Don't forget your tongue position!

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harrisonreed
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Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by harrisonreed » Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:25 am

I have just returned from a trip down the rabbit hole. I have been playing in a small ensemble consisting of Tuba, Euphonium, Fench Horn, and Trombone (arts subsidies...). Anyways, I subconsciously was taken over by the huge conical / diffuse sounds of these instruments and did not realize that my tongue position had been getting lower and lower in my mouth in order to try and fit into the sound. I was practicing at home and it eventually dawned on me that something was amiss in my playing. I had a bigger sound than I've ever had before, but I could no longer play with any sort of endurance whatsoever. This was alarming, as I depend on playing to earn a paycheck.

I didn't know what had changed! I finally figured it out a few days ago, and now all is back to normal. But, I figured I'd post a little warning here! It is really difficult to remember what "right" feels like if a non-standard ensemble gets you off your groove!

I now realize that I have been playing my entire life in a way that was described by Sam Burtis in a video he did a few years ago. Namely, he describes that the tongue position should be set in a way that is harmonically in line with the pitch being played, and he uses "whistle throat singing" to demonstrate it. I understood his video at the time, but now I think I realize I have been doing that for two decades now and not really realized it.

In any case, this has got me back to normal and now the compression is correct and my endurance is nearly back to normal.
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Burgerbob
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by Burgerbob » Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:00 pm

Yup, this is what I realize when I double heavily!
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timothy42b
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by timothy42b » Sat Dec 08, 2018 4:44 am

I wonder if that is why marches can be so tiring to play. (probably not for you military bandspeople, but for community band types it is)

We subconsciously revert to the tongue position from our junior high days, plus we want a brassier sound, and we move the tongue. Maybe? I dunno.
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by Basbasun » Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:15 am

I hade a radiation therapy on my neck (tonsillcancer) I still have som blisters under my tongue. When I try to play high tones I get a wery strong pain in my tongue. So for some time I try to avoid high tones.
cozzagiorgi
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by cozzagiorgi » Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:45 am

Never really thought about my tongue position. Yes I think open throat etc, but not tongue position, have to think about it.
harrisonreed
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by harrisonreed » Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:07 am

I wish I had a link to Sabutin's video. It was pretty cool.
Redthunder
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by Redthunder » Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:12 am

These videos?



harrisonreed
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by harrisonreed » Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:22 am

Exactly! ! Those vids
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by baileyman » Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:13 pm

harrisonreed wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:25 am
...I subconsciously was taken over by the huge conical / diffuse sounds of these instruments and did not realize that my tongue position had been getting lower and lower in my mouth in order to try and fit into the sound. ...
Meanwhile, the other players are likely playing the sabutin way, but it comes out of their horns "conical / diffuse". Pity.
BurckhardtS
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by BurckhardtS » Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:46 pm

This is a huge one for me. Practically any part of my playing can get all over the place if I'm not getting the right tongue position, and it always kind of comes down to getting my tongue higher than I think (especially in upper ranges) and out of the way of the air quickly.
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by Wilktone » Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:24 am

There's a lot of variety in how good brass players use the tongue in their playing. Donald Reinhardt identified and described a bunch in one of his books. It's certainly an important mechanical issue in trombone playing and worth considering. If tuning your tongue position for trombone is similar for you to harmonic singing, then you might find that analogy useful. Others, not so much.

Tongue position is one of those things that is personal to the individual. The general guideline of letting its position raise to ascend and lower to descend seems to be common, but some player's sensations may be different.

Dave
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by bcschipper » Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:46 am

I don't understand how the tongue position could affect endurance. Usually, if people talk about endurance issues, they refer to their lips.

Perhaps it affects airflow. Less airflow may result in more pressure. But a lower tongue should help with better airflow. Perhaps the air speed is to low in the upper range with a low tongue position. Did someone experimentally measure air speed in various ranges and whether it can be manipulated effectively with the tongue?

I think of the tongue position more as a way to influence sound color. By thinking about different vowels like in ta, tue, to, tu, tae the sound color changes. But again, I don't know whether this is just my imagination or something that could causally effect sound color.
harrisonreed
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by harrisonreed » Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:13 pm

So, yes, I have found that it does affect endurance. And yes, it is not obvious and I hadn't thought about it before this little "whoops"

I have never had an issue with endurance prior to playing in this group. This is what I found:

1. The tongue position has a massive effect on compression in the instrument. It changes the air direction and speed. When you get the right compression for the dynamic and the tessitura that you are playing using the tongue (and not the face), you will not get tired as easily.

