Jason Robert Brown is a Tony Award-winning musical theater composer. He writes in his blog about his experience searching on a sheet music sharing site for his name and discovering to his dismay that he got more than 4,000 hits of people giving away copies of his music. Rather than threaten a lawsuit, Brown decided to simply write a few of the offenders an email:
“Hey there! Can I get you to stop trading my stuff? It’s totally not cool with me. Write me if you have any questions, I’m happy to talk to you about this.
Looking around on the internet for information about brass embouchures will often lead to references or instructions in a playing method that is commonly referred to as a “tongue controlled embouchure,” or sometimes just TCE for short. While I generally don’t recommend this method, I wanted to put together a resource for players who want to learn a little more about it without having to purchase a book or video. At the same time, I’ll also explain my reluctance to endorse it.
There isn’t a widely agreed definition of what constitutes a “tongue controlled embouchure.” Generally speaking, however, a tongue controlled embouchure can be defined as a method where the player keeps the tongue on the lower lip while the pitch is being played. Most also will keep the tongue on the lip at all times, attacking pitches as if “spitting a seed.” Often the tone is stopped with the tongue closing off against the lips as well. Additional characteristics that are sometimes described with a tongue controlled embouchure include a more open jaw position, looser mouth corners than typical, and puffed cheeks. For my purposes here, any embouchure method where the player keeps the tongue anchored on the lower lip, including but not restricted to the “spitting seeds” attacks, will be what I’m referring to as a “tongue controlled embouchure.” Continue reading The Tongue Controlled Embouchure