Using an upper register setting all the time

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norbie2018
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Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by norbie2018 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:29 pm

I believe someone wrote about using an upper register setting for all registers on the old forum. Does anyone have any insight into this? Thanks!
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BrassedOn
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by BrassedOn » Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:06 am

My understanding is in the case where someone has a dramatic mouthpiece shift to play upper range notes versus lower range notes. Think high mouthpiece placement (more upper lip than lower lip, rim toward the nose), downward airstream (air directed from lips to lower inside of the cup), leadpipe slightly downward....versus low placement (more lower lip in the mouthpiece, bottom rim toward the chin) with upward airstream (air directed toward upper inside of the cup), leadpipe close to level.

I think the roughest case is where someone is changing airstream direction (upward airstream vs downward airstream) between low and high registers between a lower placement to a higher placement with dramatic shift in the leadpipe position. Some movement may be fine, natural, common as part of "pivoting", but a dramatic shift could make it harder to change tessiture or make large intervals jumps like octaves and more. If the player is moving their jaw way out of its natural position, they may open themselves to TMJ disfunction (jaw clicking and worse).

For example, let's say that a player uses an upward airstream low placement, and that works best for the high range someone wants to play in, but they have a dramatic shift or placement for their "normal" playing with downward airstream. Maybe that high range embouchure/placement is actually "optimal". One option is to retrain the embouchure to play all ranges of the horn with basically the same placement and airstream as the upper (with smaller adjustments to accomplish range shifts, or low to mid low placement, but consistent in the overall air direction and placement).

http://www.wilktone.com/?p=2500

If the player just "pivots" as part of changing range, which is common, perhaps a good idea NOT to change the overall embouchure unless there were a problem or the shift were so dramatic that it was difficult to change range or play intervals.

http://trombone.org/articles/library/vi ... ?ArtID=240

Many other discussions on embouchure types on TC.

For me, after a while of not attending to it, I found that I was doing quite a big shift to get my BBb tuba pedal range, and this was involving what seemed like a change in placement and airstream shift. Bad. Why? Mainly what drew my attention was that I was not getting the results in flexibility I wanted. I did not like the sense that I had to re-place or re-set my mouthpiece to anticipate and to bark out some gap low notes like CC and pedals. So I am devoting some of my practice to reinforce that range and entering and exiting that range with a less dramatic shift and the same airstream direction, staying around a mid high placement and downward airstream for all, but with pivoting. I'm getting the flexibility and ease I want, and am working on getting both the round full tone and option to bark that I want. Seems to be working. Has not been an issue on my bass trombone, and relative tot he size of the mouthpiece, basically the same for tenor bass trombones and tuba/sousa.

If someone has a concern in this area, I recommend working with a teacher who is adept with working with a mouthpiece visualizer (rim on a stick or clear mouthpiece) and embouchure types.

If you ever see Chris Olka tubist doing pedal range crushes on one of his horn review videos, he has a pretty dramatic pivot for the pedal range (and even to the left quite a bit) to get the sound he wants, but I believe he does not change the airstream direction. And he crushes, and no limitation on flexibility, so it works for him.
Last edited by BrassedOn on Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:35 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by imsevimse » Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:09 am

I don't know what you read at TTF but I know I did explain how I completely changed my emboushure in my teens (17-18 years). I changed from a smile emboushure to a puckered emboushure with firm mouth corners. I did this by using a method that made me succeed in playing high c :trebleclef: (space3) but nothing else. I began on that note and played cromatically down the register and could barely do one octave. Then there was nothing for a while and further down the smile emboushure returned and I could play down to the pedal register. Before the change I could barely squeeze an unstable :trebleclef: :line2: with lots of pressure on the lips and higher was a pain. Usually nothing came out on higher notes. Low register was good.

The method was to stop playing in all ensembles for half a year and the only thing I practiced was to start as high as I could with the new emboushure and work down. I stopped when the smile emboushure returned and corrected. Gradually I connected all registers and became free from the problem. It took years.