2. The tongue gives you a great deal of control over the "color" of tone, which is also very much related to control over intonation. I have always had good intonation -- I thought this was because I have good control over the slide. But an equally important part of this was that I was using my tongue to easily get notes into the sweet spot. In the low brass group, the intonation started to suffer and I didn't know why. Moving the slide is part of it, but I was also trying to use my face to adjust as well. This has a massive negative effect on endurance.

So, in my mind, the tongue is a critical part of getting the right compression and getting the overtones/intonation (basically "color") to happen the way you want. I never thought about this until I started having issues with my playing. And it's more complex than just "do this with your tongue". What is actually happening is that the tongue is a part of changing the entire shape of the oral cavity, and the compression is essential for correctly forming the embouchure. There's no such thing as a static embouchure.
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by baileyman » Fri Dec 14, 2018 7:53 am

harrisonreed wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:13 pm
...What is actually happening is that the tongue is a part of changing the entire shape of the oral cavity, and the compression is essential for correctly forming the embouchure. There's no such thing as a static embouchure.
This shows up especially well in slow glisses, where to tune the mouth to the pitch the tongue subtly adjusts to even the smallest slide movement.
harrisonreed
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by harrisonreed » Fri Dec 14, 2018 7:58 am

baileyman wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 7:53 am
harrisonreed wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:13 pm
...What is actually happening is that the tongue is a part of changing the entire shape of the oral cavity, and the compression is essential for correctly forming the embouchure. There's no such thing as a static embouchure.
This shows up especially well in slow glisses, where to tune the mouth to the pitch the tongue subtly adjusts to even the smallest slide movement.
Yes! Like in "Harvest Concerto"!

I was doing all this for years and years, but I didn't know about it.
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by bcschipper » Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:03 am

This morning in front of the mirror, I checked whether my embouchure visibly moves when I move my tongue up and down. When I move it down, it seems that the corners of my mouth loosen a tiny bit. They firm up when I move the tongue up. Did somebody else observe this? I am not even sure whether this is causally related in terms of anatomy or just a correlation with subconsciously thinking of "lower" bigger sound while moving the tongue down.

Now clearly the corners of the embouchure are important and firming or loosing them up my affect endurance. But I would expect that firming them up over a longer time reduces endurance. So at a first thought a lower tongue position should perhaps increase endurance, contrary to what to what harrisonreed describes. But this doesn't take the range of playing into account. Too loose corners at a higher range may decrease endurance because the player my compensate with mouthpiece pressure or something else. But in such a case, it is not the low tongue position that directly causes the endurance problems but rather the something that is correlated with the low tongue position. If you would learn to decouple this something from the low tongue position, then a low tongue position my coexist friendly with good endurance.
harrisonreed wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:13 pm
...
2. The tongue gives you a great deal of control over the "color" of tone, which is also very much related to control over intonation. I have always had good intonation -- I thought this was because I have good control over the slide. But an equally important part of this was that I was using my tongue to easily get notes into the sweet spot. In the low brass group, the intonation started to suffer and I didn't know why. Moving the slide is part of it, but I was also trying to use my face to adjust as well. This has a massive negative effect on endurance.
...
A lot of the conical brass instruments like the french horn slot less well than cylindrical instruments like trombone or trumpet. (I believe this has to do with overtones, which points to a possible connection to tongue position.) When playing together with those instruments, it may be better to not adjust to their intonation but to help them by setting the pitch and let them adjust to you. I recall that you tune with the slide rather than with the tuning "bow". This is like being the piano tuner and piano player at the same time. But in playing with conical instruments, it may be better to just be the piano player.

Singers have a similar problem. They are also like piano players and piano tuners at the same time. When singers play together and want to make sure of their pitch, they stick their finger into their ear: to hear themselves better but also to partially shut out the sounds from others with whom they play.
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by harrisonreed » Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:46 am

I don't think you can decouple the tongue from the rest of the "greater" embouchure. It's all part of the same system. The air supply plays a part, and the tongue shapes the air and the resonating profile of the oral cavity, the lips focus it, and the instrument interacts with it to create a tactile compression, and if any of these pieces change shape or force, the entire system compensates to accomodate it.

This is why playing pianissimo and fortissimo feels REALLY different.

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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by bcschipper » Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:36 pm

Nice "fMRI chamber music".

