Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

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el2002
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Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by el2002 »



Around the 12:40 mark he talks about players needing resistance vs freedom in their playing.

He describes himself as a resistance player.

“There’s a particular style of playing in the US that is based on freedom… just really really letting the air flow… and it’s too much for some embouchures … it doesn’t work for 50% of players.”

_________
I recently played on a really nice bass, the Shires Curran Model with the lightweight axials. The horn sounds fantastic and is probably one of the freeist blowing horns basses out there but it blew “too open” for me. I’m just now realizing I’m more of a resistance player, and things are starting to make sense. Thoughts?
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Burgerbob
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by Burgerbob »

Oh I have so many thoughts about this.

My teacher plays a 42T with a Wick 3AL on principal in a big orchestra and makes a GREAT sound with basically limitless high register. He loves a horn that just gets out of the way when he plays high. I'm talking the loudest, pingiest high Fs you have heard in your life on huge equipment, with basically no effort except air on his part.

I'll admit I don't understand how that works. When I play his horns (I'm currently borrowing one of his 42AFGs), they work great for me in the mid and low register playing loud and not really for anything else. Obviously, I don't have chops like he does, but it also feels like I just... Won't ever, even with a lot of work? It's a strange thing.

I just ran into this on my bass setup, where it's obviously just sliiiightly too open for me and it is a real chore to keep in the goldilocks zone compared to some of my other horns. A leadpipe change is in order.

I don't think there's necessarily a line between these camps, but there is a spectrum.


Probably more thoughts on this, but a long day of travel and a phone keyboard will keep me short for now.
musicofnote
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by musicofnote »

I was a resistence players as a trumpet player, who because of the then trend, had my B-flat and c-trumpets rebuilt for as little resistence as possible. I noticed my endurance decreasing bit by bit, and my recuperation times between sessions increasing. I was blowing myself out with horns set up that way. BTW, this was about a decade before folks like Monette came out with extra-mass trumpets and before the Mega Tone mouthpieces that moved in the exact opposite direction.

When I switched to trombone, I vowed to not repeat the same mistake(s (implying not repeating the same mistakes, but leaving rooms for all NEW mistakes). The Bachs I played for 20 years were uneven in response - ie typical Bachs, so I never got a handle on them. I could never find a good balance. The trombone prof who bought them (plays bass in Slokar's 4-tett and solo trombone in Berlin Radio Orchestra) loved both of them and bought them to keep in his teaching studio, so he didn't have to travel with trombones between his home in Berlin and studio in Basel. So they were good instruments, just not good for me.

My Yamaha Xeno 822g is not totally free blowing, but is very uniform in it's resistence. I'm finding, that I need the resistence of a medium mouthpiece with a rather tight throat. I seriously tried to like the Greg Black 1.5 and 1 7/16 mouthpieces, but they were just too free blowing for me as was the Symington 1.5 brass - the feeling being of diminishing returns, falling into the mouthpiece, so am back, bouncing between my Wedge 108 Gen 2 (.280" throat) and my Wedge 110 Gen 2 (.280" throat). And have a Wedge 110 Gen 2 (.300" throat) on order. If that turns out to be going in the "wrong direction" for me, I can return it for the compromise of the 108 Gen 2 (.300" throat), kind of splitting the difference.

Having said that, at almost 70 years of age, I feel I've never played better, so am getting closer to "the goal", meaning a realistic one, that I, with my limited abilities, can reach.
Yamaha Xeno 822G with a Wedge 110G 2nd Gen

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Rath R400 with a Wedge 4G or a Hammond 11L

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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by GabrielRice »

I like how they follow that up with the idea that when you get it right your body feels good when you play.

I was just discussing this with a couple of students this week; there is a dangerous idea - and by dangerous I mean not incorrect exactly, but easy to take too far and suffer for it - that one should always be guided by the sound, not the feel.

This has never really made sense to me. My body feels good when I make sounds I like, and when it feels good to play it typically sounds good. Also, if it doesn't feel good to play, might that not be an indicator that you're doing something unhealthy?
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by GabrielRice »

And to add to this, when I was doing sales and custom fittings at Shires, we would sometimes have a player come in - usually a big guy with a powerful style - who would keep asking for "bigger, more free." We would keep going bigger and bigger and it was never enough. Sometimes, without telling him, we would then start to go radically smaller, usually at the leadpipe, and pretty often we would get "Finally! Thank you!"

