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Trumpet Discussion Discuss How do we play high notes??? in the General forums; Man,oh man....
  1. #11
    Forte User NYTC's Avatar
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    Nov 2004

    Man,oh man.

  2. #12
    Mezzo Forte User Clarence's Avatar
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    well ya know it,s true!
    You heard it here 1st, in what ever u do if u buy the ticket u take the ride!
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  3. #13
    Forte User NYTC's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
    You think it will stop if you change a trumpet?
    get the "freeblowing "one,so all the air goes in the right place.

  4. #14
    Piano User FlugelFlyer's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
    Palos Park, IL
    Some things from a bass guitarist. Whether they're worth something to you or not, you can decide.

    There are three ways I can make a note go higher on the bass. The results will be affected not only by the bass itself, but by the strings, the way it's set up, the quality of the fingerboard in various spots, and many other factors. However, in a nutshell, you can:

    1) Cut the vibrating length. This method produces a darker tone with somewhat less attack and less sustain.

    2) Move to a higher string. This generally produces a brighter sound with more attack, and arguably a thinner sound.

    3) Increase the tension of the string, or move to a thicker string. This will produce more overtones, greater attack, and have more sustain with a thicker body of sound. The drawback? Let's see how quickly the trussrod snaps.

    This doesn't transfer to trumpet very well, and I don't believe it's "the key," but it may provide some theory as to how to play melodically in the higher register. To produce a brighter, louder, more piercing sound in the high register, perhaps favor a slight spread in the embouchure. To produce a darker sound, favor a more focused aperture. This generally works for me, but I wouldn't recommend toying with it if you're looking for desperate measures. I believe you have to let the music dictate what you do with your embouchure, but that's a whole 'nuther story. Again, take it for what it's worth.
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  5. #15
    Fortissimo User
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    Oct 2003
    Yee HAW!
    I'll chuck something into the mess here too. I think that when you increase the tension, the act of "pulling the corners in" does shorten the length of the "string", "reed", vibrating portion.

    Consider a low brass player on a large horn/mouthpiece... Nick I know you've done this. On low notes there is a longer section of the lips that vibrates. It's what messed me up when I tried to play in a past "Tuba Christmas" on euphorium and then switched immediately to trumpet... my chops couldn't figure out how to shorten the vibrating portion (even though they had not had that much problem playing high notes on the euphorium) and my playing went "you-know-where" in a handbasket for a day or two.

    Shortening the vibrating portion, just as with a guitar string or a slide whistle is the easiest way of changing the note. Isn't that what a smaller mouthpiece does? Reduces the "available for vibration" length of chop? (and therefore the degree of need for tension).....(aside from the physics of the "hardware": backbore, throat dia., etc.)

    In the end you are doing "all of the above". Tightening the muscle leads to a "shorter reed", more tension in the vibrating portion, and because the vibrating portion is shorter, there is less vibrating mass.

    Uhhh.. I think

    (Nick, I noticed that the first dependant variable to tighter chops that you threw out was "length"... how come?)

  6. #16
    Pianissimo User
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    Jul 2005
    Naples, Italy
    Here's my theory on the pivot. Although I use it a little, mine is not as drastic as some that I've seen.

    So when you use the pivot system the bell of your horn lowers as you you play higher. So for the low notes your bottom lip can vibrate freely. As you ascend the mouthpiece puts more pressure on the bottom lip. This helps to create the compression that is essential for high notes.

    Here's a little observation of mine. Freebuzz a low note, say a low C. Make sure you buzz this without a mouthpiece! Now while you are buzzing give your bottome lip a poke. The buzz is lost very easily. Now buzz a middle C. As you poke the buzz comes back very easily. Now try a high C. There is almost no interruption to the buzz at all!! Now reapeat this excersize and poke prod and pull the upper lip. See how much easier the buzz is disturbed in all registers?

    So I believe that the reason that people have success with the pivot is because the bottom lip is used as an anchor and a source of compression. This also allows the upper lip to vibrate freely as you ascend. I think this is kind of the same theory behind John Lynch's asymmetric mouthpiece. By filling in the bottom portion of the cup this creates compression. Now the mouthpiece doesn't work for me but I can understand how that filled in area of the cup would really firm up the bottom lip and give a great foundation for compression.

    Anyway that's my 27 cents. I've never studied the pivot system but I have a little natural pivot, as I think most of us do. Anyone agree with me?

