Harmonic series and triggers

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by GER, Mar 1, 2019.

  1. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    Could just as much be down to the resistance of the system (including mouthpiece, obviously) - some players like a lot of resistance coming back at them, some really, really don't!

    There's an odd phenomenon that some sop players sometimes encounter which sounds alien until experienced... where you get to the end of a phrase and can't help but breathe OUT before you can breathe IN (and the breath in is often then quite uncomfortable) - tight-ish mouthpieces on tight-ish instruments can build the the point where a healthy breath is more than you need and you're exhausting the O2 in your lungs before you've blown the whole breath out down the instrument.
    In such cases, a more open mouthpiece will usually help (not necessarily a deeper cup, though not unlikely, but bigger throat bore and/or bigger backbore), though with less resistance comes an increased need for proper breath support to prevent pitch rocketing sharp in the upper register.

    Psychology is definitely part of it - there are plenty of vicious cycles you can get yourself into quite easily...

    Among them, missing the wood for the trees - thinking about small factors and forgetting to pay attention to the big factors (for example, thinking about things like mouthpiece placement and forgetting to take decent breaths and keep the air supported.... leading to intonation getting worse and you tiring out quicker, and getting more fixated on everything else except the breath support you really needed!).

    If you think it might be mouthpieces I have a few of varying styles (deep/shallow, tight/open, etc) and I'm not far away if you want to try them.
  2. Mello

    Mello Active Member

    QUOTE "There's an odd phenomenon that some sop players sometimes encounter which sounds alien until experienced... where you get to the end of a phrase and can't help but breathe OUT before you can breathe IN (and the breath in is often then quite uncomfortable ")

    Having been around a while and been teaching almost as long , I often find players who take a massive breath no matter how short or loud the following phrase may be. I was always taught that from about 15 yrs old , & remember a great teacher John (Jumbo) Wilbraham doing a super demo of how long he could hold a note or play a phrase WITHOUT taking a breath first . he would simply be talking and when someone clapped their hand, he would immediately play -mid sentence, and last easily four bars 4/4 at 60bpm. often lasting much longer. Saying there was always some air in the body , usually a good reserve. I used to play a bit myself & adopted his method , even to the extent of breathing out before a quiet pause , so as not to struggle to prevent excess air from interfering with the smoothness. If in the unlikely event of having too much air , I would exhale it thru the nose to get rid, before it became uncomfortable. . Moral to my tale : only take in as much as you need .....if you HAVE to take a big breath , dont be afraid of exhaling some of it before playing. The reason the sop players find the breath in uncomfortable , is often due to over stocking the air, resulting in unused bad air wanting to get out , but the good ( new) air is fighting against it to get in....Maybe worth thinking about. I have also hear such a racket when the whole band take a huge breath together before playing a simple Hymn , whereas a shallower intake would be ample for a normal 4 bar phrase quietly. Before I get bombarded with complaints from Bass Players, I do realise all instruments aren't the same , some needing more air than others.
    Tom-King and 2nd tenor like this.
  3. Ron Lander

    Ron Lander Member

    I discovered this about breathing only yesterday and put it into practise at tonights rehersal. What I am doing now is not taking a breath at all before playing. My throat is no longer closing off the air supply, I do not get dizzy and do not get as tired.

    Look at the piccolo trumpet videos on line by dr jack burt.
  4. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    That’s such a valid point, both in particular and general.

    Players can learn a lot from each other but techniques and ways of thinking that work well on the smaller instruments are only sometimes appropriate or transferable to the bigger ones. That point could probably be expanded further on even similar sized instruments, I suspect that playing a Flugelhorn is different in many ways to playing a Soprano. General principals tend to apply but the application is likely to be different, to a greater or lesser extent, between different types of instruments.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
    Ron Lander likes this.
  5. David Broad

    David Broad Member

    Chedworth Gloucestershire
  6. Mello

    Mello Active Member

    Just so everyone is in no doubt. The quote that David Broad refers to is NOT actually mine.
    It was an extract from a post by Tom King ....to which I was responding to.
    Basically ....my response bore similarities to David's response. If anyone is in doubt about what I actually said I suggest
    they read my post on the subject.(just below Ron Landers reply. Cheers !
    Tom-King likes this.
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