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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Dumb question in the General forums; I know what your going to say, the only dumb question is the one not asked. So here it is. ...
  1. #1
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    Apr 2011
    I.E. SoCal

    Dumb question

    I know what your going to say, the only dumb question is the one not asked. So here it is.

    What is a chop? It's used all the time.
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  2. #2
    Forte User bagmangood's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
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    Re: Dumb question

    I'm a huge fan of pork chops, not so much of mutton chops....

    Anyway! In music terms chops is more or less equivalent to skill and/or ability. Usually when someone says "so and so has great chops" they mean "so and so" is a really good player with a lot of strength, endurance, flexibility, etc.

    You can also say "transposition chops" about someone's ability to transpose
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  3. #3
    Forte User Kujo20's Avatar
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    Sep 2010

    Re: Dumb question

    I'm guessing that you mean "chops". If so, it means lips... "My chops are tired!"

    Also, +1 on what bagmangood said!

    Last edited by Kujo20; 04-28-2011 at 05:55 PM. Reason: adding...
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  4. #4
    Mezzo Forte User kcmt01's Avatar
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    Re: Dumb question

    It started with Louis Armstrong referring to his lips as his "chops". The lyrics in "That's My Desire" go, "The brush of your lips against mine" but Louis sang "The feel of your chops mashed up against mine". Nowadays it can mean a guitar player's finger dexterity, or even a singer's skill and accuracy. I've even heard computer techs use the expression. But as far as trumpet playing goes, it means embouchure.
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  5. #5
    Forte User larry tscharner's Avatar
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    Re: Dumb question such thing as a stupid question. I learned a lot from those responses above, esp about Louis Armstrong. Thanks kcmt01. Maybe now I will have the courage to ask "What mouthpiece is the best?" Best wishes.
    Larry tscharner!
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  6. #6
    Utimate User kingtrumpet's Avatar
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    Re: Dumb question

    Chops? -- I am glad someone asked that question, I was afraid too.
    pretty soon I will ask a question -- like what's up with the miles, or what is a winton marselis -- uh oh the classical critics are going to hammer me for that.
    please take our humor seriously -- laughing at myself is the only laugh I get some days, LOL

  7. #7
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    Sep 2006
    White Marsh, VA

    Re: Dumb question

    "Maybe now I will have the courage to ask "What mouthpiece is the best?".....geez, I think a 7c is a great beginner mouthpiece Here we go.... at least I get rid of this banner for little while "Hello ccNochops, It appears that you have not posted in several weeks. We hope to hear from you soon! "
    "I don't take my music lightly, I want it crushed by the horn section."

  8. #8
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: Dumb question

    Chops can mean embouchure, in the case of finer jazz musicians it can also mean timing and command of changes.

    Basically it is used to describe things that musicians do well: endurance, tone, accuracy......
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  9. #9
    Mezzo Forte User
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    Jul 2010

    Re: Dumb question

    I always thought it went back to wood splitting, "That guy could really chop wood", and referred to the trained reflexes and musculature used in that task.

  10. #10
    Utimate User gmonady's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    Dayton, Ohio

    Re: Dumb question

    Here is the Enlish slang dictionary definition:

    1. Definition - Study the definition.

    Go Super to Listen
    have the necessary ability; be very skilled at something
    2. Use - Learn how the slang is used.

    Go Super to Listen
    If you want to be great at something, you’ve got to have the chops. No, we’re not talking about the length of your sideburns. If you want to achieve fame and glory by being amazing at something, you have to have great skill—or chops.

    Chops is slang for the jaws or mouth. Trumpet players need to have strong jaws if they want to become better players, so people used to say that you couldn’t become a great trumpet player if you didn’t have the chops for it. Later the expression came to mean the ability to play any instrument, not just the trumpet. And now we use chops to talk about any skill or ability.
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