The tongue moves up for
- high notes
- piano
- the second syllable of double tonguing (up and back).

One does not see much interaction with lips and tongue though.

Here is the brief background movie from Sarah Musik:
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by harrisonreed » Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:23 pm

I see it change shape for every pitch. Also, you can see when she plays a few pitches out of tune by accident the tongue isn't in the same spot where it was when the note is in tune.

The tongue doesn't have to interact with the lips directly to affect them. Don't forget that you noticed that the tongue position changed the corners, and also that the lips are held in position/balance/flux by the air stream and the resistance or compression pushing on that air stream in the horn.

The Willis video is very telling, if not very definitive or explanatory.
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by cigmar » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:26 pm

bcschipper wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:36 pm
Nice "fMRI chamber music".

The tongue moves up for
- high notes
- piano
- the second syllable of double tonguing (up and back).

One does not see much interaction with lips and tongue though.

Here is the brief background movie from Sarah Musik:
Toward the end of the video they identify the tongue creating a channel, as they called it, when ascending into the upper register. Makes me wonder if people who are genetically capable of rolling their tongue having an advantage in playing in the upper registers.
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by harrisonreed » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:42 pm

Well, I'm glad this at least started an interesting discussion. Thanks so far guys and gals!
baileyman
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by baileyman » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:45 pm

Remember Doug Yeo's blog:

https://thelasttrombone.com/2016/08/02/ ... lications/

https://thelasttrombone.com/2017/08/22/ ... y-project/

Wow, Sara looks to have a huge amount of facial tension in the previous vids. It could be her muscles just look that way when moderately tensed, but it looks huge. This is why I suggest finding a note that can be played with what feels like zero tension. Try it with just the piece then find it on the horn. For me it was 3rd partial F. Tuning partials with the tongue enabled that tensionless note to move both lower and higher.

She gets a very different looking cavity slurring or tonguing. Exercises using rapidly alternating articulations would likely see her converge on a more consistent cavity. The key to finding good tonguing motions seems to be to find ones that do not interfere with the tuned cavity, causing notes to collapse. This also migrates for every pitch. The solution to collapsing notes is not more facial tension.

Teeth do not show up. When watching these you have to imagine the rear of the tongue usually being sealed against the rear teeth.
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by Doug Elliott » Fri Dec 14, 2018 5:09 pm

I see a couple of things that I think others are missing.

Notice especially on lower note attacks, how long it takes for her to move the tongue toward the final position, and you can hear the sound AND pitch change during that time. I realize she may or may not do that on her standard horn - this is modified with flexible tubing to fit in the chamber. But it's worth noting that if you want clean starts to notes with full resonant sound you need to learn how to get there quickly after the attack.

Also watch the back of the tongue at the throat, and how that correlates to the sound, volume, and pitch, and the front and middle of the tongue. It's all about tuning the entire oral cavity to support the note. And you have considerable flexibility internally to affect the sound quality and pitch.

Learn to use tongue shape and position effectively. It can make everything easier, or everything harder. Your choice.
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by bcschipper » Sat Dec 15, 2018 2:19 am

I think the most relevant part of the videos reposted on Doug Yeo's website is here (time-stamped):



These are mostly correlation studies. It would be interesting to manipulate the tongue and see how this affects playing. If possible, this could prove causality. They try to get somewhat at causality by comparing elite horn players to players with embouchure dystonia in some studies.

Another drawback is that we do not see the mouthpiece. So we do not observe the actual mouthpiece placement across players and upward or downward movements while ascending. Perhaps another mouthpiece could be used that is visible in MRI.

Here are references to the publications that came out of it (with links to publicly available articles):

Iltis, P. W.; Frahm, J.; Voit, D.; Joseph, A.; Altenmüller, E.; Miller, A.: Movements of the tongue during lip trills in horn players: Real-time MRI insights. Medical Problems of Performing Artists 32 (4), pp. 209 - 214 (2017) https://pure.mpg.de/pubman/item/item_25 ... e=download

Iltis, P. W.; Gillespie, S. L.; Frahm, J.; Voit, D.; Joseph, A.; Altenmüller, E.: Movements of the glottis during horn performance: A pilot study. Medical Problems of Performing Artists 32 (1), pp. 33 - 39 (2017) https://pure.mpg.de/pubman/item/item_24 ... e=download

