Difficulty getting pedal tones

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martinfan
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Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by martinfan »

Good afternoon! I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why pedal tones are now so hard to get, whereas not so long ago I could play them with ease. I'm back to playing my beloved Conn 88H aka "Danielle" with the
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Remington mouthpiece. I'm using good posture and breath support, and yes, I know that I am..aging. Any ideas ? Thank you!
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by imsevimse »

Impossible to give special advice since we don't know anything about your playing. In general: don't use pressure, hold your mouthcorners firm, relax in the centre to make the vibrations happen, blow slow "thick" air. Did that help?

/Tom
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by baileyman »

For me the coordination that works seems to be a combination of chop "tension" and mouth volume. The chop "tension" is loose enough to play the pedal with large mouth volume but tense enough to play the octave above with small mouth volume. When the coordination is right it's possible to trill these notes. I find the mouth volumes needed get larger with lower pedals. I start to have trouble at Gb these days.
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by harrisonreed »

If you are a high placement downstream player, reverse your playing to upstream for pedals. I don't know how you would do it if you are an upstream player already.

Basically, the airstream needs to aim more or less right at the mouthpiece throat.
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by timothy42b »

When I started playing more correctly after a lesson, pedal tones got much harder, mostly went away if I didn't shift. I'm only just barely getting them back now and it takes huge concentration not to cheat.

Any chance this is a good symptom to have? Per Harrison, tell us your chop setting if you know it.
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by timothy42b »

I'm going to start a new thread, because I watched a Chris Olka video on low register shifting. I don't want to put it here because I don't want to seem like I'm encouraging trying it. It looks dangerous to me; maybe a superstar can do that without getting confused but it would screw me up for sure.
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by harrisonreed »

timothy42b wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 8:01 am When I started playing more correctly after a lesson, pedal tones got much harder, mostly went away if I didn't shift. I'm only just barely getting them back now and it takes huge concentration not to cheat.

Any chance this is a good symptom to have? Per Harrison, tell us your chop setting if you know it.
I see no issue shifting for pedals. They are an effect, especially on tenor. It's like shifting for lip multiphonics/split tones. Cool to know how to do, but not the way you play the normal range. For that matter, didn't someone here say that the pedal range isn't the fundamental partial, it's actually resonating a combination of higher partials?

If you needed to exclusively play in that range, you'd play tuba.
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by Wilktone »

If you're a tenor trombonist I think you could make an argument that if you do some sort of "shift" to get the pedals out it's not a huge deal. However, it's best to approach pedal notes as an extension of your normal playing and minimize or eliminate any reversal or drastic change in embouchure form. Sometimes you don't get the opportunity to reset before or after a pedal and relying on a shift will never eliminate the resulting break between registers.

If you're a bass trombonist I would recommend that you learn to play pedals without a "shift."
harrisonreed wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 6:24 am If you are a high placement downstream player, reverse your playing to upstream for pedals. I don't know how you would do it if you are an upstream player already.
Harrison, I think you define the air stream direction as being related to horn angle. Unless you're drastically sliding your mouthpiece placement from more upper lip inside the cup to more lower lip inside you're not actually flipping air stream direction.

And as an upstream player I play pedals upstream with no shift.

Image

That's a photo of me playing a pedal Bb. The aperture didn't get captured at its most open position. Here's a downstream embouchure playing a pedal Bb.

Image

I would not rely on switching embouchure types to play pedals, even if you're a tenor player who plays them rarely. If that type switching sneaks into your normal playing register you're going to run into issues eventually.

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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by Neo Bri »

I try to not change my mouthpiece pressure for different ranges. And I use a pretty decent amount of pressure generally. I don't think that a 'very low pressure' setup will ultimately address the main problem you're having, and it's difficult to get any kind of tone and power anywhere on the horn without it.

Excessive pressure is a different matter, but I also believe that excessive pressure isn't as common as people think.
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by timothy42b »

Wilktone wrote: Wed Apr 19, 2023 8:12 am If you're a tenor trombonist I think you could make an argument that if you do some sort of "shift" to get the pedals out it's not a huge deal. However, it's best to approach pedal notes as an extension of your normal playing and minimize or eliminate any reversal or drastic change in embouchure form.
Dave,
I wonder if this might be a case where an abrupt change is better?

