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Hypopharyngeal Pressures in Brass Musicians


Copyright 2024, Mark Alan Wade

Primary Author: Stasney, C.
Journal Title: Medical Problems of Performing Artists
Date Published: Dec-03
Language: English
Category: Orofacial Disorders
Key Words: throat musician performance instrument brass
Full Citation: Stasney, C. Richard, Mary E. Beaver, and Margarita Rodriguez. Hypopharyngeal Pressures in Brass Musicians. Medical Problems of Performing Artists 18, no. 4 (December 2003): 153-55.
Full Abstract: Because of the pressures necessary for playing a brass instrument, brass players are susceptible to unique medical problems. In addition to hearing loss, uveal engorgement, visual field loss, and pneumopartid (swelling of the parotid gland), the Hypopharyngeal pressure can cause Laryngoceles, (blowouts of the larynx). Enharmonic frequencies require differing amounts of pressure when played on different brass instruments, thus leaving Arnold Jacob's theory that they require the same pressure unsubstantiated. Of all the brass instruments, the horn requires the highest pressure at every frequency. The trumpet has comparable pressure requirements for frequencies greater than 1,024 Hz. Both trumpet and horn demand 110 cm H2O for frequencies over 512 Hz for horn and 1,024 for trumpet. The aforementioned frequencies and pressure requirements may be too much for young players. Further research is needed to determine safe pressure limits for the young, developing larynx and pharynx. Correct posture and a relaxed larynx are keys to avoiding Laryngoceles.