Iltis, P. W.; Frahm, J.; Voit, D.; Joseph, A.; Burke, R.; Altenmüller, E.: Inefficiencies in motor strategies of horn players with embouchure dystonia: Comparisons to elite performers. Medical Problems of Performing Artists 31 (2), pp. 69 - 77 (2016) https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/04cd/2 ... fbfa52.pdf

Iltis, P. W.; Frahm, J.; Voit, D.; Joseph, A. A.; Schoonderwaldt, E.; Altenmüller, E.: High-speed real-time MRI of fast tongue movements in elite horn players. Quantitative Imaging in Medicine and Surgery (2015) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4426119/
Basbasun
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by Basbasun » Sat Dec 15, 2018 4:27 am

Very interesting. As I wrote earlier, my tomgue movement was very impeded from radiation tretment. When I picked up the trombone after the treatment (34 doses of radiation, one month) I could not play the high register, actually I lost more then one octave. Now it is comming back, and my tongue are more like it was befor the treatment.
I was not awere of the tongue movement before, the same way a good whistler does not have to be awere of the tongue movement, he/she just think the melodies and the tongue find its place by it self.
The film showing the tongue from the side does not show the tunnel shape that I believe is very important, just moving the tongue up or down may not be very effctive.
About jaw movement. Watch episode 2 from 19.10. Something that all basstrombonists are doing, most of the not knowing what they are doing.
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by baileyman » Sat Dec 15, 2018 5:46 am

bcschipper wrote:
Sat Dec 15, 2018 2:19 am
I think the most relevant part of the videos reposted on Doug Yeo's website is here (time-stamped):



...
These guys really just are not up to the observational task. They need help.

The harmonic series they play leads the guy to say, notice the pulsing of the tongue to change partials, or something similar. But listen! The guy is legato accenting each note! There is a pulse of air pressure entering the system, probably to bump the partial change when the player does not know it is not necessary. Partials will change is what feels like complete isolation from everything except tongue. (Just do fast three and four partial flexies to convince yourself.) And then to suggest maybe this player's technique may be typical.

On the Gordon website reffed by Doug Yeo there is a paper talking about this with respect to dystonia. The writer looks at the vids and suggests the reason why dystonia patients have a hard time ascending is that they don't get the "air speed" through the tongue the pros do. Where the heck did that bias come from? Did he measure it? Did he see it in the vid? Is it a statement from some long dead horn teacher he is an unwittingly a slave to? BS ideas die slowly. Even with great documentary evidence as there is here.
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by baileyman » Sat Dec 15, 2018 5:53 am

Doug Elliott wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 5:09 pm
I see a couple of things that I think others are missing.

Notice especially on lower note attacks, how long it takes for her to move the tongue toward the final position, and you can hear the sound AND pitch change during that time. I realize she may or may not do that on her standard horn - this is modified with flexible tubing to fit in the chamber. But it's worth noting that if you want clean starts to notes with full resonant sound you need to learn how to get there quickly after the attack.

...
Her situation looks to me as though she has not done the work to find a tonguing that does not disturb the tune. Instead, she's lifted likely a movement from some teacher's advise, interpreted the words in that advice as a movement and imposed it on the operations in her mouth. Probably along the lines of "the tongue must be flat and low for good open sound" together with "tongue with the tip of the tongue only, and touch lightly the tip/rear/base of the front teeth (depending on varieties of the advice). On doing the work, she may find none of this is necessarily true and that nearly every note has a slightly different way to best do the tonging.
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by jthomas105 » Sat Dec 15, 2018 1:26 pm

baileyman wrote:
Sat Dec 15, 2018 5:53 am
Doug Elliott wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 5:09 pm
I see a couple of things that I think others are missing.

Notice especially on lower note attacks, how long it takes for her to move the tongue toward the final position, and you can hear the sound AND pitch change during that time. I realize she may or may not do that on her standard horn - this is modified with flexible tubing to fit in the chamber. But it's worth noting that if you want clean starts to notes with full resonant sound you need to learn how to get there quickly after the attack.

