Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Instrumental Performance (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Aaron Tindall

Second Committee Member

Timothy Conner

Third Committee Member

Richard Todd

Fourth Committee Member

Judy Marchman


After researching that many brass pedagogy texts make allusions to vocal performance as the ideal standard, this essay observed the ability of the euphonium performer to create different articulation sounds. Comparisons between voice and brass articulations were made. The effectiveness was determined by comparing pertinent acoustical components of brass methods to that of a single vocalist. To begin, this study catalogued preeminent suggested techniques for performing brass articulation found in method, pedagogy, magazine, and personal memoire texts. These techniques were collected into a list and given to a euphonium player subject from the University of Miami. In an anechoic chamber, the subject was given the instructions to perform the articulation techniques previously compiled from the literature. Audio was collected by a single Earthworks M50 Reference Microphone connected to a Merging-Morus PreAmp at a 48kHz sample rate. The microphone was placed at a radial distance of one meter from the bell. A recording sample was only accepted when the subject and researcher believed the subject was able to efficiently accomplish the provided directions. In the same chamber, with the same microphone, a lone vocalist was recorded with the same microphone placed also at a radial distance of one meter. Recordings were then normalized to the same amplitude to ensure that comparisons between individual instrumentalists and the vocalist were possible. Transient qualities of articulation and vocal onset were assessed using quantitative and qualitative methods. 1. Quantitative: analyzing the general shape of the attack envelope. 2. Qualitative, measuring and calculating a mathematical linear slope between the rise in decibels to the point of steady state in the envelope over the duration of time. Additionally comparing the harmonic composition of the attack envelope using comparison of the allotment of harmonics from a Fast Forier Transformation (FFT). Findings grouped articulation techniques and phonemes together. Values were interpreted and arranged displaying techniques of findings on two continuums. One, addressing the abrasiveness of the articulation and propagation of sound, arranging the set of values from “hard” to “soft.” The second, arranging the techniques and phonemes based on the harmonic content, or timbre, from “dark” to “bright”. Results suggest inclusion of breath attack as a legitimate means of articulation. Comparison of euphonium and vocal phoneme articulation showed that the contact point of the tongue did not correlate to acoustical data. For example, labial articulation in euphonium did not relate to labial articulations in voice; articulations of the euphonium player using the blade of the tongue against the velar region (dorsal articulation) did not correspond to phonemes where the blade of the tongue makes contact with the velar region (phonemes /k/ and /g/).


Euphonium; Brass; Articulation; Vocal; Onset; Harmonic; Transient