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Brad Edwards

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Lip Slur Melodies


A melodic approach to building
tone and technique with lip slurs

2013, Brad Edwards, All rights reserved


What is a Lip Slur Melody
y?
Moost trombo onists use lip slurs in
i their daaily routin
nes. Thesse
exercisses help with
w embo ouchure co ontrol and
d strength h. By rem
moving thee
tonguee from thee equation
n, players are forced d to rely o
on their aiir to
genera
ate the notes.

Troombonistss, becausee of the slide, must llearn legaato tonguiing to


avoid glisses.
g However,
H some
s of th
he time, itt is possib
ble to chan
nge notes
using a natural lip slur. This
T happpens when n the two n notes are in
differeent partialls of the overtone
o series. Heeres an exxample of a little
meloddy that can n be playeed entirelyy with natuural slurss:

A feew years ago,


a I pub
blished anoother boook, Lip Sluurs (Ensem mble
Publiccations) to
o add somme variety to ur diet. I finished
t the daiily lip slu
that boook with 20
2 lip slurr melodiess. Over th
he years, IIve receivved
wondeerful feedbback abou ut that boo ding requeests that I write
ok, includ
more ofo these lip slur meelodies.

Weell, here yo
ou go! Thhis book ha as over 13
30 pages o of melodiees and
duets relying
r ex
xclusively on the naatural slurrs of a trom
mbone. T They are
designned for thee common n F-attachhment ten nor trombo one, altho
ough one
section
n is meant exclusivvely for thee double-vvalve basss trombon ne.

Theey progresss from ea


asy to quitte challen
nging.

Enjjoy!
Table of Contents:
Part 1: Getting Started ..................................................................... 1
Easier tunes that introduce the concept of lip slur melodies.
Methodically introduces common alternate positions and trigger
notes.

Part 2: Moving Along...................................................................... 10


The challenge gradually increases as does the harmonic variety.

Part 3: Soaring Higher.................................................................... 19


Helps to build the high range by gradually introducing higher
target notes starting with high G and extending up to C. Tenor clef
makes an appearance!

Part 4: Plunging Lower .................................................................. 33


Explores lower notes, especially those in the trigger range from F
down to C. A few pedal notes are thrown in.

Part 5: Raising the Bar ................................................................... 45


Mastery of these pieces will help you develop mastery over your
instrument. Start them slowly and work them up.

Part 6: Soaring Even Higher .......................................................... 60


Picks up where Part 3 left off, starting with high D-flat and sailing all
the way up to high F. Take your time building up to these notes.

Part 7: Plunging Even Lower ......................................................... 68


Intended for the double-valve bass trombone but brave tenors are
welcome to give it a shot. Ranges all the way down to a double pedal
C-flat. Dont pass out!

Part 8: Taking a Bow ...................................................................... 76


Eight finishing etudes that require virtuoso technique to polish.
Nail these and you can definitely take a bow!

Part 9: Playing Together ................................................................ 85


34 duets starting off fairly easy and ranging all the way to
What was this guy thinking?
1

p Slur Melodies
Lip M s
Parrt 1: Gettting Sta
arted
On tromb bone, our leegato playin
ng can invoolve a mixtu
ure of legatoo tonguing
and natural
n slurrs. Naturall slurs occurr between aany two nottes with a n
natural
break
k in the oveertone seriees.

Heree are some examples:


e

As you ch
hange pitchhes, it isnt necessary
n tto use the to
ongue sincee these
notess jump betwween partiaals of the ovvertone seriies. There iis a school o
of thought
that one shouldd legato tong
gue every note
n for the sake of connsistency buut many
fine players
p empploy naturaal lip slurs to
t avoid breeaking the aair stream iin legato
musiic.

This example reequires som


me legato tonguing:

But, evenn here, it is possible to


o employ so
ome naturall slurs (at th
he spots
mark
ked with a tilde
t (~) symmbol.

