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 Post subject: Acceptable embouchres
PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2009 6:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:57 pm
Posts: 221
Location: USA, San Diego, California
What is the acceptable embouchre?/Which are the accepted embouchres?

I have read so much recently about the 'chin down' or 'flat chin' embouchre. I have found when I use this 'flat chin' I end up with an almost smile as an embouchre. When I was young I never really discussed the embouchre as my teachers always said I had a natural embouchre. Recently I have been in discussions and found I use an almost 'purse string' type embouchre. And when you look at pictures of me playing, you can't really tell if I am playing or not, whereas many people I see using the 'flat chin' are obviously playing.

So which ones of us use what types. And what problems do we find with other embouchres?


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 Post subject: Re: Acceptable embouchres
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 1:06 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2008 4:19 am
Posts: 130
Generally speaking the "accepted" embouchure is placing the mouthpiece 2/3rds on the
top lip and 1/3rd on the bottom. The position of the lips should be compressed into a
position half way between a whistle and a smile. The chin should not push up (bunch)
although the jaw should drop gradually when descending to the bottom register.

It should be and feel as natural as possible and when suitably developed capable of
playing a four octave range without changing the position of the mouthpiece. It should
be capable of playing a "long note" on every pitch from Top C to at least pedal E or D
without undue strain or pressure, and slur a three octave passage without contortions.

An "acceptable" embouchure is one which can achieve the above although it may not
conform strictly to what I have described - "if it works leave it alone".

Pushing the chin up presses the lips together and results in a thin squeezed sound and
other problems too many to mention including the lower lip sliding up behind the top.

Remember "free" buzzing is not the same as buzzing on the mouthpiece. Nothing
wrong with that as a warm up procedure but it's not the way you should play. I suggest
you read Cindy Lewis at embouchures.com who developed a problem through
chin bunching. Play a Top C on your mouthpiece and then remove it from the
lips still blowing - there should be no sound and a small gap between the lips.

Smiling embouchures should be avoided, the corners of the lips should pull down.

I am unclear as to what you mean by a "purse string" embouchure and also the
playing or not comment, perhaps you would care to elaborate :)


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 Post subject: Re: Acceptable embouchres
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 3:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:57 pm
Posts: 221
Location: USA, San Diego, California
Chris,
Thank you, very detailed.
Some elaboration as you requested.
Purse-string, like a 'purse string purse'. In the medical field the term 'purse string stitch' is used. If you have a serious wound that needs to be closed immediately, you stitch around the wound and then pull up on both ends of the thread, as you pull the thread pulls the wound opening together, closing the wound.

Perhaps Drawstring might be a better description. Old sweat pants before they had elastic would use a drawstring that you tighten to keep your sweatpants on.

Playing/not playing
Often times looking at photos you can tell if the player is playing or just holding the instrument up to the face. Wether I am playing or not playing it looks like I am just holding the instrument up to my face; there is no visual difference between playing or not playing.

Hope that helps explain a little better.


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 Post subject: Re: Acceptable embouchres
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 5:13 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2008 4:19 am
Posts: 130
Purse string/draw string Hm............I think I would like to see your chops before
commenting further.

Playing/Not playing............are you talking still photos or video. Obviously minimum
disturbance is desirable but personally I can't do Rheingold prelude or especially
2nd Horn Haydn Oxford Symphony octaves without noticeable embouchure movement.

Unless it's one long note there is surely always going to be some movement however
minimal. :?


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