It was exactly the phenomenon Ian describes here; by putting more resistance up front, the player was able to relax and feel free.
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by henrysa »

Fascinating discussion. What adjustments to my King 4B with 547 bore can anyone suggest to increase my resistance. I think my sound is being made somewhere deep in my horn, and I am playing a bagpipe. Contrast to my new little small bore Getzen where I feel like I am one with the horn and it feels and sounds so wonderful.
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by Posaunus »

henrysa wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 10:11 am What adjustments to my King 4B with 547 bore can anyone suggest to increase my resistance. I think my sound is being made somewhere deep in my horn, and I am playing a bagpipe. Contrast to my new little small bore Getzen where I feel like I am one with the horn and it feels and sounds so wonderful.
What mouthpiece are you using on the 4B?

Since your trombone has a fixed leadpipe, to address this issue your first bet is to look at the mouthpiece. You might do better with a piece with a smaller throat - or perhaps some other change (cup diameter / depth / shape, mass). :idk:

Though I'm not a fan of Bach mouthpieces, their sizes have become some sort of a reference. Given that, I'd say that if you're playing a "4G size" (i.e., 26.0mm Cup I.D., 7.0 mm Throat) or larger from any manufacturer, you probably need to go smaller.
henrysa
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by henrysa »

6 1/2 al bach originally. Recently a DW 4ABL and DW 4AL, now looking for a rainbow with a pot of new ones to try to put some lipstick on this pig.
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by henrysa »

Does the anatomy of my standard 547 slide preclude introducing a lead pipe. Confess total lack of knowledge on these matters. Two paragraphs for dummies would be so welcome.
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by harrisonreed »

We talked about this years ago, on the old forum. I called it Type I vs Type II. Resistance at the face vs resistance from the air in the horn. People basically said I was crazy.

I couldn't find the old discussion but it's referenced here too:

https://trombonechat.com/viewtopic.php? ... ii#p141762

FWIW, I maintain my idea that as a "chest player" or Type II, your lips move sympathetically with the vibrating air in the horn, and it's basically a feedback loop. Type I "Head Players" are using more of the face to make the sound. A lot of jazz guys who rely on the mic do this.
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by Mr412 »

Yes. I remember it too, Harrison. It was roundly diss'd. Go figure.
Bleek
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by Bleek »

I think there is possibly some truth to this. Unfortunately I think it was also what Model34 was getting at in the off-rails thread https://trombonechat.com/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=28784
Unfortunately he called it embouchure types and the idea was discarded. He was referring to a muscle'ing approach to high range vs a singing approach as I recall.

I think it is possibly about the placement of resistance as mentioned, but also about a concept of sound and style of playing, even if unconscious then causing different physical approaches.
Mr412
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by Mr412 »

If memory serves me, I think it was "Geezer" on the old forum who postulated the Type I as those who let the horn act as an amplifier for the pure and accurate lip buzzer and the Type II who depended upon the horn's slots to get the lips to vibrate accurately, given that the lips where more-or-less buzzing in the proper zip code to begin with. Then it was Harrison who understood that concept profoundly and immensely sweetened it. If memory serves me...
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by harrisonreed »

I miss Geezer! He OK?
Mr412
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by Mr412 »

He OK! Thanks. I got a little paranoid over discussions of spammers on this chat group and changed my persona. Then I got locked out when I tried to update my profile and just came back on as Mr412 (a Pgh, PA phone prefix) b/c it was the easy thing to do.

Anyway, enough about me. I found it curious that he used the terms "head" and "chest". I thought those were vocalists terms that dealt with where the sound originates. I always accused my instructor of playing a lot in the "whistle" range; the extreme upper range that Maria Carey sings in often or the range I have heard Dick Nash play in.

---Geezer aka Mr412
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by timothy42b »

harrisonreed wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 2:59 pm
FWIW, I maintain my idea that as a "chest player" or Type II, your lips move sympathetically with the vibrating air in the horn, and it's basically a feedback loop. Type I "Head Players" are using more of the face to make the sound. A lot of jazz guys who rely on the mic do this.
Huh. Haven't thought about this in a long time. But this morning doing some octave slurs, a few times I glissed the octave seamlessly and the tone was very different between the two places where it centered. That would imply that at least at that moment I was behaving like a Head Player.
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by Wilktone »

The trouble I have with "head/chest," "type I/II" or "muscle/float" is that they are pretty vague and subjective. Based on Bousfield's descriptions I don't know if I would personally be a head or chest type player and I don't have any objective information that I could use to classify how a student fits into those categories. It seems as if he's talking about playing sensations, not an actual description of what is physically happening between different players. Even if we could come up with a more empirical definition to distinguish these types I imagine that most people will fall along a continuum.