I used the high setting to settle an emboushure but I don't think it resulted in "a high setting" in the whole register. What I did was to find a working start point high enough when I started to relearn.

I don't think there are one setting for all registers. There are shifts and I think we just need to control them. Personally on tenor I know I do a shift below pedal G, and on bass below pedal Eb. Different because the rimsizes are different, a Bach 6 3/4C versus a Hammond 20BL (Bach 11C-ish versus Bach 1 1/4-ish)

/Tom
Last edited by imsevimse on Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:08 am, edited 6 times in total.
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baileyman
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by baileyman » Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:30 am

Tom's experience is similar to mine. I do think I remember Doug saying something on TTF about the process.

My motivation became to find a solution to what I now understand as a connection issue. Getting from one note or range to another was a problem. This especially showed up when I could get from one range to another, but then I could not get back! Something changed along the way. (This was usually going up, and then getting back down became inaccessible.)

I cannot describe how the parts were working or not working back then, and I cannot describe how they work now, and occasionally they continue to change for the better. But I can describe the process.

I turned everything upside down.

So, I did every scale top down and back up (and often just down). This is constant piece contact, single breath style stuff. I did every interval workout top down and back up. Starting with a middle note, I would stretch it down as far as it would go by scales or intervals. Then go to a higher note and repeat. And repeat and repeat until I had no higher notes.

Now that I can get back, except for a few notes some times, I will again play from low to high and back. I do think the standard low high low pattern misled my chops. But it's fine way to go if they already know how to navigate the ranges.
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Matt K
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by Matt K » Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:19 am

That may have been me. Its been a few years now sine my last lesson wth Doug so hopefully I'm not putting words in his mouth. Essentially, I'm a very high placement player. The rim almost touches my nose when I play. Evidently it isn't uncommon for people like me to have no problem with high range on larger rims but with inaccuracies. If the set is too low (from nose to chin) then there is too much motion. The higher the range you are playing, the distance beween notes diminishes. Ergo, with that set of factors, when I start by establishing an altissimo Bb and bringing that embouchure "down" so to speak (basically not removing from lips etc.), my low range improves because it limits the motion that I'm doing from note to note to only that which I actually need. I can get way with more because the low range is more forgiving but its generally more efficient for that set all the way down to around pedal G or maybe F which is around the limit to my range (primarily because I don't practice down there very often).
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by Redthunder » Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:24 am

Matt K wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:19 am
Evidently it isn't uncommon for people like me to have no problem with high range on larger rims but with inaccuracies. If the set is too low (from nose to chin) then there is too much motion. The higher the range you are playing, the distance beween notes diminishes. Ergo, with that set of factors, when I start by establishing an altissimo Bb and bringing that embouchure "down" so to speak (basically not removing from lips etc.), my low range improves because it limits the motion that I'm doing from note to note to only that which I actually need. I can get way with more because the low range is more forgiving but its generally more efficient for that set all the way down to around pedal G or maybe F which is around the limit to my range (primarily because I don't practice down there very often).
Now take this, invert everything, and you basically have my experience as a low placement player. Rim sits right on my upper lip, and touches my chin. I used to play higher to get lower notes, and shift lower for the upper range, and I could never connect the two, and I had endurance and swelling issues.

I also start my playing day in the upper range, F above middle B-flat or even high B-flat, and descend from there, just like Matt.

Additionally, I've found that I generally play much better with larger rims than smaller ones.

What always amazes me is that after struggling for years and years to improve, all it took was a lesson or two with Doug and Dave Wilken to get all of the tools I needed to solve what seemed unsolvable. And then I talk to other players around me, who are often given advice from their teachers, some of them world class symphony players, that embrace or advocate for shifting... even acknowledging all of the problems with it...
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by Doug Elliott » Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:53 am

This is exactly the stuff I teach but it is all very individual, so there's very little point in making generalizations.
MattK and Redthunder and many other members here have studied with me. As Redthunder mentioned, the two of them are exactly opposite in what they need to do.
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by mrdeacon » Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:06 am

Interesting! I might have to try this "upper register setting" approach with a student of mine. I firmly believe in no to minimal shifting but I've never seen it approached from this angle.

