I’ve been re-watching the Largo Fundamentals, and Greg you talk about the “tongue stop” and the “tongue stopping the air”, but when I do the BackSwing and the BCH, it doesn’t seem to me that my tongue is stopping the air.
Could you clarify? Or is this something that will become clear as the course goes on? I’m just about to start the Singing C series, so still in the very early stages.
I’m not Greg. First: Do you have the concept of the tongue releasing the air? You take the backswing breath, the tongue is ready, in the position to let go of the air using “tu”.
“To RELEASE energy from the body to play a note, you simply lower the tongue from the roof of the mouth. The Aperture Corners have already set the pitch. The body expands on inhalation and wants to return to its natural position of repose – BUT IT CAN’T BECAUSE
THE TONGUE IS STOPPING THE AIR FROM COMING OUT.
The physical work is done with the breath in… #BackSwing.”
For the tongue to stop the air,
it must raise back to the roof of the mouth
. Now the pressure of the air that is still in your lungs (your balloon) can’t come out because the tongue is in the way.
Learning this is found in “The Backswing Revisited” and is demonstrated in “The Mouthpiece Revisited”. You practice releasing air by repeating tu, tu, tu, tu into a tissue. The air is starting and stopping with the tongue in the t position. The t starts tu and ends with the begging of the next tu. What if you put the tongue in the way of the air and do no let the “ooo” sound out? You have just stopped the air with the tongue.
Part of the problem with understanding this concept is we normally stop air from coming out of our lungs using the vocal folds (a.k.a. vocal cords). Breathe in and hold your breath with your mouth opened. Your larynx (voice box) is closed by the vocal cords coming together. You also have experienced holding your breath by tightly closing your lips. This is another natural way of holding air inside our bodies.
The tongue stop is using the tongue to keep air from escaping from the mouth while the larynx is opened. You should feel a little air pressure behind the tongue. Letting tongue down releases air and putting the tongue back in place stops the air.
What does this sound like?
When playing like this the trumpet makes a “tut” sound. (Nothing to do with King Tut.) In most concert bands and orchestras, this is stylistically unpleasant. This type of playing is sometimes used in jazz.
I am not sure about the following. The tut sound is more pronounced when using the tip of the tongue rather than using the tongue arch.
Why are we doing this?
So remember, we are generating sensations. We learning not to kick the air or tighten a bunch of muscles to play notes. Later you will engage muscles to play loud and to sustain a note. You can play quite loud and long without engaging muscles. You can also play higher notes without engaging a bunch of muscles. This is where so many go wrong.
To engage and strengthen the Aperture Corners and the facial muscles
To encourage the Sympathetic Oscillation of the lip tissue
To disengage the innate desire to blow rather than RELEASE
To optimize efficiency, especially when heading into the upper register (where the trouble really begins)
A great reply making a lot of very important points about air control. The most useful one was stopping air with vocal folds. All of a sudden I have learned how to ‘feel’ and control throat opening/closing.