Here's a question for you...

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by nicolaforsberg, Feb 23, 2005.

  1. OK so this may be a little retarded but its been bugging me... Well theres two thing actually.

    a) What is a practice mute? What makes it so different from a cup mute or straight mute?

    b) What is rotor oil?

  2. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    a) A practice mute is one that is designed to reduce sound levels to allow you to practice without getting people annoyed. Other mutes are designed to change sound and tone to produce particular effects.

    b) Oil for rotorary valves.
  3. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Hi Nic,

    Perhaps you might like to take a look here where you will find some information on Yamaha's Silent Brass system of practice mutes.

    You should also do a search here on tMP as this has several threads discussing it.:biggrin:
  4. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    basically a practice mute has cork all the way round, and only very small, backward facing holes, so the sound coming out is minimized. Usually used for practice in places where you can't make much noise, or diaphragm training.

    Rotor oil, i'm pretty sure, is almost the same as every other kind of lubricating oil, just packaged to sell to a particular market, although I may be wrong...
  5. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    Oh no, the 'D' word..

    Beware of using practice mutes (especially silent brass) too much. As well as reducing the 'noise' produced, they change the playing characteristics of the instrument quite significantly, effecting intonation and tuning.

    However , they do have their uses, playing late at night, or where you do not want to disturb neighbours etc...
    One of the exercises I was taught for which a Wick (or other similar practice mute with high resistance) is useful is to to play middle register notes extremely loudly for a short period. Then remove the mute.... the idea of this exercise was to help increase your louder dynamics. However, you don't need a mute for this. .just shove a duster in your bell!

    I have never heard of a practice mute that helps with 'diaphragm training' (whatever that is!).. if you are alive and breathing, your diaphragm is in full working order!!
  6. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    I disagree. I regularly practice with my home made practice mute (duster wrapped around a straight mute). The diaphragm is a muscle like any other, and (I'm no biologist but based on my knowledge) surely it needs strengthening as much as any other muscle.

    And while someone will no doubt point out that technically you don't push the air out with your diaphragm, only pull it in, by using a practice mute you build up stamina, and you teach yourself to push harder, and really get theair moving through the instrument, which obviously helps for the louder "fatter" sound, but also controlling the quieter dynamics by learning to push the same amount of aire through the instrument.

    I find it works best when warming up with long notes, as the mute will restrict the slide movement (trombone specific problem) creating a vacuum on the way out and restricting the air on the way in, so faster notes become a problem.

    What you find is that when you practice like this you instantly find it easier to fill the instrument, something too many bandsmen seem to struggle with.

    And for b) rotary valve oil is as said before for rotary valves, but any valve oil seems to work fine.
  7. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    I think you have contradicted yourself.. you correctly state that the diaphram is used for breathing in the practice mute comes into effect when breathing out! How does one effect the other?

    The diaphram is not a muscle like any other, if you can get a copy of "Brass Playing is no Harder than deep breathing" by Claude Gordon {Published by Carl Fischer ISBN 0-8258-2870-8 }, there is a detailed explanation, too much to write here!!

    "Throughout the trumpet and medical literature, there are numerous references to 'diaphragmatic breathing', and many paragraphs urging 'development and strengthening of the diaphragm'. Since at post-mortem examination and surgical examination, the diaphragm is a very thin layer of tissue, it has always seemed to me a bit of a misconseption to expect so much contribution to trumpet playing from this organ."
    [the study's basically go on to x-ray a pro player and an amateur player playing various notes on a trumpet, arpeggios, crescendos, etc etc... ]
    "These studies led us to conclude several things in regards to 'diaphragmatic breathing'. One, the diaphragm does not appear to in any way be under voluntary control. Two, the diaphragm moves in response to the changes in pressure on either side, but it does not move until a critical pressure change has been achieved. Three, perhaps many of the notes in trumpet-playing are achieved without movement of the diaphragm, particularly those below 'G' on the staff. Four, the element critical to producing adequate expiration for creation of trumpet sound is the development of the chest, back, and abdominal musculature, and its the coordination of these muscular efforts that control and produce the pressures that create air movement and also movement of the diaphragm. With these data in mind, it seems a misnomre to refer to diaphragmatic breathing and development of the diaphragm muscle as the key to support of the trumpet players wind power."

    No doubt someone else can find a study to contradict this, but I have read other articles and books that support it.

    I do use practice mutes, but I don't think for one minute they develop my diaphram in anyway. (as I said, I'm alive and breathing, so it works ok!).

    Breathing and breath control can be developed without any instrument, mute, or fancy dan apperatus...