I naturally have a nice solid middle register and have to remind myself not to get to open in the high register and not to be too closed in the low register. Starting in the middle and connecting the registers seems to iron that out the best for me.
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by blast » Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:41 am

I just want to point out that not everyone has a break or breaks. It is possible to cover the entire range with one setting. What would you call that setting? Mid extended? Upper lowered? Lower raised ? Or just a simple way of playing notes?

Chris
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by Pre59 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:47 am

What does an upper range setting comprise of? I use the same setting from the middle outwards, apart from notes below pedal Ab.
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Matt K
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by Matt K » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:55 am

Pre59 wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:47 am
What does an upper range setting comprise of? I use the same setting from the middle outwards, apart from notes below pedal Ab.
Like Doug mentioned, it really depends on your physiology. In my case, I tend to think of the setting in the way I described it because its where I feel natural playing in the altissimo register. But like Chris mentioned, it's really my only embouchure at this point. I hate to say anything universally because everyone is so different but I think if there is something that can be said its whatever reduces the motion to the smallest distance between notes accurately is whats best for anyone. How to get there on the other hand...
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by harrisonreed » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:39 am

blast wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:41 am
I just want to point out that not everyone has a break or breaks. It is possible to cover the entire range with one setting. What would you call that setting? Mid extended? Upper lowered? Lower raised ? Or just a simple way of playing notes?

Chris
Yeah, I call that middle F setting. Just play everything like it's F3
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by Redthunder » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:37 am

mrdeacon wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:06 am
I firmly believe in no to minimal shifting but I've never seen it approached from this angle.
It's important to note that this approach is exactly what Doug teaches, and what MattK and myself are talking about. There's a difference however between "shifting" as defined as physically moving the mouthpiece to a different spot on your face, versus figuring out how to slide the mouthpiece and lips as one unit over your teeth in the correct manner for your physiology. This is often where people get confused. Moving the mouthpiece to a different spot for different registers will all but guarantee that a player will never truly connect their full range, and in the worst case scenario, it will create serious problems in someones playing. The trouble however, is that moving the mouthpiece tends to produce immediate results, where as practicing the way Doug advocates takes time and investment to truly see the benefits. It can be hard to convince people that it works, especially those players who ascribe to the playing and teaching philosophies of "tongue and blow", "air air air", and "paralysis by analysis". Additionally, even if a player doesn't seem to move the mouthpiece for different registers, there are still plenty of ways a player can be inconsistent from register to register in a way that is detrimental to development. For example, you may find a player that plays with firm corners in the upper register, and then completely collapses to get to the low register. These players then need to "reset" by taking the horn off of their face to reform their embouchure with firm corners in order to ascend again.

So, in other words, you're correct in believing in no to minimal shifting when playing.
I naturally have a nice solid middle register and have to remind myself not to get to open in the high register and not to be too closed in the low register. Starting in the middle and connecting the registers seems to iron that out the best for me.
I also find this approach can help me as an upstream player too, especially on days when I have a lot of mid-range or low range playing to do.
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by Pre59 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:06 am

Matt K wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:55 am

....but I think if there is something that can be said, its whatever reduces the motion to the smallest distance between notes accurately is whats best for anyone. How to get there on the other hand...
My underscore to Matt' K's post, but I've found that lip flexibilities in myriad ways is key to a strong embouchure, more so than long tones sometimes.
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by Redthunder » Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:14 am

Pre59 wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:06 am
My underscore to Matt' K's post, but I've found that lip flexibilities in myriad ways is key to a strong embouchure, more so than long tones sometimes.
Yes, yes, and yes.

I would argue it is the key to a strong, correctly functioning embouchure, provided that you're playing with a placement that's correct for you and understand your embouchure motion.