Tips
s for Impr
rovement::
Keeep your airr stream steeady and m move the slid de preciselyy. Masterin
ng
th
hese pieces will
w greatlyy improve yo our slide sp
peed and acccuracy.
Keeep your emmbouchure corners steeady. The ccenter of th he
em
mbouchure should be more m relaxeed so it cann vibrate. TThe corners
sh
hould be firm (no air pockets)
p witth minimal movementt.
Keeep the throoat relaxed and the airrway open. Listen to tthe sound o of
yo
our breath. If you hearr a high gassping sound d when breathing in,
yo
our throat may
m be too tense.
t The breath sho ould make a soft, low
so
ound.
Liisten carefu
ully to pitch
h. Especiallly when you u begin to uuse alternate
po
ositions andd trigger nootes, it is eaasy to mispllace the slid
de. This willl
also hurt youur tone. As a tromboniist, you can n never stopp listening
fo
or pitch!
2
Part 1: Getting Started
Moderato

1.1

Moderato

1.2

Allegretto

1.3
7

Introducing Some Useful Alternate Positions


4

Remember that, like the E-flat next to it, this note is on the 6th
partial (or "F partial") of the overtone series. That partial is
usually sharp. Listen carefully and correct as needed.
4 simile
Allegretto

1.13

Moderato
4
simile
1

1.14

1 4

4
1

a tempo
rit.

1
4
10

p Slur Melodies
Lip M s
Parrt 2: Mo
oving Allong
Now its time to addd some commplexity to tthese melod
dies. Remeember, it
isnt necessary to
t legato tongue within n any slur. You will prrobably wan
nt to use
on at the beeginning of a slur, how
somee articulatio wever.

Tips
s for Impr
rovement::
Watch
W or tension Tension iss the enemyy. We often do not
out fo
nootice how teense we aree as we work k to masterr tougher mmaterial.
Acccurate slidde As thesse melodiess get more ccomplex, it is all too
ea
asy to play with
w a slopp py, inaccuraate slide. B
Be very preccise in yourr
sliide placemeent!
Prractice slowwly Most people
p dont slow thin
ngs down ennough and
do
ont invest enough
e pra
actice time p
playing thin ngs slowly. Be patientt!
Heres an exa ample from
m the upcom ming section n:

Bee sure to sp
pend enough h time workking out thaat 16th notee passage
wiith some sloow practicee. Perhaps something like this:

Sllow practiciing is your secret


weaapon to efffortless playying!

Pllay with dirrection Most musicall lines havee a feeling o


of motion
to
owards or aw way from a target notte. Just ass you wouldd avoid
drrinking fromm stagnant water, you should avo oid stagnan nt notes.
Heres an exa ample:

hat sustaineed C with a feeling of d


Be surre to play th direction to
o
th
he following g 8 notes. This isnt q
th quite the saame as a creescendo butt
it certainly sh
houldnt bee a diminue ndo.
12

Moderato

2.3

1 4
V

4
Moderato 4 1

2.4
cresc.

rit.
a tempo

cresc.

4 4 1

cresc.
17 Expect to start seeing some harmonic "curve balls" every now and then. This next one floats
between C major and C minor.
4
Andante 4
3

2.11

5
3

cresc.
5

3
V

Allegro scherzando 5
6

2.12
19

Lip Slur Melodies


Part 3: Soaring Higher
Now its time to build up to some higher notes. This next section
methodically works to higher and higher target notes starting with G and ending
with C. Each target high note has two pages of material devoted to it. Patient
work with these etudes will help you build strength in the high range. Dont be
discouraged if your high range doesnt develop as quickly as this book progresses.
These etudes should supplement other strategies for building high range.

Tips for Improvement:

Stay relaxed Many brass players tense up too much for high notes.
This is especially true in two areas: the throat and mouthpiece pressure.
Tension is the enemy.
Use fast air High notes require cooler, faster air under greater
pressure.
Notice your oral cavity and embouchure For low notes, think of the
ah vowel. For higher notes, an ee might help. For most players,
rolling in the lower lip slightly also helps. This causes the air stream to
point down.
Keep those embouchure corners firm! Avoid turning the corners up
into a smile for higher notes. For most players, this weakens the tone
by spreading the upper lip too thin.
Glisses are helpful Play a glissando in from a long position to a
shorter one. Like this:

Patience is helpful In fact, patience is critical. It takes as long as it


takes! Work at it a little bit each day. However, if youre tired, give
your lips some time to rest. This allows the muscles to rebuild and
strengthen.
Low notes are helpful Theres an old saying, The low supports the
high. Learning to play low notes with easy warm air seems to pay off
in helping the high range.
Yes, slurring to these notes is harder Tonguing the notes may help
them come out but slurring to them will provide greater benefit in
building embouchure strength.
21

Part 3: Soaring Higher


Extending up to G
Occasionally, you will see longer slurs suggested with a dotted line.

