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A Comprehensive Performance Project in Horn Literature with an Essay Consisting of the Effects of Inspiratory Conditions on the Vital Capacity of Brass Players


Copyright 2024, Mark Alan Wade

Primary Author: Staples, T.
Journal Title: DMA Dissertation, University of Iowa
Date Published: 1988
Language: English
Category: Anatomical, Physiological & Historical Research
Key Words: performance French horn literature inspiratory vital capacity brass
Full Citation: Staples, Thomas William. A Comprehensive Performance Project in Horn Literature with an Essay Consisting of the Effects of Inspiratory Conditions on the Vital Capacity of Brass Players. DMA diss., University of Iowa, 1988.
Full Abstract: Several inspiratory conditions were placed on twenty-nine experienced brass-instrument players. Three test categories were designed to examine the relationships between the vital capacity of brass players and conditions placed on the inspiratory phase of active respiration. Vital capacity is defined as the maximum volume of air expired from the lungs after maximal inspiration. The categories tested: (1) the subjects' vital capacity after inspiring through breathing tubes of various diameters, (2) the subjects' vital capacity after four timed inspirations, and (3) the subjects' vital capacity during separate chest and shoulder restriction and during active shoulder lifting. Subjects were measured during a four-week period. A 13.5 liter water-filled spirometer was used to measure the vital capacity. Tracings were made on chart paper attached to the spirometer. Except for shoulder restriction and lifting, the subjects were seated during the vital capacity maneuvers. The breathing tubes were four-inch-long plastic tubes of three different diameters. A metronome was used as the timing device for the timed inspirations. The mechanical loading of the chest and shoulder regions was accomplished by: (1) strapping the chest region to restrict rib-cage movement, and (2) applying a shoulder harness to restrict the upward movement of the shoulders. Results were compared to predicted vital capacity as determined by Dockery et al. (1985), and to a set of control measurements taken of the subjects without any respiratory conditions. The use of the breathing tube provided a significant change in the vital capacity of the subjects, but the size of the tube appeared to have little influence. Of the four timed inspirations, only the duration of one-half second provided any significant decrease in vital capacity. Chest strapping produced the greatest reduction of all the tests, closely followed by shoulder restriction. Shoulder lifting showed no significant change from the predicted or control values. The average of the control capacities of all the subjects was not significantly different from predicted values; subjects with lower predicted values generally failed to achieve the predicted values and those with higher predicted values usually met or exceeded their predicted values.