The mouth-trumpet explained
Toff.'s ability to produce a trumpet sound with his voice is not unique and many singers who mimic instruments sounds by mouth have used this in the past, either as a party-trick or in actual performances.
People who play with mouth noises are often inspired to imitate the trumpet, the bass or the beatbox.
Some of our favourite artists using these techniques are:
- Leon Redbone
- Bobby McFerrin
- George Brassens
- Charles Trenet
- Rolf Harris
So, you want to join the gang?
Follow these instructions to practice.
According to Toff., the key is to be able to sing a high-pitch (falsetto) voice while keeping the mouth almost shut.
- Sing or hum the notes you wish to use for the mock trumpet sounds; the higher the pitch, the better. Part of the sound resonates through the sinus cavities just as it does when you sing.
- Press your lips together, leaving a small gap on one of the sides of the mouth.
- Then, holding the the lips together with just enough tension so that they vibrate at the same frequency as the vocal cords, producing a trumpet-like sound.
The vibrato should be done using you voice (natural vibrato) not your lips.
To perfect the effect, practice switching registers. Since lower notes require more air than higher ones, it is not always easy to use the mouth-trumpet on each and every line.