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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningPractice Room(Moderator: blast) High range switching between instruments
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mlarsson
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« on: Aug 02, 2017, 09:39AM »

I've observed an interesting phenomenon:

I've got two horns which I regularly practice, an old German small bore "kozertposaune" type of horn, and a modern large bore.
On both horn I use mouthpieces, with size 4 rim sizes, a Schmidt Bambula 4 1/2 for the German horn and a Hammond 11ML for the large bore.
 
On the German horn, I've got a high range up to  , including a good sounding high e natural, which I've never been able to achieve on any other horn I've tried. On the large bore, I've got a reasonably consistent high e flat, and occasionally a high f, but almost never a high e natural of any quality.

Unless, and here comes the interesting bit, I've been practicing the German horn for a couple of days, and then return to the large bore instrument, in which case the range all the way up to the high f, including that pesky high e natural is present, but only for the first practice session on the large bore. After a day it falls back down to high e flat, never to return back up, until I play the German horn again.

Any ideas what is going on here?

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sabutin

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« Reply #1 on: Aug 02, 2017, 10:16AM »

A quick guess, based on my own doubling experience.

When you go back to the modern horn/m'pce, you start playing it with the embouchure setting/air support/whole tongue positioning approach that you use on the older horn/m'pce. But the timbral/stylistic aims that you have for the modern equipment are different, and you quickly revert to that set of physical approaches.

I really have no quick fixes to offer except perhaps for this one...you say both m'pces are 4-ish. How different are they in terms of both rim size and general resistance, especially in the backbore and throat? Does the Schmidt Bambula 4 1/2 fit into the modern horn and vice versa? Do the range charactertistics remain the same if they do? It could be as simple as the difference in the rim sizes and shapes...but I doubt that's all of it.

I have had limited experience with German-style horns and m'pces, but what experience I have had suggests to me that they require much less air than do most modern horns. In fact, they not only require less air, they reject too much air. I know for a fact that many great high range players who play small bore horns in jazz idioms use very little air in any ranges...witness Bill Watrous for more on that account. Their whole basic setup is much smaller and more concentrated physically...lips more rolled in, m'pces and rims much smaller and so on. Maybe playing the German horn makes you back off the physicality a little and you temporarily transfer that to the modern horn for a short time? But then revert to form?

That's the best I can do without seeing/hearing you.

Good luck...

S.

P.S. By the way...there seems to be a real m'pce "harmonic" that changes the whole sound and approach above the 12th partial E/F range. Take those m'pces, put the rim on your palm in an airtight manner and blow over the shank with good air as if you were playing a transverse flute or blowing over an empty bottle. What pitch appears? On most of mine...and I have a lot...it is somewhere near an E7 or F7...that is an E or F 2 octaves higher than the E5/F5 area where you are struggling. What notes appear? Can you m'pce buzz up there? If so, start on say a 9th partial C or thereabouts and try to smoothly gliss up through that E5/F5 12th partial range above. If you get past that range, does it feel similar to slurring across a partial on your horn? Is there a "break?" It does with me and also with almost every student I have had who could do so. I doubt that the transverse blow of m'pces in the same pitch range (only higher, of course) is a coincidence.

Just sayin'...there's more than meets the eye and mind up there. Every really fine high range trombonist I have ever known has had problems with the high E/F in any and all positions.
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mlarsson
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« Reply #2 on: Aug 02, 2017, 11:10AM »

Thanks Sam, for your analysis!

Yes, the German horn takes less air, but even though it wants less air, it wants focused air, since it doesn't have a lead pipe.
I'd also say it is also less forgiving, in the matching of your buzzing frequency to the slide position. (I think this might be what is referred to as slotting)

Another interesting observation related to this is that I always feel most satisfied with my quality of sound on the large bore on the first practice session coming back from the German horn.

I can't easily cross test the mouthpieces on the horns, since they have different shanks. One noticeable difference between them is that the Hammond has a larger throat, adding to the air requirement on the large bore.

I'll also check out breaks/embouchure shifts above the high c.

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William Lang
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« Reply #3 on: Aug 02, 2017, 11:28AM »

I must with a little trepidation gently disagree with Sabutin here. It's an interesting observation - but one that I think might be overcomplicated.

I believe that not many trombonists train to hit notes that are consistantly and musically solid over F5. Being able to play a Bb5-C6 on command and with a variety of articulations is a prerequisite for playing F5 solidly and with little trouble. I find that the usuable range of most trombonists is around a m3-P4 beneath the very top note that gets consistantly worked on. I think that if someone works long term to have a good usuable F6, they would find that F5 isn't much of a problem.

Granted - there's so little application for those notes that it's almost always a better choice to focus on other aspects of playing - sadly there's no such equivalent at a lead high chops trumpet book with a 20% premium in the trombone world!
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Doug Elliott
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« Reply #4 on: Aug 02, 2017, 11:51AM »

When you go back to the modern horn/m'pce, you start playing it with the embouchure setting/air support/whole tongue positioning approach that you use on the older horn/m'pce. But the timbral/stylistic aims that you have for the modern equipment are different, and you quickly revert to that set of physical approaches.
That would be my guess too.  Especially because of the difference in throat size between the two mouthpieces, the larger setup allows you too open your chops up too much, and you quickly lose the ability to focus those high notes.
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mlarsson
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« Reply #5 on: Aug 02, 2017, 12:12PM »

That would be my guess too.  Especially because of the difference in throat size between the two mouthpieces, the larger setup allows you too open your chops up too much, and you quickly lose the ability to focus those high notes.

Do you suggest obtaining a mouthpiece with a smaller throat size than the Hammond 11ML?
I've noticed that generally newer mouthpiece designs seems to have more open throats than older designs (modular systems being an exception).
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Doug Elliott
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« Reply #6 on: Aug 02, 2017, 01:43PM »

Or just learn to not let things collapse and open too much.

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« Reply #7 on: Aug 10, 2017, 12:36PM »

I think that if someone works long term to have a good usuable F6, they would find that F5 isn't much of a problem.

Are there many people with control of an F6?  I've never even squeaked that note, can't imagine making it usable.  Or, for that matter, finding F5 not much of a problem.  (Several people in our bone choir play that note musically. I'm not one of them, though I can touch it in warmup.)

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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #8 on: Aug 11, 2017, 06:37PM »

i don't think there are many yet - but it's doable with long term work (took me about 10 years to go from Eb5-F6 on a consistant basis.)
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davdud101
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« Reply #9 on: Aug 14, 2017, 04:30PM »

Strangely, I can hit a clean  on all three of my horns, but can't get either the E or the Eb between that and the  . It's weird. No amount of experimentation has brought me any closer to hitting those two pitches as cleanly as the high C, D or F+.

Odd.  :cry:
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