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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningPractice Room(Moderator: blast) Double buzz - please help
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trb420
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« on: Jul 28, 2017, 09:21PM »

I have had a double buzz on the middle Bb partial for a while. It has occurred all around the partial, but is typically centered around G/F#. And it usually manifests itself when I'm tired, but it's gotten much more prevalent as of late. It is really pissing me off and doesn't occur anywhere else in my range. What should I do? I have a downstream embouchure, but everything is very relaxed below middle Bb for me when I play, so I wonder if it's throwing off the lip balance or something like that? I can upload a recording if that helps
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Doug Elliott
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« Reply #1 on: Jul 28, 2017, 10:59PM »

There are many threads about this common problem.  I have written about it and others have too.  Try a search.
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« Reply #2 on: Jul 29, 2017, 08:10AM »

I have had a double buzz on the middle Bb partial for a while. It has occurred all around the partial, but is typically centered around G/F#. And it usually manifests itself when I'm tired, but it's gotten much more prevalent as of late. It is really pissing me off and doesn't occur anywhere else in my range. What should I do? I have a downstream embouchure, but everything is very relaxed below middle Bb for me when I play, so I wonder if it's throwing off the lip balance or something like that? I can upload a recording if that helps

It's terribly frustrating, isn't it! It sure was for me when I suffered from it!

Here's something that helped me. I would softly slur from above it down to the pesky double-buzz note. Then from below it softly up to it. I usually did not double-buzz when I hit the note from those angles if the notes above and below it sounded good to begin with. That told me my chops were somehow not configured quite right for that pesky note when I simply tried to articulate it. So I kept at those slurs, trying to remember the feel of the pesky note when it came out nice, until I got my chops re-trained to where I could just put the horn up to my lips and blow it cleanly.

Anyway, for the best possible results, you probably ought to see an instructor one-on-one to help guide you through this.

Best of luck to you!

...Geezer
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« Reply #3 on: Aug 22, 2017, 08:49PM »

You can also try moving mouthpiece up or down. I have read (I think from here), and also witness myself, that some people use one lip for a range of notes, and another lip for another, and double buss can be the result of the two lips fighting each other for dominance. For example, I seem to use lower lip for notes lower than middle G and upper lips for notes higher than that. As a result, I double buzz G sometimes (Gb also). Moving the mouthpiece slightly up helps me.
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trb420
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« Reply #4 on: Aug 22, 2017, 09:22PM »

You can also try moving mouthpiece up or down. I have read (I think from here), and also witness myself, that some people use one lip for a range of notes, and another lip for another, and double buss can be the result of the two lips fighting each other for dominance. For example, I seem to use lower lip for notes lower than middle G and upper lips for notes higher than that. As a result, I double buzz G sometimes (Gb also). Moving the mouthpiece slightly up helps me.

Interestingly, recent increases in my practicing have led to me finding a really comfortable mouthpiece placement- lower and slightly off center, and that feels much more grounded and comfortable. The double buzz is now much less of an issue than it was when I posted this thread.
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« Reply #5 on: Aug 23, 2017, 10:20PM »

Follow Doug's advice; but there is also some very useful information on David Werden's site-

http://www.wilktone.com/?p=722

Cheers
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« Reply #6 on: Aug 24, 2017, 02:53AM »

Follow Doug's advice; but there is also some very useful information on David Werden's site-

http://www.wilktone.com/?p=722

Cheers
The double buzz do happen with doubble reeds like basoon and oboe too. And singel reeds as saxophones. What happens is that the reed is uneven, thicker on one side, or harder on one side,and some point in between that dont wibrate, that can result in two wibrations side by side, like a brass embouchure does that permits two appertures. If the embouchure is un even like a flabby lower or upper lip it can result in two appertures, if there is more tension on either the right or left side. Very often a smile embouchure is resulting in two appertures, a long embouchure makes the risk of two appertures. Like more mpc pressure on one side. The idea of one vibration frquency in the upper lip and another in the lower lip can seem logically if not thought about enough, and not understanding how the pulsating work.
The vibrating lips do meet when playing the trombone, if they dont meet there will not be a tone, a sound from rushing air is what you got until the air makes the lips meet. Whe the embouchure is enough un even there can be two different places where the lips meet, and this be different frequencies. That is a double buzz. If you try making a tone in the trombone with only one lip in the mouthpiece, you get no tone unless the lip vibrates against the mouthpiece rim. You need an open/close oscillation to get a tone. Many student do have to wide apperture, or/and a compressed  middle of the embouchure.


