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Some text in this article doesn't make complete sense, maybe resulting from the use of embouchure for a technique as well as the mouthpiece.

When the article states that the reason brass players do not use the "correct" embouchure it attributes this to the technique being "lost with the passage of time." But it then details the correct procedure, and lists a player who teaches it. (Just one teacher in the entire world who teaches it?) If this is the "correct" technique why do other players not use it?

Also surely the reason "few (if any) players (students or professors) ... play with the qualities of the great players of the past century" is subjective, maybe they were just better players? -- sodium

Yes, this is puzzling. We can infer from the information supplied in the article that it is not written from the neutral point of view: supposing, as the last sentence says, that there is only one person in the world, Jerome Callet, who is teaching the allegedly correct technique, and supposing (reasonably) that other music teachers are very concerned about what "correct" embouchure might be and that they try to teach it, we can infer that the other music teachers would disagree that the technique described as "correct" is, in fact, correct. Hence, our describing it as "correct" is decidedly biased!

So, how shall we fix the article? --LMS

Word! I am glad that I inspired some debate about this! I realize that I could written much more; my hands were getting tired! Maybe I need a new typing embouchure!!!

To respond: Lost w/ the passage of time:

The original trumpet method books 1st translated into English in the beginning of the century were two: 1-Arban's, and 2-St. Jacome's. The French language includes a slight "lisp" in the pronunciation of the syallable "tu." In French, "tu" is pronounced "thu." Say "thu" and see where your toungue is. Voila, as they say, between your teeth! However, "classical" players in the US who started using these method books translated it as "tu." This syllable makes the toungue shoot forward and then receded. Arban states in his book "The phrase "coup de langue" {strike of toungue} is a misnomer; the toungue does not strike anything." The correct action is more like spitting; Miles Davis refers to it as "spitting a piece of rice off of your toungue" in his autobiography. In fact, as a beginner brass player, it is easier to produce a tone right away saying the syllable "tu." It is more difficult as a beginner to learn to play w/ the toungue through the teeth; it is even more difficult to change from behind the teeth to through the teeth!" Most of the "jazz" (big band) players played with the through the teeth embouchure. This method was passed down through big bands, r&b bands, chitlin' circuit, etc. Once all of these opportunities were lost, and "jazz" players started going to "music schools" instead of getting into road bands (late 1960's, early 1970's) was this method truly lost for the most part, as jazz players started learning the classical technique of the mistranslation of the origignal method books. Most of the great players played by "feel"; they could not explain what they were doing; they simply did it. Maynard Ferguson could not teach his own son the trumpet!

What makes a player great? One must listen to recordings of the players whose names I mentioned. You may then listen to recordings of Dave Douglas, Roy Hargrove, Tim Hagans, and make your judgement. There is really no question. It is not a matter of saying, oh, Charlie Shavers was a "better player." There is a physiological reason why he was able to do what he did on the horn. Roy Hargrove is an incredibly MUSICAL person; his limitation is the physics of how he plays the horn. Listen to a record of Roy's, and then listen to one of Nicolas Payton, and hear the difference in sound, attack, range, intonation, etc.

I'm sure you can find other people other than Jerome Callet who can teach this. But: good luck! I never have! Like I said, most people that play like this claim to play "by feel." The subject is just not talked about. People are afraid to talk about trumpet embouchure, and those that do, almost never can play like the people I mentioned in the article.

In addition, Wynton Marsalis, the "leading authority" on trumpet nowadays, also plays with his toungue through his teeth, but his equipment (too large a mouthpiece and too heavy a horn), unnecessary tension in the corners of his mouth/lips, and use of too much air, hold him back from entering the ranks of the truly great players of the 20th Century (innovation also has been used as a measuring stick before as well!......)

