Guess the Embouchure Type – Cat Anderson

I’ve been looking for some video footage of Cat Anderson that shows a good look at his embouchure for a long time.  I’ve found one that’s pretty good, but unfortunately it doesn’t show him changing register enough to get a good look at his embouchure motion.  Still, if you know what to look for you might be able to make a pretty good guess as to what embouchure type Cat Anderson belonged to.  Take a look and see what you think.

The best look at his chops happens around 1:13 into the video, and he’s even playing on a plastic transparent mouthpiece (although we really don’t get a great look at his lips inside).  Even with his mustache making it a little hard to see his ratio of upper to lower lip, it looks like Anderson has much more lower lip inside the cup.  My best guess is he’s a Low Placement embouchure type.

I’ve heard that Donald Reinhardt typed Cat Anderson, although I don’t know if he got to look at him up close and in person or if he just watched carefully from a distance.  Rumor has it that Anderson belonged to a very rare variation of the upstream embouchure performer, one who’s embouchure motion is the reverse of the vast majority of Low Placement types.  Instead of pulling his lips and mouthpiece down to ascend, Anderson supposedly pushed up.  This is the same embouchure motion that the Very High Placement embouchure type uses, but Anderson doesn’t look at all like that embouchure type.

Can you see his embouchure motion in the video?  Does it look reversed for the Low Placement type to you?

Paul T.

Cat Anderson! How interesting. The video you’ve posted isn’t too helpful, as you say.

I found this one (linked from the one you posted) a little clearer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcoCQ-8h1Co

My observations: I agree with your assessment that Cat Anderson is a Low Placement type player. I would venture the same guess, and fairly confidently.

However, I also do not see any kind of reversed embouchure motion. It looks to me like he pulls down to ascend, just like a “regular” Low Placement type. It’s harder to spot, maybe, because he tilts his head up and down to effect changes in register instead of moving the instrument itself.

In that video I linked, I find 1:55 to 2:05 particularly revealing (he starts a line in the upper register, comes down, then plays back up on one breath), as well as the last few notes at the end (3:20-3:25). His placement there (for the extreme upper register) doesn’t appear to be any higher than his placement in the lower register: it’s still very much on the low side.

What do you think?

Dave

Hey, Paul.

Yep, in the video you linked to it looks like Cat Anderson has the typical embouchure motion for the Low Placement embouchure type. I guess I’ll have to keep looking for that elusive “Type V” embouchure that we sometimes hear about. It doesn’t seem that Cat Anderson is an example after all.

Dave

I agree, Geoff. Although there’s more to a player’s embouchure type than what you note, the low mouthpiece placement is characteristic of the upstream type, which I prefer to call the “Low Placement” embouchure type. The horn angle and teeth position Anderson had was typical of this type, but some upstream players (like myself) play with the jaw slightly receded and a lowered horn angle.

Thanks for stopping by!

Dave

Dave

I don’t fully understand your point, Richard. Musical styles (i.e., jazz, classical, high note artist, etc.) don’t appear to be a determining factor for brass embouchure type. The size of player’s vermillion (if that’s what you mean by “thick or thin lips”) appears to be arbitrary to embouchure type as well.

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