VanderCook College of Music The H.E. Nutt Papers (VanderCook College of Music)
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Brass Embouchure
Brass Embouchure
TitleBrass Embouchure
SubjectH.E. Nutt Worksheet
TypeImage
Languageeng
RightsAll rights held by VanderCook College of Music. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this image, please contact VanderCook College archivist at archives@vandercook.edu or phone 312-225-5211 x301
CollectionThe H.E. Nutt Papers (VanderCook College of Music)
TranscriptBrass Embouchure
By H. E. Nutt
Brass instruments are wind-blown "string" instruments.
Tone is produced by vibration of the soft flesh of the upper lip (i.e. the soft flesh within the rim of the mouthpiece) set in motion by air from the lungs.
This soft flesh of the upper lip acts as a string whose thickness, tension and effective vibrating length can be varied and controlled by the player.
Thickness of the string (i.e. the soft flesh of the upper lip) is adjusted and controlled by the muscles of the upper lip.
Tension is adjusted and controlled by the muscles at the corners of the mouth (as tuning pegs do on string instruments).
Length of the vibrating portion of the upper lip is adjusted and controlled by the action of the lower lip, within the mouthpiece rim.
Volume is adjusted and controlled by the action of the diaphragm and abdominal muscles.
The well schooled performer on a brass instrument is one who has learned to balance these basic factors (i.e. thickness, tension, length, and air pressure) to achieve the desired tone quality, pitch, and volume.
When making pitch changes in the normal playing register (i.e. the middle register) of any brass instrument there is little or no change in the basic tension and thickness of the upper lip. Pitch changes within this normal playing register are made by changing the length of the vibrating area of the upper lip within the mouthpiece rim.
See diagrams 1 through 3.
A basic pitch will be established with a given thickness and tension of the upper lip, if the upper lip is free to vibrate from rim to rim (diagram 1).
The pitch will go up from this basic pitch if the vibrating area of the upper lip is shortened. This is done by increasing the gripping action of the lower lip muscles inside the mouthpiece rim. This gripping action shortens the vibrating area of the upper lip at both ends (diagram 2).
The shorter the "string" the higher the pitch (diagram 3).
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