Guess the Embouchure Type – Nagy Miklos

I was going through some bookmarked links from a while back and found this performance of the Antonio Rosetti Horn Concerto in Eb Major by Hungarian hornist Nagi Miklos. Not only was this piece new to me (at least I don’t recall having heard it before, in spite of it being part of the standard horn rep), but I wasn’t familiar with Miklos either. Check out Miklos’s playing and this piece on this YouTube video. While you’re at it, watch his chops and see if you can guess his embouchure type. My guess comes after the break.

It’s a little challenging because he moves around enough to make it tough to get a clear look at his embouchure motion, plus his mustache makes it harder to see the ratio of upper to lower lip inside. In spite of that, I think I see enough to make an educated guess that he has a “medium high placement” embouchure type.

Starting at around 4:29 into the video is one of the clearer looks at his embouchure motion. You can see him play some fast ascending runs and he appears to be pulling his mouthpiece and lips together down and to his left side to ascend. When he jumps down into the lower register then you can get a pretty clear look at him pushing up and to his right to descend. The cadenza he Miklos plays starting around 4:54 also shows some easier to spot embouchure motion (and if I were more familiar with the horn repertoire I think I would get more of the musical jokes that seem to be hiding in it).

While the “low placement” embouchure type also uses the same embouchure motion, I don’t see a low enough mouthpiece placement to make me think he is an upstream player. There’s also a certain look about the “low placement” embouchure type that is hard for me to put into words, but when you see enough of them you get pretty good at spotting them. I don’t see the upstream embouchure look with Miklos’s embouchure, so my best guess is the downstream “medium high placement” embouchure type.

Another interesting feature of Miklos’s embouchure is how he raises his horn angle slightly as he ascends. You can spot this in a couple of spots in the video, including around 6:32. The first time I noticed this around 1:14 it made me suspect that he was either switching to a “very high placement” embouchure type or maybe was that type completely, but the more I watched it I feel that this is just how his jaw needs to work to ascend and that he isn’t actually changing the direction of his embouchure motion. The way a player’s horn angle should change can be one of those personal things and is hard to generalize, even among players of the same embouchure type.

Did you have a different guess? If so, or even if not, please leave your thoughts in the comments section below and tell us what you think.

Paul T.

Dave,

I had all the same thoughts as you while watching this video, especially the little “tilt” up around 1:14 (which seems to get him a little more vibrancy or brightness on those high notes). He looks like a classic medium high placement embouchure to me.

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