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Author Topic: The right way to hold a Euphonium?  (Read 6790 times)
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BariTrom
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« on: Dec 23, 2006, 04:30PM »

:D I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask this, but there seems to be some Euphonium players on here to so...
What's the right way to hold a Euphonium? Is there a "right" way, or is it just a mater of preference? 
I'm not sure if the way I hold mine is right Confused well actually I do have one way I hold it, I switch around: sometimes I hold it pionting up, other times I tilt it to the side, not as much I have it completely on it's side then slump down to it(this is the way I held it my first year playing, till one of the high schoolers told me to hold it up, rather than to the side). Some times I put my index finger in the Little meddle ring below my valves, other times I use that hand to clutch my mouth piece, and the tube before my mouth piece, or I put my left hand on the bottom of my Euphonium. The Thumb of my right hand, and usually my pinkly and the finger next it, when they're not being used to play, useally clutches the top of the tube before my valve, other times, but not that much, I stick my right hand under the tube. Allot of the time I lift my euphonium up to me, other times I rest it on my lap and go down to it--sometimes I bring up my knee so I can get to it with descent posture, but not always.
Is this the right way? What it the right way to hold it?
Can you describe it for me?
If possible can you post a picture, or link, of some one holding and playing a Euphonium right?
Thanks :)
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BGuttman
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 23, 2006, 05:10PM »

There are a number of ways to hold the Baritone Horn, many dependant on how it is constructed.  There are a few things that must happen:

1.  You must be able to use your right hand to press all 4 valves (you have a Yamaha 321, right?).  Index finger on valve 1 and pinkie on valve 4.

2.  When you hold the instrument, the mouthpiece must "naturally" come to your lips.  You shouldn't need to "heft" the instrument up.  If the mouthpipe is too high with the instrument on your lap you can tilt it a bit, but if that makes it uncomfortable to work the valves you should do something else like place it between your legs so it rests on the chair.

3.  Your left hand should cradle the instrument to keep the mouthpiece in your mouth.  Tuba players sometimes hold the mouthpipe but that is mostly useful on a Sousaphone where the mouthpipe can rotate or shift on its own.  If you have a 3+1 setup (4th valve is off on the side of the instrument) that valve has to be played with your left hand (I know you don't have one like that now, but you might have to deal with one in the future).

If you can find a copy of the Mantia-Randall Arbans book (for trombone and baritone) there is a picture of somebody holding a baritone horn.  I think there is a similar picture in the front of the Rubank method.  You might also want to check on Tube Net and see if somebody has posted some pictures there.

One very useful accessory for Euphonium players is the Stewart Stand, which was invented by M. Dee Stewart (of Indiana University).  It is an adjustable rod attached to the euphonium by some straps, that you can adjust to allow the bottom bow of the euphonium to sit the exact height above the chair for you to play comfortably.

I don't need a Stewart Stand because when I have the Euph in my lap, the mouthpipe comes right to my mouth with the valves right under my right hand and the Euph about 15 degrees off vertical.

Keep at it, Gemma.  It's a lot of fun.  Next year see if you can get into Albuquerque for Tuba Christmas!
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 24, 2006, 09:00AM »

Here is a picture of euphonium virtuoso Adam Frey playing euphonium. (Plus it has a nice show of a Euph mute)  As you can see the euphonium is held slightly off centre so that the player can actually see whats going on.  While your euphonium is not of the 3+1 variety (valve on the side) it is still good to get used to holding the instrument in this manner as it puts most of the weight on the left hand leaving the right hand free to manipulate the valves.

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WaltTrombone
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« Reply #3 on: Dec 24, 2006, 07:58PM »

Rule # 1 for holding any brass instrument- Bring the instrument up to your chops, don't bring your chops down to the horn.
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Walter Barrett
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BariTrom
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« Reply #4 on: Dec 26, 2006, 04:48PM »

So is the little medle ring, under the valves, end of the tubing for the 2nd valve, ment to be a ring to stick a finger from the left hand in?
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« Reply #5 on: Dec 26, 2006, 05:13PM »

I am fairly sure that the second valve ring is designed so it is easier to pull out the second valve slide. It is usually too short to do much tuning with it (tune with your embouchure mostly), so one might want to take it out to drain out condensation that has built up in the slide.