Other than stylistic and personal choices, I do believe that certain equipment choices work better for players with certain physiological and mechanical differences. However, I'm not very much into equipment and can't really say too much about it. Doug Elliott can certainly discuss how different embouchure types will tend to favor certain mouthpiece configurations. But I'm not certain if this is what Bousfield is observing and trying to get at with different terminology. It seems pretty different, but again, Bousfield is being more subjective and vague in his description and maybe with time to observe and think about he might end up in a similar place?

Dave
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VJOFan
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by VJOFan »

I was just thinking along the same lines as Dave Wilken above.

These descriptions are based on the players observations of themselves. It is really hard for these kinds of concepts to be used by a third party to analyze someone else.

It makes me think fundamental concepts like consciousness and sentience. We are all pretty sure those things describe us and most of us assume they apply to others, but when scientists or philosophers get down to defining the ideas or proving a being possesses them it gets very convoluted.

Maybe "head and chest" is true, but it would be hard to tell if I was accurate in saying I was one or the other.
Mr412
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by Mr412 »

I knew a chest player. He was amazing, but he confided in me that he was never, ever able to lip buzz. When he went to a conservancy school in his youth and had a conventional trombone instructor who wanted him to mouthpiece buzz through material, he couldn't do that either. So he found a different instructor who told him to forget about all that stuff and just play, because he was a natural at the way he played. And instead, they focused on commercializing his particular style - with great success.

So, I'm convinced that they do exist and I also have those tendencies, but not as strongly.

Now, what value any of this has to conventional teaching is, I believe, sketchy at best. It might just be a "know thyself" kinda thing.
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by imsevimse »

Mr412 wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 5:55 pm He OK! Thanks. I got a little paranoid over discussions of spammers on this chat group and changed my persona. Then I got locked out when I tried to update my profile and just came back on as Mr412 (a Pgh, PA phone prefix) b/c it was the easy thing to do.

Anyway, enough about me. I found it curious that he used the terms "head" and "chest". I thought those were vocalists terms that dealt with where the sound originates. I always accused my instructor of playing a lot in the "whistle" range; the extreme upper range that Maria Carey sings in often or the range I have heard Dick Nash play in.

---Geezer aka Mr412
Hi Geezer!🖐 l also wondered what happened to you. Glad you are okay.

/Tom
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by GGJazz »

Hello All.

I agree with the concept Ian Bousfield is talking about .
I think he refers to how a person BLOW into the horn . This , of course , is a different thing than embouchure types , or mouthpieces placements , ecc .

In my opinion , you can be a downstream type player , with high mpc placement , having a "resistence" way of blowing ; or you can be a downstream type player , with high mpc placecent , having a "no-resistance" way of blowing . It depends on your personal attitude , I think .

Anyway , I do not think there are just these two categories (resistance and freedom ) , but many in between : people that need a bit more/less of resistence , or a bit less/more of freedom , ecc .

I guess that to understand our personal attitude about this topic , we can refers to the equipment that allow us to play the best ( full range , intonation , endurance , clear articolations , speed , good steady centered sound , extreme dynamics , ecc) in the more confortable way . If you "feel at home" with large bore tenors , with 4G-ish mpcs , probably you are a freedom (blowing) player . Viceversa , if you like to play with a small bore tenors , and feel comfortable with 11C-ish mpcs , maybe you are a resistance (blowing) player .

Probably , if you go against your nature , will be harder to get good results .

Personally , I am a freedom player ( downstream type , very high mpc placement ).

Regards to everyone
Giancarlo
Last edited by GGJazz on Fri Nov 25, 2022 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by timothy42b »

Wilktone wrote: Fri Nov 25, 2022 7:59 am It seems as if he's talking about playing sensations, not an actual description of what is physically happening between different players.
Dave
Having thought about it a little more, can there really be two totally different mechanisms for producing a tone?

For sure there can be many mental concepts, as well as many ways to do it wrong. But feel isn't real, as golfers say, and I'm not sure there can really be different ways to produce a good tone.

If a Jacobs student being careful not to think about embouchure and a Reinhardt student playing "correctly" both succeed at a good sound, it seems likely the mechanics are probably the same.
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by Mr412 »

Being either a head or chest player (Type I or Type II) has nothing to do with producing a good sound any more than tapping the left foot vs tapping the right foot has to do with it. The Reinhardt System takes care of that and a host of other things.

