Embodiment Through Embouchure: An Interdisciplinary Performance-Based Approach to the Transferral of Embodied Knowledge

Ross McCool
Mark Costello

Benjamin Jackson
Victoria Scrimer
University of Maryland, College Park


As digital humanities has moved from an amorphous body of scholarship to a defined set of approaches and objects of study, the most human of elements, the body, remains elusive in digital scholarship. Our team, following Diana Taylor, William Forsythe and Wiesner et al. assert that performing arts can offer digital humanities a deeper understanding of embodied practice through digital means. Our team, comprised of artists coming from performance studies, theatre design, brass performance/pedagogy and ethnomusicology, came together in a graduate course taught by Susan Wiesner at the University of Maryland. While considering what performing artists could offer digital scholarship we found the study of the intangible, internal body to be central to our respective disciplines. Engrossed by the density of motion involved in our brass pedagogue’s formation of an embouchure for playing trumpet, we found this to be a case study ripe for exploring embodied practice. Creating translational artistic representations sourced from the external and internal movement of the head our project aims to expand embodied awareness in participants, examining the transferal and use of embodied knowledge in an area of the body not often made visible–the oral cavity. Our presentation will include a demonstration of our project where attendees will be guided through a series of actions and shown visualizations created in real-time based on measurements of vibration, pitch, and air velocity from the apparatus. Through this, we hope  to foster greater awareness of one’s body as it moves through space and the knowledge carried within it.