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Author Topic: Advice on Hitting High Notes?  (Read 14462 times)
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timothy42b
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« Reply #20 on: Mar 16, 2017, 12:08PM »

Tongue position also adds the to compression's creation. On all brass instruments.

I think that tongue position is important but I don't think it has to do with compression per se.

The air in your mouth is under extremely low pressure.  In fact in part of the cycle the pressure is so low air can move backwards.

There is no reason to think tightening abdominals causes your air to be more pressurized.  What will happen if you tighten your abs but don't let the air squirt out, your diaphragm will have to move down to resist the abs pressure.  And if your rib cage doesn't open up when the abs tighten, you can maybe cause a hernia. 

Also, the Indian guru who wrote that yoga breath book never existed.  It was forged by a Chicago lawyer.

What I think your tongue does is alter the shape and size of your oral cavity to make a resonance chamber at the right frequency.  I used the singular deliberately, I think it may be a Helmholtz resonator rather than supporting overtones but could be wrong. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #21 on: Mar 16, 2017, 01:24PM »


What I think your tongue does is alter the shape and size of your oral cavity to make a resonance chamber at the right frequency. 

I tend to agree with Tim.  I believe this is basically what occurs during a whistle.  The tongue alters the shape and size of the oral cavity (as Tim stated) to create the desired pitch on the whistle.  Taking that one step further, one could theorize that if one whistled the exact pitch one was attempting to play on the horn, you would discover the exact position and shape the tongue should be in to optimize the playing of that particular pitch, as far as the tongue goes.  Understood, there are many other factors involved.
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« Reply #22 on: Mar 17, 2017, 03:16AM »

I am not a great theory maker, but thus I know:
You want to get all your registers in place? Breathing and embouchure is not enough. You need to find out how your tongue works. By putting you tongue up you restrict somewhat the air passage and create air stream that has greater speed and succeptible to create higher frequencies. It somewhat counteract with the pressure created by lips and mouthpiece. Don't forget that this way you need less quantity of air, not more.

I hope I made it clearer now...
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Geezerhorn

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« Reply #23 on: Mar 17, 2017, 04:55AM »

Oh. So now everyone is poo-pooing the concept of air column support.  Yeah, RIGHT.

...Geezer
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« Reply #24 on: Mar 17, 2017, 05:26AM »

At risk of hijacking this thread...

I love setting next to someone who is better than I am - it brings my playing up.  It is so simple, yet so effective.

Note: It's the most effective for me when that person plays the same part or at least the same size horn and similar part; i.e. I get more from setting next to another bass 'bone (which is very infrequent) than I do a tenor

A few years ago, I was asked to help out in the beginner room at our local university trombone day.  In the same room was another trombone player assistant that I had never met.  Our job was play along with the kids and to help model correct playing.  From the moment the other guy picked up his horn and played, I started panicking.  His sound was glorious!  From that point on, every time I played and every note I played I tried to match him.  One of the hardest mornings I've ever had playing my horn.  And it was mostly notes in the first year range of player capabilities.

Fast forward a year later and I found out that he took over the open second chair in the Oklahoma City Philharmonic.  :)

Philip Martinson.  Great player.  Great sound.  Great guy.

--Andy in OKC
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« Reply #25 on: Mar 17, 2017, 05:27AM »

Oh. So now everyone is poo-pooing the concept of air column support.  Yeah, RIGHT.

...Geezer

You can support the air all you want, but if the other parts of the puzzle aren't in place or working properly, it ain't gonna happen.
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Geezerhorn

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« Reply #26 on: Mar 17, 2017, 05:33AM »

You can support the air all you want, but if the other parts of the puzzle aren't in place or working properly, it ain't gonna happen.


I have no argument with that. I've never stated that the other components are not important as well. Never.

...Geezer
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timothy42b
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« Reply #27 on: Mar 17, 2017, 05:42AM »

Oh. So now everyone is poo-pooing the concept of air column support.  Yeah, RIGHT.

...Geezer

No.

At best, everyone minus one.

(but I don't think I'm the only one on this)

I am poo-poohing the idea that tightening your abdomen will automatically give you high range. 

There was a time when the standard wisdom was to tighten your gut as if to take a punch, and that's how you were supposed to play.  That isn't universally common wisdom any more, but to a beginner "you must support" means exactly that. 

