Embouchure position

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by hicks, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. hicks

    hicks Member

    Question: When you play, where is the air flow directed into the mouthpiece? I've recently noticed that I tend to tilt my trombone down slightly, so that the air stream presumably hits the top of the mouthpiece cup. I found that by angling the instrument up a bit so it's more perpendicular to the head, I got a bigger sound. I'm thinking this is because the airflow is going straight down the centre of the mouthpiece. It feels a bit strange playing this way because there is less pressure on my bottom lip.

    Does this make sense? Any comments?
  2. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I don't see any Reinhardt method devotees on this forum... Indeed, I'm not convinced that his ideas have ever really taken off on this side of the Atlantic. Neither am I particularly well informed about them myself...

    Suffice to say (from my extremely limited understanding) that questions like this are a lot more complex than they first appear, and finding the answers to them can divide deep-thinking players at the highest levels. How it feels is apparently often not how it is, and the diagnostic tool of a see-through mouthpiece is often employed. - the spot that the airstream is focussed on can be seen. Note also that many (most?) players do different things in different registers - even players among those top-level professionals who have to play all over the range.

    Here's a link which attempts to lay it all out:
    I'm afraid it's mightily long.

    The effect you observe could have a number of causes - to pick one possible cause and make an assumption, perhaps now having the bell pointed away from the music stand makes a difference in the sound you perceive? You need to quantify what is happening, on which notes, and how the sound change you perceive matches the sound change that you hear when you record yourself.
  3. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

  4. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Too damn right - that thread was pretty painful to follow at times!

    Worth noting that the initial poster there is also the author of the link I posted.
  5. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    I remember once being told about this as a short term fix, but I never knew it had such an official name as the "Reinhardt Method". It was sort of "If you can't get that note normally yet, just tilt a bit and it'll help". Sounds much more scientific there, although I don't have the time to read through it just now.
  6. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Careful! That is just the kind of thing that has led to huge amounts of misunderstanding about Reinhardt's stuff. The word 'pivot' in "Pivot System" doesn't quite mean the same thing as you have used it for - quote from the linked article:

    Note also that the "Pivot System" as a whole is a much wider philosophy of teaching than this single, only sometimes employed, small part of it that happens to give it its name. Have a read of the article when you get time - it's a bit tedious in places, but clears up this kind of thing.
  7. hicks

    hicks Member

    Yes I noticed that paragraph. Tilting the instrument is not the same as the pivot technique described in the article. I don't pivot my embouchure, I think that would be a big change in the way I play.
    I thought possibly there was something about the airflow dynamics which produces a better sound if the instrument is blown straight down the mouthpiece.
  8. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    On the linked thread, somebody who seemed otherwise quite well informed insisted that players never actually blow straight down the throat of the mouthpiece. This seemed pretty dubious to me at the time. The only way to test it really is to get together with a friend and a see-through mouthpiece, and maybe even a video-camera.

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