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How Brass Players Do It - please help me understand

brass ridgeon glottis

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#1 ten left thumbs

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 18:47

I've just bought this book by John Ridgeon, and I'm trying to make best use of it to help me with cornet playing (I'm an adult rebeginner). If anyone knows about this, I'd appreciate some help.

 

He starts out talking about breathing, which I actually get (diaphragmatic vs chest breathing). Then goes on to resistance from the glottis and I'd better quote:

 

"The basic requirement of the glottis is to control the sudden gush of breath from the lungs following the contraction of the abdominal muscles. It is now necessary to establish it's further duties, as a volume controller. ... The glottis should be considered as a fine regulator operating small changes in dynamic level too subtle for the powerful muscles of the abdomen."

 

Now I'd always taken the flow of air as regulated by the gut - that's just how what I do feels. The glottis is for talking! Is he on the same planet? Does he want me to 'voice' notes?


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#2 superwan

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 10:36

I don't have an answer, I didn't understand that part of the book either! I just use the exercises and leave what I don't want.  You might get more response if you post this on themouthpiece.com website, lots and lots of brass players on there. 


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#3 ExpressYourself

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 12:25

I know nothing about brass instruments but I do know that the glottis is the space between the vocal folds. You would breathe through your glottis. You can close your glottis and also narrow it and widen it. To vocalise you need to send air through the glottis whilst setting up vibration in your vocal folds. You can alter your glottis without vocalising.

 

Make a hissing sound, then change it to a buzzing sound. You can feel the vibrations on your throat with the buzzing but not with the hissing. You can make lots of sounds without vocalising - shhh, ffff, thhhh, hhhhh, as well as silent actions such as blowing air or just plain breathing!

 

Hope this helps


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#4 ten left thumbs

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 14:35

Thanks, I fast-forwarded through the technical expose when I got to this gem on formation of the embouchure:

 

"Commence the contractions with the nose muscles by flaring the nostrils and squinting to activate the eye muscles."

 

Squinting? Really? Now how come my teacher never told me that!

 

I'm sure the exercises are very good. Pervy pictures are top notch. Technical advice on playing could do with some serious editing, however.


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#5 Norway

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 14:42

Are you sure it's a brass tutor book?


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#6 UnnaturalHarmonics

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 15:01

Squinting is the very opposite of what my horn teacher advises me to do.
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#7 superwan

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 15:05

Haha yes the pics of the lady in the bikini just aren't right!

 

Sorry to hijack the thred but Norway just thought I'd let you know that I played the Midlands contest this weekend and we came 15th out of 20.  Not the result the band wanted but I enjoyed the experience anyway and felt that I managed my nerves well.  Very long day though.


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#8 ten left thumbs

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 20:27

Well done to Norway and superwan's band! :)

 

I think this thread is is serious need of hijacking anyway....


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#9 Norway

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 20:55

Yes well done Superwan! Who cares about winning anyway - enjoy the music and booze up afterwards, errr I meant social opportunities! :)

 

Errr ....I'm not in Superwan's band Ten Left Thumbs, but thanks anyway!

 

Definitely a good idea to move the subject on - I'm not sure that book would be good for my education! :lol:


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#10 ten left thumbs

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 22:07

Oops, sorry I misread that! 

 

No, not sure you need this book. You know what a woman looks like, right? 


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#11 corenfa

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 22:18

The glottis breathing is done in yoga and the instructor explained how to do it as- constrict your throat as though you are going to make Darth Vader noises. That helped a lot of people get it. 

 

I used to play horn but I don't remember using glottis breathing, at least not consciously. 


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#12 owainsutton

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 23:07

Sorry to hijack the thred but Norway just thought I'd let you know that I played the Midlands contest this weekend and we came 15th out of 20.  Not the result the band wanted but I enjoyed the experience anyway and felt that I managed my nerves well.

Yep, just blame the adjudicators and chalk it up as experience :) (We came sixth in our new section, so were very happy!)

As for the OP, it's not something I've yet to come across, either in books, online, or from experienced teachers.
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#13 JimD

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 08:54

I was always told to keep my throat as open as possible to get a good sound....
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#14 linda.ff

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 09:12

The glottis breathing is done in yoga and the instructor explained how to do it as- constrict your throat as though you are going to make Darth Vader noises. That helped a lot of people get it. 

 

I used to play horn but I don't remember using glottis breathing, at least not consciously. 

It would seem to me that using the glottis as an aid to almost anything musical is very bad for you if you're a singer - one of the things that it was suggested had contributed (a little) to the demise of my good laryngeal function was the fact that I was conducting shows a lot and mouthing to the chorus (I know there are two schools of thought on this) and the constant low-level half-vocalising that tends to go with it is akin to a constant barrage of glottal stops; bear in mind that the glottis is not a thing, but a space between two things, very precious things, your vocal folds, and I would have thought any amount of work you make them do other than good vocalising needs to be done with care. I think this book (which I also have somewhere) might be better called "how this one brass player does it"


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#15 superwan

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 09:24

Ten Left Thumbs my teacher sometimes gets me to play long notes using my practice mute for a minute as part of my warm up and that seems to open the throat up and gives me a better sound.

 

Noway yes I confess that there was plenty of 'socia' opportunity' after the contest.  I was quite entertained when half the hall starting doing Mexican waves though.

 

Owainsutton well done on the 6th place! The adjudicators at the 4th section (that I'm in) were joking that you can't be relegated! They went on about visulistation golfing swing for people with problems starting notes cleanly.  I could see their point but they did ramble on a bit!

 

An enjoyable day but I've decided not to do the Whit Friday marches as the coach isn't coming back until 3am and that's way too late for me!


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