What it really means is ........ well hardly anybody talks about it specifically enough to know what it really means.  And there are all sorts of variations like wedge breath and chest breath for different ranges. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #28 on: Mar 17, 2017, 05:49AM »

Do (we) trombonists talk about compression differently than trumpeters do? Or are there two kinds? (I've heard it sometimes referred to the valves, and other times to the air/tongue system)
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« Reply #29 on: Mar 17, 2017, 05:52AM »

No.

At best, everyone minus one.

(but I don't think I'm the only one on this)

I am poo-poohing the idea that tightening your abdomen will automatically give you high range. 

There was a time when the standard wisdom was to tighten your gut as if to take a punch, and that's how you were supposed to play.  That isn't universally common wisdom any more, but to a beginner "you must support" means exactly that. 

What it really means is ........ well hardly anybody talks about it specifically enough to know what it really means.  And there are all sorts of variations like wedge breath and chest breath for different ranges. 

You've corrupted the concept into a freak show.  Evil

...Geezer
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afugate

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« Reply #30 on: Mar 17, 2017, 05:52AM »

Paul Stephens is one of the players that Augie Haas cited in his dissertation.  He also happens to be a classmate of mine.  I've heard him speak on multiple occasions about the concept of the wedge breath.  Paul doesn't say its the key to playing in the upper register.  He says its the key to getting the correct sound of a lead trumpet in the upper register.  It's whats needed to get the "sizzle" or "burn" that cuts through the band.

From reading the dissertation, I see that repeated from others as well.

--Andy in OKC
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timothy42b
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« Reply #31 on: Mar 17, 2017, 06:01AM »

Do (we) trombonists talk about compression differently than trumpeters do? Or are there two kinds? (I've heard it sometimes referred to the valves, and other times to the air/tongue system)

Sometimes with trumpets it's hard to tell what system they are talking about.  I think they most commonly are talking about air, and I think they really believe it is higher pressure air moving at the same speed, which makes no sense to me but does to them.  But sometimes they seem to be talking about lip to lip pressure around the aperture, and like you say sometimes they mean valves.  So I dunno.

I think trombonists mostly mean aperture but sometimes air as well. 

Our demands for range aren't as great, are they?  If you can play to a high C you can play at least 95% of what you'll run into; if you have a double high C that's about 125%.  A lead trumpet might work an equivalent octave higher. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #32 on: Mar 17, 2017, 06:09AM »

It's obvious that the answer is to buy a different mouthpiece.
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« Reply #33 on: Mar 17, 2017, 06:13AM »

I wasn't necessarily speaking about "fast"air. Because is difficult to prove anything about it.
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timothy42b
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« Reply #34 on: Mar 17, 2017, 06:23AM »

Two quotes from a trumpet forum:

Quote
I was taught as part of the closed lip technique
 (to buzz 15-20 minutes a day, lips only). I was told to do it to build the right compression muscles fast. Faster than playing. At first it was boring and almost nausiating..and it still is(ha ha)...but I do it every day.

 The greatest benefit I've gotten with it as a warm up prior to a performance to define that center compression spot...gets lips ready to buzz.


Clearly talking about lip to lip compression.

Quote
Most commonly I'd expect that to mean that the valves are still in good condition, rather than overly worn.
 In that sense, the valveslides (which are effectively sealed) hold compression well - that there aren't air leaks in the valveblock (or slides) and the slides will produce a "pop" noise if you pull them out without depressing the valves.
 If the valves are very worn (which some might even prefer) then the air will leak out from the slides around the side of the valves, generally you get much looser slots and potentially less reliable action when that's the case.

Clearly talking about the horn compression.

I looked for one that talked about air but didn't find it yet.  I'm sure I've seen it though. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #35 on: Mar 17, 2017, 06:32AM »

Who cares what trumpet players do anyway, unless we are doubling. Point is, what - if anything - can we take away for our own use. I believe air column support is one thing, although we could argue over good vs freakish air column support and what possible caveats there may be - such as tension in places where it is counter-productive.

I agree with Andy that a sit-next-to is sometimes just as valuable as a good lesson.

