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MOUTHPIECE SIZE AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF RANGE ON THE TRUMPET

An Experimental Study of the Impact of Mouthpiece Size on the Development of the

High Register on the Trumpet.

Paulo Thiago Sprovieri

The University of Arizona

555 North Pole St, North Pole

666-666-6666

pts1@email.arizona.edu
Mouthpiece Size and the Development of Range on the Trumpet 1

An Experimental Study of the Impact of Mouthpiece Size on the Development of the

High Register on the Trumpet.

According to Professor Jens Lindemann (2010) from The University of California, 90%

of the trumpet players play on a mouthpiece that’s too big (Artists House Music. (2010, March).

Jens Lindemann On Choosing A Trumpet Mouthpiece to Suit Your Embouchure.

https://youtu.be/2ktNxEX8Ggw​). The most well known trumpet brands sell their instruments, as

standard, with a 7C (as measured by Vincent Bach) mouthpiece, which is commonly associated

with beginners. It’s common to see trumpet players beginning with a 7C and gradually

increasing the size of the rim, and sometimes the depth, with the years. The most common

mouthpiece for orchestral playing, still according with Professor Lindemann, is the 1 1/2C.

Tommaso Bianco and Vincent Freour (2012) stated there’s a positive correlation between

lips tension and mouthpiece force (Bianco, Tommaso ; Freour, Vincent ; Cossette, Isabelle ;

Bevilacqua, Frédéric ; Caussé, René (2012). Measures of Facial Muscle Activation, Intra-oral

Pressure and Mouthpiece Force in Trumpet Playing. ​Journal of New Music Research Vol. 41(1),

49-65)​ . That corroborates the statement of many trumpet “screamers” when they say that a

mouthpiece with less volume generates more compression, which is needed for the upper register

(Haas, August (2011). The Art of Playing Trumpet in the Upper Register. ​University of Miami

Scholarly Repository​).
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Considering those studies, the present project intends to analyse the impact of scaling

down the size of the mouthpiece on the development of the upper register in a pedagogical

approach.

Literature Review

● Henderson, Hayward W. (1945):

The control of pitch by the lower lip is accomplished in the following manner: In the first

place, it increases frequency by squeezing against the upper lip, the resistance of the upper lip to

this action increasing its stiffness; hence, the pitch is raised in much the same way in which it is

raised where a reed or string are present. In the second place, the lower lip increases frequency

by restricting the vibratory movement more and more to the part of the lip closest to the opening

between the lips, the frequency rising as the vibrating mass decreases.

- On this work, Henderson states that the upper lip is vibrating against the force that

the lower lip applies to it.

● Paul, Timothy A ; Phyllis M. (​​2009​​):

As with method books, a broad search of pedagogical articles indicates no agreement

about the application of syllables to facilitate trumpet technique. While some authors do not

advocate the practice (e.g., Carter, 1966; Schneider, 1982; Stoutamire, 1972), others support the

notion and offer various examples for incorporating syllables into exercises and rehearsal (e.g.,

Fitzgerald, 1949; Jenkins, 1970; Lillya, 1991; McKee, 1962; Ridgeon, 1986; Whitehill, 1966).

However, there is a consensus among all of these practitioners indicating that the trumpet can be
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divided into three ranges - low, middle, and high - and those that support the use of syllables

typically suggest "toh" or "doh," "tah" or "dah," and "tee or "dee," correspondingly.

- On this citation the researchers dialog on the fact that tongue arche is not a consensus

among trumpet teachers, thus this work attempts to bring some light to the discussion.

● Paul, Timothy A ; Phyllis M. (​​2009​​):

Haynie (1968) undertook a series of experiments in which he used a fluoroscope and a

videotape recorder to document a number of oral cavity operations that contribute to trumpet

technique. Approximately 100 university brass students, as well as professional musicians,

played a variety of exercises in all registers. Data revealed that all participants arched the tongue,

and that there was a more exaggerated arch for the soft, slurred arpeggio passages and less for

loud tongued passages. Results also indicated that when ascending into the upper register, the

opening between the teeth got smaller and tongue placement for articulation moved further back

behind the upper teeth. In a later study, Amstutz (1970) found that the tongue rises as the pitch

ascends and lowers as the pitch descends, suggesting that the back of the tongue is a critical

factor in extending range.

- After applying the tests we can verify a tendency towards tongue arching on trumpet

players while they ascend.

● White, Elmer R. ; Basmajian,​​ ​John V. ​(​1974​​):

The finding that both register and intensity positively affect the embouchure muscle

activity supports the conventional wisdom rather than the suggestion sometimes found in the
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brass pedagogical literature that there is, or should be, unchanging muscular tension levels in all

registers and at all intensities. Also, the finding that register has a greater effect than intensity on

embouchure muscle activity supports prevailing opinion.

- The authors analyzed how the muscles, specially the corners of the mouth, work

while ascending, finding a tendency to an increasing of tension while ascending.