The link above can be misstaken for how the doubblebuzz is coming. It is not possible to have on frequence from the upper lip and another from the lower lip in the same area. Where the lip meet is where the sound come from. Doubblebuzz is allways one frequence on the left and another from the right.
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« Reply #7 on: Aug 24, 2017, 05:30AM »

Interestingly, recent increases in my practicing have led to me finding a really comfortable mouthpiece placement- lower and slightly off center, and that feels much more grounded and comfortable. The double buzz is now much less of an issue than it was when I posted this thread.

 Good! job!

...Geezer
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« Reply #8 on: Aug 24, 2017, 06:08AM »

Follow Doug's advice; but there is also some very useful information on David Werden's site-

http://www.wilktone.com/?p=722

Cheers

Thank you so much for posting this, it was really useful and an eyeopener for me!
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« Reply #9 on: Aug 24, 2017, 06:42AM »

As the doubblebuzz come from so may different issues, there are many different remedies.

For many the corners should move forward, since they are to much far back. (smile)Let the corners snapp forward when starting the tone.

For many there are more tension on one side. Moving the mpc to one side can help.

For many there more mpc pressure on one side. move the way the trombone point, more left or right.

It is right that an embouchure that is totally 50/50 and the lips meet top to top is very hard to control, try to blow more down or up (most often down)

Some other again learn to make a doubblebuzz on purpose, that way they learn to control it.
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« Reply #10 on: Aug 24, 2017, 07:09AM »

The link above can be misstaken for how the doubblebuzz is coming. It is not possible to have on frequence from the upper lip and another from the lower lip in the same area. Where the lip meet is where the sound come from. Doubblebuzz is allways one frequence on the left and another from the right.

Svenne, watch the video I posted there again and note the tubist with the half and half placement. His double buzz is exactly where he transitions from upstream to downstream. Regardless of what frequency the lips are trying to vibrate at, they are fighting for predominance at that particular point and this is where the tubist gets his double buzz.

Here's something that helped me. I would softly slur from above it down to the pesky double-buzz note. Then from below it softly up to it. I usually did not double-buzz when I hit the note from those angles if the notes above and below it sounded good to begin with. That told me my chops were somehow not configured quite right for that pesky note when I simply tried to articulate it. So I kept at those slurs, trying to remember the feel of the pesky note when it came out nice, until I got my chops re-trained to where I could just put the horn up to my lips and blow it cleanly.

It's good advice to not practice in a way that encourages your double buzz, but if it's a situation where the mouthpiece placement is too close to half and half, then practicing going from below and above the double buzz like this isn't going to fix the problem and might make it worse. There are different reasons why some folks get a double buzz and it's best to work out why it's happening and fix that issue, rather than simply practicing what works for someone else.

Dave
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« Reply #11 on: Aug 24, 2017, 07:26AM »

A Moderator said to do a search. This is something I found:

No matter how you go about it, in order to correct a double buzz problem you must first understand what it is. What really causes it. What the mechanism is that makes the "double buzz" sound. I mean...this idea goes right on through ALL considerations of embouchure. Everything happens behind the curtain. Behind the opaque m'pce. Behind the closed doors of the lips. It's a secret world in there, and we must use our minds to open it up.

So...what IS a "double buzz"?

Really.

Never thought about it?

Well...here goes.

A double buzz is what happens when two parts of the aperture...two sides of the buzzing hole between the lips...access two different contiguous partials.

It's really that simple.

Why doesn't it happen very often (if ever) in the higher registers?

