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Hi all,

I'm writing because I had a lesson with Jason Rigby about a week ago (if y'all don't know, you better ask somebody) & he gave me some useful tips about my embouchure. First, he pointed out that I didn't need to take in so much mouthpiece. I have always been of the belief that you should take in as much reed as possible before it reaches the mouthpiece table.. Jason suggested that I take in less, & make the bottom lip limp. Within a day or two of shedding with this new embouchure, I was enjoying a very rich, controlled sound. He also told me that I had been "anchor tongueing," which I didn't realize existed & suggested that I articulate from the tip of my tongue to the tip of the reed.. This was a new concept for me, but after a few hours' practice it was beginning to sound really good.

IN JAZZ.

BUT

I got together with some cats the other day & they started calling funk tunes. I tried playing some Maceo Parker-style ****, but it was NOT happening with this new embouchure. The sound was too dark, the articulation was too light and it was NOT funky. The bass player said "MAN, USE SOME TONGUE" so I went back to my old, heinous ways & it immediately sounded better.

My question to you more experienced cats is:

do you use different embouchures to play in different styles, or are you able to master a single embouchure and utilize it in different contexts?

It also seems to keep making sense to keep using percussive "anchor tongueing" on bari in the afro-funk group I play with.

What do you think?
 

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My question to you more experienced cats is: do you use different embouchures to play in different styles,
Of course. Playing with different concepts of sound and style take a different embouchure and different articulations. To do so even takes different set-ups in most cases and also hanging out with a different class of musicians. :bluewink:
 

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Not at all unusual or wrong to take in more or less mouthpiece or lip or tongue differently for different expressive devices. Spend enough time to get the new thing locked in, once you have complete control over it you'll find a way to get the sound and articulation you want in different contexts.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Hi all,

I'm writing because I had a lesson with Jason Rigby about a week ago (if y'all don't know, you better ask somebody)
I did ask somebody and they didn't know either.

However it is good advice to take in less mouthpiece if you are taking in too much (a common mistake). Taking in too much is a shortcut to getting a "big sound", but has many drawbacks.

However I do agree there's no harm in changing your embouchure for different genres, but I would not extend that to drastically different amounts of mouthpiece taken in, that would just be confusing.

Taking in less mouthpiece, after a little bit of work, can give you a very versatile sound.

Taking in more, after some work, can give you what sounds like a "big sound", bit is less likely to be adaptable. That's why this can work really well for players who only play one style. If you want to play loads of different styles, then the less mouthpiece approach is most likely to work as you get more control of the reed.
 

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What do you mean by "different embouchure"? I dont see "amount of mouthpiece" as a different embouchure. Do mean changing some mechanical process?
I have the same embouchure all the time, I can get any timbre or sonority I need from it ....
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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What do you mean by "different embouchure"? I dont see "amount of mouthpiece" as a different embouchure.
If I take in more mouthpiece, I have to use a different embouchure. I think this applies to many people. For me the embouchure is different because my lips and teeth are further apart, and so muscles around the mouth are acting differently. For me, that is a different embouchure.
 

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I use "two" embouchures: jazz and classical.

My jazz embouchure is a "shifting" one where I will move it to get the best sound on that particular day. It is basically teeth on top and the bottom lip just sits where it is natural; corners of the mouth are always tight. This practice also allows me complete freedom when wanting to color different notes in a different way other than using the tongue as well as tuning. Overall, my tone still comes out regardless of where I shift the embouchure.

For classical, I use a static embouchure 99% of the time. Bottom lip is curled in slightly and teeth on top. Depending on the setting (i.e. wind ensemble, quartet, solo, etc...) the embouchure will change slightly for blending purposes but it is pretty much the same.

So I guess I do use different embouchures but maybe not in the same way you were thinking of.
 

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Hmmmm.. i would say same embouchure but different tongue and oral cavity position is all. is Jason Rigby related to 1960's NYC heavy Joe Rigby who for years was a NYC Mass Transit bus driver? just wondered.
 

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If I take in more mouthpiece, I have to use a different embouchure. I think this applies to many people. For me the embouchure is different because my lips and teeth are further apart, and so muscles around the mouth are acting differently. For me, that is a different embouchure.
I see what you're saying. I dont see that as any kind of a decision in regards to what you do deliberately opt to do with you mouth, but as simply what your mouth has to do to adapt to a new position on the mouthpiece. So If I decide to "take more mouthpiece" but otherwise try to keep my tone production priciples the same as much as possible, I am "changing my embouchure"? Perhaps it's symantics, but I subjectively disagree. If I have a philosphy of embouchure formation in regards to tone production, and I make a tactical decision to place my upper teeth farther up the mouthpiece I am not employing a "different embouchure" but using the way I produce tone on a different place on the horn. Sure, the shape of it is different, my mouth is open wider, the muscles will strain more due to unfamiliarity of the position, but I'm not employing anything different in terms of what I'm asking my mouth to do.
 

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I think this is semantics. I "do things" with my embouchure to produce different tone qualities, it's still the same embouchure. By your definition, using vibrato wold mean continuously different embouchures. All I'm saying is that's not different embouchures, thats just "playing the sax". Know what I mean?
If you switched to "lip out" to "traditional" then back to "double embouchure" etc etc those are different embouchures ...
 

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If you switched to "lip out" to "traditional" ...
Actually, the more common switch for me is "traditional" to "lip out" and then perhaps back again; and yes, even in the middle of a solo. So I'm not twisting the definition, nor is it an issue of semantics. I mean what I say.
 

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Hmmmm.. i would say same embouchure but different tongue and oral cavity position is all.
This is what I got from the story related in the OP regarding playing jazz vs funk. I don't think tonguing has that much to do with embouchure, but I could be wrong, or maybe I'm only playing with semantics. :)

But yeah on a funk tune you would likely use a harder attack ('anchor tongue?'--that's a new term for me) than in mainstream jazz. I don't really see why you'd have to take in more mpc for that though.
 
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This is the general usage to take in less mouth and make the bottom lip limp, but this is not the way to create different style, this is a general idea and for that I usually try different embouchure to play in different style.
 

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Here's a fun little thing to do. Play your horn and while you're playing, begin changing your embouchure. As this becomes easier to do, try not to change your pitch while you do it. So long as you have what's considered a fairly middle of the road mouthpiece, you should be able to get a variety of usable tones out of your horn. Some will be pleasing, others.. maybe not so much. Keep spending time on it.

Harv
 
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