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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Octave slurs-Pivot in the General forums; During my practice today, I was feeling especially bold. Decided to actually go outside of my normal slur "box," and ...
  1. #1
    Forte User Heavens2kadonka's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    Lebanon, TN

    Octave slurs-Pivot

    During my practice today, I was feeling especially bold. Decided to actually go outside of my normal slur "box," and start working on octave slurs and higher.

    Was curious what you players do when you make the "tall" slurs? I have a feeling of air doing a circular motion inside my mouth, as the air seems to switch gears from back of my mouth to the front for the range. Was curious what other players experience doing the larger slurs.

    My instructor, when we spoke of the Farkas pivot, said that he found the only time you really experience it is when you do the larger slurs through the register. From a low C to a high G above the staff, seems to naturally make the horn move up on your lips.

    On the pivot issue, I was wondering if there were any players out there with underbites or overbites that still try to do this? I have a slight overbite, and have never found a real need to pivot the horn either way anywhere in my register.


  2. #2
    Piano User
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    Nov 2003
    Richland, MO
    I've got a pretty ugly lookin embouchure due to a nice overbite... however, I use the pivot system and have for years. It's more of a natural thing that developed as I developed the ability to slur and I don't have much trouble doing octave slurs at this point. I'm also in a band where we just lost our trombone player and I've gotta cover his parts and mine *2 octave jumps* and while it isn't pleasant, I can do it consistently.
    I've used it for years, but I'm not a professional, so take with a grain of salt.
    Also, you asked about how us "players" do slurs... I was taught the "aaa EEE aaaa EEEE" method with arching or flattening the tongue to make air go faster as well, and I use that a lot too.
    Bach 37
    4MC/NY BB

  3. #3
    Utimate User
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    Sep 2004
    And now for the polar opposite...

    I don't pivot at all when I play, nor do I advocate the conscious tongue arching thing BUT I don't play in the typical double C and up register either. I also don't have much of an overbite (I don't think!).

    In fact, come to think of it, I was showing someone the clips at Monette's site and I noticed how the horn moves in tandem with my head when I move at all, like it's connected to me.


  4. #4
    Forte User Heavens2kadonka's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    I spent the last few minutes downloading Maynard's clip from the Monette site.

    No pivot either, just a slight tensing of his jaw as he went "up thar."

    Interesting thoughts, I guess everyone does their own thing to find their way in the upper register.


  5. #5
    Piano User MahlerBrass's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
    Houston, TX
    I don't pivot, I usually try to work on using the least amount of movement possible, but I will suggest that if you're really workin on conquering our good friends lip slurs, a worthy investment would definitely be the Bai Lin book, one of the best investments I've made.
    Music isn't a career, it's a way of life.

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

    Some folks pivot, some don't, I guess...

    Ah, to pivot or not to pivot! THAT is the question.

    NOT pivoting DEFINITELY has its advantages, not the least of which is minimal wasted motion in playing.

    However, I have a pronounced pivot, fwiiw. For me the pivot is an integral part of playing the upper register. As I ascend in pitch, my lower lip comes up (closer to the upper lip) in order to close up the aperture (reducing the vibrating mass thus sending the pitch up). As my lower lip comes up, the bell of my horn comes down in response. This is becasue I keep the lower mouthpiece rim sitting on the same spot, but now the spot is moving up.

    I do work on double tonguing octaves. I can do it, though my horn does a little bit of a dance. It is more of a problem if I try double tonguing 12ths or more. Now as to just making a skip up or down, the pivot causes no problems with ANY interval that I have to navigate. It only shows up when I try to do that Al Vizzuti thing.

    I think the pivot or not thing is very much up to the individual, IMHO.

    My $.02 worth!

    Peace, all.

    Nick Drozdoff

  7. #7
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    Aug 2005
    I do the aaah eeee and notice no pivot at all. Open Aperature all the way and just let the air fall out and say the aaah eeee

    Works for me.

    I have even done a slur from low c to high G(4 lines above the staff) all from just arching my tongue.
    I learned this from Rich Szabo recently and it works.
    Schile 13a4a
    Bobby Shew lead mpc
    Bach Strad 72

  8. #8
    Pianissimo User
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    Nov 2003
    I'd ask how you all are defining the word "pivot"--I study with a Reinhardt instructor and as many of you may know, in Reinhardt-world the pivot is a very specific and misunderstood term.

  9. #9
    Forte User
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    Oct 2003
    I try not to piviot either. Used to do it all the time when I was younger but it inhibited progress in flexibility and created extra tension. Phil Smith play. He piviots quite a bit.

  10. #10
    Pianissimo User lonelyangel's Avatar
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    Nov 2003
    I do pivot. The trumpet bell points down as I ascend and becomes horizontal for middle C and lower. I used to keep the horn very still - picking a point of refernce and keeping it there - but I eventually realised that this rigidity was causing tension - and some pain - in my neck and shoulders.
    Then it was pointed out to me that although i was keeping the horn still
    I was tilting my head backwards and forwards to compensate and achieve the angle that I needed between the mouthpiece and my lips. Nowdays I try to keep my head still and balanced on top of my spine and let the horn move where it needs to.
    If you take the mouthpiece and play some arpegios or glissandi you may notice that the end of the mouthpiece moves up and down as you ascend and descend.
    Here is a fun experiment to see if you use a pivot.
    Get a blank piece of manuscript paper and place it on a music stand in front of you so that if you are playing your horn you can take sight with one eye of exactly where the bell lines up vertically when you are playing. You could play a middle G and note which line on the staffs your bell lines up with - then mark that with an x. Then hold the mouthpiece in your left hand and the trumpet (without the mouthpiece) in your right. Stand tall and balanced with your head free, floatin on top of your spine, then buzz a middle G on the mouthpiece. When you have arrived at a fat vibrant sound on that note carefully introduce the horn to the mouthpiece. You need to do this slowly and smoothly whilst still holding the note and being very careful not to move the mouthpiece even 1/2 a millimetre to adjust to the angle of the horn. It needs to be done with the precision a rocketship docking with a space station.
    Again being careful not to move, take sight on to the manuscript paper and see where the top of the bell lines up - mark this point (in theory this should be in the same place as the first mark).

    Then you can repeat this process with all the open notes (maybe include bottom G). you should end up with a line of xs at different points on the page. They maybe ascending as you play higher, or descending as you get higher - maybe you use different methods - upstream/downstream for different registers.

    I am pretty sure that some of you will be suprised just how fathe trumpet might want to move to get the best sound - I would also be interested to know if any body finds that they end up with only one X on the page - ie no movement of the horn at all.

    Don't read anything into the results you achieve by the way. There is no right or wrong way to play the trumpet as far as I am concerned.

    Let me know what you find.

    All the best. Noel.

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