Singing fully

3.1

rit. a tempo

Cantabile
1

3.2

4 4

cresc.
25

Extending to A
Andante con moto
4 1 ( 4)
3

3.7

3 3

3 3
3

3
cresc. 3

3 3
3

Flowing (in 6)

3.8

rit. a tempo
con moto

5 3 rit.
4
33

Lip
p Slur Melodie
M es
Parrt 4: Pllunging
g Lower
Its impo
ortant to ballance all those high nootes with so
ome rich, daark low
notess. In fact, I have alwayys found thhat a good lo
ow range heelps my higgh range.

Tips
s for Imp
proveme
ent:

Slow,, Warm Air Have you u ever used


d your breatth to fog up p a window??
Remeember how you took a deep breatth and used d slow, warm m air? Havve
you ever
e blown air
a across a jug to mak ke it vibratee? If a jug isnt handy,
you might
m want to use a strraight mutee. Same ideea: slow air will yield
more vibration than
t fast airr. Low notees usually ssound betteer if you
blow this way.
Open n Up Open n your oral cavity by mmoving awaay from an ee sound
and to owards an aw sound d. Notice ho ow your ton ngue dropss down. Alsso,
separrate your teeth a bit mo ore.
Roll Out
O I find d my low no otes come oout better iff I allow myy lower lip to
roll out a bit. Thhis naturallyy causes thhe air stream
m to angle u upwards
more.
Moutthpiece posiition? As you roll ou ut your loweer lip and oopen up you ur
teeth,, you may find
fi that you ur mouthpiiece moves down sligh htly and
even tilts up a biit more. Ass long as thiis improvess your soun nd and can
be doone within a slur it sho ould be fine .
Dontt Force With
W low nottes, youre rreally searcching for thaat sweet
spot in partnersship with yo our instrum
ment. Dont try to playy too loudlyy
at firsst. Seek ressonance!

Just in
i case you need a quicck refresherr on the F-aattachmentt slide
positiions, heress a guide:

I tunee my F-atta achment so the 1st posiition C is in n tune. Thiss causes thee
triggeer to be a litttle flat. Otthers tune tto the F insttead.
34

Part 4: Plunging Lower


6th ... 4th ...
Unhurried 2 5
V V

4.1

7
3
V 6

Noble 6 5
V V
4.2

( 3)

cresc.

6 6

6
38

From here on, you will often see a valve marking without a slide position indicated.
Somber V 6

4.6

Fine
V 6 5 2nd time..ritard
6
2

V 2
6
3

Fine
6

Waltz (in three)


5 2 (1)
6

Accurate slide!
5

V V
6

5 5 D.C. al Fine
rit. 5
6
45

Lip
p Slur Melodie
M es
Parrt 5: Ra
aising the
t Barr

I know what
w youre thinking, Im bored w
with all thesse easier piieces. Give
me something I can sink my
m teeth into. Fear noot, things w
will get trick
kier.

Tips
s for Imp
proveme
ent:

Slow it down n! : Yes, this actually works.


w Do iit.
Really
R hear the
t intervalls: There arre some uneexpected paatterns in h here. If you
u
sttruggle withh somethin ng, isolate th
he trouble sspot and maake sure yo
ou really
hear
h the inteervals at wo
ork.

Heres an example:
e Thhere isnt a clear tonall center in tthis pattern
n. It uses a
p
position seqquence insstead. If yoou decode the accidentals, you w will find a
seeries of min
nor triads in
n inversionn

Keepp that slide accurate: As


A you playy through th
hese position sequencces its easyy
to losse slide acccuracy.
50

Unhurried ( 4)

5.5

5
V

cresc.
5
V

Agitato 4 5th ... 4 5th ...


4 2

rit. 4
57
Allegro con fuoco
4
4 5

5.12

5 2

4 5
4
1

4 Fine

dim.
Flowing
3

V 3 3 3

3 3

D.C. al Fine
3
3 3

3 3
3
60

Lip
p Slur Melodie
M es
Parrt 6: So
oaring Even
E Higher
H
Build
ding a stronng high rang ge takes paatience. Wo
ork at it steaadily. Doin
ng a little att
a tim
me, for a lon
ng time, yiellds nice ressults.