However, I think it's not necessary to say that you must not put your finger in there. You surely dont want to support your horn really by that small ring because it is not one of the stronger places of the horn. You also don't want to move it at all while you're playing because you'll either mess up and tuning you have done with that slide, or pull the whole darn thing out! So if you're making sure not to compromise your playing at all by holding the horn, and you have a comfortable and strong (don't squeeze the horn, you just want to keep it from being dropped) hold of the horn and your finger really wants to be in the ring, then fine.

I still would not recommend putting your finger in there. Whenever I've played a euphonium I have used a grip much like Adam Frey uses in the picture earlier in the thread.

Do what is comfortable, but make sure you aren't comprimising your playing or the horn itself.
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BariTrom
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« Reply #6 on: Dec 26, 2006, 05:35PM »

I am fairly sure that the second valve ring is designed so it is easier to pull out the second valve slide. It is usually too short to do much tuning with it (tune with your embouchure mostly), so one might want to take it out to drain out condensation that has built up in the slide.

However, I think it's not necessary to say that you must not put your finger in there. You surely dont want to support your horn really by that small ring because it is not one of the stronger places of the horn. You also don't want to move it at all while you're playing because you'll either mess up and tuning you have done with that slide, or pull the whole darn thing out! So if you're making sure not to compromise your playing at all by holding the horn, and you have a comfortable and strong (don't squeeze the horn, you just want to keep it from being dropped) hold of the horn and your finger really wants to be in the ring, then fine.

I still would not recommend putting your finger in there. Whenever I've played a euphonium I have used a grip much like Adam Frey uses in the picture earlier in the thread.

Do what is comfortable, but make sure you aren't comprimising your playing or the horn itself.
Aghhh...stupid section leader! A few years ago, after getting my new euphonium, I asked him how to hold it(he has one too) and he told me that I was supposed to put my left index finger in the ring. Just like the ring on my old baritone, originally I used an old school baritone, I think it's offishally called an American style euphonium(?), but it was smaller than my current euphonium, the bell faced out, instead of up, and it could come out,, and the valves were in the middle of the body, and pointed out(instead of at the top and up like the valves on my current one), and there was a ring I was soupiest to(I think) put my thumb in. I though, and he told me(which made perfect sense), that the ring on my new euphonium was there for the same perpose Confused It's not? Then what exactly do I do with my left hand?
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« Reply #7 on: Dec 26, 2006, 06:23PM »

It sounds like you were playing an old dynasty marching baritone. I'm sorry you ever had to do that because, in my experience, those horns do not help you at all in producing good sounds; they hurt you. Anyway, you were right to hold the horn with your thumb in that ring if I am correct about what kind of horn you were playing. You can move the first valve slide with it for intonation purposes. It is different, though, with a concert euphonium or baritone. The second tuning slide (with the ring), as I said before, can't really be used well for tuning because it is so short.

So now about your left hand. Place your right hand as you feel most comfortably with just your fingertips on the valve caps (index finger on first valve, middle finger on second valve, ring finger on third valve, and pinky finger on fourth valve). Your thumb will probably rest under the tubing that is in between you and the valves. Now, wrap your left arm around the horn while keeping your right hand in that position. Try to grab either the third valve tubing or the third valve tubing and the tube right behind that that goes down, then up to become the bell flare. This is how Adam Frey is doing it in the picture earlier posted in this thread.

You can also see in that picture that he is holding the horn slightly to his left. It isn't necessary to hold the horn straight out in front of you as long as it is comfortable, you are bringing the horn to your chops instead of your chops to the horn, you aren't compromising your breathing, and you have a good enough hold that you won't drop your horn.

Try some stuff out and see what works best for you.

Have fun playing the trombone and euphonium. They are excellent instruments.  Good!
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« Reply #8 on: Dec 27, 2006, 06:29AM »

I doubt that it was a Dynasty Marching Baritone (the Dynasty looks like an oversize trumpet); it was probably one of those old-style bell-front 3 valve front instruments made by Conn, Olds, King, etc.  Look at a Trombonium to get an idea (but with a bigger bell).  These instruments had a trumpet-like set of valves with a ring by one of the valves.  You could cradle the instrument and put your thumb in it.  Don't denigrate these instruments; they were very popular with band musicians at the turn of the 20th century (mostly the Conn, Holton, and York versions).

The Yamaha 321, however, is quite a different beast.  The ring on the 2nd valve slide is to enable you to pull the slide.  Also, watch how you lubricate the 2nd valve slide.  It is easy to blow it out if you use too "runny" a lube (ask me how I know this!).  My main problem with that instrument (and I have played one) is the loop of tubing that comes around behind the valves.  I have to make a decision whether to put my right thumb around it (makes it tougher to move the valves) or on top of it (feels uncomfortable).