    Sorry to hijack the thread.. but the use of the 'd' word is something that annoys me in particular...
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2005
  8. GJPC

    GJPC New Member

    At the risk of contradicting some of the posts in this thread, the primary purpose of a practice mute is not for the benefit of the users neighbours and co-habitees (although this is a definate spin-off benefit).

    The main purpose of a practice mute is to train the player in blowing into the instrument correctly. Many teachers etc instruct to blow from the diaphragm (biologically, this is impossible as the diaphragm is a muscle for inhalation, not exhalation). It's not easy to consciously "breath from the belly" when someone tells you to, however, that is what the practice mute "forces" you to do. It will also make you open up your throat etc - really anything which constricts the sound.

    The way to use one of these for this purpose is to start with playing a bottom C with the mute. You will need to blow fairly hard an when you've got it right you will hear a tinny sound (certainly with Dennis Wick and Jo-Ral - I don't know about any others). Control that sound until you can play it at a constant pitch (i.e. no wavering). Then repeat the exercise down a semitone, and so on until you reach bottom F#.

    Do this over a few weeks and you'll find that the quality of you tone will significantly improve. Certainly if you have a poor tone now, the best investment you can make is a practice mute. I'm a great advocate of practice mutes when used properly.

    Hope this helps, good luck.
  9. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    Erm, I think this was a method developed to utilise the severe restriction in air flow that a practice mute provides rather than the raison d'etre of practice mutes (which is probably to reduce sound levels as this seems more commercially sensible).
  10. yonhee

    yonhee Active Member

    ouch to many words!
    Oh i did ask Robert what rotary oil was ages ago but i forgot to tell you sorry apparantly its for french horns an some trumpets or sumit like that.
  11. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    I stand correct on the exact use of the diaphragm, a misunderstanding on my part, I may well look up said literature. However I hardly see how I've contradicted myself. In order to breathe out with the additional umph you need with a practice mute, you need the air there [inside you] in the first place, hence you need to learn to breathe in properly before you can have a hope of breating out propoerly. Clearly one affects the other otherwise we'd all be dead!!
  12. euphfanhan

    euphfanhan Member

    See Nic, look what you've started! I asked my euph teacher what rotary oil was and he thought it was for french horns too.
  13. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    Ok, yes, the diaphragm is not used for breathing out, but it seemed a bit long winded to type "muscles-around-the-diaphragm-although-not-the-diaphragm-itself-because-its-involuntary training" and so saying diaphragm training is what most people understand. I don't for one minute think anyone is deeply upset that after all this diaphragm training it's only the muscles around it that are strengthening...

    Also, with breathing (when playing a brass instrument), I'd say breathing in is as important, if not more important than breathing out. Getting the technique right for breathing in is quite difficult for some (including me, which is why half my lessons with Brett Baker were spent thinking of different ways to think about my lungs...) while breathing out is far simpler.

    Playing loud long notes on a practice mute, and making sure they are straight and solid, does improve breathing. Denis Wick even wrote an article on how best to do it (basically the "loud long low note, and then when you get that, go down a semitone" method). If I can't call that diaphragm training then I'm sorry. Call it pigeon fondling for all I care, just as long as the result is right.
  14. ScreamingSop

    ScreamingSop Member

    one thing i would say is that avoid buying a silent brass system
    in my own opinion, they are not that good, they are just like a practice mute, but with a little headset wher you can hear yourself play, i have one and i find it pointless, i found myself ust buying a normal practice mute

    dont waste your money!
  15. Tell me about it....I only wanted to know the answer to a simple question, and now i do!!!
  16. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    I agree, having had a try of one, the "silent" bit isn't so silent, you might as well use a practice mute and save yourself a lot of money.
  17. ScreamingSop

    ScreamingSop Member

    yup, thats why i had to ditch it,
    thought it would be completely silent, so i could practice anytime, anywhere but they make the same noise as a practice mute, are a LOT more expensive and if you do use the earphones, it doesnt sound like right either
  18. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    Yes, the practice mute does increase resistance which will require more effort when blowing into the horn, but has little or no effect on breathing in..
    (I'm just being pedantic)

    Well, at least now you know what a practice mute is, the benefits that it may introduce to your playing if you use one sensibly, what rotary valve oil is.. for rotary valves..
    and the next time someone tells you to use your diaphram when playing you can glibly answer.. I am, I'd be dead if I wasn't using it... in fact, I can't help using it.. it works on its own without my interference!! :)
  19. yonhee

    yonhee Active Member

    so whats a rotary valve?
  20. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

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