...
Her situation looks to me as though she has not done the work to find a tonguing that does not disturb the tune. Instead, she's lifted likely a movement from some teacher's advise, interpreted the words in that advice as a movement and imposed it on the operations in her mouth. Probably along the lines of "the tongue must be flat and low for good open sound" together with "tongue with the tip of the tongue only, and touch lightly the tip/rear/base of the front teeth (depending on varieties of the advice). On doing the work, she may find none of this is necessarily true and that nearly every note has a slightly different way to best do the tonging.
I don't think we can assume that Sarah Willis has "not done the work". Please keep in mind she is in a MRI machine, on her back, in a restricted area. Also, she is playing on a plastic mouthpiece through plastic tubing into a special non-magnetic bell. I think it is really disingenuous to make any kind of comment about about the way she plays in this situation versus how she plays, articulates, breathes, etc. on her real instrument. She is not some amateur or student that has "lifted" any movement or interpreted "some teacher's advise" wrong. She is a seasoned professional unlike most of us on this forum. I would attribute Doug's observation to what I mentioned earlier, being on her back in a a very restricted area. Also, look at the thing on her head that she even has to thread the mouthpiece and tube through just to play. I would not assume that anything we observe in this environment is indicative (tone, breathing/air, or articulation response) of how these people play in a normal situation.
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by baileyman » Sat Dec 15, 2018 5:16 pm

jthomas105 wrote:
Sat Dec 15, 2018 1:26 pm


I don't think we can assume that Sarah Willis has "not done the work". Please keep in mind she is in a MRI machine, on her back, in a restricted area. Also, she is playing on a plastic mouthpiece through plastic tubing into a special non-magnetic bell. I think it is really disingenuous to make any kind of comment about about the way she plays in this situation versus how she plays, articulates, breathes, etc. on her real instrument. She is not some amateur or student that has "lifted" any movement or interpreted "some teacher's advise" wrong. She is a seasoned professional unlike most of us on this forum. I would attribute Doug's observation to what I mentioned earlier, being on her back in a a very restricted area. Also, look at the thing on her head that she even has to thread the mouthpiece and tube through just to play. I would not assume that anything we observe in this environment is indicative (tone, breathing/air, or articulation response) of how these people play in a normal situation.
Fine. That's a lot of reading between the lines, though. Good luck with it!
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by harrisonreed » Sat Dec 15, 2018 5:25 pm

Yeah, I didn't put the video in here so people can bash a member of the Berlin Philharmonic.

Watching her adjust on the fly is very interesting
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by jthomas105 » Sat Dec 15, 2018 6:32 pm

baileyman wrote:
Sat Dec 15, 2018 5:16 pm
jthomas105 wrote:
Sat Dec 15, 2018 1:26 pm


I don't think we can assume that Sarah Willis has "not done the work". Please keep in mind she is in a MRI machine, on her back, in a restricted area. Also, she is playing on a plastic mouthpiece through plastic tubing into a special non-magnetic bell. I think it is really disingenuous to make any kind of comment about about the way she plays in this situation versus how she plays, articulates, breathes, etc. on her real instrument. She is not some amateur or student that has "lifted" any movement or interpreted "some teacher's advise" wrong. She is a seasoned professional unlike most of us on this forum. I would attribute Doug's observation to what I mentioned earlier, being on her back in a a very restricted area. Also, look at the thing on her head that she even has to thread the mouthpiece and tube through just to play. I would not assume that anything we observe in this environment is indicative (tone, breathing/air, or articulation response) of how these people play in a normal situation.
Fine. That's a lot of reading between the lines, though. Good luck with it!
Really dude!!! There are no lines to read between of what you said.

To highlight a few of your comments:
"she has not done the work to find a tonguing that does not disturb the tune"
"Instead, she's lifted likely a movement from some teacher's advise"
"interpreted the words in that advice as a movement and imposed it on the operations in her mouth"
Then you go to state what she probably misinterpreted what you think a teacher may have said
Then, THEN, you go to say
"On doing the work, she may find none of this is necessarily true and that nearly every note has a slightly different way to best do the tonging."

Like Harrison says, she plays in the freakin' Berlin Symphony. I think she has done the work to get there yet you make comments like this. What do you do or have you done that you qualifies you to make judgement and question what she does as a player? For that matter she is in a freakin' MRI machine.
baileyman
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by baileyman » Sat Dec 15, 2018 7:11 pm

Read what Doug said.
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by jthomas105 » Sat Dec 15, 2018 7:45 pm

I read what Doug said; "I realize she may or may not do that on her standard horn - this is modified with flexible tubing to fit in the chamber." He acknowledges her environment and the difference between the tubing and her standard horn.

His other comment; "But it's worth noting that if you want clean starts to notes with full resonant sound you need to learn how to get there quickly after the attack." I don't take this comment to be about Sarah Willis but in general for other players "you" to take note of and what they should do if they struggle with this kind of issue with their playing.

