David

Thank you for your extremely thorough analysis. It is certainly an education. May I suggest a logical extension of your gift to brass players which you have so generously made? Perhaps you might examine and answer the following concerning the application of your findings to range, sound and mouthpiece types:

1. I am sure that I am doing it wrong, but as I move from the lowest pedals (on tuba) to four octaves up [say CCC to octave above middle c] I move from using practically only my upper lip for the lowest notes to using only my upper lip, rolled tightly in. Does this conform to your research?

2. What happens when we move to extremely high notes? You might help many by videoing those who produce alto-altissimo [but also musical!!] sounds. ref: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gF2lfyLxVQ I am not endorsing his methods or otherwise but this does show what seems to happen.

3. Further, the width of mouthpiece rim [and therefore length of the vibrating lip] and, separately, the depth of the mouthpiece seem to affect high notes and general tone. What role does each play and why?

4. If you listen to the greats from 50 years back, they have a silvery, refined and sweet sound. Today, we do not seem to favour this. Is it just vibrato? Embouchure-wise – what controls this different ‘British brass band’ sound? eg Arthur Doyle, Bert Sullivan, Lyndon Baglin, Denis Brain, John Fletcher etc.

.

Dave

Hi, David.

1. I am sure that I am doing it wrong, but as I move from the lowest pedals (on tuba) to four octaves up [say CCC to octave above middle c] I move from using practically only my upper lip for the lowest notes to using only my upper lip, rolled tightly in. Does this conform to your research?

Hard to say. Are you talking about moving the mouthpiece placement to a different placement on the lips? Maybe you’re talking about the vermillion (red) of the lips and rolling the lower lip in? I would have to watch you play to give you an answer.

2. What happens when we move to extremely high notes? You might help many by videoing those who produce alto-altissimo [but also musical!!] sounds. ref: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gF2lfyLxVQ I am not endorsing his methods or otherwise but this does show what seems to happen.

In my opinion the same mechanics should apply across the entire range. If you need to take the mouthpiece off the lips or otherwise slide your lips under the mouthpiece rim in order to roll your lips in to play the top of your range, then you’re not going to be able to connect that to the rest of your range. The same applies in the extreme low range for rolling the lips out. Playing your entire range with one embouchure is worth while, I feel. You can argue that with very extreme ranges, as a special effect, that it doesn’t matter how you get the notes out, but generally speaking I prefer to not recommend that.

3. Further, the width of mouthpiece rim [and therefore length of the vibrating lip] and, separately, the depth of the mouthpiece seem to affect high notes and general tone. What role does each play and why?

I’m not too much into equipment, to be honest. My understanding is that having larger rim sizes helps Very High Placement types play in their low register with better technique, which reinforces their upper register playing. Low Placement types probably also. A bigger cup seems to make it more difficult to play in the upper register, but other folks may have a different experience. Hard to say.

4. If you listen to the greats from 50 years back, they have a silvery, refined and sweet sound. Today, we do not seem to favour this. Is it just vibrato? Embouchure-wise – what controls this different ‘British brass band’ sound? eg Arthur Doyle, Bert Sullivan, Lyndon Baglin, Denis Brain, John Fletcher etc.

There seems to have been a trend over the past maybe 50 years towards bigger equipment and favoring a darker sound. I suspect that equipment is more of a general influence.

One thing that occurs to me is that British brass bands may be similar to many of the jazz brass musicians from the 20th century in that there were more self taught players. I tend to see more embouchure variety with jazz musicians compared to classical musicians, perhaps because more of them figured out what works for them and weren’t taught to play like their teacher.

Dave

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.