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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Buzz in the General forums; No, I am not kidding. While bore and taper will affect other aspects such as timbre, an air column of ...
  1. #21
    Pianissimo User
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    Nov 2004
    Des Moines, IA
    No, I am not kidding. While bore and taper will affect other aspects such as timbre, an air column of a given length produces a given pitch. If you pop the mouthpiece on any horn with the palm of your hand the fundamental pitch is the same. How the player reacts to the feel of various horns will affect the player. But that is a different issue.

  2. #22
    Utimate User trickg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Bill, my only correction to that is that an air column of a certain length AND DIAMETER produces a certain pitch. I doubt if an air column the size of a drinking straw is going to sound the same as a trumpet leadpipe of the same length, although I can see that in a basic way, most trumpet leadpipes are more alike than different, and therefore produce more or less the same pitch.
    Patrick Gleason

    "What we do in life echoes in eternity"
    "At my signal, unleash hell."
    - Maximus Decimus Meridius

  3. #23
    Pianissimo User
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    Nov 2004
    Des Moines, IA
    Bore has no effect on pitch. Bore, taper, etc. will affect the sound, but not the pitch. A bass trombone and a tenor trombone in first position produce the same pitch. A flugel horn, a cornet and a trumpet are the same length and produce the same pitch. The taper and bore are different thus the sound characteristics are different.

  4. #24
    Piano User
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Here are some ideas my instructor gave me,

    1) Lip Buzzing:
    It may be hard to do without any force applied so I suggest taking your Index finger and your middle finger, spread apart, and place them to your mouth to apply a little pressure enabling you to buzz w/o a mouthpiece

    2) Lip And Mouthpiece Alterations:
    Spread your fingers far enough apart on your lips you can fit your mouthpiece between them, Start playing a G int he staff on your piec, then remove it and lip buzz, replace it and see if you are playing the same note. Do this a few times a day to build muscular endurance and pitch accuracy

    3) Use "Chops Builder" book by: Clint 'Pops' McLaughlin
    Very good book and not too expensive

    4) Buy, if you don't already have it, the H.L Clarke Technical Studies book
    Practice the slurs written in lower register, once you are comfortable and can play them quite quickly with accuracy and in tune. Move to mid-register studies until, again, you can play them quite quickly with accuracy and in tune. Then do the same for upper register studies

    Hopefully I Helped, Let Me Know If You have Any Questions

  5. #25
    Pianissimo User
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    Nov 2004
    Des Moines, IA

  6. #26
    Forte User NickD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Chicago northern suburbs

    Taper doers affect pitch + buzzing idea

    The idea that the diameter of the pipe not affecting pitch might be asserted in cylindrical sections, but that isn't quite right for tapers. The taper affects the reflection point where the the final node is in the standing wave. That is basically why we get the series of notes we get on a trumpet in the first place. There are a couple of models at work where. The obvious one is that of a pressure wave in a cylinder moving back and forth parallel to the primary axis of the cylinder. The less obvious one is that of Helmholtz resonator. Backus has some nice descriptions in his book, Acoustical Foundations of Music, on how a trumpet works, and he addresses the combination of models quite well.

    Try popping a trombone mouthpiece first on the cup side and then on the backbore side. You'll get two different pitches even though you haven't changed the physical length of the mouthpiece at all. The acoustic length is both taper and frequency dependent.

    Also, a flugelhorn taper does affect the way the horn deals with pitch. Try playing a high G on flugel. The trumpet will win every time. Also, try playing a pedal C on trumpet. The flugelhorn will win every time. Granted they are the same overall length on the combined cylindrical/conical sections that make each instrument what it is, but the addition of cones is critical. Also, many flugels play flat on top, because they aren't designed to play up there. Finally, a bass trombone may be the same length as a tenor, but it has a much more sonorous tone because the big bore and bell emphasize the lower partials in the series.

    In any case, I thought I'd pop in here with some thoughts on buzzing, as I turned my playing around as a result of adopting lip buzzing, ring buzzing, BERP bussing, lead-pipe buzzing and then false scales.

    I was having a hard time getting anythng to work and then I did some gigs with Bobby Shew. He wouldn't even remember the converations, much less me, but he made a big impact on me. I told him that I was working on lip buzzing for a half hour a day. I was going to continue discussing my other routines, but he jumped rather vigorously. He told me in no uncertain terms that I was messing everything up with a half-hour lip buzzing routine. I was exhausting my chops before I even picked up my horn. To use his words, "Buzzing your lips for a half hour is like playing your horn as hard as you can for over four hours!"

    He told me to cut all of my routines (outlined above) to five minute segments, tops. That simple change made all the difference in the world, and everything started to come into focus. I was able to get the form adjustments needed without wastng my chops. I was also able to devote much more time and energy to working on MUSIC instead of chops.