Also, I know who Doug is and what he does and has done. Who are you? What have you done to evaluate a member of the Berlin Symphony the way that you have?
baileyman
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by baileyman » Sat Dec 15, 2018 8:01 pm

Yes resume matter, doesn't it? Authority speaks. Fine.

So, in the practice room, do something like at 100bpm, 2 beats of sixteenths, then a half, starting in the middle of the horn. Go down to the bottom. Then go to the top. Then back to the middle.

If the tonguing motion is the same for all pitches then Sarah wins. I'm okay with that.
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by harrisonreed » Sat Dec 15, 2018 8:43 pm

So, I think it is fair to say that this is not Sarah Willis' best playing, but not fair to leave out the part about how none of these circumstances are ideal. Not her horn... not really even a horn. Not a real mouthpiece. Playing on her back in a cramped space that probably didn't allow for the proper mouthpiece angle or pressure, or even proper jaw position.

So, accepting that and ignoring statements that she is somehow unqualified to demonstrate anything, I think it's actually good that her playing is less than ideal in this case. She knows how to play the horn, well enough to earn whatever Berlin's salary is (a lot) AND have her own television program about music. So she knows immediately when her playing is off.

We get to see EXACTLY what she does to fix some notes that initially had really bad intonation. We get to see her throat and vocal chords also adjust in a way that I've never seen. There is a lot to see here because she is working to fix stuff in bad circumstances.
bcschipper
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by bcschipper » Sun Dec 16, 2018 1:57 am

The discussion of Sarah Willis takes us off-track. This is not about her. They used 7 elite players. Their names do not matter here really. It also does not matter whether they play in the Berlin Philharmonic or whether what we see was influenced by their teachers etc. All what is important is that they are experts in playing and I there is not doubt that they are.

MRI is extremely noisy (in addition to being on your back, in a tube, not being able to hold the horn with mouthpiece etc.). The auditory feedback a player receives will be hampered. Generally, I would expect the environment to interfere with playing. Observing adjustments of these players is interesting and makes these videos informative. In fact, I would have hoped that the researchers would do a more in-depth within-subject analysis like asking them to play with syllabi to-tu-ta-tae-tue-ti (German pronunciation) at different high, medium, and low range and then see how tongue position and sound color changes.

We should also not assume that audio is perfectly synchronized with video. Finally, we should keep in mind that MRI is not very good in terms of time resolution. These observations were made with fastest MRI available. But still our adjustments as players are faster.

Relatedly, I started to do some exercises today using syllabi to-tu-ta-tae-tue-ti (German pronunciation) to put my tongue in different position while playing across the entire range. The upper range becomes easier with tue-ti (which also moves the tongue up) and may be related to harrisonreed's observation of loosing endurance by trying to produce bigger sound with a low tongue position. Nevertheless, if I am honest I like to ta-tae sound more in the upper range. So there seem to be a trade-off between endurance and sound quality (at least for me and my level of playing).

I wonder why there seem to be no systematic exercises using syllabi to shape the tongue (at least I don't recall any in method books). When I took singing lessons many years back, we did a lot of "nga-ae-i-o-u" singing of scales - essentially finding overtones in our head.
baileyman
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by baileyman » Sun Dec 16, 2018 6:03 am

bcschipper wrote:
Sun Dec 16, 2018 1:57 am
...

I wonder why there seem to be no systematic exercises using syllabi to shape the tongue (at least I don't recall any in method books). When I took singing lessons many years back, we did a lot of "nga-ae-i-o-u" singing of scales - essentially finding overtones in our head.
Great idea. It has been curious to me though that some developing tongue positions for some things do not seem to resemble any syllable I use in American English. Years ago someone posted something about Arban and the French "tu" that may be related. And the idea of finding overtones in the head while playing seems to really zero in on great resonant mouth shapes.
timothy42b
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Re: Don't forget your tongue position!

Post by timothy42b » Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:48 am

Doug Elliott wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 5:09 pm
But it's worth noting that if you want clean starts to notes with full resonant sound you need to learn how to get there quickly after the attack.
I've been thinking about this lately. Coincidence, but also recordings show I don't do that very well. (I've had more time to think, I've taken a couple week layoff to let cataract surgery heal.)

Actually, listening to other trombone players, it seems a lot of them much more skilled than I don't do that as well as they should either.

I think if I could learn to play F3 to F4 really really cleanly that would be enough. Probably too much of my practice time has been spent not improving that.
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