The first thing I was given to work on by Doug and Dave were octave slurs. If you go on Rich Wiley's website, boptism.com, you can find nearly a dozen books he compiled from his time with Reinhardt and many of them are based around slurs and various ways to play them to achieve specific tasks.
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by norbie2018 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:45 am

A related question: does having one setting mean there is no perceptible motion in the embouchure?
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by Doug Elliott » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:05 pm

No

And "least possible motion" should be "least necessary motion" which may be quite noticeable at times.
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by Pre59 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:59 pm

norbie2018 wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:45 am
A related question: does having one setting mean there is no perceptible motion in the embouchure?
Speaking for my self, I have almost no visible motion, apart from very low intervals, but that's not anything that I've aimed at. It's a by-product of having practised close and wide slurs/flex's for SO long..
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by bimmerman » Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:03 pm

I'm another vote for working with Doug on this. Self-diagnosing the existence of a problem is simple, knowing how to correct it requires expertise.
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by Doug Elliott » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:07 pm

Pre59 wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:59 pm
Speaking for my self, I have almost no visible motion, apart from very low intervals, but that's not anything that I've aimed at. It's a by-product of having practised close and wide slurs/flex's for SO long..
You can save a LOT of time if you learn what, how and why to practice those slurs directly as it relates to your own embouchure, EARLY in your playing life. I'm certainly glad I did exactly that.
bimmerman wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:03 pm
I'm another Jim for working with Doug on this. Self-diagnosing the existence of a problem is simple, knowing how to correct it requires expertise.
In my experience, almost everyone self-diagnoses incorrectly.
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by Pre59 » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:30 am

Doug Elliott wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:07 pm

You can save a LOT of time if you learn what, how and why to practice those slurs directly as it relates to your own embouchure, EARLY in your playing life. I'm certainly glad I did exactly that.

In my experience, almost everyone self-diagnoses incorrectly.
Unfortunately I had a good high range from the off, a bad thing because (at that time) a high range was often seen as a marker for a good embouchure, which was not true in my case.. IMO, the ideal is a high register that's supported by a strong flexible mid-range, the "cash register".
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by Wilktone » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:45 am

In my experience, almost everyone self-diagnoses incorrectly.
Yep, that's been my experience as well. And I'm not just talking about students that have come to me for help, but also my personal experience working on my own chops. At every lesson I've taken with Doug he's always spotted something useful and frequently he notes characteristics of how I'm playing that I would like to think that I would spot on a student, but somehow missed it on myself. It's hard to analyze yourself, even if you have a background and experience with it.

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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by imsevimse » Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:42 pm

Pre59 wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:06 am
My underscore to Matt' K's post, but I've found that lip flexibilities in myriad ways is key to a strong embouchure, more so than long tones sometimes.
I agree lip flexibilitis is a key to develop a strong emboshure, that is; as long as it is done right.

My experience

Since I began to focus on my legato this summer I have seen great progress in my technique. Lip flexibility is one thing that has been improved. I can do them smoother and I can also do patterns I have never been able to do such as fast arpeggios from low to high and back for example from Bb :bassclef: :line2: to 8va :tenorclef: :space5: and back. They just pop out with ease now and It feels as my lips is working like a camera lens as it opens and closes.

I feel I control that hole from all sides like the fixation of a round trampoline when it gives speed to an athlet who uses if for jumps. At this time in my career those flexibility patterns are building my embouchure but there was a time when they weren't. If I had insisted to play that same patterns with my smile emboshure some 30 years ago my lips had been worn out and destroyed in the process. The good benefits of certain technical studies can come first after you are ready for them, that's one reason to see a good teacher. First things first.

/Tom
Last edited by imsevimse on Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:57 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: Using an upper register setting all the time

Post by BurckhardtS » Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:24 pm

Pre59 wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:30 am
Unfortunately I had a good high range from the off, a bad thing because (at that time) a high range was often seen as a marker for a good embouchure, which was not true in my case.. IMO, the ideal is a high register that's supported by a strong flexible mid-range, the "cash register".
This is one of those things where "high range as a marker for good embouchure" is not always true. It can be. It can be not. It depends because there are too many variables. As Doug would say "I'd have to see it".
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