Visualisation of the Lip Motion of Brass Instrument Players, and Investigations of an Artificial Mouth as a Tool for Comparative Studies of Instruments
When playing a brass instrument the lips of the player fulfil a similar role to the cane reeds of wood-wind instruments. The nature of the motion of this lip-reed determines the ow of air through the lips, between the player's mouth and the instrument. It is a complicated feedback system in which the motion of the lips controls the air ow, which itself affects the behaviour of the lips. In recent years several designs of artificial mouth have been developed; these model the human lips using latex rubber tubes filled with water. These artificial mouths are increasingly used in experiments rather than enlisting the services of a musician as they have many advantages including greater accessibility and the stability of the embouchure. In this thesis factors affecting the reproducibility of the embouchure of one such artificial mouth are investigated with reference to the measured resonances of the lips. Using these results, procedures and practical design improvements are suggested. Two examples of comparative studies of historic instruments are presented. In order to provide detailed information on the behaviour of the lips of brass players high speed digital photography is used to image the self-oscillating lipreed. Variation in the lip opening, over a wide range of notes and different players, is investigated, providing experimental evidence to aid the process of reining physical models of the behaviour of the brass player's lips. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between the area and height of the lip opening. Results suggest that during extremely loud playing the lip motion is qualitatively similar to that in quieter notes and therefore is not the origin of the dramatic increase in the levels of the high harmonics of the radiated sound. Investigation of the behaviour at the start of a note has shown evidence relating the lip motion to the transient in the mouthpiece pressure waveform. Comparison is made between the behaviour of the artificial lips and that of the lips of musicians providing evidence of the suitability of the use of the artificial mouth as a model for real brass players. Results show that although differences exist, particularly when looking at behaviour over a wide range of dynamic levels, the general features of behaviour are reproduced by the artificial mouth.