I hope that clears up some questions you had; feel free to post or email others to



You obviously know a great deal more than me about this, and I think a lot of your reply would be useful in the entry. However there are still problems, which I am sure will be resolved. The technique is "correct" in the sense that modern musicians use a mis-translated form. However it is not right to call the technique definitively correct, as in the article. Even if the most commonly used embouchure originated out of a mistranslation, the majority of players have not switched to the original form--it must have something going for it. For the same reason, the reason for a player's greatness is subjective. If everybody agreed that it was down to the embouchure then, again, wouldn't all the players of today switch to it? -- sodium

Yes, djmush1, with all due respect, I think you've missed the point. You might, for all we know, be perfectly justified in believing that this embouchure is, in some sense, "correct." But Wikipedia has a neutrality policy: neutral point of view. Since many brass players would evidently disagree with you that this technique should be unequivocally described as "correct," we shouldn't say it is--it's not our place to instruct them that it is!

BTW, I hate this practice of writing endlessly on the /Talk page without changing the text. The problem is, I don't know much at all about this topic so I can't really fix it myself very well, short of just moving the offending text temporarily to this /Talk page, which (in this case) I am loath to do! --LMS

I tweaked the text a little bit, and feel it is objective and ok now. However, anyone truly interested in this subject would probably also benefit from the additional info on this talk page.... for most brass players believing whether this embouchure is "correct," this is the gray area, in which truly, embouchure is really not taught at all in this country. Although most players struggle and do not attain acceptable results w/ the common form of brass embouchure today, no alternative is taught, and most players go from teacher to teacher, trying to figure this out....when presented with this information, most contemporary brass players do not disagree that this technique is "correct" (although I have refrained from using this terminology in the entry)...their reason for not changing is that it is extremely challenging to go from one technique to the other (and this is a euphemism!), and there is a psychological fear of losing what little technique or ability one may have, and be "lost at sea" until one masters the new technique....this is the true reason, not b/c there is a disagreement over what is "correct"....when one listens to the recordings of the people on that page, what is "correct" is not really up for debate....-djMush1

Comments on Wikipedia Embouchure Article[edit]

I have several questions and comments for the author of the article on "embouchure."

1. The article stated, "Although the original technique was used intuitively by great players of the past century, contemporary music schools teach the mistranslated embouchure, which has become the dominant form today." What are the author's sources that this technique was used by the list of players of the 20th Century? In my research I have not come across anything that even remotely suggests this.

2. Also in the article the author stated, "This technique [the common embouchure method] tends to require a large mouthpiece as well as a small or medium bore instrument to produce a reasonably full sound, and often results in sore and tired lips." I notice the use of the modifiers "often" and "tends" with the statement. Regardless, this statement is still misleading. It is pretty well established that problems with playing endurance are not caused by the common brass embouchure method itself, but through improper playing mechanics which the "common embouchure method" strives to eliminate. Many performers who utilize a more traditional approach play on smaller mouthpieces and larger bore equipment and many performers who do use larger mouthpieces with smaller bore instruments do so successfully.

3. At the current time I do not have access to my copy of the Arban text the author cites as evidence that Callet's method is the "original embouchure" for brass instruments. Would it be possible to have a reference to the page number and edition the article author is referring to? My recollection of this text suggests to me that the author may be making several erroneous assumptions that Arban actually was advocating Callet's method.

4. The majority of successful brass players, from orchestral style performers to jazz performers, do not actually perform using Callet's method. While this approach to brass embouchure certainly deserves more attention from academia, to this date there is little or no scientific research supporting the article author's claims that Callet's method is actually correct. In fact, research done as early as the 1940s through contemporary research suggests the opposite of the author's claims that Callet's method is the "correct" one.

Resent research using a scientific approach and methods capable of replication support the view that successful brass playing relies upon each performing learning to work with individual anatomical differences. Some of this research suggests that performing successfully using Callet's method requires the individual possess short enough lower teeth and a thick enough lower lip so that the tongue contact with the lower lip doesn't impede the necessary vibrations. In other words, some individuals who possess the facial characteristics conducive to this technique can utilize Callet's approach effectively, but most performers are likely to find other, more traditional, approaches more effective.