What I'm thinking is if I'm trying to get trigger notes or pedals with my normal setting (which is what I do) but it's at the edge of what works, and I slip a little bit out of correct mechanics, I may not realize it, and then hurt the rest of my range.

Whereas, a completely different setting might be less confusing and less likely to make things worse. You'd have to consciously reset of course, with all the attendent problems. A drastic change in form is obvious while a minimal change in form may occur without noticing.

Just a thought. It's not the direction I'm going, but then pedals and trigger range are fairly unimportant in what I play.
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by baileyman »

It's worth trying 2nd partial Bb with the smallest mouth volume one can manage. It may sound like the "bird-o-phone" but that's okay. Keep blowing it and expand mouth volume. Something may happen.
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greenbean
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by greenbean »

One approach for playing pedals as a tenor player would be to forget all about them. How often do you need to play a pedal? Once a year? Never? Maybe add them in a few years from now - when you are a stronger player. Or... never.
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by Lastbone »

I'll totally agree with greenbean. This week I'm playing lead tenor and one of the pieces has a bunch of pedal B flats. But this is doubled in the euphonium and both tubas, so I'm gonna take a few bars rest and never be missed. The piece was scored too heavily anyway.

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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by harrisonreed »

Wilktone wrote: Wed Apr 19, 2023 8:12 am
Harrison, I think you define the air stream direction as being related to horn angle. Unless you're drastically sliding your mouthpiece placement from more upper lip inside the cup to more lower lip inside you're not actually flipping air stream direction.

And as an upstream player I play pedals upstream with no shift.

I would not rely on switching embouchure types to play pedals, even if you're a tenor player who plays them rarely. If that type switching sneaks into your normal playing register you're going to run into issues eventually.

Dave
When I play a pedal tone, my air steam absolutely flips from going down, past my lower lip, to up, over my top lip.

One of the things missing from the pictures is the actual sound being made by the players in them. The picture doesn't tell us the full story of what is going on. Did you also get video, with audio?

I'm sure that either way works, and a good pedal range can be played by either staying with the airflow/embouchure type of the player's normal range, or reversing the airflow from downstream to upstream.

I'd like to highlight though, now that I've gone and read some extracts from a physics paper on the subject (lol, I'm no expert!) http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hb ... rassa.html , that I'm more convinced that pedal tones are NOT the fundamental partial in the harmonic series. They are a forced, false frequency that is reinforced by the actual frequencies of the cylinder's harmonic series. This seems similar to the so called "lip multiphonics", just emphasizing a lower pitch.

With that in mind, I would encourage people to try "forcing" the pedals through a shift like I suggested earlier, since it would seem that a pedal tone literally is a forced false tone or low lip multiphonic. Don't play them like regular notes in your range, because they aren't.
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ithinknot
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by ithinknot »

harrisonreed wrote: Thu Apr 20, 2023 2:08 am With that in mind, I would encourage people to try "forcing" the pedals through a shift like I suggested earlier, since it would seem that a pedal tone literally is a forced false tone or low lip multiphonic.
This is definitely argument-shaped, but I'm not sure mesodiplosis (a condition suffered by dinosaurs exposed to asbestos) makes it so.

I'm sure you're right that big band tenors blasting the occasional lifty-shifty pedal F probably doesn't represent any great moral hazard (though possibly an artistic one). Probably doesn't need to be encouraged either.

This is also a situation where - depending on embouchure type - larger rims might demonstrate a new possibility. If I'd never tried anything larger than a 4G I'd still have no idea that I might be able to play unshifted pedals; you have to do it once by 'controlled accident' to feel/understand that the option exists at all. Maybe you go back to something smaller, maybe you don't, but now you know what to aim for.