The aperture is too small and the tension of the embouchure muscles is too great. No room in the chop, plus the chop muscles are too strong up there.

But in the lower regsiters? (Never higher than 5th partial in my experience. Not on ANY instrument, including tuba.)

In the lower registers, we tend to flop into them if we haven't worked hard at connection from above. Those of you who have been looking at what I have to say for a while will know that I talk a great deal about embouchure and range areas. Settings. That just as a singer (in the Bel Canto school of singing) is considered to have  a head range, a chest range and a mixed range in between them that connects the two, we also have a similar system.

Any NUMBER of areas where this phenomenon can be thought of as being in effect.

And those areas are not only different for different people, they can be different for any player on various equipment combinations and also on different days or even under different conditions during the SAME day.

Hard to pin down. But there, nonetheless.

So...someone has a "double buzz" syndrome. Sometimes consistently for a period of time, sometimes only once in a while.

I have found in my own playing (and also in the playing of any number of students) that this problem can be "fixed"...although it may return when one is out of shape...by the simple expedient of making sure that the two sides of the mouth (the corners) are fairly equal in tension and/or that the left and right sides of the lips themselves are not rolled in or out in different amounts.

A short explanation of that paragraph is in order.

Suppose you had two identical strings on a violin, but they were tuned to different tensions. What would happen if you drew a bow over both of them simultaneously? Different notes, of course.

That's the corners. The tensions.

Now suppose you had two entirely DIFFERENT strings...say a low E and high G string on the same violin...and you put some kind of measuring machine on them, tuned them to precisely the same tension, then drew a bow over them.

What would happen?

Different notes again.

OK. Now take a brass instrument. The partials of a brass instrument tend to discourage certain notes from being sounded while encouraging others. And you are in a position where either your strings (lips) and/or your corners are different on each side of the embouchure. (One side set for a higher range, the other for a lower one...a VERY subtle difference, usually.) When you draw the bow (air) over them, what happens?

Double stops. Two strings vibrating at different pitches. In two contiguous partials.

A double buzz.

Now...this is all fine and dandy, this "explaining".

But you might well say about now. "So WHAT!!!??? What I want to know is how to get RID of the problem."

It's like this.

Identify a note or range area above (and another one below) the range where the double buzz happens that is perfectly secure. Where you can ALWAYS attack notes with no problem, where you have a good sound and no worries. (Relatively.) Then, for however long it takes, do connection exercises (not very fast...long tone approaches, moderate to slow scales, scale patterns and arpeggios, fairly slow harmonics, melodic fragments) from both sides of the problem through to the other side of where you are scuffling. Preferably without taking the m'pce off of your face while you are doing them. (Breathe through your nose or at the very least through the corners of your mouth, but in any case try to keep the m'pce in [gentle but consistent] contact with the chops.)

Continue to practice this way until you succeed in ameliorating the problem.

Until your corners even out and/or until your lips learn the proper balance(s). NEITHER of which balances can by arrived at intellectually. It's a feel thing.


If you approach this correctly...not too much, not too little, in good internal time so that your body can efficiently learn the various adjustments it must make to get from here to there and then back again ...and do it CONSISTENTLY for a fairly short period of time (a week should take care of this, and three weeks will REALLY take care of it)...good-bye double buzz.

Until it comes back again when you start to repeat the same general mistake that brought it on in the first place.

Which is usually flopping down into the lower middle and lower registers without keeping the proper (not too much, not too little) tension at the corners.

The Goldilocks approach.

Juuuuust right.

And when it DOES come back again...why,  you repeat the same course of action.

Of therapy.

CHOP therapy.

And it takes LESS time.

THIS time.

And so on over however many months or years that you find this syndrome happening.

Until eventually you get to a place where you can "fix" it in mid-flight, pretty near.

Example:

For me, this no longer happens on any instrument except tuba. The double I play least often. But sometimes, when I have been playing strenuous tenor parts (which is just about a job description for how I make my living) and I am called to do a tuba or tuba doubling gig, I take out my tuba to prepare for the gig, start to play in the middle register, and get a NASTY double buzz on the third and/or fourth partial.

