Here’s a pretty neat short video of the Salaputia Brass Ensemble performing the movement “EWAME” from the new album “Sounds of Evolution.” They are all playing into mouthpieces that have cameras installed in them, so that you can see the view of their embouchure inside the mouthpiece while performing. Take a look at them and see if you can guess all of their embouchure types. My guesses will be after the break.
Because we’re only able to get an accurate look at which lip predominates, we’re not going to be able to note the musicians’ embouchure motion, but we can tell the player’s air stream direction. Starting from the upper left and moving across each row here are my guesses.
The embouchure in the upper left corner is downstream, probably the Very High Placement embouchure type with that much upper lip inside the mouthpiece. The middle embouchure in the top row appears to be an upstream embouchure, although the spit blown into the mouthpiece obscures the camera a lot. The upper right corner embouchure is close enough to half and half placement that it’s difficult to tell for sure, but the overall lip position and embouchure formation looks downstream to me, so I would guess a Medium High Placement type.
The middle row embouchures all look downstream to me. The embouchure on the right of this row has enough upper lip inside that I would guess a Very High Placement type. The middle one is close to half and half, but like the upper right corner, it has the look of a downstream embouchure.
The bottom row has two downstream embouchures on the left side and two upstream embouchures on the right.
To my knowledge, no one has conducted a study with solid methodology to come up with a percentage of how many brass musicians fit into the specific embouchure types. My best guess is that maybe 10-15% of brass musicians are, or should be, playing with upstream embouchures. It’s pretty obvious that most brass players are downstream and that embouchure type is more common. Out of these 10 players, 7 appear to be downstream and 3 upstream.
What did you guess? For the players who are close to half and half placement, did you feel upstream or downstream? Why?