Anyway, most of this probably isn't relevant to the OP:
martinfan wrote: Mon Apr 17, 2023 1:26 pm I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why pedal tones are now so hard to get, whereas not so long ago I could play them with ease. I'm back to playing my beloved Conn 88H aka "Danielle" with the "official" Remington mouthpiece.
Either A) what were you playing before that made pedals easy, and are they still easy on that equipment? (in which case, mystery solved, ditch the Remington) or B) it's the instability/face change that's the real issue, not so much a discussion of abstract technique, so... [unison] have a lesson with Doug Elliott.
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by harrisonreed »

ithinknot wrote: Thu Apr 20, 2023 6:27 am
This is definitely argument-shaped, but I'm not sure mesodiplosis (a condition suffered by dinosaurs exposed to asbestos) makes it so.

I'm sure you're right that big band tenors blasting the occasional lifty-shifty pedal F probably doesn't represent any great moral hazard (though possibly an artistic one). Probably doesn't need to be encouraged either.


How about one of the best bass trombonists on the planet describing how he does the "lifty-shifty" for the exact same thing? This is the exact shift type I was describing.

You can actually see that when he shows his low pedal aperture, the air is going upstream, past his upper lip. He even says that his lower lip is going out past his upper lip; whereas he is clearly downstream for notes in the mid register.

I think I share most of the ideas Markey has about brass playing. I'm glad he seems to have videos to back up most of the "artistically hazardous" ideas that I have.
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by ithinknot »

harrisonreed wrote: Thu Apr 20, 2023 6:37 am How about one of the best bass trombonists on the planet describing how he does the "lifty-shifty" for the exact same thing?
Of course - but he's already demonstrated being able to get down to a pedal D unshifted, with diminishing volume. I'm pretty confident that the average IIIA tenor player experiencing pedal difficulties hasn't come close to that point.

Seem to me there's a major pedagogical difference between having control of the changeover point and statements like:
harrisonreed wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 6:24 am If you are a high placement downstream player, reverse your playing to upstream for pedals.
harrisonreed wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 5:12 pm I see no issue shifting for pedals.
He's not suggesting shifting as the only option for a single pedal Bb. I'm not sure if you are, but it could certainly read that way.
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by harrisonreed »

ithinknot wrote: Thu Apr 20, 2023 7:04 am
harrisonreed wrote: Thu Apr 20, 2023 6:37 am How about one of the best bass trombonists on the planet describing how he does the "lifty-shifty" for the exact same thing?
Of course - but he's already demonstrated being able to get down to a pedal D unshifted, with diminishing volume. I'm pretty confident that the average IIIA tenor player experiencing pedal difficulties hasn't come close to that point.
I don't think you are understanding what I mean by "shifting", but these topics are difficult to explain in text statements so that is probably why. I'll try my best, one more time.

I'm not talking about "shifting" the mouthpiece up/down across the face, or some huge obvious visual shift. I'm talking about "shifting" the air stream via the jaw and aperture, from downstream to upstream.

In the video, you can see that Markey already has shifted to an upstream flow for the initial pedal Bb. He confirms this when he shows the camera his aperture setup. He also verbally describes this shift, moving the lower lip out past the upper lip.

When he "runs out of room", then he does a more drastic shift of the mouthpiece on the face to go further upstream. To be fair, he plays a pretty huge bass piece. If you are trying to play pedals on tenor, this more drastic may help closer to pedal Bb.

So, I've given both a physics paper, my own professional ideas, and James Markey's video to back up what I'm trying to say. That's all I got :)
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by ithinknot »

harrisonreed wrote: Thu Apr 20, 2023 7:27 am I don't think you are understanding what I mean by "shifting", but these topics are difficult to explain in text statements so that is probably why.
I think I do know what you mean, and I agree that it's what Markey seems to be demonstrating. I'm absolutely not claiming to fully understand the process, and I'm mostly arguing about language - because I'm trying to understand it too :good:

I agree with your description that we're seeing two stages.

The first part, where his usual downstream mouthpiece placement is maintained, though he's already changed formation behind it:
harrisonreed wrote: Thu Apr 20, 2023 7:27 am I'm not talking about "shifting" the mouthpiece up/down across the face, or some huge obvious visual shift. I'm talking about "shifting" the air stream via the jaw and aperture, from downstream to upstream.

