with a .460 cornet.
    With much practice and concentration I will eventually gain control over it and then I will be "master of my domain".

    Anybody else have insights into why it is easier to play intervals with a tongue rather than with a slur?

    Here is an extra that I just realized, and it pertains to the subject of this thread:

    I have noticed that when I play lower notes, below the staff and on the staff, I try so hard to achieve a nice, fat tone that I am sometimes letting my embouchure be too flabby in order to achieve that rich tone.
    That after playing a low ballad I find it temporarily difficult to resume playing scales up to F above High C.
    Because I am an upstream Type 4 player which inherently has a thinner tone, I must concentrate on getting a richer tone in the lower register.
    But I have read some people post in the past that people who want to maintain a good upper register must not try to achieve too rich a tone in the lower register, precisely because the player will have a tendency to relax the embouchure too much in trying to achieve that rich tone in the lower register.
    So a player who wants to maintain upper-register ability should settle for a so-so tone in the lower register.

    How does that tie in with the subject of this thread?
    If I relax my embouchure too much in trying to get a rich tone in the lower register, perhaps my too-relaxed embouchure has trouble tightening during a slurred interval, my too-relaxed embouchure needs the temporary interruption of air flow while tonguing to aid in the tightening.
    I will try to concentrate on maintaining a slightly tighter embouchure on the low notes to see if that improves ability to slur intervals.

    Another thought that I just realized:

    I remember reading that a a person should slightly increase volume when ascending, because a soft-loudness low note uses the same amount of air as a medium-loudness higher note.
    If I am playing the low notes too loudly in order to get that rich, fat sound on them, then I am blowing my aperture open too much, and then I am trying to fight against it in tightening for a slur to higher notes.
    If I play the lower notes softer, then I will be starting the slurred intervals with a tighter aperture and theoretically the slurred intervals will be easier?

    - Morris
    Last edited: May 11, 2008
  5. trpt2345

    trpt2345 Mezzo Forte User

    May 21, 2006
    Morelia, Mexico
    Slurring involves flexibility, always harder than tonguing. Whenever you encounter a problem when playing the trumpet, the solution is most often using more air. The more you practice slurring the easier it will be.

    Michael McLaughlin

    I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it.
    Groucho Marx
  6. Trumpet guy

    Trumpet guy Forte User

    Feb 9, 2008
    Strange. My problem seems to be opposite. I can slur up and down with relative ease, but tonguing is a problem.

    Maybe I'm just strange.
  7. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    What I was saying was that the difference in bore size compared to all the other differences on the two horns isn't likely to be what is affecting your playing.

    I have many horns, and I couldn't tell you what any of the bore sizes are. Bore is only one tiny slice of the trumpet-playability-pie.
  8. screamingmorris

    screamingmorris Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 4, 2007
    Many of us who received our training from 5th grade band teachers 35 years ago were taught *terrible* tonguing techniques, such as sticking our tongues *through* the embouchure aperture.
    Buy the time we learned that was wrong, we had already been doing it that way for many years and it was virtually impossible to stop doing it that way.
    For that reason my regular tonguing still sounds *terrible*, so I resort to legato tonguing to soften the sound of it quite a bit.
    Fortunately, legato tonguing sounds better for the type of music I play anyway.

    - Morris
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    try the following experiment:
    Start playing every day with breathing exercizes: long tones with NO tonguing. I try and avoid the term breath attack because that is different (more forced) than exhaling into the horn. After a bunch of long tones, do your daily slurs also WITHOUT tonguing. Once they are over, carefully add a soft tongue to the note - only enough to "define" the shape of the tone..

    Our chops get used to responding to the initial pressure that an attack provides. Dedicated practice of getting your sound going without the tongue retrains the brain and gives you a new way to start your sound "from nothing".

    For the record, if I need a very short staccato note, I will also tongue directly on the lips. That is for me the most "positive" way to start and stop a note. I do not always need that sound though so Tooh (Taah, Teeh, Toot...), Kooh (Kaah, Keeh, Kook, Koot), Dooh (Daah, Deeh, Dood, Doot), Gooh (Gaah, Geeh, Goog, Goot), Ri-ti-ri, doodle also get practiced - AFTER my chops are responding properly without any tonguing. You then only add as much tonguing force as necessary to define the tone. Your articulation no longer kick starts the tone production mechanism (except when you have a cold or are on antihistimines and the chops refuse to cooperate normally.........)

    I believe that this is a very efficient way to train articulation - use as little as possible but as much as necessary. Practicing without tonguing trains your chops to be in "position" and not get "blown there".
    Last edited: May 12, 2008
  10. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    Actually, that's not necessarily wrong. See this link for discussion about tonguing.

    Talk:Embouchure - Indopedia, the Indological knowledgebase


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