Posted by TUBAdAMORE on February 26, 1999 at 02:55:53:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Low range on different horns posted by Tom on February 25, 1999 at 09:57:06:
You will want to visit the different mouthpiece manufacturers on the web. Most of them have sections on design philosophy & factors for choosing MP's .
But in a nutshell...
The mouthpiece is the critical link between player and horn.
The mouthpiece focuses the breath and buzz, it is where the tone begins to take shape. A few millimeters difference here make a world of difference in the sound coming out the other end. The Mouthpiece must match Player and Instrument, with on important caveat- the player can adapt, the instrument cannot.
There are two basic designs for Tuba MP's, the American funnel-shaped cup (Helleberg), and the German rounded cup. As a general rule of thumb, the Helleberg style is prefered for large tubas and American sound concepts, while the rounded cup is prefered for smaller Tubas and the German sound concept. ( there are many, many exceptions to this, and all the other "rules")
Rims: The outer rim width and shape is largely personal preference, no real sonic difference. Go with what ever is comfortable. The Inner rim shape goes like this: sharper = more flexability, more rounded= comfort/endurance
Inside diameter: still personal- wider for large lips, narrower for smaller lips.
Cup Depth: deeper= darker sound, favors low register
shallower= brighter, more articulate- favors upper register.
Venturi: larger= more free-blowing, favors larger vital capacities, Big Tubas, and forte playing.
smaller= easier to "focus", favors smaller vitals and instruments. Easier to play pp.
Back Bore: much the same as Venturi.
There are other factors as well, some "rounded cup" mouthpieces are more rounded than others... etc.
I'll leave the discussion of heavy-wall designs to Roger Lewis (He is the "R" in R&S).
I am sure volumes could be written about the differences between a few millimeters (or grams); but even having read them all, you would still have to try out a bunch of mouthpieces to find the best match for you and your instrument. And having found it, you would still find there is no substitute for practice!
hope this helps.