● Zicari, Massimo ; Macritchie, Jennifer ; Ghirlanda, Lorenzo ; Vanchieri, Alberto ;

Montorfano, Davide ; Barbato, Maurizio C ; Soldini, Emiliano (2013):

The way each parameter of the mouthpiece construction influences both the embouchure

and its acoustic behavior has been investigated by ​Forza (2000)​: Rim shape and profile, external

and inner rim edge, cup shape, profile, volume, depth, and width are all factors that contribute to

determining the final acoustic output of a brass instrument. In fact, the mouthpiece, by acting as

an impedance multiplier, when coupled to an instrument, determines a co-operative regime of

oscillation that greatly affects the entire sound system (​Backus, 1976​; ​Campbell and Greated,

1987​). Also the volume of the mouthpiece plays a relevant role in determining the quality of the

soundfor it inversely correlates with its popping frequency (​Benade, 1975​). Recent

measurements carried out by ​Pyle (2010)​ also suggest that the mouthpiece cup volume is a key

parameter when the definition of a brassiness potential in trumpets is concerned.

- The authors imply here that the different mouthpieces setups interfere both on

embouchure and sound quality.


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● Bianco, Tommaso ; Freour, Vincent ; Cossette, Isabelle ; Bevilacqua, Frédéric ;

Caussé, René (2012):

Although no direct measurements of the mechanical properties of the lips have been

conducted, some authors hypothesized their relation with other variables. For example, Elliott

and Bowsher (1982) claimed that the tension of the lips should scale linearly with frequency,

while Vergez and Rodet (2001) suggested that this might be positively correlated with the

mouthpiece force.

- The mouthpiece force as a variable; the correlation between mouthpiece force and

lips tension (changing pitches).

● Haas, August (2011):

A large cup diameter generally achieves a big full sound and is intended for

low-to-middle register playing. A large cup requires work from more muscles in the face, and

endurance can therefore suffer. With a medium cup diameter, the air pressure forces more of the

energy into the upper partials, with a corresponding increase of brilliance and a brighter sound.41

A small cup diameter will increase the aforementioned qualities, thus producing a much brighter,

laser–like sound. A small cup diameter can also increase endurance and is generally used to

achieve upper and extreme registers of the trumpet.

- A well summarized concept on how mouthpiece sizes impact on playing.


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● Haas, August (2011):

Compression is used to pressurize the airstream to capacity so that higher pitches and

brighter sounds are produced. Some of the most common styles of music that utilize compression

while playing are commercial, rock, Latin, and big band jazz. When playing in the upper register,

the two most important items to remember are compression and speed of air. Without a high

degree of fast moving air and compression, it is extremely difficult to play in the upper register.

- Compression is a key feature on the development of upper register.

Those studies are important to establish how trumpet players should approach the upper

register. All the variables, like air compression, air speed and muscles work are apparently

affected by the mouthpiece set up. But they don’t elucidate on how scaling down the mouthpiece

can affect players that are still developing the upper register. The lack of this pedagogical

approach is what motivates researches on this matter.

Purpose Statement and Research Questions

The present project intends to analyse the impact of scaling down the size of the

mouthpiece on the development of the upper register in a pedagogical approach. Smaller

mouthpieces can affect the development of the upper register? If they can, how profound it is?

The finds of those questions could lead band directors and trumpet teachers to a better

pedagogical approach regarding range.


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Methodology

The researcher intends to apply the same method for upper range development, in this

case Louis Maggio System for Brass, for two different groups of high school trumpet players.

The sampling method will be clustering the groups from high school bands.

A pre-test will be applied to measure how high each group can play, by scoring the

highest notes they can play on simple arpeggios from the method, and then new mouthpieces will

be provided for both groups. For one of the groups the researcher will provide the following

mouthpieces: 1C, 1 ¼ C and 1 ½ C. For the other group, the following smaller mouthpieces will

be provided: 3C, 5C and 7C. After 16 weeks the same test will be applied to measure the range

of both groups again.


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References

Bianco, Tommaso ; Freour, Vincent ; Cossette, Isabelle ; Bevilacqua, Frédéric ; Caussé,

René (2012). Measures of Facial Muscle Activation, Intra-oral Pressure and Mouthpiece Force

in Trumpet Playing. ​Journal of New Music Research Vol. 41(1), 49-65.

Haas, August (2011). The Art of Playing Trumpet in the Upper Register. ​Open Access

Dissertations. 554, 25-34.

Haas, August (2011). The Art of Playing Trumpet in the Upper Register. ​Open Access

Dissertations. 554, 49.

Henderson, Hayward W. (1945). An Experimental Study of Trumpet Embouchure.

Bulletin of the American Musicological Society No. 8, 11-12.

Paul, Timothy A ; Phyllis M. (2009). The Effect of Changing Syllables to Facilitate

Slurring by Middle School Trumpet Students. ​Contributions to Music Education Vol. 36, No. 1,

41-51.

White, Elmer R. ; Basmajian, John V. (1974). Electromyographic Analysis of

Embouchure Muscle Function in Trumpet Playing. ​Journal of Research in Music Education Vol.
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22, No. 4, 292-304.

Zicari, Massimo ; Macritchie, Jennifer ; Ghirlanda, Lorenzo ; Vanchieri, Alberto ;

Montorfano, Davide ; Barbato, Maurizio C ; Soldini, Emiliano (2013). Trumpet mouthpiece

manufacturing and tone quality. ​The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America Vol. 134(5),

3872-86.