In the discussion related to this article it was asked, "So, how shall we fix the article? --LMS"

With all due respect to the article author, the article in question is not encyclopedic in that it is biased and poorly researched. While there is definitely a need for more research to check the validity of Callet's and his supporter's claims, their views represent a small minority of what brass performers and teachers actually do and teach. In order for the article to be complete and more representative of what has been scientifically established much more needs to be included. If that is not possible, due to length restrictions, then the article should take a more descriptive tone, rather than merely state a subjective opinion. If article length is not an issue, simply adding material written by other authors that offer different viewpoints would make this a much more useful resource.

Dr. David Wilken Assistant Professor of Music University of North Carolina at Asheville

I, being a student of the music and a trumpet player who has fallen on hard times physically, have studied various embouchures so I'd like to add a few things to this article.

Firstly, Jerome Callet is NOT the only person teaching this embouchure. If you look to Callet's site,, you'll find a biography on his life and what he's done. His story includes years of struggling on the trumpet even after study with many teachers, though he never says who, and as a result sets out to research embouchures and embouchure techniques. If you would like to find other teachers of the method, simply call Mr Callet and ask if he knows any teachers in your immediate area, because that's exactly what I did and was immediately given someone to call. Mr Callet does a fair amount of teaching and as a result there are many others out there that he has taught who also teach this method. In Callet's publications he often writes about other trumpet players who describe concepts in the same way as he does, that is, to play you "spit a hair off your tongue, only the hair never leaves". When he refers to Arban's, I myself have the version annotated by Claude Gordon, on pg 7 on the section referring to the "Attack" of the note, he notes to "Always remember that the phrase coup de langue (stroke of tongue) is merely a conventional expression. The tongues does not strike; on the contrary, it performs a retrograde movement, simply behaving like a valve." (The Authentic Edition - Arban's Complete Conservatory Method for Trumpet, 7)

Later, Gordon, as a footnote to "The tongue should then advance against the teeth of the upper jaw in such a way" in the section on Breathing, writes:

Notice that Arban did not say the tip of the tongue, rather 'The tongue should such a way...' The tip stays back of the lower teeth. The part of the tongue advancing against the teeth of the upper jaw is that part directly behind the tip. Alessandro Liberatis in his book Method for Cornet stated that the tip of the tongue should never rise above the lower teeth. Using the tongue in this manner gives a 'to and fro movement,' mentioned in the explantory notes regarding triple tonguing (p.153, para. 5-6) and double tonguing (p.154, para. 2).

Though Gordon tells the reader to keep their tongue BEHIND the teeth, the placement of the tongue in this manner still retains the same tongue controlled embouchure characteristics as Callet teaches, since my understanding of the embouchure and learnings of it have led me to believe it is the tongue compressing the air between the upper teeth/roof of the mouth and the tongue itself that creates the required air speed for notes using a lower amount of air.

The musician Alessandro Liberati mentioned by Gordon here, is also mentioned by Callet in his newest book, Trumpet Secrets, in which he states that:

In 1927 Alessandro Liberati, the great cornet soloist, taught one of my friends how to use his tongue through the teeth when playing. I of course, asked him how Liberati played. He said Liberati was as strong up to high F's above high C as any of the players in New York. Amazingly, at the time my friend hear him play, Liberati was so severly crippled by arthritis that my friend had to get under Liberati's arms to lift his overcoat over the old man's shoulders, as he could not raise his arms to pun on the garment unassisted. Alessandro Liberati died only a few months later; he was in his eighties! (Trumpet Secrets - Jerome Callet & Bahb Civiletti, 27)

Amongst the players he mentions in the book, besides Liberati, are Roy Eldridge, Harry James, Charlie Shavers, Fats Navarro, and Jules Levy. In his book, Callet also includes a few pages of Levy's method book in which Levy tells his reader to spit off a hair off their tongue.