In the video, you can see that Markey already has shifted to an upstream flow for the initial pedal Bb. He confirms this when he shows the camera his aperture setup. He also verbally describes this shift, moving the lower lip out past the upper lip.
and then this happens:
harrisonreed wrote: Thu Apr 20, 2023 7:27 am When he "runs out of room", then he does a more drastic shift of the mouthpiece on the face to go further upstream.
I think this second part is what most people picture or try when shifting or switching direction is mentioned.

I'm not entirely sure about the first part. When, earlier in the video, he demonstrates his two ways of playing pedal Bb (what he calls "lower lip rolled out" - which I assume you'd agree is still 'officially downstream', even if the actual airflow is already more-or-less horizontal - and then his "lower lip flattened") it's not clear to me whether he always uses the second formation or what advantage he perceives from shifting on those notes that he can still play cleanly and loudly unshifted. I agree that his "lower lip flattened" setting must change the airstream to a more horizontal or even above-horizontal plane, but I'm not certain that categorically 'shifting to upstream' is the best way to describe this. The air flow angle is changing, but I don't know that it's akin to how an actual upstream embouchure functions.

It's also interesting that the demonstration doesn't show flexibility or movement in and out of the shift.


So, if your answer to "how do I play pedals?" is "switch airstream direction, and shifting is fine", I think that's misleadingly simple.

By analogy, it's a bit like saying "if there's someone in front of you, you can drive on the other side of the road", whereas teaching someone to overtake safely is a mix of establishing strict contextual and practical constraints on the process and sometimes discouraging it altogether.


Separately, the poetic suggestion that an acoustically fictitious fundamental goes hand-in-hand with a fictitious embouchure isn't right... there's no meaningful link there, as demonstrated by the fact that pedals can be played in multiple embouchure settings or by different embouchure types, just like any other partial.
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by timothy42b »

ithinknot wrote: Thu Apr 20, 2023 12:50 pm So, if your answer to "how do I play pedals?" is "switch airstream direction, and shifting is fine", I think that's misleadingly simple.

By analogy, it's a bit like saying "if there's someone in front of you, you can drive on the other side of the road", whereas teaching someone to overtake safely is a mix of establishing strict contextual and practical constraints on the process and sometimes discouraging it altogether.
I ran into this driving in Germany - might be off topic or it might apply.

Germans were highly skilled drivers, as it took a lot of expensive driving school to get a license, and it could be easily revoked for an infraction. So I was a bit surprised to see them overtake (usually called pass, in the US) on two lane roads where visibility was limited enough I wouldn't feel safe.

I asked one of my German employees, and she said, "Nah. On a two lane road there's always room for three cars. You just pay attention and give them room." Sure enough, the next day I saw that exact thing happen. Car pulls out to pass, sees oncoming car, stays in the middle of the road with oncoming car, and being passed car, to left and right. (shifting might be fine if both directions are highly practiced, and you're paying attention?)
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by ithinknot »

timothy42b wrote: Thu Apr 20, 2023 4:20 pm Germans were highly skilled drivers
They do seem to think so, though their road fatality rates tend not to be particularly impressive compared to other economically/infrastructurally-comparable Western European nations... I think it's more of a cultural trope fed by the huge domestic auto industry and the legend of derestricted Autobahn
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by mbarbier »

harrisonreed wrote: Thu Apr 20, 2023 2:08 am [

When I play a pedal tone, my air steam absolutely flips from going down, past my lower lip, to up, over my top lip.


I'd like to highlight though, now that I've gone and read some extracts from a physics paper on the subject (lol, I'm no expert!) http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hb ... rassa.html , that I'm more convinced that pedal tones are NOT the fundamental partial in the harmonic series. They are a forced, false frequency that is reinforced by the actual frequencies of the cylinder's harmonic series. This seems similar to the so called "lip multiphonics", just emphasizing a lower pitch.

