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Author Topic: articulation in the high register  (Read 438 times)
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peteriley
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« on: Dec 05, 2017, 03:03PM »

Hi,

I've been working on different approaches for getting clear, consistent notes in the high register (high Bb-Eb). I've been varying the following: air support, volume, embouchure (rolling in v. puckering/smiling (Farkas)), and tongue arch. It seems like the pros/teachers fall into certain 'camps' wrt to these contributions. For example, Ian Bousfield and Jim Morrison only ever talk about air support, never mentioning anything else). Others focus on the embouchure primarily. Trumpet teachers seem to focus on the tongue arch (at least for part of the range).

Anyway, sorry for the digression, there is a question to all of this: If I use tongue arch, I can almost effortlessly hit the high notes. But there are some problems:

1. The sound is "grainy". Almost like there's a hiss to it. It's mostly in my head, but if I record myself, the sound is more choked.
2. I can't articulate, only slur. When I try to keep the arch and tongue a note, it splits and drops.

I was hoping someone had had a similar experience, and/or some general advice. I suspect that I'm overdoing the tongue arch?

I know that high register problems is often discussed here, so if this would just start an unnecessary re-hash of an old discussion, please let me know.

Thanks in advance, Pete
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Pre59

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« Reply #1 on: Dec 05, 2017, 03:50PM »

I'd never heard of using a tongue arch until I started reading TTF posts, and have been playing with a strong upper register for over 50 years. I've asked the question, is the tongue arch technique large bore size and m/p dependant, and not had any responses.
I've always concentrated on aperture focus and lip flexibilities, and I can play in the upper register using no tongue up to, and beyond high F and roll tongue up to C sharp. I don't make a conscious connection between the tongue and the higher range, and never needed to. There may be a very subtle subconscious shape change happening but it's certainly not deliberate.

I try and hold the same embouchure that I use for an F in the middle of the bass clef stave. In my reality high tones are achieved via flexibilities using a correctly focused embouchure with a relaxed body.

"If this would just start an unnecessary re-hash of an old discussion, please let me know."

This topic is never going to go away, but I think the "tongue/air" model holds sway now.
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Doug Elliott
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 05, 2017, 04:16PM »

There is not one thing that's more important than the others - unless it's something you're NOT doing that needs to happen.  If you're missing something, the others have to overcompensate.   All of those things are important, in the right balance. 

Tonguing in the high range can be tricky, because "movement" for articulation can upset "position" needed for sustain.  It's also hard (or even impossible) to whistle high notes and articulate, for the same reason.   I like to work on double and triple tonguing in the high range because it can teach you things you won't learn any other way.
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baileyman
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« Reply #3 on: Dec 05, 2017, 05:10PM »

...  It's also hard (or even impossible) to whistle high notes and articulate, for the same reason.   ...

As expected, Doug got there first. 

It is indeed possible to tongue whistled notes, but the tonguing is different from trombone tonguing.  However, the process is the same:  Find a tonguing that does not disturb the tuning of the system.  It seems to me figuring out how to tongue a whistled note is a great exercise for how to solve the same problem on the horn.

Incidentally, I think I hear some of Ron McCroby's technique includes a whistled doodle:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jBwPBRvaoM

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Pre59

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« Reply #4 on: Dec 06, 2017, 02:27AM »


Incidentally, I think I hear some of Ron McCroby's technique includes a whistled doodle:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jBwPBRvaoM


Also Roger Whittaker, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3ZdBVAWWNo

Believe it or not this was a hit in the UK in the sixties, and I used to try and play it on the Tbn, the key of Db seemed to have the least slide movement at the time.

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peteriley
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« Reply #5 on: Dec 06, 2017, 06:01AM »

I'd never heard of using a tongue arch until I started reading TTF posts, and have been playing with a strong upper register for over 50 years. I've asked the question, is the tongue arch technique large bore size and m/p dependant, and not had any responses.
I've always concentrated on aperture focus and lip flexibilities, and I can play in the upper register using no tongue up to, and beyond high F and roll tongue up to C sharp. I don't make a conscious connection between the tongue and the higher range, and never needed to. There may be a very subtle subconscious shape change happening but it's certainly not deliberate.

I try and hold the same embouchure that I use for an F in the middle of the bass clef stave. In my reality high tones are achieved via flexibilities using a correctly focused embouchure with a relaxed body.

Hi Pre59,

Thanks - I appreciate the holding the middle F and working up. I'm doing some exercises that a related to this (based on some posted by Jason Sulliman on YT) and they're already helping my tone at least up to high Bb/C.

What do you mean by "roll tongue" from high F upward. Is that the opposite direction to the roll? In that case, I can how tonguing would be easier - do you just move the tip of the tongue higher onto the roof of the mouth?

Cheers, Pete

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peteriley
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« Reply #6 on: Dec 06, 2017, 06:04AM »

There is not one thing that's more important than the others - unless it's something you're NOT doing that needs to happen.  If you're missing something, the others have to overcompensate.   All of those things are important, in the right balance. 

Tonguing in the high range can be tricky, because "movement" for articulation can upset "position" needed for sustain.  It's also hard (or even impossible) to whistle high notes and articulate, for the same reason.   I like to work on double and triple tonguing in the high range because it can teach you things you won't learn any other way.

Thanks - great idea. I'll add the high register to my articulation exercises (which I should have been doing anyway!

What I'm starting to appreciate though is that the "right balance" is unique to everyone. I can't recall who the players were, but I know there are some professional jazz trombonists with more of a "whistley" sound high up, whereas others seem to have a big fat sound. I'm guessing this is based on their relative "balance" of the different components. And probably not something that many of them ever thought about.

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Pre59

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« Reply #7 on: Dec 06, 2017, 09:55AM »

Hi Pre59,

What do you mean by "roll tongue" from high F upward. Is that the opposite direction to the roll? In that case, I can how tonguing would be easier - do you just move the tip of the tongue higher onto the roof of the mouth?

Cheers, Pete



Hi Pete,

Just to be accurate please check my post, I can "roll" UP to a high C sharp. I included that detail to try to illustrate that in my instance the tongue position isn't a major factor for playing in the upper register.

By roll tonguing I mean rolling the tongue to create a Tremolo effect. It can start with a T or a D attack. Think of the tongue twister, "Round the ragged rock, the ragged rascals ran"..
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