  7. #17
    Forte User Heavens2kadonka's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    The only way I have ever really seen pivot in action is those faster, larger interval slurs. Anyone ever notice you seem to mechanically pivot when you do so?


  8. #18
    Mezzo Piano User
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    Oct 2003
    Scottsdale, AZ.
    I can remember having a much more pronounced pivot than I have now, almost zero today. We change physically every 7 years or so.

    The high register for me is about good breathing and good practice routines.


    All from the same routines, all fundamentals. You work the complete system, it's all inter-related.

    High notes are faster vibrations.

  9. #19
    Forte User NickD's Avatar
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    Feb 2004
    Chicago northern suburbs

    I'll try add to the growing list of ideas...

    Great thoughts folks! Let me pop back in here.

    1.) Toots, I threw out length in the f2/f1 = (m1/m2)^.5, becasue if we keep the lenth the same, it cancels out (in stead of masses, the equation is based on linear mass density). What I am trying to do is show two oversimplified models to suggest what is possibly happening when we play.

    IMHO, we ALL basically reduce the vibrating mass by making the "lip aperture" smaller. The tightness isn't the driving factor, though it has to contribute. In ay case, given that not every one pivots, there are obviously many ways to accomplish this.

    Now, that having been said, we most ceratinly can drive the pitch other ways. I know some folks swear by air only. There is a logic to this in my my mind. The model running though my head is based on louder note, bigger aperture, softer note, smaller apeture, higher note, smaller aperture, lower note larger aperture, with all possible combinaitons of these accepted. That allows for a very larger aperture in the upper register as long as we're really honking on it! Now, I can do slurs moving upward by siimply locking down the aperture and just blowing harder. They come out a bit indelicately, but it isn't hard to do. Also, I've been in situations where I've been asked to blow high notes before I was feeling warmed up and loose and the only way I could make them come out was to just blast them out.

    I haven't addressed the tongue issue either, but I'll do that in a separate post.

    So, Manny and W Scott, I think we are all doing some combination of the "same things" but with emphasis on different aspects. I tend to use more pivot as a means or aperture control, others may use different means. It seems very easy for me to accept the idea that a trumpeter could completely control the aperture with the muscles around the mouth and not pivot at all!

    Now that I've opened this can of worms, I'll have to assess my pivot. I have reasonably good flexibility and octave skips aren't too much trouble for me, so it might not be as pronounced as I might think. Also, I personally use all kinds of tricks to getting through gigs. I'll use slightly different sets and techniques as the evening wears on. On the loud rock gigs I play, if my chops get a bit tired, I'll move the set down slightly and work the pivot as bit more. While I'll loose a bit of flexibility, my boss just knows that when I need to hit a high G at the end of a 5 hour gig, I can dish it up with apparent impunity. I just like to keep all my tools at my finger tips.

    I've got to run for now. I'll address the ideas of lip trills or shakes and tongue position in a little bit.

    Keep the ideas coming!


  10. #20
    Pianissimo User Bob Odneal's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
    Houston, Texas
    Mouth Corners
    I used to be very aware of my corners when I played or played HIGH , but now I am more aware of the aperture and control of keeping it focused and keeping the sound right. ( tiny and pppp if warming up, clear and full if I am playing) If I do these things the mouth corners will take care of themselves. If I do think about the mouth corners, I think of Not pulling them back or I think about pushing them forward toward the center of the mouth. When I push my bottom lip up against my top, I feel the corners going into action on their own, and I go from there
    When I push the bottom lip up, and resist it with the top (like dynamic tension) I can feel the lips become solid like a flexed muscle. This is what helps develop endurance. A solid platform on which to place the mouthpiece. In the old days, I knew I was done when I felt the lips collapse and could feel them being crushed between the mpc and the teeth. With the solid flexed muscle, you can overcome that crushing feeling when you resort to pressure (less and less as we work through CDHC) and we will all resort to pressure when we pass our endurance limit, but we want that to be as far down the playing session road as possible if at all. When I was very young (8th grade) I met the great AL HIRT. There were lots of trumpet players around talking and I want to say something but I was really scared. I said,"That Dizzy guy has some kind of cheek problem doesn't he?" Al glanced over, smiled and said, "It's what comes out of the end of the horn that counts!"

    Here is a video of a ppp very minimal pressure warm up 2 octave F scale to demonstrate the way my chops adjust.

    Casual Double High "C" Audio and Video Playing Examples
    Bob Odneal
    Casual Double High "C" method on CD

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