With that in mind, I would encourage people to try "forcing" the pedals through a shift like I suggested earlier, since it would seem that a pedal tone literally is a forced false tone or low lip multiphonic. Don't play them like regular notes in your range, because they aren't.
I need to reopen the specific book I read about it in, but that's accurate that pedal tones are not actually the fundamental partial cause of the whole privileged tone thing (that Benade's book covers well, but I'm not sure if it's the original source for it). If I recall correctly, essentially the false tone between the first and second partial is actually where the 2nd partial should be (which is why that's often kind of a funky note) and the slot where the double pedal is actually the fundamental, both are just pushed massively flat.

On the lip multiphonics/split tone side, the privileged tones are why they are not pure ratios. I've been picking at analysing them and working towards some sort of actual mapping, but it doesn't really....have a lot of applications so it's more just a procrastinating project that gets picked at. The split between the 3rd and 2nd partial should be a 5th, for example, but is closer to a tritone cause it's essentially activating the privileged tone that's between the 3rd and 2nd partial (leads also to some theories about why they need to split down rather than up). Similarly if you do a split tone between the 2nd and 1st, you're actually activating the false tone rather than the 1st partial (but you can kinda lip it down to get a bit closer to an octave). The resonances in that range are wild.


Sorry- a bit off topic, but super into that stuff, Harrison! I'm really enjoying the sure you linked. Thanks!
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by Wilktone »

harrisonreed wrote: Thu Apr 20, 2023 6:37 am How about one of the best bass trombonists on the planet describing how he does the "lifty-shifty" for the exact same thing? This is the exact shift type I was describing.
I don't see anything in that video that would suggest Markey is type switching to upstream to get out pedals.
harrisonreed wrote: Thu Apr 20, 2023 7:27 am I'm not talking about "shifting" the mouthpiece up/down across the face, or some huge obvious visual shift. I'm talking about "shifting" the air stream via the jaw and aperture, from downstream to upstream.
If you agree to put your hypothesis to the test, Harrison, PM me your mailing address. I will purchase and pay to ship a transparent mouthpiece and face mask defogger to you so you can video record your air stream direction flip. Based on everything you've described in text I seriously doubt that you're doing what you think, but maybe I'm wrong and I'd like to be able to update my thoughts if I am.

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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by Wilktone »

George Roberts, pedal F.

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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by timothy42b »

From about 1:14 to 1:44 in this video the player rapidly transitions between pedals and high range.

It does not look (to me) like he resets, but he does make a considerable change. It looks like he pulls the mouthpiece away and presses lips forwards toward it? Very hard for me to understand what he's doing but it works.

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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by Doug Elliott »

There's a problem with assuming "what works" is correct and safe.

Lifting heavy boxes or shoveling snow with your back muscles "works," maybe for years, until it doesn't and you get spasms.

Even pros who advocate shifting for the lowest pedals usually say to delay it as long as possible, or only use it when necessary for extreme volume. The idea is to minimize the need. And that means practicing to minimize... Not to encourage it.

Reinhardt's rule for that was to do whatever you have to do on the gig. But aim all of your practice toward NOT shifting. That's really the only way to get better at not shifting.

As I understand, that was exactly Phil Teele's approach and reason for his pedal routine.
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by harrisonreed »

Wilktone wrote: Fri Apr 21, 2023 8:03 am George Roberts, pedal F.

Dave, the narrator even describes the upper lip parting from the lower lip, and moving outwards and upwards into the mouthpiece. Unless George Roberts had no front teeth, I'm not sure how the air could be moving downwards off the front teeth into the bottom portion of the mouthpiece while simultaneously pushing the upper lip out and up. It's not possible.

What I'm seeing in the video is that Roberts has his lower lip anchored over the lower teeth, similarly to how Markey describes his "shift". I can see that Roberts has adopted a sort of "smile" embouchure in doing so. The lower lip dominates, and the upper lip is left to "flap in the breeze", so to speak. The aperture, with the lower lip dominating, seems to be aiming the air upwards, into the upper lip.

