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Thread: Pinchy Notes

  1. #1

    Question Pinchy Notes

    My band director has been saying that all of my notes above the staff are sounding pinchy, and I'm not sure how to fix that. Do you know how to fix it and make it sound less pinchy and more full? Let me know please! Thank you!
    December Stars

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Sturgis, South Dakota
    Welcome to the Forum, December Stars!

    This probably means you are having some difficulty in playing those higher notes. And you are probably "pinching" your lips together harder to try to go higher. I suspect you are pinching more in the middle of your lips, and that results in the pinched sound. You need to "tighten" more toward the corners of your mouth/lips rather than the middle. Let the middle part of the upper and lower lip vibrate freely without being "pressed" or "pinched" so hard together.

    Find a note (lower) that you can play comfortably without pinching. Play it as a long tone. Then, slur up to the next note, and play it the same. Keep starting with the next higher note, then slurring up to the one above it. Concentrate on NOT pressing the middle part of your upper and lower lip together. Feel the tension in the corners of your mouth as you go higher. Don't try to get all the higher notes at once. You slowly work yourself up. Remember to "feel" the lips vibrating, especially in the middle. If you mash the middle part together, it WILL sound pinched.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  3. I had this problem in Junior High and my directors always told me to "drop my jaw." I didn't really understand what they meant until I figured it out when I was a freshman. Part of it has to do with correct air support, and if you can't support the note with the correct air then it won't sound very good. I built my range up with scales (both major and chromatic) and I improved my tone by doing basically what John described.

  4. #4
    With similiar problems at the beginning - i've been told the following: practise low to get high. You'll improve your airstream to get a better air support above the staff. Finally this will improve your tone quality of high register. Said by an euphonium player at amateur level

    Boosey&Hawkes Imperial with SM4(U-X),
    YEP-321 with DW 4AY ...
    ... and my cello

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