Nasty.

On tuba it sounds like someone wrote a harmonic interval below what is known as the low interval limits. Where an interval of a third or fourth just doesn't work. Sounds like a musical air hammer going off around the corner or several large helicopters operating at different speeds a few miles away. More of a burble than a buzz. REALLY irritating.

But whenever this happens if I simply readjust the tuba m'pce so it is more centered left to right on my chop...this is the way it works FOR ME, not necessarily for anyone else...the double buzz immediately goes away.

Why?

Because I am not secure on the horn or in the placement of the m'pce, seeing as how I don't play it for months at a time, and I have put the m'pce in a place where one side of my chop is not strong enough to sustain (or TOO strong to sustain) the note that I am trying to play.

After I have played the horn for twenty minutes or so...the double buzz never reappears. Until the NEXT time I neglect it for a long period of time, of course.

And so it goes.

Try this.

It works.

In fact, even if you are NOT getting a double buzz but are experiencing some other problem in most ranges, this imbalance idea is most often the root cause. There are other effective ways to approach the problem, but this is the one that seems to work best for me and for the people that I see as students and in clinic situations.

Try it.

You'll like it.

And...have fun...

Later...

S.

Comments?

...Geezer
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« Reply #12 on: Aug 24, 2017, 07:29AM »

Svenne, watch the video I posted there again and note the tubist with the half and half placement. His double buzz is exactly where he transitions from upstream to downstream. Regardless of what frequency the lips are trying to vibrate at, they are fighting for predominance at that particular point and this is where the tubist gets his double buzz.

It's good advice to not practice in a way that encourages your double buzz, but if it's a situation where the mouthpiece placement is too close to half and half, then practicing going from below and above the double buzz like this isn't going to fix the problem and might make it worse. There are different reasons why some folks get a double buzz and it's best to work out why it's happening and fix that issue, rather than simply practicing what works for someone else.

Dave

Dave, I have watched the video several times, watching closelly it is not easy to see, exept at 1.30. His double buzz is from different frequencies left to right. Actually you can see not how the lips do meet each other since the vibrations are to fast, even at a not so high frequency.

In the middle of the 80th I did many acoustic experiment by my self and together with Jan Allan (professor at the  Royal Institute of Technology) and visited lots of seminars.

A doubble buzz from the voice, reeds and lips are allways from two frequncies side by side.
We did never succed in making a doubble buzz another way.

I do agree with Sam.
The video does not show anything else except that is very diffcult to se what is really happening.
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« Reply #13 on: Aug 24, 2017, 07:46AM »

I now think that's right about the side-to-side different vibration, and I'm the one who originally said it was the bottom lip vibrating differently - BUT - the actual "problem" that causes the "symptom" of a double buzz, is a loss of control of the bottom lip.

That can be from any of the things Sven and Sam mentioned, or from an injury due to playing too loud.

The usual situation is the bottom lip flipping outward when it should be staying in.  Work on keeping the bottom lip tight against the teeth, and limit your volume, and the double buzz will usually go away.
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« Reply #14 on: Aug 24, 2017, 07:56AM »

The different vibration frequencies themselves may happen on different sides of the lips, rather than between the upper and lower lip, but a double buzz can very much be shown to be caused by the half and half placement at the particular range where a player flips between upstream and downstream, as with that tubist on the video.

And I still contend that for a player with that particular issue it is not going to be helpful for them to find a spot where there is a secure note above and below and practice going into the double buzz range. All that this player is going to do is to get better at playing wrong. At best he/she will always be working harder at that point in the range and it's never going to fix the actual issue.

Of course this isn't the only cause of a double buzz and it's maybe not even the most common one. My point here is that advice that helps one player isn't going to always fix the problem that someone else has. Again, best to work out what the actual issue is and fix it.
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« Reply #15 on: Aug 24, 2017, 08:14AM »

I think what everyone has written is correct, but these are the things I do when my double buzz starts:
1.  Play softer
2.  warm up initially from tuning note Bb down and up, not from lower notes up.
3. Use a lip vibrato on soft long tones.
4. I tend to find that when my double buzz starts my mouthpiece placement has moved down, so I tend to need to move it up.

