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Fundamental Tongue Motions for Trumpet Playing: A Study Using Cine Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Cine MRI)

Hiroko Furuhashi, Toru Chikui, Daisuke Inadomi, Tomoko Shiraishi, Kazunori Yoshiura
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 32 Number 4: Page 201 (December 2017)

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Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Though the motions of structures outside the mouth in trumpet performance have been reported, the dynamics of intraoral structures remain unelucidated. This study explored the tongue¿s movement in trumpet playing using cine magnetic resonance imaging (cine MRI) and demonstrated the effects of intraoral anatomical structures on changes in pitch and dynamics. METHODS: Cine MRI was applied to 18 trumpet players, who were divided into two groups (7 beginner, 11 advanced) based on their ability to play a certain high note. They were instructed to play a custom-made MRI-compatible simulated trumpet. Pitch-change tasks and dynamics-change tasks were assigned. The positions of the anatomical points and intraoral areas were identified on outlined images, and the changes associated with each task were evaluated. RESULTS: A forward and upward projection of the tongue was observed in the production of higher pitches, and there were no significant differences in all areas. In louder dynamics, a backward and downward bending of the tongue occurred, the tongue area became smaller (p<0.001), and the oral cavity area became larger (p<0.001). No significant differences between beginner and advanced trumpet players were seen in the changes in pitch and dynamics. CONCLUSION: It was demonstrated using cine MRI that certain tongue movements were associated with each task. Tongue protrusion in the production of higher pitch and bending in louder dynamics can be rationalized using acoustics theory and the movements of anatomical structures. These findings seem to be consistent regardless of the player's proficiency.

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