Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Discombobulated SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 201
Joined
·
9,886 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In The Devil's Horn, Michael Segell tells of Ralph Morgan trying to teach him to blow notes on a mouthpiece alone. Segell can't, and Ralph offers several suggestions, including...

1) Think about blowing up a balloon. It's push, not blow.

2) Just remember, it's a breathing instrument, not a blowing instrument. It's not the speed of the air that makes the reed vibrate, it's the pressure of the air.

Anyone care to comment on Morgan's statements? When I first read them some time ago I dismissed them, but I'm beginning to think Morgan may have been onto something pretty profound.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2010-2016
Joined
·
1,708 Posts
I've never given it much thought but now that I do it sounds pretty good. I can "blow" a long note for about the same length of time that I can exhale so, as the Mythbusters would say "I think this one is plausible!"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
247 Posts
Morgan definitely knows what he's talking about. For me, it's all about air pressure. To me air pressure is a consistent and controlled airflow. It also forces you to use your diaphragm. When you blow, you get a rush of air and then a decay (lack of pressure). It's a less controlled way of putting air into your horn. Now, blowing can be used effectively to bring out different colours in you horn, but I believe that it's an inefficient way to power the horn on a regular basis.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,000 Posts
I've always thought of it as "pushing" from the diaphragm (actually, the lower abdomen). I guess that's why I like a some resistance in a mouthpiece and horn. In fact, I've often heard people talk about "good resistance" that you can "push up against to shape your sound" -- even here on SOTW. I think most people probably push air into the horn from the abdomen -- even if they don't realize that's what they're doing -- but it's just easier (and less awkward) to say they're "blowing air" instead of saying they're "pushing air."

With your horn, you can get the same effect as the mouthpiece alone exercise mentioned in the original post if you put on a reed that is harder than what you are used to. If you just blow air from your oral cavity or lungs, you'll have difficulty making a sound. If you push air from your abdomen, you'll get the harder reed to start generating a tone. I think that's why practicing with a stiffer reed or a more open-tipped mouthpiece is a good way to work on your tone production. You have to really push air from the abdomen to make it work. When you go back to your regular set-up, you reap the benefits of a better overall tone (IMO, of course).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,131 Posts
The mouthpiece exercise is pure gold. You should be able to play a range of a tenth on a tenor mouthpiece, all dynamic levels, and through any number of scales...the students I have that really get going with the mouthpiece thing all end up with killer sounds way before they should..
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top