What it possibly does influence is the openness of the mouthpiece one chooses. It perhaps can actually influence the width of the slotting of the horn too, but that is another matter. My instructor liked the Lindberg mouthpieces because they were, paraphrasing his words, so extremely open that he could do anything he wanted. By my reckoning, he's a hard Type I. He has told me that he will, on occasion, free-buzz notes into the mouthpiece and let the horn amplify them. I suspect he does that more than even he realizes. For me, as more of a Type II, Lindberg mouthpieces require much more work than I want to put into them and I tended to play very sloppily on them. I like a certain amount of openness in a mouthpiece, but not too much.
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by Kdanielsen »

One of the basic (false) assumptions I’m detecting overall is that you are doing one or the other most of the time. I think it’s a spectrum and we are all doing all of it at different times for different registers, articulations, dynamics, and styles (and even at different points within one note).
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by WilliamLang »

I like Kris' thoughts right above this. There are a variety of spectrums to look at and analyze playing styles and tone production. They will all work differently for different people. Some people will have a lightbulb moment and some people will scratch their heads for each system or theory.

As a teacher I try to collect as many of these as possible, and not take any as a hard and fast rule, to better teach the individual rather than teach a codified system that will work for some percentage of students. We all have a piece of the elephant, as it were.
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by imsevimse »

el2002 wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 11:14 pm
Around the 12:40 mark he talks about players needing resistance vs freedom in their playing.

He describes himself as a resistance player.

“There’s a particular style of playing in the US that is based on freedom… just really really letting the air flow… and it’s too much for some embouchures … it doesn’t work for 50% of players.”

_________
I recently played on a really nice bass, the Shires Curran Model with the lightweight axials. The horn sounds fantastic and is probably one of the freeist blowing horns basses out there but it blew “too open” for me. I’m just now realizing I’m more of a resistance player, and things are starting to make sense. Thoughts?
He also talks about the sound you get behind the bell versus the sound in front of the bell. This is something I've thought alot about too. We ourselves are the ones never going to hear what we truly sound like, and still we don't get that and forget it all the time. Every judgment during practice session we do ourselves are based on our own small subjective opinions about things, sound articulation musicianship and so on. I record myself to take care of some of that but it is not enough. The teacher needs to be there somewhere. As a 59 year old I have stopped long ago to take lessons, but what I do is to choose very carefully who to trust for feedback. I have a friend I trust who always gives me feedback on equipment and she has very good ears. She do this constantly even if I don't ask. I have others too that gives me criticisms both good and bad spontaneously but they are not consistent so I don't know what to think about their judgement. This special friend always hear when I pick a certain mouthpiece for example and also says the same thing when I'm on a certain horn. She knows little about brands and only play one mouthpiece herself and one trombone for everything. Not like me who switch all the time. She has a good sound and obviously good ears and honest opinions. Critisism from others I don't pick up as all that honest because it varies too much what they say, it is not consistent and I also believe they tend to hear alot with their eyes (they don't think so themselves of course)

And the talk about head versus chest players. I also associate this to singing, but there you use both. I think of my playing as if it comes from the chest because I have a feeling of a very high chest position as to bring volume in my sound. When it comes to resistence I'm depending on that to exist and I think of that as coming from the stream. I don't think of it as coming from the lips, maybe because I've never practiced mouthpiece buzzing much and not much lip buzzing either. I can do it in the normal register but in the low register only if I cover a part of the backbore which makes more resistens so makes sense I depend on resistance in the instrument for my playing. I also find Thayers hard to play because they make the feel so open. The air just dissapeare. I guess I'm helped by the more narrow and more resistant old rotors and have learned to use that backpressure as a part of my technique.

I guess I'm then a chest player that depends on the resistens (back-pressure) in the horn

/Tom
Mr412
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by Mr412 »

Hi Tom! I think you have this theory about as well thought-out as any of us.

I don't believe that suspecting we are either a mostly head vs a mostly chest player (yes, there is fluidity) helps us much in equipment selection, since there are SO many factors and variables. A good Reinhart awareness is probably best. It is the actual test-playing and long-term playing in the context of actual usage that is the best proof of all concepts. This theory is probably just an interesting after-thought once the selection is made as to perhaps what is ONE factor in WHY that selection seems to work the best. It may not hold up long-term when all is said and done.
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Re: Bousfield - Head vs Chest player

Post by baileyman »

Some years ago he had a session at Ft Myer and demonstrated quite a lot about sound including some bits from a horn concerto. And what did that sound like? French horn, of course! What the heck...
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