Good luck
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« Reply #16 on: Aug 25, 2017, 03:08AM »

The different vibration frequencies themselves may happen on different sides of the lips, rather than between the upper and lower lip, but a double buzz can very much be shown to be caused by the half and half placement at the particular range where a player flips between upstream and downstream, as with that tubist on the video.

And I still contend that for a player with that particular issue it is not going to be helpful for them to find a spot where there is a secure note above and below and practice going into the double buzz range. All that this player is going to do is to get better at playing wrong. At best he/she will always be working harder at that point in the range and it's never going to fix the actual issue.

Of course this isn't the only cause of a double buzz and it's maybe not even the most common one. My point here is that advice that helps one player isn't going to always fix the problem that someone else has. Again, best to work out what the actual issue is and fix it.
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a double buzz can very much be shown to be caused by the half and half placement at the particular range where a player flips between upstream and downstream, as with that tubist on the video.

Absolutely. When the lips are in that position the risk of more the one apperture is big. Actually that is one way to make a splittone, that is actually the same a doubble buzz. Splittone was a pewe for some Swedish composers in the 70th, I was the player. The trouble was to not do splittones afterwards  :)

Could you help the tubaist, what method did you use?

Quote
Again, best to work out what the actual issue is and fix it.

Yes absolutely
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« Reply #17 on: Aug 25, 2017, 05:04AM »

Arnold Jacobs said the ideal embouchure would be 50/50, because then you could get the longest vibrating surface and the best tone.

Of course he also said you should play where it worked best for you, where you got the best tone. 

But generations of tubaists may well have followed the former rather than the latter advice.

This comes from reading conversations on Tubenet, so I don't have a primary source for it.  But there was an anecdote told.  He moved his mouthpiece placement up and to the left, and all of a sudden high range just popped out easily.  But he knew that was wrong, and moved back down. 
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« Reply #18 on: Aug 25, 2017, 07:21AM »

Arnold Jacobs said the ideal embouchure would be 50/50, because then you could get the longest vibrating surface and the best tone.

Of course he also said you should play where it worked best for you, where you got the best tone. 

But generations of tubaists may well have followed the former rather than the latter advice.

This comes from reading conversations on Tubenet, so I don't have a primary source for it.  But there was an anecdote told.  He moved his mouthpiece placement up and to the left, and all of a sudden high range just popped out easily.  But he knew that was wrong, and moved back down. 
I do not remember that from Arnold from reading the two famous books and many long talks with Mikael Lind who studied with A.J. But I do remember that he said that you should try to have the mpc pressure equlized to 50/50 the both lips. Apart from that, I have seen so may different mpc placement with fantastic players of all kinds of proportions upp more the down. there is no evidence 50/50 upper/lower lip placement should be the best. Yes I have meet players who at least look that they have 50/50 placement. Good players. Not many tubaplayers though.
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« Reply #19 on: Aug 25, 2017, 07:40AM »

This is a quote from a thread on another list, from someone who studied tuba with Mr. Jacobs.

Quote
Mr. Jacobs did describe what we should do in very general terms. Primarily, Jacobs wanted his students to have a long embouchure (i.e., a long lateral area of lip surface that vibrates). Based on the diameter of the mouthpiece you play, the longest embouchure is possible when the mouthpiece is placed so that the opening between the lips is approximately half way from the top to the bottom of the cup (as seen when looking directly into the cup). He referred to this as playing near the "equator", as opposed to playing close to one of the "poles." Some people think of this as having a 50-50 ratio of upper to lower lip inside the rim.

But he went on to say this:
Quote
The bottom line is that you should allow the mouthpiece and lips to do what they want to do on order to sound great. Start in the middle register and develop excellence there, and then transfer that excellence to the extremes.
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