It's just like Markey is describing in his video. I see no way for the upper lip to move that way unless:

1. The air was moving slightly upwards and outwards to push the lip up and out.

Or

2. George Roberts has no front teeth.

Just because George has a "Downstream" embouchure type, and appears to be super high placement, and doesn't look like he's shifted the mouthpiece physically up or down on his face -- that doesn't mean that he hasn't moved his jaw outward and anchored his lower lip on his teeth. Doing this causes the air to move up and out, not down. Everything I'm seeing in the video seems to indicate he's done that, and is playing with upstream air.
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by Wilktone »

Harrison, I think it's quite a stretch to look at Roberts in that video and call it upstream. Compare to an actual upstream embouchure and you'll see there's an obvious difference.



If you don't want to send me your mailing address you can purchase your own transparent mouthpiece.

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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by imsevimse »

Hello

The Markey video and this link with the tuba player who demonstrates extreme shifting abilities here viewtopic.php?t=30978
made me think a bit more about my shift. For years I've been able to shift for the lowest pedals on a small mouthpiece on a tenor trombone. No one taught me that I just fooled around with low notes and discovered how to do it. I use it for pedal F#, F and E and below. Maybe that's why my shift is the more rare 1% variant. I move the mouthpiece down and let the bottom lip vibrate. After seeing these videos I tried to do less of the move but concentrated more to strech my bottom lip up high. This way I now was able to increase my shifted register UPWORDS and can now play from pedal Bb down with a shift, but my new pedals are only possible loud and the quality isn't very nice, but this means I can now do ALL pedals with a shift.

I don't think I will ever play those higher pedals this way in public because I have always had good pedals with my nornal emboushure from Bb down to Ab. From years of work I have now also gained a good pedal G. Its only from F# they are weak and that I have to shift (only on small mouthpiece on tenor)

For me the quality of sound on the pedals is so much better without shift. From F and down the shifted emboushure is easier and sound on pedals is better.

I think best is to play unshifted everywhere I can and only use the shift where I have too. On tenor with my Yamaha Nils Landgren mouthpiece I might never need to play a shift in public

I will start working on the bass soon and see if the shift can be increased there too. When extreme low notes appear on bass I usually switch to a larger mouthpiece with a wider rim which helps me get to a soft pedal D unshifted and below that a weak pedal Db. In the Markey video he also switched for Db. Now I've got work to do.

/Tom
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by harrisonreed »

I think you're just looking at the mouthpiece placement, Dave. With the upstream player, his upper lip is secured in place by the rim, and so it can't "flap in the breeze". Also he is playing mid register so you're not really making a fair comparison. I imagine when he plays pedals, the lower lip loosens up and the downstream air blows it out and down.

Instead of mouthpiece placement, I'm looking at the direction of the air, and actually, in both examples the lower lip function looks remarkably the same, even though George is playing a pedal while the upstream player is playing the mid register. The air is going up and out in both examples you've posted. Mouthpiece placement aside, I still don't know how Roberts' upper lip would move that way unless it was being pushed up and out by air going out and up, past the lower teeth. Showing a different video of a different player doesn't change that.

I acknowledge your kind offer for the Kelly mouthpiece but I'm almost certain I would look very similar the George Roberts video. If you classify a video of Roberts' entire upper lip being blown up and out into the mouthpiece off of the lower lip as a downstream airflow, I don't think it would be worth it for me to do the same thing.

It is obvious that the action of George Roberts pedal F, James Markey's pedals, and Marshall Gilkes pedals are all very similar, and very much a different mechanism from the normal register. All three clearly show the lower jaw opening and pushing out, the anchor point switches to the lower lip and pressure is released from the upper lip, and at least in the Markey and Gilkes videos, the horn angle comes up. That all points to a change in the air flow from downstream, past the lips to ever so sightly upstream, into the upper lip. No, the mouthpiece is not moving up and down across the lips. No, there is no new "setting". Yes, the air stream flip flops.