Tips
s for Imp
proveme
ent:

Watch ou ut for moutthpiece presssure! Push hing in thatt mouthpiecce cuts off
the blood
d flow. No blood
b mean ns no oxygeen for thosee muscles. Y Youll get
tired soo
oner and, ov ver time, ru
un the risk oof injury.
Keep thoose corners firm: Allow wing the mo outh cornerrs to turn up p spreads
the uppeer lip thin. It
I may work k at first bu
ut wont payy off in the llong run.

Thee etudes in this section


n build up gradually.
g Y
You will seee section tittles like,
Exteending to G.
G The etudes in this little
l sectioon work up tto the G bu ut no higherr.
If you
u struggle with
w a new target note, give it tiime, work o on some oth her sectionss
of the book.

Glissandos can n be helpfu ul to help yo


ou build up your high rrange. Try a sequencee
of gliisses from 6th to 1st. Something
S like
l this:

Notee: at times you


y will see treble clef in this secttion. Whenn the notes gget this hig
gh,
it ma
akes sense to
t use treble. (I decideed to avoid our friend,, Mr. Alto C
Clef.)
61

Part 6: Soaring Even Higher


Extending to D-flat (C-sharp)
Relaxed and lyrical

6.1

3 4
4

cresc.
rit.

dim.
Joyfully

6.2

( 4) 1

4
66

Extending to E
Mournful waltz

6.9

Fine

Hopefully 4th ...

D.C. al Fine
rit.

Relaxed

6.10

cresc.
4
68

Lip
p Slur Melodie
M es
Parrt 7: Plu
unging
g Even Lower
Thiss section was created with
w the do ouble-valve bass tromb bone in min
nd. Becausee
of diffferent valv
ve configuraations and tuning
t syst ems, few m
markings aree included.
Tenoor tromboniists are wellcome to tryy these but they will fin
nd some intervals thatt
arent natural sllurs on a sin
ngle-valve tenor.
t

Tips
s for Imp
proveme
ent:

Dont forrce the air: Lower notees require sllower, warmmer air. Yo
ou cant
a advanceed player plaaying loud low notes,
force theese notes. Iff you hear an
you migh ht mistaken nly assume that,
t becauuse of the lo
oud dynamiic, they are
being forrceful with the
t air. You u would be surprised aat how littlee effort it
takes to produce
p a big
b sound.

Listen caarefully to pitch:


p The extreme
e rannges can eassily go out o
of tune.
Sometim mes we are so s proud of popping ou ut these low
w notes with h a big
sound thhat we disreegard the in ntonation. P
Play things up an octavve and
listen carrefully to th
he intervals.

Heres an examplee: The first line shows a note sequ uence fromm one of the
etudes. The
T second line is that same sequ uence up an n octave. If pitch is
unclear, start in tha
at upper octtave and reaally lock in the intervaals. This wiill
help yourr ear when playing in the
t lower ooctave.
71

Plodding steadily

7.4

cresc.
4

Dancing gracefully

7.5

4
73

Light and playful

7.8

cresc.

Flowing

7.9
76

Lip
p Slur Melodie
M es
Parrt 8: Ta
aking a Bow
Theese last eigh
ht pieces prrovide a greeater challeenge. Howeever, they arent
impoossibly diffiicult. The musical
m stattement shou uld always be more immportant
than the techniccal challengge. With pa atient practtice, they caan be masteered. Once
you can
c nail theem, take a bow.
b Youvee really acccomplished something g!

Tips
s for Imp
proveme
ent:

Work theem up over time: Pick one piece aand live witth it for a w
while.
Patiently
y work on sm
mall section
ns, repeatin
ng them slo
owly until th hey are
more commfortable.

Use patieent repetitio on: Recent research h as delved innto the bod
dys ability
to add layers of myeelin insulatiion to nervees. As a seqquence is p
practiced,
the myelin is added d and thus skill becomees more auttomation. T Think abou ut
typing, teexting or soome newer form of datta entry. Att first one m
moves
slowly an nd somewhat clumsilyy. With repeetition (thee adding of myelin), th he
body learrns to rapid dly execute actions thaat previouslly seemed im
mpossible.
All it takees is time and
a patient repetition.