Oh, and haven't we ALL gone the new mpc route! lol

...Geezer
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« Reply #36 on: Mar 17, 2017, 06:46AM »

The constant "new mouthpiece" is a bad idea.  You wind up like the trumpet players with a passel of mouthpieces trying to select the one that best covers a particular part.  I can just see it.  You ask the conductor to stop the ensemble while you swap mouthpieces for a particular note :-P

Emory Remington discovered that more resistance makes the upper partials easier to play (maybe he got his idea from the French Horn).  So his "Security in the Upper Register" exercise starts in 7th position where the partial that includes high Bb is easier to find (it's E) and works to shorter and shorter horns.  You suddenly find that you can't hit the note in that partial, so you try to use the lip compression that seemed to work a half step lower.  Others use a gliss from 7 to 1 on that partial.

Denis Wick (Trombone Technique) talks about a smaller aperture for higher notes and a larger aperture for lower notes.

I've also read somewhere (maybe Fink "Trombonist's Handbook") that lowest notes are blown straight to the aperture of the mouthpiece while higher notes are bounced off the wall of the cup.  The higher the note, the closer you "bounce" toward your lips.

Fact remains that increasing range is not an overnight exercise; it takes time and effort.
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« Reply #37 on: Mar 17, 2017, 06:58AM »

The constant "new mouthpiece" is a bad idea.  You wind up like the trumpet players with a passel of mouthpieces trying to select the one that best covers a particular part.  I can just see it.  You ask the conductor to stop the ensemble while you swap mouthpieces for a particular note :-P

Emory Remington discovered that more resistance makes the upper partials easier to play (maybe he got his idea from the French Horn).  So his "Security in the Upper Register" exercise starts in 7th position where the partial that includes high Bb is easier to find (it's E) and works to shorter and shorter horns.  You suddenly find that you can't hit the note in that partial, so you try to use the lip compression that seemed to work a half step lower.  Others use a gliss from 7 to 1 on that partial.

Denis Wick (Trombone Technique) talks about a smaller aperture for higher notes and a larger aperture for lower notes.

I've also read somewhere (maybe Fink "Trombonist's Handbook") that lowest notes are blown straight to the aperture of the mouthpiece while higher notes are bounced off the wall of the cup.  The higher the note, the closer you "bounce" toward your lips.

Fact remains that increasing range is not an overnight exercise; it takes time and effort.

Only a fool would advocate swapping mpcs to THAT freakish extent!  Evil However, I have heard the stories about swapping out in the middle of a solo. Hey. Whatever works, but that's an extreme approach to say the very least.

I believe that control over the size/shape of the aperture to be MUCH more productive than gyrating the horn all around on the chops.

I've seen the posts where there have been claims of gaining a fifth or so literally overnight. The only scenario I can see for those claims were some fundamental flaw corrected and/or the original "high" note wasn't very high at all to begin with. It doesn't stretch my imagination very much to think of a beginning straight tenor student "stuck" on D above the staff to suddenly be instructed to blow a nice F above the staff. But going from a nice high C to a nice high F always - yes always - takes some real patience and effort.

...Geezer
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« Reply #38 on: Mar 17, 2017, 07:43AM »


Although one instructor seems to get the bulk of the cheer leading around here, there are others who are excellent as well!!!! Glad they are around! Different ways of accomplishing the same end goal are always welcome.

...Geezer

The reason one instructor gets a lot of cheer leading around here is because of his success with students. He has a proven track record that should give a level of confidence to a new student seeking corrective advice.
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timothy42b
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« Reply #39 on: Mar 17, 2017, 08:08AM »

Well, we've gone down a lot of paths, and I'm not sure how much we've helped the OP.

To recap, he can play a high C but it's strained and unreliable, and he needs it solid in a couple of months.  What should he do?

What I would suggest:

A lesson would probably help.  Failing that, do brief range exercises always with sufficient rest.  Fatigue will kill your chances of expanding your range.

High range is a combination of strength and knack (some call it technique or mechanics).  I'd guess it might be 25% strength to 75% skill.  You can't get to that skill when tired, so play high but cautiously.  If you're working hard you're doing it wrong. 

Don't don't don't think about breath support over the short term.  You're more likely to do harm than good.  Yes I think it's important, but I don't think any written explanation can help. 
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