A while back I wrote a post debunking the logic of why many teachers and players incorrectly argue against allowing brass players to place the mouthpiece on the red of their lip. Going through these common points I’ve come to the conclusion that while placing the mouthpiece so there is a lot of rim contact on the upper or lower lip doesn’t work for everyone, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this placement, which is why I titled that post “Playing On the Red Is Fine (as long as it fits your anatomy).”
Recently one of the authors I quoted in that article, Frank Gabriel Campos, posted a couple of responses. In one of his replies he wrote:
In a blind audition, I can easily tell within a minute that someone is playing on the red.
To be honest, I doubt that anyone can really tell by sound alone if a player is placing on the red. This also reminded me of how some players and teachers who are familiar with embouchure types sometimes claim that they can tell which embouchure type a player is simply by hearing a recording. So with this thought in mind, I’ve put together an informal quiz to see how many people can actually tell.
Listen to these 6 audio clips. All 6 players are professional trumpet players with advanced degrees. 5 of the 6 players are college trumpet teachers. Three specialize in classical trumpet and 3 specialize in jazz trumpet, although some do cross over. At least one of these players places the mouthpiece so that rim contacts with the red of the lip and at least one player does not.
(Note: The quiz plugin I’m using seems to be a little buggy, but hopefully it will allow you to see how you did at the end as well as let you know which embouchure type each player belongs to.)
[wpsqt name=”Test Quiz” type=”quiz”]
How did you do? Please leave your comments below, but don’t give away any answers to those who haven’t tried the test yet. If you want to see video of the players in the audio samples check it out here (no cheating and watching it first!).
Update – January 25, 2022
It’s been 10 years since I collected data for this survey. Over that time the plugin I used to collect answers is no longer updated and available for WordPress, so you can’t take the test that way. I also lost the original post for the link just above, so I recreated it and wrote some additional thoughts and updated the link.