Furthermore, recent comments have led me to believe that the TCE is in actuality a flute embouchure. The recent success of flute players who apply the Callet method to flute playing and remarks made by Arban himself in the opening section of his method book both indicate this. Arban says in the preface to his book that " I performed the flute tonguing in double staccato, also the triple staccato, which I am the first to have applied to the cornet." Meaning that the TCE is the same embouchure uesd by Arban and probably any other player Arban taught as he was not only a pioneer in the field of trumpet player but a teacher at the only existing military music school which is now the French music conservatory (in Paris, I believe, but am not perfectly positive.) If this is true, then the Callet embouchure is the one played with by many of the musicians in the past and as Callet says has been lost due to the passage of time, and perhaps may even be deemed the correct one. HOWEVER, this point is more a personal opinion and is not a matter of fact, though it is very close to being one.

On another note, I would like to mention another section of embouchures. It more of a subsection, since embouchures can be generally be defined as lip controlled or tongue controlled. In the lip controlled section, in my opinion, there should be two subsections, flat chinned and non flat chinned.

My attempt to differentiate the two embouchures, goes as follows:

The flat chinned embouchure involves the tightening/loosening of the corners of the mouth to stretch/relax the lips so that high/low pitches can be obtained. Characteristics of this embouchure include but are not limited to: a smiling look while playing, tension at the very corners of the mouth. The analogies used by teachers of this method usually involve relating the lips to an elastic and the tightening and loosening of the elastic in attempt to control pitch changes when it is plucked.

The non flat chinned embouchure involves the clamping or pinching of the lips together in order to create higher resistance at the point in which the air stream travels to create higher notes and the relaxing of that area for lower notes. Characteristics of this embouchure include but are not limited to: a mean and aggressive look while playing, air pockets in the lower and/or upper lips, puffed cheeks (most notably like Dizzy Gillespie).

The distinction between flat and non flat chins was made to me by Jeff Smiley, the creator of the Balanced Embouchure, though is not the only one to make it, in his book The Balanced Embouchure. Smiley's method would fall under the category of non flat chinned embouchures but it is not completely lip controlled or tongue controlled since it is balanced. Smiley believes in the perfect co-ordination of all the parts the embouchure to create the most efficient working embouchure.

It is my belief that most professional players use a balanced embouchure which is the result of going through Smiley's method though they may obtain it otherwise. So for all those who do not use a TCE, take a moment and ask yourself whether or not you use a BE because it may just be so.

I hope that is enlightening to those who have not studied the lesser known embouchures and methods out there.

P. Mach,

When I read this article, I could identify which method the writer personally preferred. That indicates to me that this article does not follow NPOV.


I fail to see why something used by less than 5% of all brass players should get this much attention. Most of the brass players who have played in the last 60 years have used the Farkas embouchure. Even The Maggio, Stevens, and Buzzing embouchures are all historically more relevant than TCE and they comprise a vastly larger share of those who play brass instruments. I saw no real mention of any of those embouchures.

I am not against mentioning the TCE but I feel that the way it is being mentioned is extremely misleading. An encyclopedia is NOT the place for conjecture such as dead players who MAY have used it.

I added a section for Farkas, Maggio and Stevens embouchure and deleted the claims about the players who had past away and we can't ask if they approve of being used to establish some credibility.

It was reverted in less than a day.

There is now a case number for this section. [Ticket#2006042310013237]

Clint McLaughlin


I see that someone put the changes back up. I know it isn't perfect but with the other embouchures mentioned it seems to be a more neutral point of view.

If anyone has a better way to do this and keep it balanced please work on it.

Clint McLaughlin

It says at the beginning of the article, that the word "embouchure" refers to the mouthpiece itself. Myself, being a woodwind player, has never encountered this meaning of the word. Can anyone verify this?

Max Frank

Hydraulophone: spam?[edit]

Is the hydraulophone content really relevant to this article? I think they are cool and all, but the use of the term seems a stretch, and the notability questionable (for this article).Ccrrccrr (talk) 14:48, 3 June 2012 (UTC)