If, after seeing videos of all three of these very high level players doing this same exact action to play pedals, and one of them verbally describing a significant and conscious shift in the jaw and air, someone can still advise the OP "don't change up anything -- you should be able to do everything with your normal "setting"", I guess I'll bow out. I'm pretty surprised with all of this, TBH.
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Wilktone
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by Wilktone »

harrisonreed wrote: Sat Apr 22, 2023 8:19 am If, after seeing videos of all three of these very high level players doing this same exact action to play pedals, and one of them verbally describing a significant and conscious shift in the jaw and air, someone can still advise the OP "don't change up anything -- you should be able to do everything with your normal "setting"", I guess I'll bow out. I'm pretty surprised with all of this, TBH.
As far as the above, I think you should debate the point that is made, not the point that you want to argue about.
Wilktone wrote: Wed Apr 19, 2023 8:12 am If you're a tenor trombonist I think you could make an argument that if you do some sort of "shift" to get the pedals out it's not a huge deal. However, it's best to approach pedal notes as an extension of your normal playing and minimize or eliminate any reversal or drastic change in embouchure form. Sometimes you don't get the opportunity to reset before or after a pedal and relying on a shift will never eliminate the resulting break between registers.
Wilktone wrote: Wed Apr 19, 2023 8:12 am I would not rely on switching embouchure types to play pedals, even if you're a tenor player who plays them rarely.
Doug Elliott wrote: Fri Apr 21, 2023 2:45 pm Reinhardt's rule for that was to do whatever you have to do on the gig. But aim all of your practice toward NOT shifting. That's really the only way to get better at not shifting.
Regarding this:
harrisonreed wrote: Sat Apr 22, 2023 8:19 am I think you're just looking at the mouthpiece placement, Dave. With the upstream player, his upper lip is secured in place by the rim, and so it can't "flap in the breeze". Also he is playing mid register so you're not really making a fair comparison. I imagine when he plays pedals, the lower lip loosens up and the downstream air blows it out and down.
I think you're looking at what you want to see, not what's there. The filmmaker (Lloyd Leno) categorized George Roberts as downstream. I think you're trying to redefine upstream and downstream according to how it feels to you to play pedals.

Shift if you want, Harrison. But I will still advise musicians to minimize or eliminate those abrupt changes in embouchure form for all parts of their range, even pedals.
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Re: Difficulty getting pedal tones

Post by Crazy4Tbone86 »

I think we need to keep this forum as a resource for gathering information, sharing ideas and motivating people to try different things. Ultimately, we will all do different things to get the same results (or at least try to achieve a targeted "sound").

Some of the things that have not been discussed much are pressure points. I have referred many times to a specific page in Jeff Reynolds (retired LA Philharmonic) book in which he describes where he feels the most pressure from the rim on his lips. He states that most of the trombone/bass trombone range has a pressure point or "planting" on the bottom lip and the upper lip has less rim pressure on it. This makes sense because (as stated in multiple discussions) for most players, the upper lip does most of the vibrating.

However (and Reynolds focuses on this), there is a certain register (low F down to the B-natural) in which the pressure point or "planting" spot changes for many players. For a vibrant sound, many players plant the rim more on the upper lip. I had always done this in my own playing, but found it difficult to describe it to students until I saw in explained in Reynolds book about 10-12 years ago.

Back to the OP's original concern. In my teaching, I have had many trombone and bass trombone students who have had a solid pedal register. Then we work on the notes between low F and pedal B-flat (some bass trombonists refer to this as the "money register") which can take months or even years to develop. Once the "money register" is strong, some students find that their pedal register seems to lose some of its power and confidence. The reason.....they have become comfortable with planting on the upper lip. When I advise them to take the pressure off the lower lip and "plant" a little bit on the lower lip for the pedal notes, those notes below pedal B-flat come back to life again!

Another thing to consider is something that Jeff Reynolds refers to as the "dome." Reynolds used it in the extreme low register.....down around double pedal B-flat. It is difficult to describe, but I find it very helpful starting at about pedal G-flat. I think it is similar to what Markey is describing in his video when he shows how he changes his lips as he descends into the pedal register. For me, I think of moving my upper lip further away from my teeth and making the red part of my upper lip thicker. For this to work, I MUST plant the mouthpiece rim on my lower lip and make an effort to push my jaw out. The beauty of using the "dome" is that I do not need to shift. Thus, phrases that go into the lower pedal register do not require me to move my mouthpiece higher on my lips.
Brian D. Hinkley - Player, Teacher, Technician and Trombone Enthusiast
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