The issue gets thorny when it comes to blowing shevarim because the opinions of Rashi and Tosfos seem mutually exclusive. According to Rashi, each tu-tu-tu of the shevarim must be less than 3 beats, otherwise each would be the same length as a tekiya. According to Tosfos, since tekiya and teru’ah each need a minimum of 9 beats, three short shevarim just don’t cut it.
Rashi’s short shevarim would sound strange to most of our ears. When I lived in Passaic, R’ Sacks had the ba’al toke’ah blow the last 10 kolos with very short shevarim to be yotzei Rashi’s view, but all other shevarim were blown according to the usual practice.
There is another way to try to fulfill both views, and the way I heard it in yeshiva, this was R’ Soloveitchik’s chiddush that R’ Chaim approved of. There is no inherent reason why one is limited to blowing three blasts tu-tu-tu for shevarim and not more. R’ Soloveitchik suggested that one can blow short shevarim of about 2 beats each to fulfill Rashi’s view, but blow enough shevarim (i.e. 5 shevarim) to add up to more than 9 beats in total and thereby fulfill Tosfos’ view as well (just saw that Nefesh haChaim has a post on this also).
This R”H was the first time I actually heard this chiddush implemented in practice. To be fair, the minyan I daven at implements other Brisker / RYBS chumros, so this is just one more to add to the mix. I asked my son if he understood the logic of what was being done (either the rest of the minyan is used to this or not attuned to it) and he told me that in yeshiva the menahel had presented this view as a Brisker shita which they recently adopted for some of the tekiyos in the yeshiva minyan. Apparently Brisker chumros are getting more popular every day!
I’m not sure what to make of this development. The chiddush is wonderful in an academic way, but somehow (maybe I am just losing some Brisker-ness) it strikes me as anti-traditional to actually implement. Tekiyas shofar has been going on for centuries. If your grandparents asked their grandparents what a shevarim sounded like, I have little doubt that the answer would be the usual tu-tu-tu, not 5 shevarim and not really short shevarim. Leaving aside whatever mystical effect blowing these precise kolos may have, if this custom was good enough for centuries of G-d fearing Jews who knew how to learn a little gemara too, why should we change it because of a shtickel lomdus? Admittedly, my reaction here is emotional rather than intellectual, and inconsistant with my own acceptance of Brisker chumra in other areas.
Haym Soloveitchik in his essay “Rapture and Reconstruction” writes with respect to newly adopted chumros of larger shiurim for achilas matzah:
It was perfectly clear to all concerned that Jews had been eating matzot for thousands of years, and that no textual analysis could affect in any way a millennia-old tradition. The problem was theoretically interesting, but practically irrelevant.
And then a dramatic shift occurs. A theoretical position that had been around for close to two centuries suddenly begins in the 1950's to assume practical significance and within a decade becomes authoritative. From then on, traditional conduct, no matter how venerable, how elementary, or how closely remembered, yields to the demands of theoretical knowledge. Established practice can no longer hold its own against the demands of the written word.
One can only wonder what Haym Soloveitchik would make of his father’s 5 shevarim, or of those who follow in his holy footsteps. But perhaps it is my own concerns which are "theoretically interesting but practically irrelevant", to echo R' Haym's words, as for better or worse, academic chiddush has left its imprint on the world of halacha l'ma'aseh.