Watch ou ut for tensio on: It is a natural


n hum
man reaction n to tense u
up when
faced witth a challen nging task. As you tack kle these piieces, dont allow
excessivee tension to o creep into your playin ng. Pause ffrequently aand take a
few deepp breaths, alllowing the tension to leave your body.
Believee me, it is alll too easy for
f tension tto sneak in under thee radar. Inn
other woords, many of o us play with
w higher tension levvels than wee realize.
Become more
m awaree of this ten
nsion and fiind ways to o approach ttougher
material in a relaxed d manner. It may be h harder at firrst, but it w
will pay
great div
vidends in th he future.
Here iss a little rela
axing sequeence you can n play if yo
ou find yourrself
becoming too tense
79

Flowing 5

8.3

4 5th ...

2 5
( V) 5

cresc.
1
5 Fine
5

dim.
6 5 5

4
5

cresc.

D.C. al Fine
5 5
80

Driving

8.4

Fine

dim.

cadenza

accel. accel.
5 5 5
5 5 5

D.C. al Fine
rit.
85

Lip
p Slur Melodie
M es
Parrt 9: Pllaying Togeth
T her
As I was writiing this boo ok, I was su
urprised at tthe level of interest shown in the
fact that
t it woulld contain duets.
d Som
me people co ontacted mee because th hey had
heard d I was writting some kind of dueet book. GGiven this aapparent levvel of
interrest, I wanteed to make sure that I didnt shorrtchange peeople in thee duet
depaartment. To o that end, here
h are 30
0 duets rangging from fafairly easy to
o rather
difficcult. Enjoy!

Tips
s for Imp
proveme
ent:
Have Fun n: Sometim mes we get so s caught up p in workiing to be a better
player th
hat we lose sight
s of wha at made us fall in lovee with musicc in the firsst
place. Whether
W throough these duets or th hough otherr material, ffind time
each dayy to simply enjoy
e playin
ng your insttrument!
Listen to
o each otherr: Some peo ople put on blinders ass they play. Dont justt
be two in
ndividuals playing
p indeependent n notes at morre or less th
he same
time. Bleend your so ounds into oneo finishe d product. Be very aw ware of yourr
partner and
a listen fo or the nuan nces in theirr playing! OOpen up yo our ears.
Tune, tunne, tune: Most
M of the cadences
c in
n this sectio
on use octavves or third ds.
Make surre these nottes lock in n to each otther. If youu hear beatts of
discord between
b twoo notes, tryy that spot aagain and see if you caan line
things upp. Rememb ber that, esp pecially witth 3rds andd 6ths, smalll
adjustmeents away frrom in tun ne with the tuner can really imprrove the
interval. Electronicc tuners usee equal temp perament, a comprom mise systemm
in which all keys aree the same butb none arre ideally in n tune. Tho ose small
adjustmeents, so easy on a trom mbone slidee, can return n intervals tto their
natural state
s of puree ratios. Heeres an exaample:

In this example, thhe top voicee will need to lower th he E of the laast measure
by 14/100 of a half step
s (also known
k as 14
4 cents) in o
order achievve the puree
5:4 ratio of a real major
m third (if
( the botto om note is iin tune!). WWhat makess
this trick
kier on the trombone
t iss that this E is usuallyy sharp to beegin with.
You migh ht be surpriised just ho
ow much yo ou need to llower this n
note for it to
o
lock into place.

Heres a simple wayy to rememb ber the mosst commonn adjustmen


nts:
Majo or 3rds andd 6ths - topp note dow
wn a bit
Minnor 3rds an nd 6ths - to
op note upp a bit
Heres an
n even shorrter version
n:
Major r down, m minor up
86

Part 9: Playing Together


Singing fully

9.1

Flowing

cresc.
9.2

cresc.

4
93

4
Joyfully 4
V

9.10
6 1 V

(V)
V

Fine

5 2

cresc.

cresc.
D.C. al Fine
105

Forlorn

9.18

dim.

dim.

con moto

3 3

3
3
V

rit.
3

rit. 6th ...


119
Allegro vivo

9.27
5 5th ...
4

cresc. dim.
3 5th ...
3 3 3 3

cresc. dim.
3

5 V 5

4 dim. cresc.
4 5
V V

dim.
5 3rd ...

cresc.
4

cresc.
cresc.
120

5
4

cresc. dim.

3 3 3 3

cresc. dim.
3

5 4 1

4 1
5 5
3
3 V

cresc.
cresc. 5
V
3

3
cresc. cresc.
5

1
V