If you need something to help hold the instrument, I would suggest buying a guitar strap and tying it to the two loops on the back of the instrument.  I did this for my F-tuba and it worked great.
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« Reply #9 on: Dec 27, 2006, 09:33AM »

I doubt that it was a Dynasty Marching Baritone (the Dynasty looks like an oversize trumpet); it was probably one of those old-style bell-front 3 valve front instruments made by Conn, Olds, King, etc.  Look at a Trombonium to get an idea (but with a bigger bell).  These instruments had a trumpet-like set of valves with a ring by one of the valves.  You could cradle the instrument and put your thumb in it.  Don't denigrate these instruments; they were very popular with band musicians at the turn of the 20th century (mostly the Conn, Holton, and York versions).

Thanks for catching up on my mistake, Mr. Guttman. Reading that desscription again I see I was totally wrong. Sorry about that everyone. And I don't want to rag on those horns, however I do mean to rag on the old dynasty marching baritones. Having played many of them I should know.
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BariTrom
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« Reply #10 on: Dec 27, 2006, 11:23AM »

I doubt that it was a Dynasty Marching Baritone (the Dynasty looks like an oversize trumpet); it was probably one of those old-style bell-front 3 valve front instruments made by Conn, Olds, King, etc.  Look at a Trombonium to get an idea (but with a bigger bell).  These instruments had a trumpet-like set of valves with a ring by one of the valves.  You could cradle the instrument and put your thumb in it.  Don't denigrate these instruments; they were very popular with band musicians at the turn of the 20th century (mostly the Conn, Holton, and York versions).

  It is easy to blow it out if you use too "runny" a lube (ask me how I know this!).

If you need something to help hold the instrument, I would suggest buying a guitar strap and tying it to the two loops on the back of the instrument.  I did this for my F-tuba and it worked great.
Yes, it's the one you described, I've seen marching baritones, and that wasn't one of them.

How Mr.Guttman Sir?

Using a guitar strap! That's a brilliant Idea!! I bet that would help allot in marhing band(oh the pain :cry: ).HA I should have thouhgt of that last year though, when the pain of marhing with my new concert euphonium was killing me. So painful. Now I'm finally use to it, and think of it as being light. I'm still going to see if I can march with my super light Trombone next season though Idea!

So I'm just supposed to lift it up, and keep my hand on the bottom, like in marching band right? Except tilt it to the side a bit.Which is also a brilliant idea! Maby this way I can have a chance of seeing my dirctor, and not get yelled at so much Good!
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Gemma: band geek (w/o the band) cartoonist
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« Reply #11 on: Dec 27, 2006, 11:48AM »

...
How Mr.Guttman Sir?

...

You will notice that the 2nd valve tuning slide has a very short inner piece on one side and a longer inner piece on the other.

When you develop strong lungs, you can literally push (blow) the 2nd valve slide out enough that the short slide completely exits the tube and you suddenly have no notes using the 2nd valve. Confused :-0 :cry:

Make sure that the slide lube you use doesn't dissolve the valve oil (makes it thinner and it can run) and won't loosen when the weather gets warm (common problem with Vaseline and lanolin).  And periodically check to make sure that the valve slide hasn't moved out any.

Good luck.
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« Reply #12 on: Dec 27, 2006, 03:09PM »

You will notice that the 2nd valve tuning slide has a very short inner piece on one side and a longer inner piece on the other.

When you develop strong lungs, you can literally push (blow) the 2nd valve slide out enough that the short slide completely exits the tube and you suddenly have no notes using the 2nd valve. Confused :-0 :cry:\
haha lol that's funny :D
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Gemma: band geek (w/o the band) cartoonist
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« Reply #13 on: Dec 27, 2006, 06:30PM »

My friend Rob blew his 4th valve slide out at the last band concert. We had a lick with FF 16th note triplets in one piece, repeated low Fs, a real John Williams-type chest-beater. In the middle of the passage came a loud clang as Rob's 4th valve slide launched itself. He switched to playing on 1&3, and the next rest, the bari sax passed the slide back. He's using a thicker Hetman's grease now!
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« Reply #14 on: Dec 27, 2006, 06:37PM »

not euph-related, but once back in high school, i was marching with a King 606 trombone that had an overly slippery tuning slide in the homecoming parade.  i snapped my horn down, and the tuning slide went flying!  i never had it repaired because it just barely went back on--and stayed on!
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