    OK, that's it for now! I hope this all helps a bit. I wish you all the best in getting your trumpet thing to where you want it. Playing Euphonium might be fun - heck it WOULD be fun, but you could double!

    Now I'm rambling.



  7. #27
    Pianissimo User pops's Avatar
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    Mar 2004

    Re: Buzz

    Some types of embouchures (Lip) buzz very poorly.
    This is NOT an important issue.

    Lip buzzing it self is very hard and I do about 1 minute a day just to be reminded of the feel. When I really was working on it I did Lip buzzing 2 -3 minutes at a time about every 2-3 hours during the day. Never more than 15 minutes total during the day and always in short bursts. When I felt like I mastered it I dropped down to the present amount of one minute a day.

    Mouthpiece buzzing however; (being much more important) I still do. But again in short bursts. A minute or 2 then play the horn...... I always mouthpiece buzz an exercise or a song and then follow up by playing the same thing I just buzzed on the mouthpiece.

    I do no leadpipe buzzing. Yes I did a lot in college because my college prof wanted me too.

    My reasons are that the pipe really wants to produce a tone but then what about the other notes we have to play from Low F# to (where ever your range is). I mean
    if you have a 3 octave range you are working on perfecting 1 out of 36 notes. And the other 35 you struggle on to get the same resonance. They never feel the same as that one you perfected.

    When I mouthpiece buzz; I buzz every note I play. Yes even above double high C. I try my best to place the pitch in pitch center and I use as little tension as possible to get the note. (Tension is DIFFERENT from compression and produces notes in a different way and distorts the sound of the notes.)

    Look at compression here

    Andrea Tofanelli was here Monday doing some filming with me. He did his normal warmup. His warm up is only mouthpiece buzzing and lasts for well over an hour.
    At the end of that time he was hurting everyones ears with the power and volume of his mouthpiece buzz.

    See most people play with more tension than compression so their mouthpiece buzz is weak. That makes their sound weak. After all the trumpet is only a megaphone of sorts.

    The lips should be allowed to relax into the notes and not held into the artificial position we assigned them.

    I always describe by mouthpiece buzz as a motorboat sound instead of an insect sound.

    I also think that you will find using more tongue arch to assist from Low F# to G or A on top of the staff will allow your lips to relax even more and then have some strength left for higher notes. Let the tongue act as if you are whistling.

    Bb above the staff and higher use a hiss.

    Look at
    it has examples of this.

    New Expanded Range Arban at
    Plus my other books at
    Free Trumpet Ezine at

    It is the Smart application of hard work that gets you there.

  8. #28
    Utimate User
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    There is no single reason for buzzing.

    Different people do it for entirely different reasons. William Vacchiano never buzzed because his embouchure was so loose that he couldn't get the necessary resistance that the horn gave him. It was also the reason he had trouble with his low register. That was a self-admitted "fault" on his part. You can hear it on a few recordings and he used to have to re-set his embouchure on wide ontervals that took him to the lower register. His middle and high register were beautiful to listen to.

    Bud Herseth loved to buzz and he did so very artistcally. It's been written how he would take his mouthpiece with him when he'd go golfing during the off-season. Bud's embouchure was the polar opposite from Vacchiano's yet they played with the same musical appraoch. Having studied with both, I can say that was the nicest part of knowing them. The continuity of the musical approach.

    Lip buzzing has nothing to do with mouthpiece buzzing as the isolation of the musculature is not the same. It's more of an ear-training exercise and it works muscles around the embouchure but it's not as specific as using a rim. I'd prefer using a rim piece than lip or "free" buzzing but on a limited basis and using a limited range.

    For people that have trouble initiating a buzz, a good thing thing to do is attach a Bb piccolo leadpipe just to add that tiny bit of resistance that makes the mouthpiece a tad more efficient. But there is no fundamental so that you can still play without being forced into a center as with a mouthpiece. Some folks swear by the buzzing of the long, Bb leadpipe but I've never done it. I'd rather just play the instrument.

    So, to the original poster, I say that not being able to buzz without a mouthpiece is not a big deal. For fun, grab a mouthpiece that is much larger than your usual and buzz that whenever you want to buzz and get used to that sound and feel. Just play your regular mouthpiece and horn together. Eventually, you'll likely be able to do it. If not, the bottom line is how clear your sound is and how easy it is to achieve that clear sound. Go for buoyancy and lightness in your sound. Sing, away from the horn, in a light way. Transfer that character of music-making to your playing. The trumpet is supposed to be a reflection of your inner musical character not your deepest anxieties. Be more careless and don't worry too much about sound AT FIRST. Sing in your head as much as you can and make your horn/mouthpiece a mirror of everything that's good about your style of music-making. Lighten it up, rmw.


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